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Jjarlington -Memorial LiLrar) 


Of this Edition Three Hundred 
AND Fifty Copies have been Printed for Sale. 

No. ^o . 

September, /Sgg. 

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Printed by P. C. Stockhausen, 53-55 N. 7th St., Philadelphii 


In submitting to his readers the present vohime of Penn- 
sylvana local history the writer offers no apology. The 
universal approval bestowed by both press and public upon 

has encouraged him to persevere in his labor and research, 
and he now presents a continuation of the history of the 
" Sect People " of Pennsylvania in the form of an exhaus- 
tive account of the Ephrata Cloister and the Dunkers. 
Incidentally, the early history of one is that of the other. 
Later, however, while the Dunkers or German Baptist 
Brethren became a large and flourishing denomination, the 
other branch resolved itself into a monastic society composed 
of both sexes, and was fixed for many years in unique habi- 
tations upon the banks of the picturesque Cocalico in the 
county of Lancaster. At last the institution, by a change 
of the social and political conditions, together with the 
death of the older members of the society, lapsed into a 
regular German Seventh-day Baptist congregation. 

The members of the original society were the virtual 
successors to the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness 
on the Wissahickon, which formed the basis for our first 
volume of this series. In issuing the same, the hope was 
expressed that the publication would be the means of 
bringing to light some further facts and docximents bearing 
upon this interesting phase of our early local history. In 

vi ForcTvord. 

this wish the writer was not disappointed. Among the 
valuable contributions brought to light it is but necessary 
to mention the following : 

(i) Zwei Stucke atis Pennsylvanicii. Being letters from 
Pastorius, dated March 7, 1684. 

(2) An Account of the Religions Condition of Pennsyl- 
vania. By Justus Falkner, at Germantown, 1701. 

(3) The original MS. of the Scnd-Schreibcn of fo/iann 
Gottfried Selig to Rev. Francke, at Halle. 

(4) Pastorius' Send-Brieff Offenherziger Liebesbezeugnng 
an die so-genannte Pietisten in Hock Dciitschlaud. 

(5) Biographical sketch of Magister Zimmermanu, show- 
ing that he was a student of Rev. ]\I. Tobias Wagner. 

(6) Two heretofore unknown English books, by Con- 
rad Beissel and Michael Wohlfarth, printed by Bradford, 
Philadelphia, 1729. 

The more we look into the history and religious condi- 
tion of the German immigrants who came to these shores 
in the early years of the eighteenth century, the greater 
becomes our admiration for the deeds they accomplished. 
INIany were religious enthusiasts of doctrine inimical to the 
orthodox faiths which flourished under official sanction. 
Persecuted at home, they left the Fatherland and came 
either with their families to enjoy the promised religious 
liberty, only to find that they were the victims of schem- 
ing agents, and that many of the representations made to 
them prior to their departure had but little foundation in 

Yet, notwithstanding these drawbacks, we find here at 
an early date the altars of the various faiths, orthodox and 
sectarian, mystic and separatist, erected side by side in the 
sylvan groves of Penn's colony. Though differing upon 
religious tenets and creeds, these Germans, almost without 
exception, were of the same moral and industrious class 
that went so far to make our Commonwealth what is it. 

Foreword. vii 

Whether Separatist or Orthodox, Lutheran, Quaker or 
Moravian, Mennonite or Dunker, New Mooner or Seventh 
Dayer, all were known for their thrift, industry and relig- 
ious devotion. Quite a number of them came to these 
shores, singly or in companies, to seek the peace of mind 
which they supposed could only be attained by practising 
their peculiar tenets. 

The founder of the Ephrata Community was one of 
those religious leaders who, in a few years, succeeded in 
gathering around him a number of men and women, some 
of considerable erudition ; and in less than a decade we 
had here in Pennsylvania a semi-monastic community, 
which developed into a religious, educational, commercial 
and industrial establishment, and at an early date set up 
here, far away from the chief city of the Province, the 
third printing-press within the Colony, and the first to 
print with both German and English types. 

The writer not only proposes to trace the peculiar his- 
tory of this Community from its inception to its decline — 
recall their legends and chronicle their traditions — but also 
to present, as nearly as possible, a complete bibliography 
of the various publications of these people, as well as of 
all issues of the Ephrata press. Fac-similes of title-pages 
are given whenever attainable. 

Many of the facts and incidents are presented here for 
the first time, being culled from letters and manuscripts 
found in possession of descendants of the secular congre- 
gregation, which was connected with the mystical Commu- 
nity. Others, again, were found in private collections and 
in various archives abroad, where they had reposed and 
lain forgotten for over a century, until brought to light by 
the investigation of the present writer. 

It may be said that an undue importance has been 
awarded to some of the humble characters, who became 
leaders in these religious sects, and, by force of their sur- 

viii Foreword. 

roundings, were thus thrown into prominence. Tlie writer 
has no desire to elevate any such persons ; neither does he 
wish to detract one iota from the credit due them : his sole 
aim being to tell the true story of this feature of the Ger- 
man influence in the settlement and development of our 
Commonwealth. Their influence has extended far beyond 
the confines of our present State, as is instanced in the 
general history of the German Baptist Brethren (Dunkers) 
and the Moravian Church. 

In compiling the present story, one of the leading 
thoughts of the writer has been to preserve every item of 
interest, both literary and pictorial, connected with our 
subject or emanating from the mystical society at Ephrata. 

Our illustrations are all from original sources ; the views 
of buildings and surroundings are reproductions of photo- 
graphs made by the writer at various times, from 1886 to 
1899. The illustrations printed in the text are mainly 
selected from a Kloster copy dating prior to 1750, forming 
a feature in which this work stands unique. The text is 
also amplified with foot-notes wherever necessary, as a 
guide to the future student. 

The quotations from the Chronicon Ephrctense, which 
have been more or less freely used, are mostly from the 
excellent translation by Rev. J. Max Hark, D.D. (Lancas- 
ter, 1889). 

Acknowledgments are due to the Hon. Samuel W. Pen- 
nypacker for suggestions and the use of his unrivalled col- 
lection ; to Frank Ried Dieflenderfer, of Lancaster, and 
Dr. John F. Mentzer, of Ephrata, for assistance in solving 
some local questions ; also to Johia W. Jordan, of the Histor- 
ical Society of Pennsylvania, Albert J. Edmunds, and to 
the many friends who have aided me in various wa}s 
toward bringing this work to completion. 

J. F. Sachse. 

////)', 1S99. 




Location. Description. Gross' Hollow. Old Eagle Inn. 
Paxtang Road. Horseshoe Pike. The Mountain Borough. 
Social Functions. Ephrata Press of To-day. Mountain 
Springs. Joseph Konigmacher. ..... 1-7 



Across the Stone Bridge. Grist Mill. Ancient Mile Stone. 
"29toT." The Old Stile. The Kloster. Old God's Acre. 
Tribe of Fahnestocks. Ephrata Academy. Erbs' Corner. 
Zion Hill. Proposed Monument. Patriot's Day. Kloster 
Miihle. Trials of the Kloster Officials 8-20 



Trials of Early Settlers. Causes Leading to the Founding 
of the "Order of the Solitary." Pietists and Enthusiasts. 
Designing Land Agents. Arrival of Religious Communi- 
ties. Fears of Quaker Governors. Proclamations Against 
Palatines. Declaration Signed by Germans. Spread of 
Sabbatarian Doctrine. Theosophy. Remains of the Com- 
munity 21-31 



Arrival at Boston. Johann Conrad Beissel. Parentage. 
Youth. Apprenticeship. Travels as Journeyman Baker. 
Calls Master's Wife Jezebel. Enlightened in Spirit. Heidel- 
berg. Introduced into Rosicrucian Chapter. Banished. 
Sails for the New World. Arrives in Pennsylvania. Disap- 
pointment. Description of Germantown. Schwartzbrod 
and Pumpernickel. Apprentices himself to a Weaver. . 32-48 

X Contents. 



Peter Becker. Crefeldt Dunkers. Beissel as Apprentice. 
Religious Condition of the Germans. Justus Falkner's 
Account. Neglect of Children. Dispersion of Settlers. 
Beissel in the Conestoga Valley. Settles on the Miihl- 
bach. The First Free School in Lancaster County. . . 49-56 



Visit of Beissel to Bohemia. The Van Bebbers. The 
Labadists. Augustine Herrman. Severe Discipline. 
Samuel Bownas' Account. Location of Tract. Jean de 
Labadie. William Penn and the Mystic Theologian. 
Croese's Account. Labadist vs. Quaker. . . . 57-70 



Instruction to Children. Observing the True Sabbath. 
The Newborn or Baumanites. Matthias Bauman. Perni- 
cious Doctrine. Rev. Muhlenberg's Reports. Beissel as 
an Evangelist. A Germantown Awakening. Dissension 
on the Miihlbach. Sale of the Cabin. Beissel Retires to 
the Schwedenquelle 71 -S3 



Meetings at Germantown. Keithian Quakers. Anabap- 
tists in Germany. Zwickau Prophets. Spread of the Faith. 
Schwarzenau. Baptism in the Eder. The Germantown 
Congregation. "First Fruits." Baptism in the Wissa- 
hickon. Mystic Fires. Missive to Germany. Location 
of Baptistry. Pilgrimage to Coventry. Martin Urner. 
Revival in Pequea Valley. Baptism of Conrad Beissel. 
The Conestoga Congregation. Return of the Pilgrims. 
The Order of the Love-Feast. Pedelavium. Breaking of 
the Bread. At Germantown. At Ephrata. . . . 84-110 

Contents. xi 



Sabbath Question. Beissel's Eloquence. Conestoga 
Dunkers. Emulating Primitive Christians. Forbidden 
Food. The Goose an Unclean Bird. Revival of Judaism. 
Jewish Indian Traders. Synagogue at Schaefferstown. 
Jewish C'ongregalion. Mosaic Customs in Pennsylvania. 
The Movement in the Fatherland. The Old Jewish Ceme- 
tery. Another Revival. English Sabbatarians at French 
Creek. Able Noble. More Arrivals. Christopher Sauer. 
Plan of his Farm. First General Conference of Brethren. 
Activity of Mennonites. Publish a " Confession." Curious 
Apology. Sabbath Question. Baptism of Christopher 
Sauer. Fears of Governor Gordon. Re-baptism of 
Beissel. Baptism of Peter Seller's Daughter. . . 111-140 



Credit Due Wissahickon Brotherhood. Beissel and Wohl- 
farth. Two New Bradford Imprints. Mystyrion Anomias. 
German and English Versions. Curious Features. Beis- 
sel's Preface. Michael Wohlfarth. Naked Truth. George 
Michael Weiss. First German Reformed Book. De- 
nounces Newborn Sect. Nine and Ninty Mystical Prov- 
erbs. Early Franklin Imprint. Specimen Page. German 
Hymn-book of 1730. Beissel's Book on Matrimony. 
John Philip Boehm 141-168 



A Divided Congregation. Formation of Lancaster County. 
Settlers Cabins Described. Dunker vs. Beisselianer. Ar- 
rival of Alexander Mack. Seal of the Patriarch. Gossip 
and Scandal. Maria Christina Sauer. Meeting of Beissel 
and Mack. Superstitions. Unlucky Days. Legal Perse- 
cutions. Ejectment of Squatters. Beissel Resigns his 
Office. 169-182 



The Hut in the Wilderness. An Ideal Hermit. Prelude 
to the New World. Hymn-book of 1732. Franklin's 

xii Contents. 

Accounts with Beissel. Discord on the Conestoga. 
Arrival of Pilgrims. Pilgrimage to Philadelphia. Dis- 
tinctive Dress. Jean Francois R^gnier. Scriptural Acorn 
Diet. Acorn Coffee and Whiskey. Folklore of the Oak. 183-195 


Francis Daniel Pastorius. His Children Baptized. Men- 
nonites Old Meeting House at Germantown. Lack of 
German Clergy. Evan's "Help for Parents." Frank- 
lin's Shorter Catechism. Gruber's Missive to Germany. 
Pseudo-imprints of 1729. Bauman's Tractate. Stoever 
Register. His Activity. Roman Catholic Missionaries. 196-213 


Arrival of the Schwenkfelders. Beissel's Visit. Leonard 
Heidt. Welfare's " Wisdom of God." Death of Alexander 
Mack. PettikofTer House. Beggarstown. Preparations 
for the Funeral. Curious Customs and Services. Burial 
by Torch Light. Upper Burying Ground. Manuscript 
Hymn-book of 1734. Unique Title. .... 214-226 



Beissel's Power. John Peter Miller. A " Dutch" Proba- 
tioner. Presbyterian Ordination. The Question of Justi- 
fication. Old Buttonwood Church. Ordination of Peter 
Miller. Appearance and Character. Autograph. Sup- 
plants Boehm. Muddy Creek Church. Reformed Co- 
calico Congregation. Earliest Records of Miller. His 
Reformed Charges. Brother Lamech's Account. Conrad 
Weiser. Baptism of Converts. Peter Miller's E.xplanation. 
Recall of Boehm. His Account of Peter Miller. Burning 
of Religious Books. Miraculous Preservation. Reports 
to Germany. Peter the Hermit. Removal to Ephrata. 
Weiser as High Priest. Building of Kedar. An Amusing 
Anecdote • . 227-251 



Dedication. Beissel's Experience. House of Prayer. 
Zion and Kedar. Spiritual Virgins. Ephrata. 


Contents. xiii 


New Arrivals. Thoma Family. Pilgrimage to West Jersey. 
Amwell. A New Hymn-book. Legal Persecutions. Caesar 
and His Tribute. Curious Defence. Imprisonment of Si.x 
Brethren. The Trial. Release and Return. An Impres- 
sive Scene. Eine Feste Burg ist Unser Gott. Visit of 
Governor and Staff. Justiceship Offered to Conrad Weiser. 
Visit of Germantown Baptists 260-272 



An Awakening in Germantown. Ancient Parsonage. 
Stephen Koch. Visions. Log-house on the Wissahickon. 
Death of Johannes Gumre and Wife. Funeral Feast. 
Schism Among Germantown Brethren. Exodus to Eph- 
rata. Joseph Gorgas. The Stone House on the Wissa- 
hickon. Description. Traditions and Legends. Present 
Condition. A Landmark for the Future. . . . 273-289 



Arrival of Moravian Pioneers. Spangenberg's Visit. 
Parting Services at French Creek. Wohlfarth's " Wisdom 
of God." Quakers and Sabbatarians. A New Hymn- 
book. .......... 290-294 



Changes in Rules. Solitary vs. Conventual Life. Jaebez's 
Explanation. Plain Apparel. Primitive State of Health. 
Growing of Long Beards. Ancient Customs. Garb of 
First Christians. Habit of Zionites and Roses of Saron. 
Special Prayer Robes. Designing of the Habit. Con- 
temporary Sketch of Sister. Schleyer and Kappen. Sep- 
arate Uses. 295-304 



Religious Names. Registers of Members. Biirgerliches 
Stadt Buch. Roster of the Brotherhood. Autograph of 
Onesimus. Roster of the Sisterhood. .... 305-311 

xiv Contents. 


The First German Printing Office. Christopher Sauer. 
Return to Germantown. Employed by Dr. Witt. Be- 
comes a Clockmaker. First German Newspaper in 
America. Efforts to Obtain Type and Press. Conrad 
Weiser to the Rescvie. Tlie VVeyrauchs Hijgel. E.xplana- 
tion of Title. Interesting Commercial Accounts. Contro- 
versy Between Sauer and Beissel. The Printer's Version. 
See, See, the Man ! Beissel to Sauer. Beast of the 
Apocalypse. First Issue of the German Press. Sauer's 
German Almanac. Newspaper. Specimen Sheet and 
Price List 312-349 



Martin Bremmer. Tolling of the Bell. Forming the 
Brotherhood. A New Convent. Strict Observance. 
Freemasonry in Lancaster County. Zionitic Chapter 
House. Thirteen Votaries. Ordeals of the Neophyte. 
Spiritual and Physical Regeneration. Regnier's Experi- 
ence 350-363 



Baptism by Proxy. Alexander Mack Baptized for his 
Father. Beissel as Father Friedsam. Pilgrimage to 
Amwell. Dunker vs. Sabbatarian. Revival Services. 
Consecration of Elinielich. Beissel's Epistle. Dismissal 
of the Elder. The Virgin for Patroness. Tonsure. Fears 
of the Scotch-Irish. Effect of Monastic Costumes. . 364-376 



Important Accessions. Zephania and Obadiah. Dr. Witt's 
Tower Clock. Houses on Zion Hill. A Piece of Vandal 
ism. Patent for Kloster Property. Great Saal of Zion 
Consecration of Conrad Weiser. Rigorous Discipline, 
Chiming of Bells. A New Project. A Severe Winter, 
Brother Agonius. Sketch of. London Coffee House 
Franklin's Tribute. Death of Agonius. Epitaph. . 377-398 



Completion of Saal. Description. S)'nibolisni of Iron. 
A Proscribed Metal. Radical Changes. The Saal of the 
Present Day. Mysterious Footprints. Fracture-Schrift. 
Inscriptions. Unique Specimens. Narrow and Crooked 
Way. Restoration 399-415 



A Fiery Comet. Consternation. Special Prayers and 
Liturgy. Beissel's Mystical Disquisition. English Ver- 
sion. Comments. 416-422 



Wiegner House. The United Brethren of Skippack. 
Whitefield Preaches. Contract With Moravians. White- 
field House at Nazareth. Anna Nitschman's Visit to 
Ephrata. A Seven-dayer's Account. New Mooners. 
Peculiar Teachings. Hans Zimmerman. Spangenberg's 
Account. Gottfried Haberecht. Thomas Hardie. Brother 
Theodorus. Missive to Beissel. 423-438 



Count Zinzendorf. Keeping the Seventh Day. First House 
at Bethlehem. Call for Conference. Zinzendorf's List of 
Sectarians. The " Pennsylvania Religion." Antes' Call. 
Beissel's Reply. Second Synod. Withdrawal of the 
Sabbatarians. Zinzendorf Visits Ephrata. Lodges at Zion. 
Fails to Meet Beissel. Missive to Zinzendorf. The Last 
of the Synods 439-451 



Religious Awakenings in tlie Province. Influences of Mystic 
Fraternities. TheOrder of the Passion of Jesus. Order of 
the Mustard Seed. Slaves of Virtue. Profe.ssors of Jesus 
Christ. Ritual of the Mustard Seed. E.xtension of the 
Order. Insignia. Grand Cross. Indian Baptism. An 
Indian Order 457-467 



Ananias Sin. Cunning Scheme. Hebron. Ground Plan. 
Dedication. Letters of Divorce. Failure of the Scheme. 
Legal Interference. Weiser vs. Onesimus, Cremation of 
Articles of Separation. 4^8-474 


Order of Spiritual Virgins. Hebron Becomes Saron. 
Domestic Arrangements. Bernice 475~478 


A Great Conception. New Brother House. An Ephrata 
Raising. A Strange Episode. Cabalistic Speculations. 
99 versus loo. Cammerhoff's Account. Plan of the Build- 
ings. The Brother Saal. Description. Interesting Story. 
Mystery Solved. Peculiarities of the Great House. . 479-487 


(Negatives and Reproductions by Julius F. Sachse.) 

Artistic Pen-work — Ephrata Cloister, 1745 
Toll Booth on Turnpike Looking West 
Portraits, Governors Gordon and Keith 
Ephrata Cloister — General View . 
Conrad Beissel (Alleged Portrait) 
Map of Mill Creek Settlements 
Indented Bill, Used in Lieu of Money . 

A German Baptism 

Baptistry on the Wissahickon . 

Old Pennsylvania Post-Road— Schaeferstown 

Menno SiMONis — Portrait .... 

Mennonite Meeting House — Germantown 

DuNKER Meeting House — Germantown . 

Postlevvaite's Tavern — Conestoga . 

Ancient Ephrata Cabin .... 

Dunker Graveyard at Germantown 

Monastery on the Wissahickon, iSgg 

Haunted Ravine on Monastery Grounds 

Monastery Sixty Years Ago 

Rev. August Gottlieb Spangenberg 

Governor John Penn (the American) 

Saal and Sister House, 1S98. 

Within the Saal (Interior Views) . 

Count Zinzendorf 

Bishop John Nitschman .... 
Saal and Sister House (Exterior Views) 
Brother House, Bethania .... 
Interior Views of Brother House . 

facing page 8 




Justus Falkner's Missive. Rostock, 1702 51 

Labadie's Apology. 1651 58 

General History of the Quakers. London, 1696 68 

Mennonite Confession. A. Bradford, 1727. 130 

Mennonite Appendix. A. Bradford, 1727. 131 

Speech of Patrick Gordon. A. Bradford, 172S. .... 137 

Mystryion Anomias. A. Bradford, 1729. ...... 144 

Naked Truth. A. Bradford, 1729 152 

Short Discourse. B. Franklin, 1729 153 

Americanischen Wildniisz. A. Bradford. 1729. .... 155 

Mystische u. Sehr Geheime Spriich. B. Franklin, 1730. . . . 160 
Mystischeu. SehrGeheimeSpriich. Specimen page. B. Franklin, 1730. 163 
Gottliche Liebes u. Lobes Gethone. B. Franklin, 1730. . . . 166 

Vorspiel der Neuen-vvelt. B. Franklin, 1732 186 

Geistliche Fania. Philadelphia, 1730. 205 

Gruber's Send Schreiben. 1730. ....... 207 

Gespriich Ini Reich der Geistlichen Todten. Philadelphia, 1729. . 20S 

Ein Ruf von Gott. Mattheis Bauman. 209 

Lutheran Church Register MSS. 1733 210 

Paradiesische Nachts Tropffen MSS. 1734 224 

Einfaltige Gemiiths Bewegung MSS. 1734 225 

Kirchen-Buch. Cocalico. MSS. 1733. .'.... 236 

Kirchen-Buch. Baptismal Records. MSS. 1733 237 

Augsburg Confession. . 243 

Arndt's Wahren Christenthum 243 

Arndt's Paradis Gartlein 244 

Theosophische Lection. Ephrata, 1745 262 

Jacobs Kanipff und Ritter-Platz. B. Franklin, 1736 265 

Weyrauchs Hiigel. Sauer, 1739. 321 

Weyrauchs Hiigel. Reverse of title 322 

Ruthe Aarons. Sauer, 1739 3^5 

Abgenothigter Bericht. Sauer, 1739 329 

Ernstliche Ermahnung. Sauer, 1738. 345 

Pennsylvanische Geschicht-Schreiber. Sauer, 1739 347 

Specimen Sheet of Type and Price List. Sauer, 1740. . . . 349 

Wunderschrift — first page. Ephrata, 1745. 420 

Dissertation on Man's Fall. Ephrata, 1765 421 

Hirten Lieder von Bethlehem. Sauer, 1742 453 


Initial, Illuminated E . . 
Old Inn at Gross' Corner . 

Ball Tickets 

Ephrata Newspapers . . 
Mountain Springs .... 
Joseph Konigniacher . . 
Tail Piece, Flourish, Kloste 


Initial, Fractur, F . . . . 
Ancient Milestone, 29 to T 
Old Brother House . . 

The Old Stile 

Sister House and Saal from 

S. W 

Entrance to Old God's Acre 
Script, Capital W . . . . 
Ephrata Academy . . . 
Projected Monument . . 
Poster, " Patriot's Day" 
Saal and Outbuildings . . 
Stone Turnpike Bridge over 


Tail Piece, Kloster Penwork 
Initial, Ornamental C . . 
A Denizen of the Forest 
Initial, Ornate Script, A 
Autograph, William Penn . 
Arms of Pennsylvania 
Seal of the Province . 
Grinding Corn . . . 
Rosicrucian Theosophy 
An Ephrata Sister 
Oldest Kloster Picture 
Map of Palatinate 
Initial, Fractur, I . . 
Script, Capital C . . 
Arms of Palatinate 
Hoofpoort at Rotterdam 


Arms of Manheim 
Heidelberg Before Devasta 


Arms of Bakers' Guild 
Travelling Journeyman's 


Script, Capital N . , 
Seal of Germantown 
Gothic Lower Case g 
German VVanderbuch 
Initial, Fractur, P . 
Tail Piece, Kloster M.SS 
Initial, Ornate Fractur, B 
Script, Capital T . . . . 
Augustine Herrman, portrait 
Augustine Herrman, autograpl 
Jean de Labadie, portrait 
Initial, Fractur, S . . 
.Script, Capital B . . 
An Old Ephrata Design 
Gothic Lower Case f . 
Gothic Lower Case i . 
Pilgrim Symbol . . 
Initial, Fractur, M 
Keithian Meeting House 
Zwickau, Saxony 
Arms of Zwickau . 
Dunker Baptism . 
Script, Capital R . 
Map Showing Baptist 
Arms, Canton Uri 
Script, Capital L . 
Script, Capital B . 
Gothic Lower Case d 
Baptism, Oldest Picture of 
Institution of Lord's Supper 
Script, Capital I . . . . 
Tail Piece, Penwork . . . 








Initial, Ornamental F . . . iii 

Script, Capital E 114 

Sacred Shophar 117 

Arms, Biihler Family . . .117 

Seal of David 118 

Gothic, Lower Case i ... 120 
Type of Early Palatines . .123 
Survey of Sauer Plantation . 125 
Christopher Sauer, Autograph 126 

Script, Capital U 128 

Script, Fractur, H .... 141 

Script, Capital M 148 

Quaker Meeting and Court 

House 149 

Script, Capital T 159 

Initial E by John Philip Boehni 167 
Autograph, John Philip Boehni 168 
Initial, Fractur, R .... 169 

Building a Home 170 

Divine Inspiration, Vignette . 276 
Autograph, Alexander Mack . 276 

Script, Capital O 277 

Autograph, Margretha Mack . 280 
Autograph, Johannes Pettikof- 

fer 2S1 

Autograph, Anna Elizabeth 

Pettikofler 2S1 

Autograph, Johannes Mack . 2S1 
Autograph, John Gorgas . . 2S3 

Script, Capital L 283 

Gothic Lower Case v . . . 2S6 

Reward Card 2S9 

Initial, Fractur, D .... 290 
Unitus Fratrum Seal .... 291 
Wisdom of God, Advertise- 
ment 292 

Display Type, G, Tail Piece . 294 
Initial, Fractur, G .... 295 

Spiritual \'irgin 302 

Tail Piece, ornamental Design 304 
Initial, Fractur, N .... 305 
Autograph, "Onesimus" . . 30S 
Initial, Ornate Fractur, C . . 312 

Tail Piece '. .3" 

Diploma by Dr. Witt . . .314 
German Paper, First . . .317 


Arms, Printers' Guild . . . 318 
"Weiser," Dr. to "Franklin" 326 
Initial, Kloster Font, "T" . 331 
Arms, Pennypacker .... 333 
Initial, Ornate Fractur, L . . 350 

Script, Capital B 354 

Seal of Solomon 359 

Initial, Fractur, J 365 

Script, Capital I 36S 

Virgin and Child 373 

Initial, Ornamental Fractur Q 377 
Gothic, Capital A . . . . 37S 

Zion Hill 380 

Script, Capital T 382 

London Coffee House . . . 392 

Script, Capital W 394 

Tail Piece, Franklin .... 398 
Initial, Ornamental Fractur, O 399 

Script, Capital A 401 

Gothic Lower Case h ... 409 
Fractur Schrift Tablet . . . 412 
Tail Piece, Ephrata Hymn- 
book 415 

Initial, Fractur, W . . . . 416 
Initial, Fractur, M .... 423 
Whitefield House, Nazareth . 426 

Script, Capital W 430 

Tail Piece, Ephrata Penwork . 438 
Initial, Ornamental Fractur, Z 439 
Bethlehem, First House . . 441 
Antes Call for Synod . . . 443 
Tail Piece, St. John .... 456 
Initial, Ornamental Fractur, K 457 
Arms, Stadt Halle .... 459 
Mustard Seed, Jewels and In- 
signia ..." 464 

Passion of Jesus, Insignia . . 465 
Seal of Kloster, 1745 . . . 467 
Initial, Ornamental Fractur, F 468 

Hebron, Plan of 470 

Tail Piece, Ephrata Carnation 474 
Initial, Ornamental Fractur, A 475 
Tail Piece, Weeping Angel . 478 
Initial, Ornamental Fractur, T 479 
Brother House, Ground Plan . 4S2 
Tail Piece, Invocation . . . 487 











PHRATA ! Of all the 

words and names in the 
vocabulary of Pennsyl- 
vania none embraces so 
much of what is mysti- 
cal and legendar}^ as the 
word Ephrata, when it 
is used to denote the old 
monastic community 
which once flourished 
in the valley of the 
Cocalico in Lancaster 
county, and whose 
members lived accord- 
ing to the esoteric 
teachings, practised the mystic rites, and sought for both 
physical and spiritual regeneration and perfection accord- 
ing to the secret ritual as taught by the ascetic philosophers 
of old. 

Glancing over any good map of Pennsylvania the searcher 
will find noted in the northern part of Lancaster county 
the town of Ephrata, — pronounced Ef-ra-taaw. The exact 
location, if the map be a modern one, is where the Reading 
& Columbia railroad crosses a branch of the Cocalico creek; 
or, if the map be an old one, where the road from Lancaster 
to Reading intersects with the Brandywine and Paxtang 
road leading from Downings' to Harris' ferry. 

The Ephrata of the present day is a flourishing town 
or borough of perhaps three thousand inhabitants, support- 

2 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

ing several banks, hotels and numerous industrial estab- 

With this modern hive of life and industry we really 
have but little to do, except to mention it in a general 
way, as it merely takes its name from the old community 
of mystic theosophists who once flourished in the vicinity. 
So we will pass the modern town after a short description 
as it appears at the close of the nineteenth century, and 
then lift the veil of the past and study the history and 
recall the romance of the devout people who settled here 
over a century and a half ago, and flourished and prospered 
within this most fertile valley until the increase in popu- 
lation and the changes in the political condition of the 
Province, together with other causes which will be fully 
set forth, made the monastic feature of the community an 
uncongenial one to our republican institutions. 

The visitor, as he steps from the train at Ephrata station 
on the Reading & Columbia railroad, finds himself in the 
midst of a typical modern Pennsylvania-German town. A 
few paces below the railroad is the chief square of the 
borough. Here Main and State streets intersect. It is an 
old cross-roads, where formally stood a provincial tavern 
with its necessary outbuildings. It was known as Gross' 
Corner and Gross' Hollow. This old landmark was the 
nucleus for the present town. Now two large hotels upon 
opposite corners and an imposing business block have sup- 
planted the old-time hostelrie, and form what is virtually 
the centre of the town. 

From this point the fine broad street is a sloping one, 
gradually' ascending towards the east as it leads up to the 
Ephrata mountain, with its erstwhile renowned springs in 
the background. Westward the street descends at an easy 
grade until it reaches the Cocalico, which is spanned by 
an ancient stone bridge of several arches. As one leaves 
the centre of the town in either direction the business 

An Old Roadside Inn. 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylva>iia. 

houses gradually give way to the comfortable homes, neat 
and tidy, such as are to be found in every Pennsylvania town 
and village wherever the German element predominates. 

The houses, set well back from the street line, are of a 
style of architecture characteristic to Pennsjdvania Ger- 
mans, mostly two story, having an ample front porch 
with benches at either side of the door, trellised with 
sweet-flowering vines. All woodwork and paint is kept 
scrupulously bright and clean. In summer nearly all the 
dwellings have neat flower-plats in front, while in the rear 
there is an ample kitchen-garden, which is invariably at- 
tended to by the wife or matron of the home. Another 
peculiarity is that all houses are built with the gable end 
towards the side, none facing the street. 

The finely shaded main street, originally the Brandywine 
and Paxtang road, and in later years known officially as 
the Downingtown, Ephrata and Harrisburg turnpike, but 
locally as as the " Horseshoe pike," is a highway which, 
before railroad days, was the 
connecting link between the 
Lancaster turnpike and Harris- 
burg. It diverged from the for- 
mer highway at Downingtown, 
and from its peculiar curved 
course received the name it 
bears from the teamsters who 
then toiled over its hills to the 
Susquehanna. Such part of 
this old thoroughfare as lies 
within the borough limits is 
now Main street of the town. 

Social Functions oi- the Past. The chicf CrOSS Street State 

— is such part of the old State road connecting Lancaster 
and Reading as lies within the borough limits. 

Ephrata is laid out on a somewhat irregular plan, the ex- 





The Ephrata Press. 5 

posure on the hillside being north by west, and on account 
of this location it is frequently called the Mountain borough 
of Lancaster. Since August 22, 1891, when the town was 
incorporated, the streets and footways have been nicely 
graded and paved, and a system of electric lighting has 
lately been introduced. The town is also provided with 
a good supply of water obtained from never-failing springs 

The Ephrata Review. 


hmm mneJ—'^i^-.iiiiign m. uwni .-^.^i^t-. i k im in 

Present Circulatit 


T'-I-TT-l T 

•II^^.,^ . rw, . 




IHE llil'JlKAiA IMiiWO. 



Volum* XL EFHKATA. PA, THUMDAT. NOVEMBEB 8. 1 89a Number 3L 







£pbcata IReporter 




The Ephrata Press at the close of the Nineteenth Century. 

upon the mountain side which overlooks the town. There 
are also excellent schools, churches of various denomina- 
tions and ample hotel accommodations for visitors and trav- 
ellers. There are also published within the borough three 
weekly newspapers, — T/ie Ephrata Review,^ The Ephrata 
News^ and The Ephrata Reporter. 

Mention has been made of the " Springs." This is a 

The Gt'Diian Srrfariaiis of PiiDisv/vania. 

summer resort some distance up the mountain side, facing 
upon Main street. The resort was originally started in the 
year 1846 by Joseph Konigmacher, a local celebrity, and 

under his management 
soon gained considera- 
ble reputation as both a 
pleasure and health re- 
sort, being patronized 
by many men of social 
and national promi- 
nence during the ante- 
bellum days. The re- 
sort became known as 
the "Ephrata Mountain 
Springs," and in the 
course of a few years it 
came into great favor 
with Philadelphia and 
Baltimore society folk. 
Of late years, however, 
the old resort has lost 
much of its prestige, 
and gives the visitor 
but little idea of what 
it was under the Konig- 
macher regime, when 
the porches and halls 
were filled with the wit 
and beauty of the days 
of Pierce and Buchanan. 
The elevation of the 
Springs is reputed to 
be 1250 feet above tide water, and from the observatory 
which once stood within the grounds magnificient views, ex- 
tending far into the neighboring counties, were to be seen. 

Ephrata Mountain Springs. 7 

Within the past few years another fine resort, " The 
Cocalico," has been built within the town, and offers 
modern conveniences to visi- 
tor and tourist. Such is the 
modern town of Ephrata. 

It is, however, with an 
older settlement — Old Eph- 
rata, the Ephrata of colonial 
days — that our interest cen- 
ters, and which is still re- 
called by several quaint 
buildings, — of a style and 
architecture foreign to this 
country, — structures which 
have weathered the storms 
of over a century and a half, 

Joseph Konigmacher. 

and now stand like silent 

monitors of the past, relics of a by-gone age ; unique struc- 
tures, second only in interest to the quiet resting-place — the 
God's acre by the roadside — where repose the actors and 
characters, pious and God-fearing men and women, who 
once upon a time lived in these quaint houses, labored to 
turn the wilderness into a blooming garden, and here 
erected the altar of mysticism, and kept alive for years 
the fires of theosophy and the esoteric speculations of the 
Heavenly Bridegroom and the Celestial Eve. Here they 
lived as a community, many as celibates, laboring and 
hoping, until they were laid one by one in the peaceful 
Kloster cemetery, there to remain until the harbinger 
should appear in the skies and proclaim the Millennium. 

A Specimen Flourish, from Kloster MSS. 


OR our purpose we will 
now leave the bustling, 
modern borough at the 
foot of Main street, cross 
the stone bridge which 
spans the picturesque Co- 
calico and continue up the 
old turnpike. A few rods 
bring us within the bor- 
ders of the old confine, for- 
merly known as "The Set- 
tlement of the Solitary " 
{Lager der Einsamen\ 
locally, as the " Kloster," 
and on some old records as 
" Dunkerstown," but properly as " Ephrata." 

The first object to attract attention after crossing the 
creek is a large brick grist-mill of modern construction, 
its massive chimney forming a prominent feature in the 
landscape. As the improved methods of milling and 
growing business demanded increased facilities steam- 
power and new machinery were introduced ; and, to meet 
further demands, it was rebiiilt upon several occasions, imtil 
it has now lost all its former identity when it was a typical 
Pennsylvania water-mill. The only thing giving any clue 
to its antiquity is an old tab- 
let which was replaced in the JP' t^' pi/i r\:r^:fT\ \ .;" | 
new wall. It bears the legend *|''^"i , f :<t^v>-'.QJE^^1| 
"A" MDCCLVI" (i756)and ^^'^'" '-" - ^^^^' ^ --'-' - ^- -^ 

The Old Mile-Stone. 9 

refers to the original mill erected by the Baumann family. 
Upon the site of the present mill once stood the second 
paper-mill of the Community. It continued as a paper- 
mill until about the year 1836, when it was sold to private 
parties and turned into a grist-mill. 

The chief mill-site of the old Community, the original 
" Kloster Miihle," is situated about a mile further down 
the creek as it winds its course around Mount Zion. The 
history of both mills will be fully described in the proper 

Returning to the highway, which is now knowu as the 
Clay and Hinkeltown turnpike, we pass 
the miller's dwelling, a modern brick 
house. Upon the opposite side of the 
turnpike we have an old mile-stone, set 
when the Horseshoe pike was first lo- 
cated. It bears the following legend : 
" 29 To T.-59 To P." To the unin- 
itiated these letters are something of a 
puzzle, especially when told that the 
upper characters mean 29 miles to 
Downingtown ! an incident which has 

Ancient Mile-Stonk on *^ 

THE Horseshoe Pike. \,^^-^ Scized UpOU aud brought OUt With 

avidity by ignorant and biased writers whenever they wish 
to say anything against the intellectuality of the Pennsly- 

More than one writer has made merry over the Pennsyl- 
vania-Dutch who, according to him, publish their ignorance 
to the world on their mile-stones by spelling Downingtown 
with a " T." 

Now, the fact of the matter is that the shoe is upon the 
other foot ; the "T" does not stand for Downingtown, but 
for turnpike. It will be recollected that the turnpike be- 
tween Philadelphia and Lancaster was the first hard road 
in the United States, and was for years alluded to as " the 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Turnpike," and our road led from this turnpike to the 
Susquehanna. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the 
construction of this great highway proceeded chiefly from 
these same Pennsylvania-Dutch, who, with some modern 
would-be historians, are continually held up as examples 
of ignorance and boorish stupidity. 

Upon the right-hand side of the road as we journey west, 
just above the ancient mile-stone, there stands an old stone 
house dating back perhaps to colonial days. Just above it 
a large brick house faces the road, from which it is now 
separated by an ornamental fence. This building in former 
days, when the horn of the stage-driver and the crack of 
the teamster's whip were familiar music throughout the 
land, was a public house, where cheer was dispensed to 
man and beast. The tablet bears the legend : " build by 


his WIFE 1819." 

Just above this former 
hostelrie is an old toll- 
booth, No. 2 on the Clay 
and Hinkeltown pike. 
Directly opposite, a stile 
leads over the rail fence 
into the meadow beyond. 
Pa.ssing over the rude steps 
and entering the enclosure 
we are within the Kloster 
grounds. Several large 
buildings in the rich green 
meadow, some distance 
from the road, attract our 
notice as they loom up 
against the sky. In local 
parlence, the whole of this 

Copyrtght, Century Co. . N. V. 

The Old Stile. property or farm is known 

The Kloster. 

as the " Kloster." The cluster of houses seen upon the 
right is prominent from the extreme pitch of the high 
gabled roof of the chief building. This is known as the 

Sister House and Saal from Sout: 

" Saal" or prayer hall, and stands at right angles with the 
"Sister House," whose gable end at this point is just visible 
over the tops of the out-buildings. The peculiar large and 
rambling building towards the left, standing alone in the 
meadow, is what remains of the old " Brother House." 
The chapel or Saal, with the extensive galleries which 
once adjoined it, has long since been demolished. The 
Kloster presse^ or Ephrata printing establishment, is said 
to have been located in the lower corner of this house. 

All these ancient buildings are now occupied as tene- 
ments, except the Saal proper, which is still devoted to its 
original uses, religious services being held upon the scrip- 
tural Sabbath by the local Sabbatarian or German Seventh- 
Day Baptist congregation. 

The smaller dwelling among the trees, about equi-distant 
between the two groups of large buildings, was once the 
cabin of Father Friedsam, the founder and master-spirit 
of the Community. The elevation just beyond the build- 
ings is known as Mount Zion, and was formerly the site 
of several large structures, somewhat similar to those de- 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

scribed. They were used for monastic purposes by the 
Zionitic Brotherhood. At the top of the hill, a flag-pole is 
seen in the extreme distance. This marks the secular 
bur^-ing-ground of the Community, and it is here that 
so many Revolutionary soldiers found their last resting- 
place in the winter of 1 777-1778, after the battles of 
Brandywine and Germantown, when the buildings of the 
Brotherhood were occupied by the American forces as 
military hospitals. 

Returning once more to the turnpike, a short walk 
brings us to the lane leading into the Kloster grounds. 
At this point we reach the old God's acre of the Kloster. 
It is separated from the road by a low stone wall without 
ornament or coping. The main entrance to this hallowed 
spot is from the Kloster side. Standing in the road and 
looking over the low wall, one is attracted by the peculiar 

Copyright, Century Co , N. Y. 

The Old Brother He 

; (South Front). 

angle formed by the Sister House and Saal as seen from 
this point. The small modern house seen just above the 
main gateway is for the use of the tenant fanner of the 
Kloster farm. 

77/,? Cemetery. 


Copyright. Century Co., N. V. 

Entrance to the Old God's Acre of the Kloster. 

14 The Grrman Sectarians of Pcnnsylvattia. 

^E will now go into the old gi'aveyard with 
its green hillocks and mossy tombstones, 
often bearing strange legends and mystic 
symbols : inscriptions which recall to the 
local historian and genealogist the various 
persons of greater and lesser note who once lived and died 
within the confines of the Communit)-. The most promi- 
nent tomb is that of Conrad Beissel (Father Friedsam Gott- 
recht) the founder of the Community. It is marked with 
a large marble slab, and is shaded by a tall wild cherry 
tree, which has sprung up within the last half-century. 
A few feet away, under the shadow of the same boughs, is 
to be seen the head-stone of the Reverend Peter Miller 
(Prior Jabez), while clustered around the graves of these 
two great leaders are the graves of the different celibates, 
male and female. Many are marked with quaint inscrip- 
tions ; others again with stones merely giving the religious 
name of the occupant of the narrow cell below : characters 
of whom we shall have much to say in the progress of this 

Within the bounds of this cemetery there also rest a 
number of early settlers who belonged to the secular 
Sabbatarian congregation. These people lived outside 
the Kloster confine, but were baptized members of the 
congregation. Many of these old pioneers were the an- 
cestors of some of our prominent families of the present 
day. As an illustration, it is but necessary to mention old 
Dietrich Fahnestock who, as set forth upon his modern 
tombstone, was the "Father of the Tribe of Fahnestocks." 
Leaving the old cemetery for the present, and continu- 
ing up the turnpike, a few rods bring us to a frame house 
of modern build. It fronts upon the pike, and is sur- 
mounted by a cupola and clock, with hour hand and bell. 
A large sign under the center window bears the inscription, 
" Ephrata Academy Founded 1837 — By the Society of — 

The Ephrata Academy. 15 

Seventh-Day Baptists." This building is now used as an 
unclassified township school. 

As we continue our ramble up the thoroughfare, we pass 
cultivated fields upon either side of the road. These were 
formerly woodland, from which the inmates of the two 
houses were supplied with fuel. The woodlands were then 
known as the Brother and Sister woods respectively ; the 

The Old Ephrata Academy. 

latter being upon the left-hand side of the road. We at 
last come to the top of the hill — Erb's Corner, as it is 
locally known. 

The massive stone house on the corner opposite the 
Kloster grounds, during colonial days, was a tavern stand. 
It was built and kept by Henry Miller, who contracted the 
deadly camp-fever while ministering to the wounded soldiers 
in the hospital on Zion Hill. He was buried within sight 
of his home among the patriots in the cemetery on that hill. 
The tablets on the old tavern bear the legend : " henry 

i6 The Gtrman Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The guide-post at the cross-roads informs us that it is 
thirteen miles to Lancaster and eighteen miles to Reading. 
The ascent was a gradual and easy one. The country 
road, which here crosses the turnpike, forms the boundary 
of the Kloster grounds proper. This road is known as the 
upper or old Reading road, and dates from Provincial da)s. 

Let us now turn to the left and continue our walk down 
this old road. As we look towards the Cocalico, the Klos- 
ter grounds lie before us. We have here a panoramic view, 
with the ancient bxiildings in the distance. The clusters 
of small cottages, which for a century or more have stood 
on the slope of Zion Hill, and were formerly utilized for 
various industrial purposes by the Community, are plainly 
seen. It was upon the high ground, about half-way up this 
hill, where stood the original buildings of the Zionitic 
Brotherhood, which were used for hospital purposes during 
the Revolution. A short distance further we reach the 
highest part of the Kloster property. Here, separated from 
road and field by a neat white-washed pale fence, is the 
secular graveyard of the old settlement, wherein are buried 
over two hundred patriot soldiers of the Revolution, whose 
only epitaph for many years was a plain board upon which 
was inscribed in (j&rvaa.n. fractur-sckri/t 

Ibicr ruben Mc (Bcbcine von vicl Solbaten. 

A local tradition tells us that this inscription was placed 
over the common grave on Zion Hill at the instance of 
Peter Miller who, as Brother Jabez, succeeded Beissel as 
leader of the Community. 

The prominent feature of this cemetery, the title of 
which is now vested in the " Ephrata Monument Associa- 
tion," is a tall flag-staff and the base of a projected monu- 
ment, designed as a tribute to the memor>- of the many 
soldiers interred there. The corner-stone was laid by 

Patriofs Dav. 


Governor Francis Shunk so far back as 1S45, but after a 
few courses of stone were put in place tlie 
enterprise lapsed until a few years ago, when 
the Monument Association was revived with 
every prospect of now carrying the project to 
an early completion. 

Under their auspices September nth of 
each year is now celebrated as " Patriots' 
Day" by patriotic meetings, addresses and 
processions, thus keeping alive the spirit of 
patriotism and the interest in the projected 

From this spot is obtained a fine view of 
the country. Beyond the Kloster property IK-^i 
is seen the modern town of Ephrata with its monument as 
industries, the Ephrata mountain forming a P''°-"="''° "^ '*«• 
verdant background to the 
beautiful landscape. Turn- 
ing to the south, if the day 
be clear, Akron and Lititz 
are plainly seen. 

Leaving Mount Zion and 
continuing our ramble down 
the old road, which now dips 
towards the Cocalico, a short 
walk brings us to the mill- 
seat of the Kloster, where 
once upon a time stood their 
five mills, which ground corn, 

10 70ICIS'"V1tERATA OffiM BAim ^^^^^^ timber, fulled cloth, 
_»MM(i)i»BCEiiTB<THEi*niicon.n«<, ptcsscd oll froui thc Hnsced 

raised in the vicinity, and 
_!§?* wove much of the paper used 
in the Province. At the pres- 
ent day there is but a single mill upon this site, — it is a 

i7» FAMS' M! i8« 

The Second Annual Memorial CelebraM of 



_At MT. ZION, Ephrata. Pa.. 

MU UCIISECIlEil POST. No. 15^ G. I. ■.. 4 Usali. P>. ~ S 


1 8 The Ger/uaii Stctarinns of Pennsylvania. 

flour- and grist-mill. In the present structure the only 
feature which recalls the days of yore, — when the mill was 
run pro bono 

Deo propitio reftauratiu if^flTi^^ 

r" f^ _ I the cowled 

pro bono publico impen- ' brethren of 

fis Societatis Ephratenfis ' the sodetas 
Ano MDCCLXXXIV post ; ^ra/ensh, 
ordinem fundatum Lmo Fun- i 7'^^ ^^1^ 

, . , . \y\rii i stone or tab- 

datorisque obitum XVll kt bearing 

a Latin in- 
scription, which was placed by the Brotherhood in the walls 
of their grist-mill when they reconstructed it in 1784. 

It is an interesting fact that the flour made in this mill 
is still a stone-pressed, ground flour, made in the same 
primitative manner as when run by the Brotherhood. 

Just below the mill is the old ford over the Cocalico. It 
is now superseded by a wooden bridge. Crossing this struc- 

D% ^ 1 1\5 /f;TT 


The Saal and Outbuildincs. 

ture, a few rods bring us to the forks of the Reading road. 
The branch road is known as the lower Reading road, and 
takes its course via Gross' Corner (the Ephrata of to-day) 
and Reamstown. At the intersection there is a massive 
stone house, which was formerly a tavern stand. The tablets 

An Amusing Licidenf. 19 

in the walls bear the following inscriptions: "jacob kim- 

Leaving the old mill-site and turning towards the left, 
passing the dam, we follow the windings of the picturesque 
Cocalico ; a shady foot-path shields us from the sun, and 
leads us to our starting-point. About half-way down this 
path, some distance from the mill-dam, the creek widens and 
deepens perceptibly. Here, tradition states, was the baptis- 
tery of the Community. It is directly opposite the Brother 
J,, House. A short walk further, and we are 
j^^^fktf.fii' once more at the old turnpike bridge. 

The Old Turnpike Bridge over the Cocalico. 

The Kloster of late years has become something of a 
curiosity for visitors, especially during the summer season, 
when the grounds are frequently overrun by sight-seers, 
busybodies and relic-hunters, who know little or nothing 
of the history of the old Community, and seem to ignore 
the fact that the grounds are private property and often 
fail to respect the rights of the residents. 

These incursions sometimes lead to encounters between 
the residents and the visitors, which generally end in the 
discomfiture of the latter. 

An instance of this kind, which came to the notice of 
the writer, will illustrate the trials of the Kloster people. 
Several years ago one of Philadelphia's leading divines 

20 The Crerman Sectarians of Peiinsvh'ania. 

visited Ephrata with several members of his flock. During 
the stay at the Springs a trip to tlie Kloster was planned 
under his direction. Of course he knew everything about 
the Kloster history and the ancient buildings and their 
uses, or at least he thought he did, — an opinion shared 
by his companions. Well, the party drove up in several 
wagons and entered the grounds, walking about as if they 
owned the place. The reverend gentlemen aired his 
opinions about the old Dutch Dunkers and their religion. 
As they were about to enter one of the old buildings they 
were accosted by a man in the garb of a plain working 
farmer, who stepped up to the Dominie and asked his 
business. The haughty reply was that that it was none 
of his affair, with the further injunction to go about his 
business, as he was not fit to be seen in the presence of 
ladies in the costume he was in. One word brought on 
another, until the Dominie, drawing himself up to his full 
height, told the farmer that he wanted him to understand 

that he was the Reverend Doctor of Church 

in Philadelphia. The reply was : "I ton't care who you 
was ; I am de trustee, und I tell you to clear out." The 
party did not inspect the buildings. 

It is, however, but just to say that when strangers come 
properly introduced or accompanied by a resident all 
reasonable courtesy is usually extended to them by the 
Kloster authorities. 

Specimen of Ornamental Pkn-VVobk from the Kloster Schreib-Stube. 


sons in the State of Penn- 
sylvania are familiar with 
the true history of old 
Ephrata and its founders, 
or the causes that led to 
its existence and dissolu- 
tion. The plain and un- 
assuming denomination of 
Christians who chose it as 
a suitable place for religi- 
ous retirement, and assem- 
bled in the vicinity of its 
green peaceful valleys for the exercise of their pious devo- 
tions, and whose object was more the enjoyment of their 
Christian privileges than the establishment of a name for 
the admiration of posterity, have left little from the wreck of 
time to point out the important services they have rendered 
to religion and their country. 

The traveller who now visits the old Kloster grounds 
finds nothing but relics of its former greatness. The 
houses devoted to the purpose of religious services have 
either disappeared or are fast crumbling into ruin. Every 
vestige of the place, as originally established, is fading 
away from the world forever. 

At the time when the first settlement was made by these 
pious pioneers the surrounding country was yet an un- 
broken wilderness ; the wild animals of the forest — such 
as bears, wolves and foxes — roamed at will, coming from 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

their dens on the mountain to the very doors of the settlers' 
cabins ; creeping reptiles from the swampy lowlands also 
abounded, and added to the terror of the venturesome 
colonists ; while, as an old letter tells us, " the gloom of 
the adjacent forests was only broken by the smoke of 
the wigwam or the occasional gleam of the Indians' 

Properly to understand the causes which led to the for- 

/-.^^^ mation of this organization — known 
1 to the members as "The Order of 
"J the Solitary {Der Ordeft der Einsa- 
)i'\ij "'^") — and made its existence possi- 
ble, one must take into consideration 
the political as well as the religious 
situation of the settlers at the time 
in question ; nor must the peculiar 
temperament of these emigrants 
from the Fatherland be overlooked ; 
then again the newness of the coun- 
try', the limited means of intercourse, 
~\ together with the fear of the savage, 
the distance between the scattered 
settlements, the differences of 
nationality and language, — 
those of each nationality pur- 
suing a different policy, thus 
engendering local jealousies, 
— all these matters tended to act upon the sanguine tem- 
perament of the German settlers, the majority of whom 
had left their native land on account of religious intoler- 
ance and persecution, fleeing to this Province here to enjoy 
the promised liberty. 

Many of these people were what were known as Pietists 
or Enthusiasts. These, together with the followers of 
Simon Menno, came thither to live in peace with the world 

A Denizen of the Forest. 
(From an old sketch.) 

The Woman hi the Wilderness. 23 

and worship the Almighty according to the dictates of their 
conscience. Others, again, professed Quakerism, and sought 
within the fold of the Religious Society of Friends that 
elysium on earth pictured to them in the far-off Fatherland 
by designing land-agents and speculators. 

MONG the Germans who thus came to 
these shores in the early days of the 
eighteenth century there were several 
communities who came, it might be 
said, in a body ; seeking in the New 
World not only to escape the persecutions to which they 
had been subjected in the Fatherland, but also to put into 
practice some of the peculiar religious doctrines in vogue 
among scholastics at that time, — dogmas which they were 
prevented from publicly proclaiming or practising by the 
church authorities in Germany. Notable examples were 
Kelpius and his band of Pietists, who settled on the banks 
of the Wissahickon in 1694, and were known as the Society 
of the Woman in the Wilderness ; the Labadists who, in 
the latter part of the seventeenth century, settled on the 
Bohemia Manor in Maryland, and there founded a monastic 
community ; the Mennonites and Dunkers, two sects who 
differed from each other mainly in the fact that while the 
former administer baptism by sprinkling the latter believe 
in the necessity of immersion, and in the early part of the 
eighteenth century formed quite a community in Philadel- 
phia county. To many of these people the fertile valleys of 
the Conestoga and Pequea, then within the bounds of Ches- 
ter county, proved 
particularly attrac- 
tive, and as they con- 
tinued to arrive in 
large numbers they 
soon attracted the at- autograph of whmam penn. 

tention and excited the fears of Governor Keith, who, as 

24 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

early as 1717, expressed the apprehension that, under the 
circumstances, the Province might soon become a foreign 

To counteract this state of affairs it was ordered in a 
council held September 17, 1717 : 

" That all Masters of Vessels who had lately landed any 
" of such passengers, to appear before the Board, and render 
"an account of their number and character." 

A proclamation was also 
issued calling on all such emi- 
grants to appear within the 
space of one month before some 
magistrate, — 

" Particularly before the Re- 
" corder of this City to take 
"such oaths appointed by law 
"as are necessar\- to give assur- 
" ances of their being well afTec- 
" ted to his Majesty and his Gov- 
" ernment. But because some 
" of these foreigners are said to 
" be Mennonists, who cannot for 
" conscience's sake take any 
" oaths, that those persons be admitted upon their giving 
" any equivalent assurances in their own way and manner." 

Arms of Pennsylvania. 
{From a contemporary proclamation.) 

' The Governour observ'd to the Board that great numbers of fforeigners 
from Germany, strangers to our Language & Constitutions, having lately 
been imported into this Province daily dispersed themselves immediately 
after Landing, without producing any Certificates, from whence they 
came or what they were ; & as they seemed to have first Landed in 
Britain, & afterwards to have left it Without any License from the Gov- 
ernment, or so much as their knowledge, so in the same manner they 
behaved here, without making the least application to himself or to any 
of the magistrates ; That as this practice might be of very dangerous Con- 
sequence, since by the same method any number of foreigners from any 
nation whatever, as well Kncmys as friends, might tlirow themselves 
upon us ; The Governour, therefore, throught it requisite that this matter 
should be Considered by the Board. — Col. Rec, vol. iii, p. 29. 




Fears of Governor Gordon. 


Ten years later, when Patrick Gordon was Governor, at a 
council held at Philadelphia, September 14, 1727, we read : 

" The Governour acquainted the board, that he had called 
" them together at this time to inform them that there is 
"lately arrived from Holland, a Ship with four hundred 
" Palatines, as 'tis said, and that he has information they will 
" be very soon followed by a much greater Number, who de- 
" sign to settle in the back parts of this Province ; & as they 
" transport themselves without any leave obtained from the 
" Crown of Great Britain, and settle themselves upon the 
" Proprietors untaken up Lands without any application to 
"the Proprietor or his Commissioners of property or to the 
"Government in general, it would be highly necessary to 
" concert proper measures for the peace and security of the 
" province, which may be en- 

" dangered by such numbers 
"of Strangers daily poured 
" in, who being ignorant of 
"our Language & Laws, & 
" settling in a body together, 
" make, as it were, a distinct 
" people from his Majesties 
" Subjects. 

"The Board taking the 
" same into their serious Con- 

"sideration, observe, that as seal of the province of Pennsylvania. 

"these people pretended at first that they fly hither on the 
" Score of their religious Liberties, and come under the 
" Protection of His Majesty, its requisite that in the first 
" Place they should take the Oath of Allegiance, or some 
"equivalent to it to His Majesty, and promise Fidelity to 
" the Proprietor & obedience to our Established Constitu- 
" tion ; And therefore, until some proper Remedy can be had 
" from home, to prevent the Importation of such Numbers 
" of Strangers into this or others of His Majesties Colonies.^ 

Vide Colonial Records, vol. iii, pp. 282-283. 


The German Sectarians of Pennsvlvanta. 

" 'Tis Ordered, that the Masters of the Vessells import- 
" ing them shall be examined whether they have any Leave 
" granted them by the Court of Britain for the Importation 
" of these Forreigners, and that a List shall be taken of the 
" Names of these People, their several Occupations, and the 
" Places from whence they come, and shall be further ex- 
" amined touching their Intentions in coming hither ; And 
" further, that a Writing be drawn up for them to sign de- 
" daring their Allegiance & Subjection to the King of 
"Great Britain & Fidelity to the Proprietary of this Prov- 
" ince, & that they will demean themselves peaceably to- 
" wards all his Majesties Subjects, & strictly observe, and 
" conform to the Laws of England and of this Government.'' 

During the week ending September 27, 1727, the follow- 
ing paper was drawn up and presented to the Provincial 
Council, wherein it was read and approved. This was a 
printed form to be signed by the German emigrants who 
came by sea or land from other provinces with an intention 
of settling within the bounds of Penn's grant. The 
declaration set forth : 

Arms from Royal Proclamation Announcing Grant to Pen 

" We Subscribers, Natives and late Inhabitants of the 
" Palatinate upon the Rhine & Places adjacent, having 
" transported ourselves and Families into this Province of 

Diversity of Religious Opinion. 27 

" Pensilvania, a Colony subject to the Crown of Great 
" Britain, in hopes and Expectation of finding a Retreat 
" & peaceable Settlement therein, Do solemnly promise & 
" Engage, that We will be faithful & bear true Allegiance 
" to his present Majesty King George the Second, and his 
" Successors Kings of Great Britain, and will be faithfuU 
"to the Proprietor of this Province ; And that we will de- 
" mean ourselves peaceably to all His said Majesties Sub- 
"jects, and strictly observe & conform to the Laws of 
" England and of this Province, to the utmost of our 
" Power and best of our understanding." 

It is an interesting fact that the first person to sign the 
above declaration appears to have been Rev. George 
Michael Weiss, V. D. M., of the Reformed Church. 
^^,N pursuance of the action of the authorities over one 
^ hundred of these German settlers in the Conestoga 
1^^ and Pequea valleys took the oath of allegiance and 
^H were naturalized.'* Although the majority of them 
H — being engrossed with their domestic and secular 
H affairs, such as clearing the ground and founding a 
H homestead — neglected more or less the old religious 
^H questions which had occupied them in the Father- 
'^^^ land for the now more important ones of successful 
/ husbandry ; there were some, however, who still 
pondered here in the New World over the abstruse dogmas 
of mediaeval theology. Nor were the Mennonites and Bun- 
kers as a body all of one opinion ; consequently it was not 
long before several of these enthusiasts began to formulate 
doctrines or conclusions of their own, and caused more or 
less dissension, with the ultimate result of several distinct 
sects being formed among the settlers on the Conestoga. 
Further, a branch of the English Sabbath-keepers of New- 

' For the names of such settlers who qualified under this act see Statutes 
at Large of Pennsylvania, vol. iv, 1724-1744, Harrisburg, 1897, pp. 58-59, 
149-50, 221, 284-85, 329-30. 

28 The German Sectarians oj Pennsylvania. 

town had been formed in 1724 on the French creek, in the 
adjacent township of Nantmill, which, two years later, by 
the accession of a large number of seceders from the Great 
Valley Baptist (first-day) Church became an active organiza- 
tion, vying in importance and numbers with the parent stem 
at Newtown. Naturally this society had an effect on the Ger- 
mans in the surrounding townships, many of whom were 
in reality Taufgesinte of the Sabbatarians, and resulted in 
the formation of a German branch in Coventry township, 
as well as a small community of Dunkers on 
the Conestoga who kept the Sabbath. It 
was not long after the organization of the /-, 2i^^-Vi) 
latter society that a complete sever- 
ance took place between the Dun- ^' 
kers in this and the adjoining / .r.-^ . 

county who kept the First and \/lj/h ' '• > V 
those who kept the Seventh "- '':^^>^'';jj^V^( 
Day as the day of rest and '/^/' 

worship. Primitive Method of Grinding Corn. 

This small fraternity on the Conestoga eventually formed 
the nucleus of our community on the Cocalico. It was 
through the efforts of one of their members, Conrad Beissel, 
that the society, after the removal to and permanent estab- 
lishment at Ephrata, became a peculiar community, different 
from all other religious bodies in the Province. 

Bei.ssel became the acknowledged leader of the German 
Sabbath-keepers on the Conestoga, and he made certain 
innovations in the services and engrafted on the simple 
form of the Sabbatarian worship certain mystic dogmas of 
the seventeenth century with which he had become more or 
less imbued before his departure from the Fatherland. 

It was here, and here alone, in this secluded ^•alley, in 
the primitive forest, on the banks of the Cocalico, that 
there was successfully established for a time in the New 
World a mystical community under the name of Bin Orden 

Rosicrucian Theosophy. 





. ejcivit 

ViiiiKJf. , 
"XAnaan ifti 
7I«femit£» iftjowfrn./ 

•0 MMur'. iu i\R (in 




\/qLtrwrL. y 

(xiigi irajliiiiifttal 
Sn tinw/tat unS ^it 


A PAciK OF Rosicrucian Theosophy. 
Siz« of original MSS. 12 x 18 inches. 

30 Tlic German Sectarians of Pen^tsylvania. 

der EinsatHen (the Community of the Solitarj'), whose 
chief aim was to attain spiritual and physical regeneration 
and perfection. Here for over half a century the secret 
mysteries of this occult philosophy were explained and 
the sacred rites practised without fear of molestation or 
official interference, while the votaries lived undisturbed 
in their volimtary seclusion. Here for years the most pro- 
found occult sciences, combined with the simple Sabba- 
tarian tenets, were taught and promulgated, and possibly 
in no other community in this country was there so com- 
plete a renunciation of the world and as much simple 
Christian faith manifested as there was among the recluse 
Sabbatarians of Ephrata. 

The maintenance of these principles as the prime basis 
of their life resulted in the -3_«*«^,* adoption of the clois- 
ter system together ^^^-^^-^^i© with the rule of the 
White Friars and ^f^?* y fv'^^^? the building of a 
monastery for the '««^^/i i r'^^J!* members of the 

Community. Yet ^^S^^fVx^'iir^^Sg even stranger 
than the unique Bg^^ / I'^&'^K. ceremonial and 
teachings of this^^s^ll |'§B^ffi|i? Fraternity is the 

history of its founder, j y j tTsilgfii Conrad Beissel. 

He, under the name Sx^sassSiftJtJt— oi Friedsam Gott- 

, , ,, ... An Ephkata Sister.' , . ^ 

recht^ as a theosophist, preacher, leader, 

organizer and composer all in one, stands without an equal 
among the religious leaders in the early days of the Prov- 
ince. How this journeyman baker in a small town in Ger- 
many, — ignorant, uneducated, poor, unknown and some- 
what inclined to dissipation, — in his twenty-fifth year, 
while working at his trade, was suddenly chosen by the 
unseen powers to forsake the bake-trough and become a 
leader among men, is almost beyond comprehension. How- 
ever, within a few years we find this heretofore laborer in 
the wilds of the New World, thousands of miles from his 

Contemporary sketch made in Kloster, 1748. 

Remains of the Community. 31 

birth-place, at the head of a mystic community, strangely 
combining in its teachings the occult philosophy of the 
Mystics and Cabalists of the Middle Ages with the severely 
simple Sabbatarian worship and tenets as set forth in their 
primitive Bible teachings. 

Of this mystic Community thus formed in the wilder- 
ness there still remains several buildings, now rapidly 
going into decay through age and neglect, and they, too, 
will soon be a thing of the past. It is not alone, however. 

Oldest known Picture ov Ephk 

by their mystic symbolism, the quaint architecture or in- 
terior arrangements of their habitations, or the curious 
religious ceremonials or rites that this band of Sabbath- 
keepers will live and go down to posterity for ages to come, 
but by the fact that from almost the earliest formation of 
the society they made free use of the printing press, ob- 
taining as early as 1745 a press of their own, the first 
outside Philadelphia county ; the second to print with 
German characters, and the third in the Province. Im- 
prints from this press are at the present day among the 
scarcest and most prized specimens of Americana. 

32 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Map of the Palatinatk, whknce cams most of thk early Emigration to Penngvlvania. 
(From the German Exodus to England, 1709.) 


N the fall of the year of 
grace 1720 there arrived 
at Boston, the chief city 
of the Massachusetts Bay 
colony, a vessel from 
Europe. Our records fail 
to give either the name of 
the vessel, the master or 
the port whence it came. 
The stranger part of this 
arrival was that it brought 
to that port a number of 
German emigrants, whose 
objective point was the 
"Quaker Valley" {Quakerthal) in the Island of Pennsyl- 
vania i^Die Insitl Pensilvanieii). Among the number was 
a band of religious enthusiasts from the Palatinate, who 
had left their native land to escape the religious persecu- 
tion which had again broken out over the fated Rhine 
valley upon the accession of Karl Philip as Elector Pala- 
tine, who had reintroduced the Catholic religion. A system 
of oppressing his Protestant subjects was inaugurated and 
persisted in, notwithstanding the vigorous protests from 
the Protestant ruler of Prussia and the States General, 
supported, as they were, by the intercession of King George 
of England. 

The leader of this party was a man aged thirty years, 
short in stature, with a well-knit frame, high forehead, 
prominent nose, and a sharp piercing eye — Johann Conrad 
Beissel — a native of the Palatinate. 

34 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

jONRAD BEiSSEL was born in April, 1690, at 
Eberbach, a small town on the Neckar, belong- 
1^ ing to a sub-bailiwick of the district of Moss- 
bach, in the Palatinate, at present subject to 
the Grand Dutchy of Baden. He was the son 
of a dissolute journeyman baker, who died two months 
prior to the birth of the child, and was therefore a true 
Opits-posthumum ; as his biographer states, " by which 
orphan-birth the Spirit indicated his future lone condition, 
and that, as one preordained to be a priest after the order 
of Melchizedek, he should derive little comfort from his 
natural kindred." 

The child received the name of Johann Conrad Beissel ; 
his mother was a pious and devout woman, and with the 
help of his other brothers raised him until his eighth year 
when she also died. The boy, thus left an orphan together 
with his brothers and sisters, lived and grew up in a state of 

the most abject want and pov- 
erty, thus matters continued 
until he was old enough to 
learn a trade. When he 
reached the requisite age he 
was apprenticed by the local 
authorities to a master baker 
to learn the trade. The selec- 
tion of this master appears to 
Palatinate Arms. liavc been an unfortunatc 

one, as this person is said to have been one of the careless 
sort of individuals, to be found in every community, who, 
having a knack for music, would at any time neglect his 
business for a jolification and rather scrape a dance on the 
violin than bend over the bake-through. 

The apprentice, who also developed a taste for music, 
learned to play upon the violin and frequently accom- 
panied his master on these occasions, and, being a comely 



36 The German Sectarians of Petinsylvania. 

}outh, it was not long before he would rather fiddle at a 
wedding feast, and turn a buxom damsel in the dance than 
kneed his dough or rake the oven. 

Thus young Conrad grew up unrestrained and neglected. 
In due course the lehrbiibe (apprentice) became a geselle 
(journeyman) and, as was then the custom of the Fatherland, 
had to take his knapsack on his back and with staff in 
hand as a wanders7najm journey on foot from town to 
town, working at his trade for a certain period in each 
place, until at the end of the circuit he again arrived at his 
native town. If his record should prove correct, as would 
be shown by the entries in his wanderbuch^ and he could 
produce a masterpiece of his art to the satisfaction of the 
guild-masters, he would be a backer-meisfer (master-baker). 

While in his twenty-fifth year, and yet a journeyman at 
his native home, Beissel experienced a change of heart and 
commenced to long for spiritual regeneration, upon which 
the Chronicon comments : 

" But ere the spirit of penitence came upon him his 
"reason became so enlightened that he could easily solve 
" the most intricately involved matters. 
" He turned his attention to mercantile 
" calculation, covering the walls of his 
" back room with his cipherings, and 
" mastered it without any help. Soon 
" after, however, the awakening Spirit 
" knocked so loudly at his conscience that arms of manheim. 
" his whole being was thrown into the utmost perplexity, 
" and so the foundation was laid for his conversion, which 
" followed after, wherein he attained to such superhuman 
" faithfulness to God that he may well be regarded as a 
"great miracle of our times." 

When the journeyman baker finally started upon his 
professional ivanderscliafft^ he came successively to Stras- 
burg, Manheim and Heidelberg, reaching the former city 

Beissel as a Journeyman. 37 

during the excitement caused by the Turkish invasion of 
Hungary. He at once offered to enlist in a battalion of 
four hundred journeymen bakers, them forming there to 
fight the Moslem who menaced the German Empire. The 
required number of recruits having been obtained, Beissel, 
much to his chagrin, was forced to forego his purpose. 

It was at Strasburg that Beissel was first introduced 
into Inspirationist and Pietistical circles. The chief spirit 
of the latter was one Michael Eckerling, a cap-maker by- 
trade, whose four sturdy sons were destined to play so 
prominent a role in the Ephrata Community. 

From Strasburg Beissel journeyed to Manheim, where he 
entered the service of one Kantebecker, and according to 
the Chronicon " was temporarily brought low in the spirit." 
After remaining for a time at Manheim he was forced to 
leave his master's house on account of some trouble with 
the latter's wife, whom he called a Jezebel. 

According to an old record it was probably more upon 
this account than to any other that Beissel became a con- 
firmed celibate, and resolved to devote himself to the 
service of God. 

However, be this as it may, from Manheim he came to 
Heidelberg,' and there secured employment with a baker 
named Prior. Here he experienced an enlightment of the 
Spirit. At that time religious revival meetings were held 

* Heidelberg, the present town, was founded in 1147 by Conrad von 
Hohenstaufen, as Duke of Franconia and Count Palatine. The Univer- 
sity for which the town is chiefly noted was founded in 1386. During 
the Reformation Heidelberg bore an important part. In 1562 the cele- 
brated Heidelberg Catechism was printed. During the Thirty Years' 
War the town was captured by Tilly, August 20, 1620. Eleven years 
later it was recaptured by the Swedes, and again became an imperial 
city. It was captured by Turrene and his robber hordes during the 
French invasion, and in 1693 the beautiful and populous city was turned 
for a time into an unpopulated desert, the result of French arson and 
murder. In the division of 1805 Heidelberg became ix part of the Grand 
Dutchy of Baden. It now has about 40,000 inhabitants. 


The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The Fraternity of the Rosy Cross. 39 

in Heidelberg, which Beissel, in common with his com- 
panions, attended. One of these services made such an 
impression on his mind that he forsook the company of his 
fellow journeymen, and devoted his time and thoughts to 
the religious truths promulgated at the meetings. 

When finally the news arrived from the seat of war that 
the whole battalion of bakers had been massacred to a 
man, he recognized in his rejection as a recruit the special 
hand of Providence, in thus saving him from the cruel fate 
of his fellows, and, thanking Almighty God for his miracu- 
lous deliverance, he at once became an active participant. 
From the same time he also became a student of religious 
matters, as well as of subjects relating to his profession. 
By close application to the latter he soon became the most 
celebrated baker in the city, and the bread which he baked 
for his employer achieved so great a reputation as to cause 
a demand from even the outlying towns and villages, to 
the great detriment of all the other master-bakers in the 
vicinity. During this time Beissel devoted all spare 
moments to study. He also attended the Lutheran church, 
where he listened to the sound classical discourses of such 
eminent theologians and servants of God as Rev. Prof. L. 
Ludwig Christian Mieg, the Rev. Johann Christian Kirch- 
meir, and others of equal celebrity. 

He also made the acquaintance of a learned mystic and 
theosophist named Haller, who was a friend and corres- 
pondent of Gichtel. Through him Beissel obtained an 
introduction to, or was initiated in, the local Rosicrucian 
chapter held under the name or guise of a Pietist conven- 
ticle, which organization counted many of the most learned 
and distinguished men in the communit)' among its mem- 
bership. But, being under the ban of the secular as well 
as the religious authorities, they were forced to hold their 
meetings in secrecy, in an almost inaccessible fastness of 
the forest. Here, within the tiled precincts of the weird 

40 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

rocky chasm {Felsetischlugi)^ by the fitful light of resinous 
torches, Conrad Beissel followed his guide, was brought to 
the true Light, taught the first steps of the Brotherhood 
and received instruction in the rudiments of the secret 
rites and mysteries of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross. 

The neophyte, whose mind comprehended the teachings, 
was aided in his studies by some of the best scholars in the 
fraternity, and it was not long before he was numbered 
among the adepts of the Order. Although all knowledge 
of the membership of the Fraternity was guarded from the 
profane with the greatest care, Beissel's connection with 
the proscribed society came to the knowledge of one of 
the master-bakers who had suffered from the excellence 
of the adept's bread. He was at once informed upon, 
arrested, fined and given notice 
to quit the town without any 
delay, presumably with the loss 
of his IVaitcierhuch, which would 
preclude him from obtaining em- 
arms of the bakhrs' Guild, pioy^ent at his trade elsewhere. 
So, after wandering from place to place, ekeing out a scant 
existence by wool-spinning and similar precarious employ- 
ments, he sojourned for a short time among the " Tunkers" 
at Schwarzenau, where he made the acquaintance of such 
men as Joh. Jac. Junkerrott, Rev. Joh. Fr. Rock, the cele- 
brated Dr. Carl and others ; finally, after much tribulation 
and persecution, he resolved to leave the Fatherland for 
the wilds of the New World and affiliate with the Chapter 
of Perfection established by Kelpius on the Wissahickon. 
From this his friends attempted in vain to dissuade him ; 
but, notwithstanding the disapproval of Dr. Carl and others 
of equal prominence, Beissel made preparations to put the 
plan into execution and sailed for America toward the close 
of the Summer of 1720. 

His companions across the ocean were George Steifel, 

The Handwerksbursche. 




42 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Jacob Stuntz, Simon Koenig, Heinrich van Bebber, and 
others whose names have not come down to us. All those 
named were destined to become characters of more or less 
importance in the history of the Sect people of Pennsylvania. 

It was stated that these people were religions enthusiasts. 
In reality they were a band of Pietists, who came to America 
to join the Community of the "Woman in the Wilderness," 
established by Kelpius and others on the banks of the Wis- 
sahickon in the year 1694, and whose history has been fully 
set forth in a previous volume. 

, EITHER tradition nor records show how this 
party of devout pilgrims journeyed from 
Massachusetts Bay to Pennsylvania ; whether 
they went overland by slow stages or came 
by sea. If they came by the latter route, and 
the probabilities are all in that direction, it must have been ■ 
on the sloop " Elizabeth and Hannah," Captain Elias Wiar, 
which arrived at Philadelphia on October 20th. As this 
was the only vessel to arrive from Boston in the fall of that 
year it would seem to settle the date of their landing in 
Pennsylvania.'^ This assumption is strengthened by the 
entry in the records, " that the party arrived well and in 
good spirits at Germantown toward the close of the autumn 
of the year 1720." 

Great was the surprise of these seekers after spiritual 
perfection and rest when, arriving at the end of their long 
and weary journey, they learned for the first time that 
the Community which they sought to join had ceased to 
exist as an organized body some years prior to their de- 
parture from the Fatherland. For some reason this news 
had not then reached their part of Germany. 

Beissel and his companions expected to find here an 
ideal spiritual community, whose chief interest centered 
around the Tabernacle in the primitive forest, where the 

' Vide Bradford's Weekly Mercury, No. 44, October 20, 1720. 

The Hermits on the Ridge. 43 

time was spent in prayer and a nightly watch was kept to 
obtain the first glimpse of the harbinger in the skies, who 
should appear to announce the coming of the celestial 
bridegroom : a community where the world with its allure- 
ments was secondary to the state of spiritual regeneration. 

In the place of this expected elysium they found the 
Tabernacle deserted, the nocturnal watch upon the tower 
long since abandoned, Magister Kelpius dead, while of 
the other leaders, Koster had returned to Europe, and 
the Falkner brothers were itinerating in the adjoining 

Of the other members, most of them were scattered and 
had again engaged in the every day pursuits of the world, 
or, as the Ephrata Chronicon states, " After their leader 
" died the Tempter found occasion to scatter them, as those 
"who had been most zealous against marrying now betook 
" themselves to women again, which brought such igno- 
" miny on the solitary state that the few who still held to 
"it dared not open their mouths for shame." 

Among those who remained true to their tenents and 
continued in the vicinity of the Tabernacle were Seelig 
and Matthai, who, with the remnant of the former Com- 
munity, lived as hermits or solitaries. Their cabins were 
close to the romantic glens and gorges of the Wissahickon, 
where they could, in the primitive forest, commune with 
nature in silence and speculate over their abtruse dogmas 
without fear or danger of intrusion. 

An even greater surprise for these pilgrims was to find 
that certain prominent persons, residents of Germantown, 
who, it was believed at home, were living a life of piety 
and apostolic simplicity were in reality living here a far 
different one. 

Beissel and his companions found that a number of such 
persons had enriched themselves by accepting official posi- 
tions or engaging in worldly pursuits, in some cases at the 

44 Tlie Gcrtnan Sectarians of Pennsykiania. 

expense of the German capitalists who had sent them out 
to develop their holdings. Brother Agrippa, commenting 
upon this condition at the time of Beissel's arrival, writes : 
" Many who had maintained a very proper walk in Ger- 
many had here hung up their holy calling on a nail and, 
what was worse, would give no one credit for zeal or dili- 
gence. Among these were several who in the Palatinate 
had let themselves be driven from house and home but 
here left great wealth behind them after their death. All 
this caused him [Beissel] much concern; for he every, 
where saw the pious sitting at the helm and exercising 
magisterial offices." 

This allusion evidently refers to Francis Daniel Pastorius 
and Johann Heinrich Sprogell. The former had died 
about a year previous, leaving considerable property ; 
while the other was absent from the Province at that 

When Beissel learned of the condition of spiritual 
affairs he concluded to keep quiet as to the true causes 
of his leaving Germany and as to his projects of a solitary 
life. As soon as this determination was reached the party 
separated for the time being, each going their way. 

It may be well at this point to take a retrospective 
glance at the German metropolis in America, which is so 
closely connected with our history, and see how it appeared 
the year following the death of Pastorius. 

Germantown in 1720 was a rambling 
village of but few houses, extending along 
a single street, officially known as the 
North Wales road, a mere dirt lane with- 
out paving or kerbing. The houses were 
almost without exception plain one-story 
structures, the ground floor consisting of 

Seal of Gfrmantown. , „., , 

two rooms. 1 he front room was gen- 
erally built of stone, and the back room or kitchen of logs 

Germantoitm Borough. 45 

This was in reality the living room of the faniil}-. The 
front part of the house was covered with a high-hipped 
roof, which formed a low bed-chamber ; the gables were of 
clap-boards and pierced for a small window, which gave 
light and air to the chamber. Many of the roofs were 
covered with brick tiles after the German fashion ; others, 
again, were of split oak shingles. The front or street 
doors were all divided in the middle, so as to admit air 
and at the same time keep out any domestic or other 
animals. The doors were furnished with a porch and a 
bench at either side of the door-jamb. The small windows 
were closed by two-hinged sashes, opening inside and 
having small panes of glass set in the leaden sash. It 
was not an unusual thing to find in the rear of the houses 
thin sheets of horn substituted in lieu of glass, as this had 
the advantage of being cheaper and unbreakable. 

In the street, parallel with the houses, were planted an 
almost continuous row of fruit-trees, the exception being 
an occasional pair of poplars which, according to the Ger- 
man custom, were planted in front of a house when a 
wedding was celebrated. 

SERMANTOWN, as originally laid, consisted of 27 J^ 
1 lots upon either side of the main street. These 
fifty-five lots were drawn for by lot in 1689, in 
which year the settlers received a charter from 
Penn, creating the settlement into a borough 
having its own court of record. The growth of 
I the new settlement as a town, however, failed 
^ to come up to the expectations of its projectors, 
B and but few of the many Palatines who came 
W to these shores between the years 1690 and 
1720 remained in the "town." Most of the 
emigrants took up land and went to farming. 

While it is true that within the town and vicinity various 
industrial ventures were established at an early day, it is 

46 German Sectarians of Petinsylz<ania. 

equally true that there was but little to attract the emigrant 
and insure him a livelihood. Even the great influx of 
Germans in the year 1709-17 10 failed to make any marked 
impression on the town settlement. The few who remained 
within the corporate limits were mostly Mennonites, who 
cared but little for worldly power or political preferment. 
In the year 1708 they built the first church' within the 
village. Under such adverse conditions the borough gov- 
ernment was abandoned after an existence of but fifteen 
years, and the projected German metropolis in the New 
World became for the time being once more an ordinary' 

Such was Germantown when Beissel and his fellow- 
pilgrims arrived in the fall of 1720. Beissel, who was a 
master-baker by trade, soon found that the settlement would 
not afford him a livelihood, as every housewife prided 
herself as much upon her baking as she did on her 
spinning and knitting. 

It may be of interest to the present generations to know 
just what kind of bread sustained our German ancestors in 
the early days of our history. The bread made of r}-e flour 
was of three kinds. These were known as Schwartzbrod 
(blackbread), Kiimmelbrod (bread with caraway seed) and 
Pumpernickel (Westphalia rye bread). The last was the 
favorite, as it was supposed to give the most strength. It 
was made of unbolted rye flour into large loaves, often 
weighing half a hundredweight. The dough for these 
loaves ,was set without either yeast or leaven, and had to 
bake in the oven from twelve to fourteen hours. This 
bread was very dark and heavy, with an extremely hard 
and thick crust. With persons who had good digestive 
organs, the constant use of it proved very nutritious, and 
a baking usually lasted a family from two or three weeks. 

A Quaker Meeting House was built at a much earlier date. 

Infant Iiidicstnes. 47 

After the separation of the party, Beissel consulted with 
Conrad Matthai as to his future course. As he was un- 
willing to engage in agricultural pursuits, Matthai advised 
him to remain in Germantown for the time being and learn 
the weaver's art, of which he already had some knowledge, 
as that was virtually the only industry that then afforded 
any pecuniary reward. 

The weaving and knitting Strumpf-zvirker (frame-work 
knitter) industry was introduced by the Germans into 
Eastern Pennsylvania at an early date. It was one of the 
plans of the Frankfort Company to spin and weave the 
flax raised upon their lands, as well as card, knit and mill 
the wool produced in the Province, thus giving employ- 
ment to the women as well as the men. 

So well was this plan carried out that at the first fair 
held in Philadelphia, the fine linens of Germantown were 
an important feature, and their prestige was maintained for 
many years after. 

Wool was carded, spun and woven by the Germans in 
Eastern Pennsylvania even before the seventeenth century 
had passed. These woollen fabrics were known by the 
name of druggets, crapes, camblets and serges. 

Thus it was that Conrad Beissel acted upon the advice 
of the Magnus on the Wissahickon, and the German baker 
indentured himself for the term of a year to one Peter 
Becker, a master-weaver of Germantown. What were the 
results from the intercourse of these two men, both of 
whom were destined to become religious leaders among 
the German settlers in the Province, will be shown in the 
subsequent chapters. It will there be seen how, while one 
of them laid the foundation of the German Baptist Breth- 
ren or Dunkards, — one of the most widely diffused and 
respected Christian denominations in America, — the other 
established a successful theosophical community on the Co- 
calico which flourished for many years, and whose legends 
and records gave the incentive to prepare these pages. 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 


ETER BECKER, one of 
the master weavers of 
Germantown, was born at 
Dilsheim, Germany, in 
the year 1687, of Reform- 
ed parentage. He was 
brought up in that faith, 
but embraced the princi- 
ples of the Schwarzenau 
congregation in 1 7 14. He 
was the leading character 
of the advance party of 
German Baptists who 
reached Pennsylvania in 
1719. This contingent consisted of twenty families, of 
whom several had been members of the original Baptist 
congregation formed in 1708 at Schwarzenau, on the Eder, 
in Kreis Wittgenstein, in Westphalia, and who, after leaving 
the parent stem, settled in the Marienborn district, whence 
they were driven from place to place by the authorities, as 
they refused to abstain from public baptism. Three times 
the congregation changed their situation in the Marienborn 
district, and finally, in 1715, they found a refuge in Crefeldt. 
It appears that the leading members of this congregation 
were Johann Heinrich Kalckglaser from Frankenthal • 
Christian Leib (Libe) and Abraham DuBois (Duboy) from 
Ebstein ; Johann Naass, from the north of Germany ; Peter 
Becker, from Dilsheim ; the three Trout brothers, Johann 
Heinrich, Jeremiah and Balser ; Stephen Koch and Georg 

50 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Balser Gantz, all from Umstadt ; and Michael Eckerling 
from Strasburg ; all of whom, except the last named one, 
afterwards came to Pennsylvania, and will appear as more 
or less prominent characters in our narrative. 

After a few years trouble arose in Crefeld among their 
number in reference to the question whether one might 
marry out of the fold. This caused a division, and in 17 19 
ended by a number of them, under the leadership of Peter 
Becker, leaving Crefeldt and coming to Pennsylvania. 
Although but few in number, it is an historical fact that 
from the arrival of these devout pioneers dates the intro- 
duction of the Dunkard Brethren or German Baptist 
denomination in America. 

Conrad Beissel, the new apprentice, was cordially received 
into the devout family of his master, and, according to the 
custom of the day, became one of their number. Matters 
went on well : the apprentice, who had already had some 
experience in this craft during his exile in Germany, proved 
an apt scholar, and an intimacy was formed between the 
two men, which was maintained with more or less inter- 
mission in after years. They were of about the same age 
and of kindred spirits, and took to heart the forlorn religi- 
ous condition of their countrymen in the Province, most of 
whom, with the exception of the Mennonites, who kept up 
a corporate organization, had gradually fallen away from 
the faiths of their fathers, and now reached a state of 
indifference to all religious teaching that savored of ortho- 
doxy. It is true that many of these Germans profe.ssed 
Quakerism ; this, however, was merely an excuse for their 
apathy to all matters spiritual. This unfortunate condi- 
tion is graphically described in the Missive of Justus 
Falkner to Senior Miihlen, where he states : " There is 
" here a large number of Germans who, however, have 
"partly crawled in among the different sects who use the 
" English tongue, which is first learned by all who come 

Justus Falkner''s Missive. 5 1 


Tit» $erm 
Slu§ ©ermanton / in W 5fttier(^ 

CiinlfdDCn Province Penfylvama. fOtlftNo* 

va Succia, ten erftcn Au^ufii , im^a^c 
WfXifyx^i> ctntuurenl) ftcbcn^unteit 

in A merica befreffeno. 

Title Page of Justus Falkner's "Account of the Religious 
Condition of Pennsylvania." 

[From the only known copy, in the University of Rostock, Germany.] 

52 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

" here. A number are Quakers and Anabaptists ; a portion 
"are Freethinkers, and assimilate with no one. * * * in 
"short, there are Germans here, and perhaps the majoritj', 
" who despise God's Word and all outward good order ; 
" who blaspheme the sacraments and frightfully and pub- 
" licly give scandal (for the spirit of errors and sects has 
"here erected for itself an asylum)."'' 

Comparatively little effort was made during the first two 
decades of the eighteenth century by the German settlers 
to propagate in the New World the Lutheran and Reformed 
faiths of the Fatherland, the exception being the Lutheran 
congregation at Falkner's Swamp. This was chiefly owing 
to the absence of any regularly ordained pastor of those 

Worse than all was the condition of the children of these 
settlers, who were growing up without any religious instruc- 
tion, except such little as was imparted to them at home. 
It must be remembered that the German population was 
scattered over a wide stretch of primitive country, without 
either school or church where German was taught. Then 
there were a number of clerical impostors in the Province, 
who sought to formulate notions of their own, inimical to 
good morals and religion. All this tended to unsettle 
matters spiritual in the Province, and separate rather than 
unite the Germans who had taken up their abode here. 
Even the party brought over by Peter Becker came under 
this influence, and for a time were estranged and separated 
from their leader. This happened almost immediately 
upon their landing in Philadelphia. Some went to Ger- 
mantown, some to Conestoga and elsewhere, while others 
settled to the northward in Oley, beyond the Schuylkill. 
Many of the fellow-passengers of Becker and Beissel had 
found homes on the fruitful plains in the extreme northern 

■ For a full translation of this Missive see Penn. Mag: of Hist, and 
Biog., vol. xxi, pp. 216 et seq. 

The Cabin on Mill Creek. 53 

part of Chester county, then known as Coventry town- 
ship. The Schuylkill was here fordable at many places, 
and thus the German settlers south or west of that river 
were placed in easy communication with their fellow- 
countrymen who settled on the Perkiomen and its tribu- 

This dispersion incapacitated them to meet for public 
worship and, therefore, they too soon began to grow luke- 
warm in religion. It was this unfortunate condition which 
gave the two men so great concern that, even while plying 
their trade, whether throwing the shuttle and the beam or 
sending home the weft, or while sitting by the flickering 
firelight after hours, or resting in the moonlight on the 
porch bench in front of their humble home, their chief 
thought and aim was how to bring about an awakening of 
the religious spirit among their misguided countrymen. 

IMany were the suggestions made in this weaver's shop, 
and the plans proposed to redeem their kinsfolk and chil- 
dren from spiritual apathy. The Chronicon states the cause 
of such indifference : " The great freedom of this land was 
" one cause of their being thus sold under the spirit of this 
" world, through which all godly influences has been lost, 
"and each one depended upon himself." 

Determined to carry out his original purpose, Beissel, at 
the expiration or breaking of his indenture, in the fall of 
1 72 1, in company with his former companion Stuntz, 
journeyed to the Conestoga valley ; and there, in a secluded 
spot, in the primitive forest, beside a fine spring of water, 
the two wanderers built for themselves a log cabin. This 
was on the banks of the Miihlbach (Mill creek) a branch 
of the Conestoga. This branch rises in the Welsh moun- 
tain in the eastern end of Lancaster county, and, after an 
intricate course, empties into that river at the dividing line 
of Pequea and West Lampeter townships. 

The exact situation of this historic spot can, after the 

54 The German Sectarians of Penftsylvania. 

lapse of a century and three-quarters, be given to a cer- 
tainty, thanks to some old surveys, maps and records, 
which have been found and located after a long and 
patient search extending over years of time. The site of 
Beissel's original cabin in Lancaster county is upon the 
grounds of Miss Marianna Gibbons, about half a mile north 
of the Bird-in-Hand Station on the Pennsylvania railroad, 
and agrees with the old record, which states that it was 
eight miles from the junction of the Miihlbach with the 

At the time when Beissel and Stuntz came into the Con- 
estoga valley, much of the land was unseated, notwith- 
standing the fact that titles for it were held by owners, 
many of whom had never even seen their holdings. Such 
was the case with the land upon which the two recluses 
settled. It was upon a tract of one thousand acres, origi-. 
nally deeded to Elizabeth Wartnaby. 

Towards the northern line of this tract a large fine spring 
bubbles out of the bank, about one hundred and fifty yards 
east of the Miihlbach. Tradition tells us that this spring 
and the grove surrounding it were a famous gathering-place 
for the Indians long before they were found by our hermits. 
This tradition seems to be proven by the number of Indian 
relics which have been found there. 

The stretch of land between the head of the spring and 
the creek, as well as the rising ground, was all primitive 
forest. Here, in this beautiful situation, the recluse cabin 
was built. No more ideal spot could be conceived, and if 
there be truth in the old saying that " the Celestial Intelli- 
gences exhibit and explain themselves most freely in silence 
and the tranquility of solitude,"' the conditions were cer- 
tainly all favorable to that end. No better selection for a 
"secret chamber" could have been found to tempt the 

' Les Clavicules de Rabbi Salomon. 


54 T^h<^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvaftia. 

lapse of a century and three-quarters, be given to a cer- 
tainty, thanks to some old surveys, maps and records, 
which have been found and located after a long and 
patient search extending over years of time. The site of 
Beissel's original cabin in Lancaster county is upon the 
grounds of Miss Marianna Gibbons, about half a mile north 
of the Bird-in-Hand Station on the Pennsylvania railroad, 
and agrees with the old record, which states that it was 
eight miles from the junction of the Miihlbach with the 

At the time when Beissel and Stuntz came into the Con- 
estoga valley, much of the land was unseated, notwith- 
standing the fact that titles for it were held by owners, 
many of whom had never even seen their holdings. Such 
was the case with the land upon which the two recluses 
settled. It was upon a tract of one thousand acres, origi-. 
nally deeded to Elizabeth Wartnaby. 

Towards the northern line of this tract a large fine spring 
bubbles out of the bank, about one hundred and fifty yards 
east of the Miihlbach. Tradition tells us that this spring 
and the grove surrounding it were a famous gathering-place 
for the Indians long before they were found by our hermits. 
This tradition seems to be proven by the number of Indian 
relics which have been found there. 

The stretch of land between the head of the spring and 
the creek, as well as the rising ground, was all primitive 
forest. Here, in this beautiful situation, the recluse cabin 
was built. No more ideal spot could be conceived, and if 
there be truth in the old saying that " the Celestial Intelli- 
gences exhibit and explain themselves most freely in silence 
and the tranquility of solitude," ^ the conditions were cer- 
tainly all favorable to that end. No better selection for a 
"secret chamber" could have been found to tempt the 

' Les Clavicules de Rabbi Salomon. 

FaC'Simile of the orlgrinal survey of the lands on Mill Creek, Leacock Twp., Lancaster Co., 
No. 2344 of Taylor papers in Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Fac-sitnile of the original survey of the land.n 
No. 2344 of Taylor papers in H ori 

n Mill Creek, Leacock Twp., Lancaster Co., 
>rlcal Society of Pennsylvania. 

The Selection of the Site. 55 

unseen spiritual forces to reveal themselves than this ver- 
dant grove on the Miihlbach. 

There are still two specimens of this forest left ; two tall 
pines which stand erect, like sentinels of the past, beside 
the old upping block in front of the Gibbons homestead, 
and remind us of the time when Beissel, Stuntz and Van 
Bebber sojourned here and rested under the shadows of 
their branches. 

The stretch of land between the spring-head and the creek 
still retains much of its former character. The creek, how- 
ever, is dammed, and the spring flows into it just at the 
head of the mill dam, and now slack water replaces the 
purling, rapid current of yore. 

The fertile stretches of land between the Conestoga and 
the Pequea had attracted, at an early day, the attention of 
the Mennonites, and at the time of Beissel's advent had 
become their chief settlement in the New World. 

There were weighty reasons why Conrad Matthai advised 
the two enthusiasts to select a situation on the Miihlbach 
in the Conestoga country. The dominant one was that, 
while they were virtually in seclusion, they were at the 
same time so placed that they could readily engage in re- 
vival work among their countrymen. That the selection 
was not a hap-hazard one is shown by the fact that it was a 
strategic point of no mean order, from which they could 
easily reach the Germans who had settled within the radius 
which included Coventry, Oley, Pequea and Conestoga. 
Twelve years previously the very first settlement by whites 
in Lancaster county had been made by Mennonites and 
Huguenots not more than three miles distant. Then again 
they were within easy reach of such of the brethren as 
remained in the vicinity of Germantown and Roxborough, 
and still occupied their anchorite huts in the fastness of the 
Wissahickon and the Ridge. 

After the two men were well established in their new 

56 The Gerynan Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

abode, they entered upon a life of seclusion and prayer, 
exhorting their neighbors when opportunity offered and 
imparting instruction to such of the young as were sent to 
them. From this evidence we may well assume that in 
this lovely grove beside the limpid Miihlbach, in the cool 
shade of the forest trees in summer, or in the rude log-hut 
in winter, the first free school was held within the bounds 
of Lancaster county. 

The faculty were two or three religious enthusiasts ; the 
pupils, the children of the early German settlers ; the cur- 
riculum, simple as it was, was strictly religious and moral. 
The writer doubts whether it went beyond the alphabet, 
Vater Unser^ the catechism, and a few Bibel-spriich, such 
as were in vogue among the early Germans. However, be 
this as it may, ciude as was the instruction imparted in the 
rude hut on the th: Miihlbach, there are evidences that it 
laid a religious foundation in the pupils to which they 
remained true to the end. Then again it is well to consider 
that no charge was ever made for instruction, the work was 
purely and simply a labor of love and duty with these pious 
recluses, and the future investigator and historian will 
undoubtedly join with the present writer and accord to 
Beissel and his companions the credit due to them as 
pioneers in the field of education in the valley of the Con- 
estoga and its tributaries. 

Specimen op Klostbr Pen-work. 


BEFORE the year was out 
the two recluses were join- 
ed by Isaac Van Bebber, 
the younger, the nephew 
of Heinrich Van Bebber, 
who had crossed the ocean 
with the pilgrims. After a 
short sojourn at the cabin 
upon the Miihlbach, Van 
Bebber prevailed on Beis- 
sel to accompany him on 
a visit to the Labadist 
Community at Bohemia 
Manor, where had been established, in 1684, the first Pro- 
testant mystic community in the New World. 

Young Isaac's chief object in this projected trip was 
evidently to visit his father Isaac Van Bebber and kinsman 
Matthias Van Bebber, who now, in his advancing years, 
was clothed with judicial authority, while Beissel's interest 
lay in the mystical community, founded there by Dankarts 
and Sluyter almost forty years before. 

The Van Bebbers were originally Mennonites, and came 
to this Province as such at an early date. The first to 
arrive was Isaac Jacob Van Bebber in 1684. He was a 
native of Crefeldt on the Rhine. In 1687 he was joined 
by his father, Jacob Isaac Van Bebber, and his brother 
Matthias, and later by other members of the family. 

They first settled in Germantown, but did not all remain 
there. The elder removed to Philadelphia in 1698 and 


The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

engaged in mercantile pursuits. ]\Iatthias settled on the 
Schippach in 1702, and in 1704, together with his elder 
brother Isaac Jacob, and a number of others from German- 
town, removed to the Bohemia Manor. 

From the fact that these men are frequently referred to 
as Isaac Jacobs, Jacob Isaacs and Matthias Jacobs, some 
writers have assumed that they were German Jews. Such, 

however, is not the case. 




They were Mennonites, 
but, like many others of 
the early settlers, after 
their sojourn in the Prov- 
ince, tlioy became some- 
what unsettled as to their 
faith. This is shown by 
the report sent by Johann 


QouucUe Eglifc Romaine conuaincu^ pa( 

rexame dc rEpift-d: S.Paul aui Romaintr 

de.n'efhc ni de U io\i ni dc la conduicq 

de I'Anciennei & n'cftre ni C«- 

tholiquc si Apondique. 

Ctmmt iup derrer tn tlujieurs pin)! fondamrif Gottfried Seelig, one of 

tiaxdtU ReUgim Cbreliienne , dr frincifaU- 

mtm en celui d» S. Sacremem de I'Sudiitrt' 

Jl it, fill ijuSt^ LtPfeUriJi cf Sacrifeiture, 

dom U B»Uiteliiiefi fToimle ,feit quitat 

m Sacrifci (jr i ia -vrigic Mejft, 

qu'U liii {ft clairemnt men- 

Ilri quelle tfa fas, 

Surquoi Ic poioc verinble de la reelle & rubflantielli 

picfcncc & mlnducacion de I. C. en la Saints 

Crncsrans qu*)! fdit befoin de ccaofubftanii*; 

(i&.& d< facrificc lui efl C8pliqu^i& M. dq 

Labadie jiidifi^ en fes vrais feotioieDs. 

touchaot ce myflcrr. 

/•jrf pvfiadit de Blam-mm repondmiU ledge and abandon the fol- 

temrtnistHtit-Sahi ffermiie.frjet affdl . 

de tt.s. iSi,rtma.t ^uefqu( de a»z<u.. lies, Scandals, shortcom- 
^'**^^^ ings and stains of his for- 


BY Bbissel from Pkter SLUYTER.11 ° 

It was this spiritual un- 
rest which evidently induced the Van Bebbers to remove 
to the Bohemia Manor, where at that time the Labadist 
Community was at the height of its development. 

the original Pietists, who 
arrived in 1694, to Spener, 
wherein, writing of Jacob 
Isaac Van Bebber, he 
states : " He was formerly 
a Mennonite, but he de- 
sires to depart with his 
whole house, to acknow- 

' Penna. Magazine, xi, p. 440. 
Now in possession of the writer. 

The Bohemian Community. 59 

There can be but little doubt that, although the Com- 
munity at the time of Beissel's visit was already in a state 
of dissolution, it was due to his visit to Bohemia Manor 
and the conferences with Sluyter, together with a number 
of books and papers, both printed and in manuscript, of L,ab- 
adie and Yvon which Beissel obtained, that we owe many 
of the peculiar features of the Ephrata Community. Not 
the least important one was the separation of the sexes. 

This visit was made none too soon, for soon after the 
two pilgrims had departed Peter Sluyter died, and, there 
being none to replace him or wield the necessary authority, 
the few remaining members separated and the community 
passed into history. By virtue of lasting impressions made 
on the mind of Conrad Beissel, thus shaping his course of 
life in after years, a short review of this mystical commu- 
nity will not be out of place. 

HE Community on Bohemia Manor was the out- 
come of an attempt made by the parent con- 
gregation at Waltahouse in Wiewerd to estab- 
lish a Labadist colony in America, and thus 
to secure a retreat for their church and to 
widen its bounds. The first place selected was in Suri- 
nam, then recently acquired by the Dutch in exchange for 
the New Netherlands. Several colonies were sent out, but 
the climate proving inauspicious, the attempt was aban- 
doned, and the two leading men, Jasper Dankarts and 
Petrus Sluyter, were sent in 1679-80 to look for a more 
suitable situation in either New York, the Jerseys, New 
Sweden or Maryland. They preferred the tract at the 
head of Chesapeake bay where the Bohemia and Elk 
rivers emptied into that estuary. This was a Barony 
known as the Bohemia Manor. It contained over 20,000 
acres and was granted by Lord Baltimore, in 1660, to 
Augustine Herrman or Heeruian, born in Bohemia, and a 
surveyor, who prepared for him a map of Maryland. 

6o The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Sluyter and Dankarts returned to Holland and made a 
favorable report to the society at Wiewerd, which at once 
made extensive preparations to send another colony to the 
New World. This party arrived at New York on July 
27, 1683, and after a short stay in that city journeyed 
to their new home on the Bohemia river. This spot was 
selected for two reasons : the chief one is said to have been 
their belief that it was situated within the bounds of Penn's 
grant. Then again, the two agents, during their first visit 
had made several converts, among whom was Ephriam 
Herrman, and on him and his issue this manor was by his 
father's will to be entailed. He promised them, on their 
first visit, that if they would return and establish their 
church, part of the manor should be given for this object. 
Through his instrumentality Augustine Herrman con- 
tracted to convey an extensive tract of the manor to 
Sluyter and others, induced by the expectation that he 
would secure the establishment of a colony. Augustine 
repented of his agreement, distrusting the other parties to 
it, and refused for some time to carry it out, but finally, on 
August II, 1684, executed a conveyance of the tract therein 
meted and bounded, containing 3750 acres, part of Bohemia 
Manor, to Peter Sluyter and Jasper Dankarts, Petrus Bayard, 
of New York ; John Moll and Arnoldus de la Grange, of 
Delaware. This land contained four necks, and was after- 
wards called the L,abadie tract. 

Moll and de la Grange at once released their interest 
to Sluyter and Dankarts, which makes it probable that 
their names were inserted merely to deceive Augustine 
Herrman.'^ F'inally Dankarts conveyed his interest to 
Sluyter by deed executed in Holland in 1693. Augustine 
Herrman died in 1686. The statement that in his will he 

" Augustine Herrman in his will designates Peter Sluyter, alias Vors- 
man, and Jasper Dankarts, alias Shilder. 

Augustine Herrman. 6i 

Portrait and Autograph of Augustine HERR^ 

62 77/1? German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

expressed great disapprobation of his son Epliraim's adhe- 
sion to the Labadists is not borne out b}- that document." 

Upon the arrival of the party at the Bohemia Manor 
they at once started to erect several buildings, the chief 
one being known as the "Great House." Several families 
soon arrived from Wiewerd followed by Sluyter's wife, 
who, as abbess, presided over the women. Some converts 
also came from New York. Thus was founded in North 
America a branch of the Labadist Community of Walta- 
house, of which Sluyter proclaimed himself bishop, under 
Yvon, Archbishop of Wiewerd. 

The settlement at Bohemia never numbered over one 
hundred, men, women and children all told, mostly novices 
or probationers, whose faith was to be tried by a very severe 
system of discipline and mortification. Fire, for example, 
was not permitted in their cells in the coldest weather, 
though there was so much wood aboxit them that they were 
forced to burn it in order to be rid of it. They were to 
live hidden in Christ. All desires of the flesh were to be 
subdued. A former minister herded cattle ; a young man 
of good family carted stone or bent over a wash-tub. Food 
to which they had repugnance must be eaten, and sins con- 
fessed in open assembly. There were different grades to be 
attained in conformity to the principles and discipline of 
the society. Punishments were the deprivation of clothes, 
taking a lower seat at the table and expulsion. The highest 
rank, that of brother, was gained by total separation from 
the world. They took their meals in silence, so that men 
ate together for months at the same table without knowing 
each other's names. The men and women ate at different 
tables. They slept in different rooms which the head or 
his substitute might visit at all times for examination or 

" Vide facsimile and copy of will in Penna. Mag. of Hist, and Biog., 
vol. XV, p. 321. 

Samuel Bownas' Visit. 63 

instruction. They labored on the land, and at different 
trades or employments assigned by the head. Their dress 
was plain, all worldly fashions being prohibited as well as 
luxuries of all kinds. They worked for the Lord and not 
for themselves — not to gratify their desires, but merely to 
sustain life. All property was held as common stock, into 
which all joining the community put what they owned and 
left it when they withdrew. They manufactured some linen 
and cultivated a large plantation of corn, flax and hemp. 
They often expounded the Scriptures among themselves. 
They held that both parties must be born again, or mar- 
riage was unholy, and that they ought to separate if both 
were not endowed with grace, but might live together, pro- 
vided the believer loved Christ more than his earthly partner. 
Sluyter, head and bishop as he was, was grossly inconsist- 
ent with the principles of the society, raising tobacco and 
dealing in slaves, and he was charged particularly with 
treating them with extreme cruelty. 

The only accounts of this institution, from one who was 
actually present, known to the writer, are those recorded in 
the journal of a Samuel Bownas," a public Friend, who 
made two visits to the Bohemia Manor. The first was 
when the Labadist Community was yet in a flourishing 
condition ; the other, after a lapse of twenty-four years, 
four years subsequent to Beissel's visit, when the leader was 
dead, the community scattered and the great buildings 

The first entry, under date of August, 1702, notes the 
following : 

" After we had dined we took our leave, and a friend, my 
guide, went with me to a people called Labadies \_sic\ , where 
we were civily entertained in their way. When supper came 

" All I Account ] of the | Life, Travels | and | Christian Experiences | 
in the | Work of the Ministry | of | Samuel Bownas, | Stanford | re-printed 
by Daniel Lawrence | for Henry and John F. Hull | MDCCCV. 

64 The Germati Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

in it was placed upon a long table in a large room, where, 
when all things were ready, came in, at a call, about twenty 
men or upwards, but no woman : w'e all sat down, they 
placing me and my companion near the head of the table, 
and having paused a short space, one pulled o£E his hat, 
but not the rest till a short space after, and then one after 
another they pulled all their hats off, and in that uncovered 
posture sat silent (uttering no words that we could hear) 
near half a quarter of an hour ; and as they did not uncover 
at once, so neither did they cover themselves again at once ; 
but as they put on their hats fell to eating, not regarding 
those who were still uncovered, so that it might be about 
two minutes time or more between the first or last putting 
of [f] their hats. I afterwards queried with my companin 
\^sic\ concerning the reason of their conduct, and he gave 
this for answer, that they held it unlawful to pray till they 
felt some inward motion for the same ; and that secret 
prayer was more acceptable than to utter words ; and that 
it was most proper for every one to pray, as moved thereto 
by the spirit in their own minds. 

" I likewise queried, if they had no women amongst 
them ? He told me they had, but the women eat by them- 
selves and the men by themselves, having all things in 
common respecting their household affairs, so that none 
could claim any more than another to any part of their 
stock, whether in trade or husbandry ; and if any had a 
mind to join with them, whether rich or poor, they must 
put what they had in the common stock, and if they had 
a mind to leave the society, they must likewise leave what 
the}' brought and go out empty handed. 

" They frequently expounded the scriptures among them- 
selves, and being a very large family, in all upwards of a 
hundred men, women and children, carried on something 
of the manufactor}' of linen, and had a very large planta- 
tion of corn, tobacco, flax and hemp, together with cattle 

Location of Labadist Tract. 65 

of several kinds. But at my last going there [1726] these 
people were all scattered and gone, and nothing of them 
remaining of a religious community in that shape." 

The geographical position of the Labadist settlement 
was originally in Baltimore county, now Cecil county, on 
the north bank of the Bohemia river, embracing several 
thousands of fertile acres. The Bohemia river empties 
into the Elk, which flows into Chesapeake bay. The house 
or mansion of Herrman was detroyed by fire, but the foun- 
dations are visible within a few hundred feet of the river. 
The remains of his deer park can also be seen. His body 
was removed to the Bayard vault, a short distance from the 
old mansion, and when this was abandoned for another vault 
in Wilmington no mark was left of his burial place. An 
oolite slab in the yard of another house, built after the 
burning of the first, records the memorial of "Augustine 
Herrman, Founder and Seater of Bohemia Manor." 

An effort was made some years ago by the Maryland 
Historical Society to obtain this stone, but proved fruitless. 
It is supposed that the stone became an internal part of a 
new monument erected upon the ground in Herrman's 
memory, built and dedicated by a society of Bohemians. 

The manor can be reached from Elkton on the north, 
distant seven miles ; from Middletown, on the east, about 
the same distance ; and from the Sassafras river, on the 
south, direct from Baltimore by boat. The road by way 
of Elkton is probably the best, as the roads thence to the 
old manor are remarkably pleasant and good. 

It has been stated, upon different occasions, that there 
was some similarity in doctrine between the Labadists and 
the Quakers ; also that Labadie " and William Penn were 

'^ Jean de Labadie, a noted mystic and theosophist of the seventeenth 
century, born at Bourg-en-Guienne, February 13, 1610. Died at Altona, 
Holstein, February 2, 1674. Educated at the Jesuit's College of Bordeaux, 
he became a member of that society, but left the order in 1639, and in 
1650 became a Protestant, joining the Reformed Church. He settled in 

66 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

friends and associates ; further, that it was at the latter's 
instance that Bohemia Manor was selected by the agents of 

Monsieur Jean de Labadie, 1610-1674." 

the Labadist Community, under the impression that it was 

Montauban, and was the means of inducing over three hundred Catholics 
to adopt a similar course. He was elected pastor of the church and re- 
mained in charge for eight years. During which time he continued his 
mystical speculations, and founded a society somewhat similar to the 
Quietists of his old communion, this society became known as " Laba- 
dists." Being at length banished from Montauban for sedition, he went 
first to Orange, thence to Geneva. In 1666 he was invited to Middleburg, 
Holland. Here his followers increased in number and included many 
persons of rank and education. Among whom was Anna Maria v. Schur- 
man and the Princess Palatine Elizabeth. The heterodoxy and contu- 
macy of Labadie, however, soon led to his deposition by the Synod of 
Naardon and to his banishment from the Province. 
'* Portrait in Pantheon Anabaptist. 

Creese's Account of Labadists. 67 

within the bounds of Penn's grant.^" The best contem- 
porary witness upon this matter is Gerard Croese,'* who, 
in his Quakeriana (English edition, London, 1696, pp. 
221-4), states : 

' ' To shew what agreement there was between the Quakers 
" and these Labadists in Doctrine, and what Institution to one 
" and the same purpose ; and lastly : what intentions they had 
"to join in Friendships, and contract acquaintances, I will 
" shortly and in a few words relate it. As to their Doctrine, 
' ' although these Men at first introducing little or nothing 
" which was different from our Faith, yet, in process of time, 
' ' they brought in divers Innovations about the use of the 
"Holy Scriptures, and the guidance and operations of the 
" Holy Spirit, and Prayers and the remaining parts of Wor- 
" ship, and the Sacraments and Discipline of the Church, so 
' ' that they came nearer to the Opinions of the Quaker in these 
"things, than to our Doctrine." Now it appears that these 
" men, no less than the Quakers, reprehended and found fault 
" with many things in our Churches, and those of all Protest- 
' ' ants, that they were all so corrupt and depraved that no 
"effect, no fruit of the Spirit of God appeared amongst them, 
" nor no Worship of God, but only a carnal and external one ; 
"no mutual attention, no conjunction of minds, no love, no 
"will, no endeavours for the good, one of another, or the 
"common good, that there was to be seen. Lastly, that no 
" one's life and Manners an.swered what they all professed, or 
" the Example and Precepts of Christ. And as this was the 
' ' complaint and Quarrel of the Quakers, so in like manner 
' ' was it of these people too, that with vices above others 
' ' were infected those that were the Prelates and Preachers of 
" the word, and Steward of the Mysteries of God. 

" Finally, — These people thought thus, that they were the 
' ' Men from whom the beginning and first Examples of the 

" For letter from William Penn to Herrman and others, dated ' ' London, 
i6th of 7 Month, i5Si," on the subject of his right to territory seated 
by them and claimed by Lord Baltimore, see Hazard's Annals, p. 575. 

'^ For sketch of Croese and his Quakeriana, see German Pietists and 
The FatJicrland, Philadelphia, 1S97. 

'^ Gerard Croese was a clergyman of the Reformed faith. 

68 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 


General Hiftory 




Speeches, arid Letters , 

Of all the mod ^;f 

Eminent Quakers, 

Both Men and JWomcn ; 

From the firft RifS of tirar^STCT, 
down to this prelent Time. 

CoIkBedfrom Maftufcripts, &c. 

J Work mvtr attempted before in Englilh. 

Being Written Originally in Liitia 

To which is added, 

A L E T T E R writ by George Kfith , 
and (ent by him to tlie Author of this 
Book : Containing a. Vindication of himfelfjand 
feveral Remarks on this Hiftory. 

LOItDON, Printed for Jofjn IDuntoil, at tlie/t*v« 
in Jc'iten-jiriet. \6^6. 

Title-page of English Edition Croesb Quakeriana. 

Labadist vs. Quaker. 69 

' Restitution of the Church was to be expected, who also 
' were wholly intent upon the famous work of the Reforma- 
' tion : Just as the Quakers thought, that this was chiefly re- 
' served for them, and that they were in a special manner 
' obliged to go on with this work of Reformation. — So great 
' was the Fame of this Society, that there was scarce any place 
' in these countries where there was not great talk about these 
' Teachers and Workers, so that in foreign Countries there 
' was scarce anywhere, unless it were among such People, who 
' have no regard to what is done abroad v/ho had not heard 
' something of them. Therefore when these Reports were 
' gone over into England and Scotland ; at first indeed there 
' were some of these Men who, being adverse from the State 
' of the Church as under the Bishops, contained themselves 
' within their own Churches which were more remote from 
' external rites and splendor, and a worldly and delicate polite, 
' as they call it, and elegant Life and Conversation, who also 
' undertook the Ministerial Function. At last, also the 
' Quakers, who as soon as they heard of this sort of Men, 
' and their plain Religion, and way of L,ife that they followed, 
' they began to think in good earnest of this society of People, 
' and to be better acquainted with them, and to consider ways, 
' and means amongst themselves how they should come to 
' enter into Consultation with them. I know that there was 
'one of those Ministers of the Gospel, so averse from the 
' Episcopal way, and addicted to Presbyterial Churches, who 
' not only himself writes to this Society, but also communi- 
' cates his thoughts upon this subject to an eminent Quaker, 
' which Man when after that time he foresaw many things 
' from the face of the Kingdom, which tho not altogether true 
'' indeed, yet seeming very probable and likely to come to pass, 
' at that time he was not such a fearer of Episcopacy, but that 
' one might read in his Countenance, and since he was a Man, 
' that one time or another it would come to, as afterwards 
' it happened that he was made a Bishop. The first of the 
' Quakers that came from Scotland to the Labadists to Am- 
' sterdam, was George Keith, a Man both very skillful in, and 
' much us'd to Controversie and Disputes. After him, comes 
' out of England R. Barclay, a Man likewise of great Experi- 

JO The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

" ence, and well seen in the Defence of his Religion, These 
" Men, one after another, treat about this matter with Labadie, 
"and the rest of them, on whom the Government of the 
"Society lay. But when the Quakers open'd their mind 
" briefly, and in a common style, but they on the other hand 
"us'd such deep and far fetch'd Speeches, and those so round 
"about the bush, and turning and winding, and so much 
"Eloquence, or endless Talkativeness, that the Quakers knew 
" not what these Men would say, or how to know or find out 
"and discern their Opinions, Institutions and Intentions, or 
" where to have them, (which also had often happened to our 
' ' People enquiring of these men about these things) and now 
" began to suspect, that they were not such a pure sort of 
' ' People, and were either bordering upon some errors, or 
"privately entertained and bred some Monstrous Opinion. 
" And when the Quakers tried again at another time to see 
" further if by any meaus they could bring things to a Consent 
" and Agreement, and a conjunction together, that they might 
"act in common concert, the Labadists not only drew back, 
" but also resented it ill, and were so angry, that they thought 
' ' it would be to no purpose to try any farther Conclu,sions with 
"them. And either upon the occa.sions of these Meetings 
" together, or from the designs of some of their Adversaries to 
"reproach them, it came to pass, that from that time the 
" L,abadists came to be called Quakers, which name followed 
"them from Amsterdam to Herefoi'd, and there accompanied 
"them, so that Men all abroad not only call'd them by the 
"name of Quakers, which to them appeared a horrible Title, 
"but also oftentimes us'd to thrown stones at them. To avoid 
"which reproach, and withal to shew, how much they hated 
"both Name and Thing, they, out of their Printing-Office 
" which they carried about with 'em publish'd a Writing by 
" the Title, showing what the Argument of the Book was; 

An Examinaiion and Confusion of the Qiiakers. 
" Nevertheless after this, there went to these Labadists in 
" Friesland William Penn, that most famous Man Amongst 
"the Quakers: a man of such Spirit and wit, as was both 
"willing and able to Encounter with all their Adversaries. 
" But the end of all was the same." 




HORTLY after the ret-arn of 
Beissel and Van Bebber to 
the Miihlbach from their pil- 
grimage to Bohemia Manor, 
they were joined by George 
Stiefel, another companion 
on the voyage to America. 
The four enthusiasts now 
determined to enter upon a 
joint life of probation and 
seclusion from the world, or, 
as the original manuscript 
Chronicon stated, " they re- 
solved to dwell together in a brotherly and communal 

Religious meetings were henceforth held at regular 
hours in the small hut in the forest, as well as about the 
country, whenever the opportunity offered. Instruction 
was also imparted to such children as were sent to the four 
recluses. One of these scholars, Barbara Meyer, afterwards 
known as Sister Jael, was attached to the Community for 
almost sixty years, as the Chronicon states : 

"There is still [1786] a person in the Sister's Convent 
who, in her childhood, had gone to him, and had become 
so enamored of his [Beissel's] angelic life that she became 
his steadfast follower, and has now for almost sixty years 
endured all the hardships of the solitary and communal 

The peculiar tenets promulgated up to this time by the 

72 German Sectarians of Pennsylva^iia. 

four recluses were strictly in accord with the creed and 
religious views as published by Hochman vou Hochenau. 
Beissel, however, according to an old manuscript, wholly 
intent upon seeking out the true obligations of the Word 
of God and the proper observance of the rites and cere- 
monies it imposes, stripped of human authority, conceived 
that there was an error among the brethren in the observ- 
ance of the day for the Sabbath. 

This idea was considerably strengthened by his inter- 
course with the Sabbatarians in Chester county, at Provi- 
dence and Newtown, upon his return from the visit to the 
Labadists. He then commenced to question which day 
was the true Sabbath according to the Scriptures. It was 
not long before he made the announcement publicly that, as 
the Seventh Day was the command of the Lord God, and 
that that day was established and sanctified by the great 
Jehovah forever, no change ever having been announced to 
man by any power sufficient to set aside the solemn decree 
of the Almighty, he felt it to be his duty to contend for the 
observance of that day. Hence he intended to observe the 
Scriptural Sabbath, and work and labor upon the remain- 
ing six days, as commanded by Divine Writ. This de- 
parture caused the first disagreement between the four 
enthusiasts ; they, however, finally acquiesced, and the Sab- 
bath was now kept in the hut oh the Miihlbach. 

The strange mode of life kept by Beissel and his com- 
panions, their earnest exhortations and revival services 
naturally aroused much attention among the settlers in the 
Conestoga valley. The meetings became well-attended by 
people from far and near. Some were attracted by curi- 
osity, but most of them from a desire for spiritual devotion 
and instruction. 

One of the first fruits of the labors of these four exhorters 
was that a revival or awakening took place among the 
Mennonites and others in the vicinity. This gradually 

Unhealthy Influences. 73 

extended throughout the Conestoga valley, and thence into 
the Schuylkill valley as far as Falkner swamp. A fervent 
spirit was especially noticeable among such as had been 
identified with the Schzvarscnau movement in Germany. 
>ESIDES this true revival spirit manifested among 
the German population in 1722, which was 
aroused mainly by Beissel's personal efforts, 
there were also influences at work contrary to 
all sound religious doctrines, advanced by men 
who were ignorant visionaries or even worse. This gave 
rise to several peculiar sects, which flourished for a brief 
time. The adherents of the most important of these irre- 
ligious and visionary sects were known as the " Newborn " 
(^Neugeborene)^ and for a time attracted some attention. 
Personal efforts were made by the founder of this sect, 
Matthias Bauman, to inveigle Beissel and his companions 
into their fold, but these efTorts proved unavailing, as 
Beissel dismissed him with a sound berating. According 
to the Chronicon^ in a review of Bauman's visit to the 
Miihlbach, Beissel " gave him [Baumann] little satisfac- 
tion, telling him to smell his own filth, and then consider 
whether this belonged to the new birth ; whereupon they 
called him a crafty spirit full of subtility, and departed." 


The Neugeborene^ or Still e im Lande or Baumanites, 
were a sect somewhat similar to the " Inspired" of Ger- 
many. The movement in Pennsylvania was the outcome 
of a religious excitement, started in Oley by one Matthias 
Bauman. This man was born of humble parentage in the 
town of Lambsheim, District Frankenthal, in the Rhine 
Palatinate. He was a poor ignorant day-laborer without 
any education. In the year 1701 he was stricken with a 
severe illness. During his delirium he claimed to have 
been translated to heaven and given the power of prophecy. 


The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Upon his recovery he cried out for several hours, " Repent ! 
O, ye men, repent ! The Judgement-day is near at hand." 
After this he again fell into a comatose condition, and de- 
clared that it was told him : " Men 
imagine that they are living in the »*^u 
light of day ; but they are all gone pi-^,* 
wrong in the darkness of night." 
These trances occurred for fourteen 
days, the last one continuing for 
twenty-four hours, so that it was 
thought he had died and prepara- 
tions were made for his funeral. 
When he recovered he went to the 
minister and told him that God had 
sent him back into this world to tell 
men that they should be converted ; 
but the minister, who thought he was 
out of his mind, sought by means of 
a worldly book to drive these notions 
from his head. 

Matthias Bauman came to Am- 
erica in the year 17 19, it is claimed 
in response to letters showing the 
neglected condition of the German 
settlers in the Province. He settled 
in Oley, and at once started to preach 
his doctrine of regeneration and free- 
dom from all sin. One of his chief 
arguments was that, as they were 
free from sin, they had no further 
use for Holy Writ, except such parts as would support their 
dogma. All sacraments were rejected as useless to the 
regenerate. Matrimony was discouraged together with all 
good counsel, with that peculiar stubborness common to 
ignorant religious enthusiasts. 

An old Ephrata Dksign. 

Pernicious Doctrine. 75 

Bauman made many converts to his pernicious doctrine, 
and by his activity he soon came into conflict, not only 
with the orthodox faiths, but also with the Quakers in 
Philadelphia. It was his habit frequently to harangue the 
masses from the court-house steps in the city on market 
days ; and upon one occasion he went so far to prove that 
his doctrine was true, and that he was a special envoy from 
God to man, as to propose to walk across the Delaware river 
at high tide. Bauman, however, failed to prove his faith 
in this manner. 

Among other ridiculous things, this visionary claimed 
that his followers were free from all sin and could not sin 
any more. To substantiate his teachings he had printed in 
Germany a tractate of thirty-five octavo pages : Ein Riif an 
die Untviedcrgebohrene Welt ("A Call to the Unregenerate 
World"). No copy of this pamphlet is known to the writer, 
although it was printed for circulation in this Province. 
Several extracts appear in the Chronicon Ephretense, which 
give an idea of the tenor of the work : 

Page 12 : " Men say that Christ hath taken away sin ; it 
is true in my case, and of those who are in the same condi- 
tion in which Adam was before the fall, as I am." ^" 

Page 16 : "As Adam was before the fall, so have I become, 
and even firmer." 

Page 12: "With the body one cannot sin before God, 
but only before men and other creatures, and these the 
judge can settle." 

Personally Matthias Bauman was reputed to have been 
an upright and honest man. He labored in the Province 
until his death, which it is claimed took place in 1727. 
After his death his followers were led by Kuhlwein and 
Jotter, but the organization soon languished and most of 
the members were absorbed by the Brethren and Mora- 
vians, when the sect passed into history. 

' Geore Fox makes the same claim in his Journal. 

76 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

A few of the misguided converts, however, adhered to 
the pernicious doctrine of Bauman long after the sect 
ceased to be a distinctive organization. These people for 
many years proved a disturbing element in the German 
settlements. Two instances of this kind are quoted by 
Rev. Muhlenberg, where he came into direct contact with 
Bauman's followers. The first is in his report to Halle, 
under date of June 10, 1747,*' where he states: "Upon 
" that day, together with Jacob Loser, the schoolmaster of 
" New Hanover, I called to visit one of the so-called New- 
" born, who lived about eight miles from New Hanover 
" [Montgomery county]. This man had married a widow 
"some twenty years ago. She bore him five children, 
" whom the mother, without the father's consent, had bap- 
" tized and sent for instruction to the Lutheran church. 
"For this she was subjected to much indignity by her 
" husband.^^ The old man professes that he was born anew 
" in the Palatinate." In conclusion Miihlenberg states : 
" The evidences of his regeneration, according to his oft- 
" repeated assertions, are, that he had withdrawn from the 
" Reformed church, refused to partake of the holy sacra- 
" ments, and objected to take the oath of fealty to the new 
" Count Palatine, on which account he was cited to appear 
" before the Consistory, and upon refusing to do so was 
" thrown into prison. Thus, according to his imagination, 
" he suffered for Christ and the Truth's sake. He refuses to 
" listen to any convincing evidence or receive the Scripture 
" in all its parts as proof. Nor will he take any advice or 
" instruction, and being of a weak intellect, he is self-willed, 
"turbulent, passionate and abuses the Pennsylvania liberty 
" he enjoys. 

"After arriving in this country he miited with the New- 
" born, a sect so-called. These profess a new birth, which 

" Hallische Nachrichten, original edition, 224, 5 ; new ed., p. 346. 
■" For additional particulars see Halle report. 

The Neu'bor?i. 77 

" they have received immediately and instantaneously by 
" inspiration, in visions and dreams from Heaven. Having 
" thus received this new birth, they imagine they are like 
" God and Christ. They say : ' They can neither sin nor 
"err — they have attained perfection — hence they need no 
" longer to use the means of grace. The Word of God 
" they consult only to support their false principles. They 
" ridicule the sacraments, speaking scandalously of them.' " 
The other case cited by Miihlenberg occurred on May 
7, 1753, at the funeral of Philip Bayer, at Oley,^' about 
ten miles from New Hanover. The deceased was an old 
house-father, who, after his arrival in the Province, like 
many of the settlers, fell away from the faith of his fathers 
and became imbued with the Bauman heresy. Upon the 
arrival of the regular Lutheran clergy, he, however, re- 
newed his fealty to the faith, and when, in his last sickness, 
sent for Miihlenberg to administer the rights of the church. 
The Separatists in Oley still claimed him as one of their 
own, and upon the day of the funeral a large concourse of 
people were present. The services were to be held in a 
large meeting-liouse, and Miihlenberg embraced the oppor- 
tunity to exhort his hearers in both German and English. 
He was not permitted to proceed, however, without inter- 
ruption, as a number of persons who adhered to the Sec- 
tarians organized another gathering outside of the meeting- 
house, the leader being an old Newborn, who, by his 
shouting, seriously disturbed the services. At last, when 
he found that but few people came from the meeting-house 
to join his gathering, he got very angry and left. 

Miihlenberg states that the gist of his harangue was that 
many years ago a light had appeared to him in his cham- 
ber while in bed, and revealed to him that he was a child 
of God, and that such things as civil authority. Divine 
ministry, the Bible, the Sacraments, churches and schools 

'' yide burial record, New Hanover Church. 

yS The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

were all from the Devil, and that all persons to be saved 
must become as he was, etc. Muhlenberg quaintly adds 
that such would certainly not be in the interest of the com- 
munity, as he often gets drunk, and then treats his poor 
wife to an unmerciful beating." 

Beissel, who was a fluent speaker and earnest exhorter, 
soon became a power among the Separatists and Mennon- 
ites who had scattered throughout the fertile valleys of the 
Conestoga and Pequea. His teachings at that time were 
but little tinged with that mysticism and speculative 
theology which characterised his hymns and writings in 
after years. 

^ROM an old manuscript we learn that "almost 
immediately upon his arrival in the Conestoga 
country', many persons became attached to him 
by his attractive and gentle manner. Almost 
every one judged themselves fortunate when re- 
ceived by him with favor and admitted to his friend- 
ship ; and all strove for his company, hoping thereby 
to attain the Divine virtues. 

" He proved a marvel to almost every one, and 
'thus it was that the awakened in the Conestoga val- 
ley became so heartily enamoured of Conrad Beissel 
and placed unbounded faith in him. 

" We do not say too much, when we state that this our 
[spiritual] father [Beissel] was the cause of their conver- 
sion [awakening] if they were not actually converted by 
him, which happened shortly before the congregation [in 
the Conestoga valley] was organized." 

The effect of this religious revival among the Germans 
was widespread, and resulted in quickening Peter Becker 

" Vide Halle reports, original edition, pp. 5S8-9 ; new edition, pp, 

A Germantozvn Aivakeyiing. 79 

and the Dunkers in the vicinity of Gerniantown into activ- 
ity. The first practical result was that, in the fall of 1722, 
Peter Becker, accompanied by Johannes Gnmre, George 
Balser Gansz, and one of the Trant brothers, who was also 
known by the name of Seckler, made a pilgrimage through 
the Province to look up their former brethren who were 
now dispersed through the country, and remove, if possible, 
all stumbling-blocks in the way of again uniting them. 
They wished to induce them to hold meetings and love- 
feasts, thereby reviving a religious spirit among them and 
their neighbors. 

The journey of these missionaries extended through the 
Skippack and Perkiomen valleys to Falkner's swamp and 
Oley, thence across the Schuylkill to the Conestoga valley, 
and returned by way of Coventry and the settlements along 
the French creek. This series of meetings was continued 
after their return to Germantown, being first held alter- 
nately at the homes of Becker at Germantown and Gumre's 
on the Ridge, but ultimately they were regulary held 
at Peter Becker's. From these weekly services, begun in 
the fall of the year 1722, dates the history of the Dunker 
denomination or Church of the Brethren in America. 

Let us return once more to the cabin on the Miihlbach. 
Just when all seemed to be working so well and smoothly, 
and the fires of spiritual awakening appeared to glimmer 
upon almost every hearth within the German tracts, a 
cloud appeared on the horizon which disrupted the party 
who made their home in the cabin in the forest. This 
was brought about by a curious incident. A close inter- 
course had all this time been maintained between Beissel 
on the one hand, and Matthai and his fellow recluses on 
the other, who lived on the banks of the Wissahickon ; 
visits were made and returned, and an intimate union 
existed between the enthusiasts on the Ridge and in the 
Conestoga valley. Among the visitors from the Wissa- 

8o The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

hickon was one whose history in after years became promi- 
nently interwoven with that of the Ephrata Community. 
It was while journeying on foot from Germantown to the 
valley of Virginia, that this devout revivalist first came to 
the hut on the Miihlbach, and so pleased was he with the 
work of the four brethren that he remained with them 
some time before he again took up his journey southward. 

This man, a Pietist from Germantown, journeyed from 
place to place, exhorting and preaching to his countrymen, 
and he was even then entering upon a long journey to 
preach a revival among the Germans in North Carolina, 
who had settled there as early as 1710, having been in- 
fluenced and diverted from Pennsylvania by the seductive 
brochures issued by Kocherthal and others. The name 
of this visitor to the hut in the wilderness was Michael 
Wohlfarth, in after years Brother Agonius, of the Ephrata 
Brotherhood, a firm supporter of Beissel, and an inveterate 
opposer to the godless teachings of the day. So pleased 
was Michael Wohlfarth with what he saw and heard during 
this sojourn on the Miihlbach that he asked Beissel's per- 
mission to join the band upon his return from the South. 

Shortly after Wohlfarth's departure, in the fall of 1722, 
a request was made by the Hermits on the Wissahickon 
for a contribution of some kind. A compliance with this 
request caused considerable dissension between the four re- 
cluses, and ended by Stiefel refusing positively to give his 
consent to any contribtition, especially so, as he considered 
it an unjust demand, although such requests had repeatedly 
been complied with by Beissel during his sojourn on the 
Miihlbach. As Beissel remained firm in his determination 
to respond to Matthai's request, Stiefel left the party. 
[Johann George Stiefel was born at Frankfort-on-the- 
Mayn. He was awakened when a soldier at Schwarzenau, 
and joined the inspired. In 1720 he came to America with 
Beissel. After his departure from the Miihlbach he lived 



current ^ynI^y 'of Am.7i:a, ;!cci>r<iiDg ■ 
c tlie aS of Pd.iliinent, .jDViioia Si 

..for AfccrtJnJngthe Ratts of Yf^-jgn j 
toitiffn tlr^PUnuOops, due frdm che j 

Proy-iOCe oi J>nrif;/v.rm»; W^"t*MMl«t<.54 
<f4ik*~»i<<r«ol, fti^Ubein V'lj'uc equal ! 
be accepred accordingly by the Prr>vifl- ! 
cUI Treafurer, County Yrea- 
(urersand chcTruftecsior the 
General Loan-Office of the 
Province of Pcunjtli'.m^, in "i 
al! Publick Payments, and for 
apy fpnc} at anyTimcinanv . „ 
v-rbc -fsTd Treafurjts ana 

Dated in PhiladHphia \^ ■ 
Second Day of Apr/l^ tft clii; 
Year of Our Lord^idne Thou- ■ 
f^nd feven Hi}a(frcd anij 
twertty Ibr&, by Order 
of the Govirnor and Gene- 
cil Alfembly. 



Sale of the Cabin on the Miihlbach. 8i 

at Oley and Frederick as a recluse. Becoming acquainted 
with the Moravians, he moved to Bethlehem in 1746. 
Two years later, October 15, 1748, he died, and was buried 
among the single men on the hill.] 

^^^N the meantime Van Bebber's health became impaired 
1^ by the rigorous mode of life pursued by Beissel and 
1^^ his companions, so he, too, felt constrained to leave 
^H the cabin on the Miihlbach. Beissel was loth to 
^1 lose him, and the parting was a painful one, as 
^1 noted in the Chi-onicou : 

H "He took leave of the Superintendent [Bei.ssel] 

^H with much love, and protested that it was not possi- 

■'^B^ ble for him to live in that way. The former gave 

T him the following counsel to take with him : 

' Know that when you are successful in the world, God 

has forsaken you ; but when all misfortune comes upon 

you here, then know that God still loves you.' After many 

years he froze both hands and feet in a shipwreck and was 

>^ put under the care of 

(,/^>3^p/^^r fljT.'if' Christopher Witt in 
\J'^ r L/iy if Germantown. There 

he remembered this farewell, and sent his last greeting to 
his old friend." 

Shortly after the departure of the two hermits, Stuntz, 
who had been the capitalist of the party, during the tem- 
porary absence of Beissel, sold the cabin on the Miihlbach 
to Joseph Gibbons, a son of James Gibbons, who in the 
meantime had purchased the Wartnaby tract " upon which 
the cabin was built. ^^ Stuntz's excuse for this act was that he 

" Elizabeth Wartnaby's original deed was dated 1715 ; her indenture 
to James Gibbon's was dated September 20 (O. S.), 1727. In 1733 the 
title was confirmed by John, Richard and Thomas Penn to Joseph Gib- 
bons ; his father, James, having died in the meantime. This Joseph 
Gibbons was the great-great-grandfather of the present owners. 

^* Vide p. 54, ante. 

82 Thr German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

was thus in part repaying himself for money and travelling 
expenses advanced to Beissel. 

This unprincipled act left Beissel again homeless and 
alone.'" He, however, was far from being disheartened, 
and, making a vow " never again to borrow from men 
on God's account," he once more started out to build for 
himself a habitation in the quietude of the forest. With 
his axe upon his shoulder and his books and papers in 
his knapsack {/eleisen\ he journeyed a mile further into 
the heart of the woods, and settled besides a fine spring of 
water known as Die Schwedenqiielle (the Swedes' spring). 
There, in the summer of 1723, he built with his own hands 
a small log cabin, wherein he intended to live a life of soli- 
tar}' seclusion, "not knowing what God had ordained for 

No effort has been spared to identify this spring, aided 
by the best local authorities the terrain was carefully gone 
over ; the difficulty of identification was greatly enhanced 
by the fact that the name Schzvedenqiielle (Swedes' spring) 
was a mere local one, and excepting the Chronicon Ephre- 
trnse, does not appear upon any of the early records, surveys 
or conveyances. 

After a diligent inquiry and a careful comparison of 
notes, all indications point to the fine spring upon the fann 
owned by Elam H. Denlinger. This was originally known 
as the Evans' tract, and in later years as the " Whitehill" 
property. It is located in East Lampeter township, south 
of the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike, and is about 
equal distance between the Miihlbach and the Pequea. 
The spring is the source of a run which empties into the 
Mill creek. 

His solitary condition was, however, but of short dura- 

" Beissel in reality had hut little cause to complain of his companion's 
act ; his brethren had no legal claim to the ground, as the5- were merely 

Michael U'ohlfarth. 83 

tion, as no sooner was it known to the brethren on the 
Wissahickon, than he was visited by some of the recluses 
from that locality, and almost immediately npon the com- 
pletion of the cabin he was joined by Michael Wohlfarth, 
who had just returned from his missionary tour among the 
Germans in North Carolina. Henceforth they became 
friends and companions until death separated them. Thus 
the two hermits (for such they were for a time) lived a life 
of silent contemplation in the seclusion of the forest, with- 
out anything to mar their equanimity or devotions. 

Early in the following year (1724) a new trial awaited 
them. They were visited by an erratic visionary, Johannes 
Stumpf, who asked to be received as one of their number. 
His request was granted, but on account of his unsettled 
mind he caused them much trouble. 

We will now leave Beissel and his companions in their 
solitude for a short time, and see what efforts at religious 
revival were made by Peter Becker and others at German- 
town, spurned on as it were by the awakenings at Conestoga. 

Engraved on Type Metal at Ephrata about 1745. 

84 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

UJ o 

< 5 

I- z 


ENTION was made in the 
previous chapter that 
Peter Becker held weekly 
services in Germantown 
and the vicinity during 
the fall of the year 1722. 
This active spirit was con- 
tinued during the next 
year. Religious meetings 
were held in different 
houses and localities, and 
every effort was made to 
bring about a spiritual awakening among the indifferent 
Germans scattered through this part of the Province, and 
who for a number of years had lived here without the ser- 
vices of any regular ordained pastor of either the Lutheran 
or Reformed faith, notwithstanding the repeated requests 
sent to Germany for spiritual advisors. 

The individual efforts of Peter Becker, seconded by a 
few other earnest men and women, resulted in a revival 
spirit, and the organization of a regular congregation 
founded upon scriptural truths as interpreted by them. 
Here they evidently followed the example set by the 
Keithian Quakers, who, after their leader had left them, 
and being unwilling again to unite with the Quakers, met 
together, searched the Scriptures, and determined to resign 
themselves entirely to the guidance of Hoh- Writ and to 
live a life of primitive Christian simplicity, — a movement 


The Gerfuan Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

from which arose the denomination of Baptists in Pennsyl- 
vania who kept the Seventh Day holy. 

The small gatherings in 

the weaver's shop on the 

outskirts of the straggling 

village of Germantown 

were also destined to form 

the nucleus for so large 

I and respectable a denomi- 

£ nation of Christians as the 

\ German Baptists or Dun- 

I kers, whose organizations 

< now extend throughout 
g many, if not all, of the 
3 States forming the Ameri- 
K can Union. 

< Officially this denomi- 
S nation is known as the 
E Brethren.^ a name assumed 
; for themselves, on account 
S of what Christ said to his 
% disciples, Matt, xxiii, 8 : 
g " One is your Master, even 

< Christ, and all ye are breth- 


z ren." Locally the mem- 
\ bers are known as German 
^ Baptists or Dimkers (Tau- 
' fer, Tunker). The latter 
term was originally one of 
derision, from the manner 
in which they adminis- 
tered the sacred rite of 

The Baptist Brethren movement in Germany dates back 
to the year 152 1, when the so-called Zwickau prophets, 

The Zwickau Prophets. 87 

Nicholas Storch, Marcus Stubner and Thomas Miinzer 
arose in Saxony and preached the doctrine of adult bap- 
tism and the coming millennium. The latter prophet 
subsequently spread the doctrine throughout Switzerland, 
Franconia and Thuringia. His adherents took an active 
part in the peasants' war, and suffered an overwhelming 
defeat at Frankenhausen, May 15, 1525. In 1528. the Em- 
peror Charles V. issued an edict crushing the sect wherever 
found within his dominions. Notwithstanding this perse- 
cution, the doctrine spread from Bavaria to Holland. The 
members were known by different names, such as Stabler 
{Baculares, Stablarii\ because they taught that a Christian 
should not bear arms, but defend himself 
merely with a staff ; Clanucalarii^ because 
they refused to publish any creed ; Garten- 
briider {Hortularii), because they held their 
assemblies in the open fields or woods ; 
Heftier or Kiidpfler^ because they eschewed 
buttons as a luxury,^** and substituted hooks 
and eyes on their clothing, — a peculiarity ^""^ °'' 2^"=>=*"- 
still prevalent among one branch of the Mennonite Breth- 
ren in Pennsylvania, locally known as " Hookers." 

Glancing over the subsequent history of the Anabaptists, 
during the next two centuries, and casting the veil of 
charity over the frightful excesses of the Knipperdolling 
episode at Minister, we find a slow but gradual spread of 
the faith over Europe, in spite of the efforts made by the 
civil and ecclesiastical authorities to crush the various con- 

^- In some parts of South Germany and the Rhine Palatinate rows of 
silver and metal buttons were used on men's vests and coats, as a matter 
of ornament. This is still the case among some of the German peasan- 
try. The Baptist movement was against this excessive use of buttons as 
an adornment. Plain dress, similar to the Quaker garb, was adopted at 
an early day as a sign of the renunciation of this world's vanities. The 
use of hooks and eyes on the male garb was confined to such localities 
where the use of buttons was what may be called a national feature. 

88 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

gregations. A number of independent movements tended 
to keep the doctrine alive, chiefly in northern Germany, 
Holland and Switzerland. The most important of these is 
to be found in the history of Simon Menno and his fol- 
lowers. The Schwarzenau gathering in 1708 was but 
another of these independent movements. Its origin 
is more or less vague as to detail, from the fact that no 
regular records were kept in the early days of the move- 
ment, or if so, they were evidently lost or destroyed during 
the persecution instituted by the authorities, who drove 
the members from place to place. 

Fortunately Brother Timotheus"' of the Ephrata Com- 
munity (Alexander Mack the younger) made some attempt, 
after the death of his father, to gather and preserve what 
remained of the records and accounts of the original con- 
gregation. For this purpose he searched the remaining 
papers of his father and those of Peter Becker with the fol- 
lowing result. 

It appears there were originally eight persons "who met 
at Mack's house or mill at Schwarzenau for religious con- 
ference ; they were five men and three women : 

(i) George Grebi, from Hesse Cassel. 

(2) Lucas Vetter, from Hessenland. 

(3) Alexander Mack, from Schriesheim, between Mann- 
heim and Heidelberg in the Palatinate. 

(4) Andreas Bone, from Basel, in Switzerland. 

(5) Johannes Kipping, from Bariet, in Wiirtemberg. 

(6) Johanna Nothigerin or Bonisin (wife of Andreas 

(7) Anna Margretha Mack (wife of Alexander Mack). 

(8) Johanna Kippinger. 

This little company met together regularly to examine 
carefully and impartially the doctrines of the New Testa- 

" In some of his later writings he calls himself Br. Theopliilus. 
was also known as Br. Sander, the latter a corruption of Alexander. 

As by Scripture Ordained, 

90 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

ment, and to ascertain what are the obligations it imposes 
njDon professing Christians ; determining to lay aside all 
preconceived opinions and traditional observances. After 
a time, when they felt themselves spiritually prepared, it 
was determined to put their teachings into practice ; as 
Theophilus quaintly says : 

"As they were now prepared thereunto, so they went into 
the solitude in the morning. Even eight went out unto the 
water called Aeder. And the brother upon whom fell the 
lot baptized first the brother whom the congregation of 
Christ wanted baptized, and after he was baptized he im- 
mersed him who had baptized him and the remaining three 
brothers and three sisters ; and so all eight were baptized 
in the early morning hour. 

"This was accomplished in the above-named year, 1708. 
But of the month of the year, or the day of the month or 
the week, they have left no account." 

Two of the original members of the Schwarzenau con- 
congregation subsequently came to this province, and 
ended their days here, viz., Alexander Mack and Andreas 

jETURNiNG once more to our story, it was on the 
morning of Wednesday, December 25, 1723 
(Christmas Day), that a number of German set- 
tlers, who had located within the bounds of 
the German township, wended their way to- 
wards the humble weaver's shop where Conrad Beissel had 
served his apprenticeship, at the extreme end of the borough 
limits in what was known as Van Bebberstown. Histor}- 
has unfortunately failed to preserve for posterity the exact 
location of Becker's humble abode. This, however, is but 
of secondary importance. We know that it was in Van 
Bebber's township on the North Wales road. Tradition 
strongly points to the vicinity of the present church, where 
the earliest meetings were held. However, be this as it 

The Congregation of Brethren. 91 

may, upon the day in question the solemn scenes which 
took place on the Eder in Germany fifteen years before 
were to be repeated here in the western world, and the 
foundation laid for a new Christian denomination. The 
seed sown in Germany was to be transplanted into our 
virgin land, where it was destined to take root and flourish 
far beyond any expectation of the devout band on either 
the Eder or the Wissahickon. 

It was a typical winter's day, the air crisp and cold, the 
sky clear, the ground hard and frozen, with a thin covering 
of snow. Many were the sad memories of the Fatherland 
that came into the minds of these pilgrims in a far-off land, 
as they plodded over the frozen ground, separated, as it 
were, from both kin and church, they thought of the joy- 
ous Christmesse at home. 

The day was a well-chosen one for their object, — the 
fervent desire to organize a church home for themselves to 
found a new Christian sect in the New World. The series 
of devotional meetings held by Peter Becker and his helpers 
was. about to become the grain of seed which was to bring 
forth a mighty tree with wide-spreading root and branches. 
Their aim was to form a Gemeinde or commune of their 
own, — to give them the benefit of religious instruction and 
at the same time emancipate them from what Falkner 
calls " the melancholy, saturnine Quaker spirit" v/hich 
then prevailed in the Province. 

It was well nigh noon when the party assembled and devo- 
tional exercises were commenced. After these were over 
it was found that there were present seventeen persons who 
had been baptized in Europe, viz., Peter Becker, Johann 
Heinrich Traut, Jeremias Traut, Balser Traut, Heinrich 
Holzappel, Johannes Gumre, Stephan Koch, Jacob Koch, 
Johannes Hildebrand, Daniel Ritter, Georg Balser Gansz, 
Johannes Preisz,'" Johannes Kampfer, Magdalena Traut, 

' According to Isaac N. Urner, Esq. , Johannes Preisz was a son of 


The German Sectarians of Pcn?isvlvania. 


The '■'■First Fruits." 93 

Anna Gumre, Maria Hildebrand, and Johanna Gansz. 
These persons proceeded formally to organize theihselves 
into a congregation, and constituted Peter Beckei their 

Six postulants now presented themselves and asked to be 
baptized as by Scripture ordained, and then received into 
fellowship, viz., Martin Urner, his wife Catherina Urner ; 
Heinrich Landes and his wife ; Friedrich Lang and Jan 
(Johannes) Mayle. Thus they became the first Anabaptists 
among the High Germans in America. In the church re- 
cords this band of converts is always referred to as the " First 
Fruits. " The immersion took place the same day. After 
a noonday meal had been served the party went in solemn 
procession down the old Indian trail, which led from the 
North Wales road to a ford on the Wissahickon, and thence 
beyond the ridge towards the Schuylkill. This trail, which 
long since has become a public highway, was known north 
of the township line successively as Morgan's and Trull- 
inger's lane, now Carpenter street. South of the dividing 
line the trail was successively known as Gorgas', Milner's 
Garseed's and Kitchen's lane. The course of the creek at 
this point makes a sharp turn and here comes nearest to Ger- 
mantown. The distance from Bebberstown, or the upper 
part of Germantown, to the Wis.sahickon is but a short one. 
The distance traversed by the party was about one and one- 
half miles ; it was a short journey for the sturdy Germans 
of that day. The objective point of the party was a level 
bank, or strip of land on the estate of Johannes Gumre, 
adjacent to the creek, where easy access could be had to 
flowing water. The ravine of the Wissahickon is a rugged 
one, with towering rocks upon either bank, making the 
shore inaccessible, except in a few places. 

Jacob Preisz, who came from Prussia to America in 1719. The family- 
first settled at Indian creek, Montgomery county, Pa. In later years the 
above-named Johannes and his children became prominent among the 
Coventry Brethren. 

94 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The strip of land in question is about two hundred yards 
north of Kitchen's lane. There the recession of the rocky 
ravine forms a space large enough to accommodate quite a 
respectable number of people. While the rocks are covered 
with evergreens, the alluvial soil on the bank has fostered 
the growth of the catalpa and other deciduous forest trees. 
In former days, at the time of the scene we are now describ- 
ing, when the country was as yet covered with a fine forest 
growth, a rivulet broke over the rocky wall in the back- 
ground and formed a picturesque waterfall as it leaped from 
rock to crag in its wild flight down to the bottom of the 

When the party reached the banks of the Wissahickon the 
afternoon was already well advanced, so little time was lost. 
After a fervent invocation to the throne of grace and the 
reading of a passage from Luke xiv, the newly constituted 
elder entered the water through the thin ice leading by the 
hand the first candidate. This was Martin Urner,'' a native 
of Alsace, who had been brought up in the Reformed faith, 
and who, together with his two brothers, for a short time 
had been members of the Hermits on the Ridge. 

The scene was 4/^,^i3b!^v ^ solemn one. The 

small procession ^^^ gt ^^^ » °^^ their way to 
the creek was rein ^ ^^^M^^ ^¥4 forced by some of 
the Hermits from ^ '^r^^«^P* S^ '•^^ heights on the 
other side of the W('*t3fEy'*l| uftt , i^ stream, and some 
others who were '^A^MJEH^fisfe^!^ attracted out of 
curiosity, so that ^^Ski>|S^s|il^r ^^ ^'^^ time the 
party arrived at enrlrAv' ^^ banks of the 

frozen stream the ^^^r company was quite 

a goodly one — wit A"*"^ °'' canton uri. uesses who were to 
assist by their presence at what was to be the foimding of 
a new Christian denomination in America. 

" The Urner family is said to have belonged to the Canton of Uri in 
Switzerland, as the name unmistakably shows. l^ide flistory of the 
Coventry Church, bj' Isaac N. Urner, LL.D., Phila., 1898, p. 30. 

The Baptism in the Wissahickon. 95 

Clear above the sound of the rushing waters and the 
rustle of leafless branches rose the solemn German invoca- 
tion and the singing of the baptismal hymn composed by 
Alexander Mack, Ueberschlag die Kost, Spricht Jesu Christy 
wann dii den Griind wilt legcn}'^ Numerous as had been 
the mystic rites and occult incantations held on the rugged 
ravine and valley of this stream since the gentle Kelpius 
and his band settled there thirty years before, none were 
more fervent or brought so great and lasting results as this 
solemn rite upon the narrow strip of rock-bound land on 
the shore of the Wissahickon. There stood the adminis- 
trator deep in the cold water, before him knelt the rugged 
Alsatian, thrice was he immersed under the icy flood. As 
he arose the last time the Scgenspruch was pronounced and 
Martin Urner once more entered the material world to 
become a factor in the religious development of his adopted 
country. His wife, Catharina Reist, was the next candi- 
date, followed by the other four persons, the same scenes 
being repeated in each case. 

*ONG before the solemn rite was ended the 
winter sun was well down over the Schuylkill 
hills and the sky covered with leaden clouds. 
, The party now proceeded to the house of Johan- 
nes Gumre where dry clothing was provided. 
In the evening a love-feast was held, the rite of foot- 
washing was observed, at which the newly constituted elder 
officiated as a token of his humility. This was followed 
by the breaking of the bread and the administration of the 
Holy Communion, and was partaken of by the seventeen 
constituents and the six newly baptised converts, making 
twenty-three members in all. 

Thus was perfected the organization of the first " Con- 
gregation of the Brethren in America." 

" "Count the cost, says Jesus Christ, when the foundations thou 
wouldst lay." 

96 The German Sectariafis of Pennsylvania. 

As the party separated two bright lights were seen in the 
distance, and attracted attention as the flames leaped high 
up in the winter air far above the tree-tops. One of these 
fires was some distance down the creek ; the other, almost 
opposite Gumre's honse, upon the high ground where now 
rises the tall spire of the Roxboro Baptist church. At first 
it was feared that some house or stable was on fire. But 
when the party crossed the stream and climbed up the hill, 
it was soon found that the flames were nothing but the 
lighting of the sacred fires of the winter solstice, typifying 
the growing power of the sun which set in upon this day. 
This was according to an old Saxon custom, perhaps con- 
nected with the older Mithraic cult. It is a custom which, 
with some modifications, has came down to the present day, 
and is perpetuated in the Christmas tree with its burning 

The two fires were lit with certain mystic rites by the 
remaining Hermits on the Ridge twice every year as the 
two natal days came.^ The difference in their observance 
was that, while the fires upon the night of December 25th 
were built so that the flame shot high up in the air, those 
upon St. John's Day, June 24th, were built to burn low, 
and when well ablaze were scattered down the hillsides. 
The rite opposite Gumre's was observed by Johann Selig ^* 
and his companions, while the fire further down the stream 
was the tribute of Conrad MatthJii and other Hermits, 
who had assisted at the baptism in the afternoon, and 
who now lit the sacred fire upon the the highest bluff near 
their cabins. This was not only typical of the coming 
spring, but was also an omen for the new sect of Chris- 
tians, who had organized but a few hours before nightfall 
on the banks of their beloved stream, — the Wissahickon. 

" Vide German Pietists, p. 34. 

"Johann Selig was then living in a cabin on the Wigert Levering 
plantation, east of the present Baptist church. 

Missive to Germany. 97 

The proceedings just recited naturally created considera- 
ble stir among the German people in the neighborhood, — 
a condition of which Peter Becker did not fail to avail 
himself. The winter, however, proved to be an exceed- 
ingly hard and stormy one, and the meetings were discon- 
tinued until spring. They were resumed early in May, 
and continued with great success. Efforts were also made 
to reach and influence the youth and to educate them in 
matters spiritual. Many were attracted to the services 
and "taught to walk in the fear of the Lord and to love 
the Brethren." As the fame of this awakening spread 
abroad there was such an increase of attendance that no 
room could be found large enough to accommodate the 
worshipers ; so, whenever the weather permitted, the as- 
sembly was held in the open air. 

During the summer love-feasts were held, and many felt im- 
pelled to join the congregation. The Chronicon Ephratense 
further tells us : " Under these circumstances they deemed it 
well to make a detailed report of this new awakening to their 
brethren in Germany. Therefore they prepared in common 
a writing addressed to them, in which they informed them 
that they had become re-united in Pennsylvania, and that 
hereupon a great awakening had resulted in the land, which 
was still daily increasing ; that of the awakened, several had 
joined their communion, to which they had to consent, as 
they dared not withstand the counsels of God." 

One of the results of these communications was that Alex- 
ander Mack, his family and others of the original Schwar- 
zenau congregation, eventually emigrated to Pennsylvania. 

It may be well to state at this time that the romantic 
spot on the Wissahickon where the first baptism was held 
by the German Baptist Brethren has now been restored to 
almost the same primitive condition as it was upon that 
memorable Christmas Day in 1723. 

The only material change that the spot underwent in 

98 The Cermnii Srctariaus of Pennsyli'ania. 

the course of years was when the first Gorgas, after his 
purchase from the younger Gunire, built a dam across the 
creek for his mill-seat. The breast of the dam and the 
head of the mill-race were at this spot. The building of 
the dam deepened the water for some distance up the 
stream, and covered the low sloping bank at the shore. 
This, however, did not deter the German Baptists of Ger- 
mantown from holding their successiv'e baptisms at this 
now historic spot. So usual did this custom become, that 
upon nearly all the old township and local maps the spot 
is noted as the Baptistrion or Baptistrj'.^' 

Within the past two years the Park Commission of Phil- 
adelphia has acquired title to such portion of the old Gumre 
tract as borders on the Wissahickon, and the historic spot 
is now within the Park limits. When the old mill was 
removed by the Park Commissioners, the dam-breast was 
also opened, and the creek now, after the lapse of many 
years, again flows free and unharnessed as it did when 
Peter Becker entered the water with his first converts. 

A visit to the spot will show at a glance how appropriate 
was the selection, and suitable it was for the practice of a 
solemn religious rite. Secluded and romantic, it seems to 
be hidden from the material world and its allurements. 
Shaded with a growth of forest with a circular rocky wall 
in the background, the rapid stream is as clear as crystal, 
when not clouded by a sudden rain, while the opposite 
bank, towering high above it, is still clad with its original 
covering of pine and hemlock. A more quiet and restful 
spot can hardly be pictured ; even now, though within 
Park limits and just opposite to the Wissahickon drive, 
with its constant stream of horses and bicycles, the peace- 
ful silence of the old Baptistry is only broken by the rip- 
pling of the creek, the rustle of the leaves, or the shrill 
note of a feathered songster as he calls to his mate. 

'^ Vide map on page 92 supra. 

TJie Pilgrimage to Cozientry. 99 

sEFORK the summer of 1724 was over a new cru- 
sade was projected, being intended to reach 
the Germans in outlying districts, where some 
of the original members and " First Fruits " 
had gone to get cheaper or more fertile 
lands. For this purpose a company was organized, under 
the leadership of Elder Peter Becker, to go on an extended 
pilgrimage, which was to include the Pequea and Cones- 
toga valleys. The party, consisting of fourteen persons, 
and of whom seven were mounted, journeyed forth from 
Germantown on Wednesday, October 23, 1725. A strange 
sight it was, as these devout enthusiasts, part on horseback 
and part on foot, started out upon the highway, then hardly 
worthy of the name of a road, towards the Perkiomen. 

The first stop was made in the beautiful Skippach 
valley, where a number of Germans had settled. Here 
several meetings were held with much success ; thence 
they went northward, crossed the Perkiomen and continued 
on through Providence to Falkner swamp, where a halt 
was made at the house of one Albertus, who, it appears, 
was in communion with the party. Here revival meetings 
were held, which closed with a Liebesmahl in the evening, 
followed by the breaking of the bread ; thence they jour- 
neyed to Oley, in Berks county, near Douglassville, where 
similar work was done with the same results. From Oley 
the party went southward and crossed the Schuylkill, go- 
ing direct to the house of Martin Urner, one of the " P'irst 
Fruits," who, since his baptism, had permanently settled 
in Coventry,^^ Chester county, immediately opposite the 
present town of Pottstown. 

Martin Urner, from the time he came to Coventry, ex- 

'" It appears that Martin Urner had purchased four hundred and fifty 
acres of land in Coventry township of the Penns as early as 1718, and the 
names of the three Urner brothers appear in the assessment lists of 
"Scoolkill," Chester county, as early as 1719-22. Vide history of the 
Coventry Brethren Church, by Isaac N. Urner, L,L. D., Phila., 1898. 

lOO The Cerynan Sectarians of Pennsyh'ania. 

horted his neighbors whenever opportunity offered, besides 
holding meetings at his own house on Sundays with more 
or less regularity. One of the results of his labors was 
that when Peter Becker and his party reached there they 
found two persons prepared for baptism in addition to the 
settlers who were ready to form a congregation. 

On the next day, Saturday, November 7, 1724, being the 
Scriptural Sabbath, a meeting was held in Urner's house, at 
which Elder Becker presided. The two candidates were 
baptized in the Schuylkill, and the ceremony was followed 
by the usual love-feast and bread-breaking in the evening. 

Upon this occasion was organized the Coventry Brethren 
Church, of which Martin Urner was made preacher. The 
following nine persons were the constituent members : 
Martin Urner, his wife, Catherine Reist Urner ; Daniel 
Eicher and wife, Henrich Landes and wife, Peter HoiBy, 
Owen Longacre (sic.) and Andrew Sell. 

From Coventry the revivalists journeyed towards the 
Conestoga country, as the western part of Chester county 
was then known. Upon leaving Urner's the party divided, 
the mounted men keeping to the road and passing the 
night of Monday, November 9th, at the house of Jacob 
Weber, who then lived in the Conestoga valley, evidently 
near the present Weberstown, in Leacock township. Those 
on foot took a shorter route, probably over the Welsh 
mountain, and stopped at the house of Johannes Graff. 
This was in Earl township, at what is now known as 
Graffsdale, at the lower end of Earl township. The 
original tract of 1419 acres was situated on Graff's run, a 
branch of the Miihlbach (Mill creek). Johannes Graff was 
the earliest and wealthiest settler in the vicinity. The 
foundation-stones of the cabin which he built in 17 18 are 
yet to be seen upon the property of a lineal de.scendant.^" 

" "The Three Earls," an historical sketch and proceedings of the jubilee held at New Holland, Pa., July 4, 1876, by Frank Ried 
Diflfenderfl'er, Esq. 

Revival in the Pequea Valley. loi 

The footmen passed the night under the hospitable roof 
of Johannes Graff, and on the next day journeyed to the 
house of Hans Rudolph Nagele, a Mennonite preacher, 
where both horse and footmen again united. Fortunately 
the exact situation of Nagele's house can now be definitely 
determined, by aid of the original surveys, as will be seen 
by the facsimile of this draft. 

'URING the day Peter Becker, Henrich Traut and several 
others visited Beissel and his companion at their cabin 
beside the Sclnvendenquelle to enlist their sympathy 
, and assistance in their own efforts toward an awaken- 
ing among the Germans in the Conestoga countr}'. 
The two recluses readily acceded to the wishes 
of Becker and his companions, and asstired them 
of their hearty support. 

The night was passed at the house of Stephen 
'Galliond. Early upon the next day, Wednesday, 
November nth, the party retraced their steps and 
journeyed towards the valley of the Pequea to bring 
about an awakening among the Mennonites, who had settled 
there, many of whom had become followers of the seductive 
Bauman and his noxious " Newborn " teaching. A large 
gathering was held at the house of Heinrich Hohn on 
Thursday, November I2th, at which Beissel was present. 

At this meeting, according to the old records, extraordi- 
nary revival powers were manifested. The evangelists 
spoke with such force concerning apostolic baptism and 
the Divine purpose concerning fallen man involved 
therein, that after the close of the meeting five persons 
felt convinced and applied for baptism. These candidates 
were Heinrich Hohn and his wiie, at whose house the re- 
vival was held ; Johann Maj'er and wife and Joseph SchJiffer. 
The party at once proceeded to the Pequea, and the ordi- 
nance was administered to them by Peter Becker. Before 
the rite was concluded, another person, Veronica Fried- 

I02 German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

richs, the wife of a local miller, presented herself as a can- 
didate and was accepted. During this service on the banks 
of the placid Peqiiea, much fervent spirit manifested itself 
among all present, and no one was more impressed than 
Conrad Beissel. He had felt for some time past that longer 
to withstand the ordinance of God was presumption. To 
overcome this craving and ease his conscience, Beissel, 
some time previous to this pilgrimage, attempted to baptise 
himself. This questionable act, however, failed to convince 
him, and the imcertainty of its efficacy left him in a very 
unenviable state of mind. Yet he considered his old master 
and the others present so far beneath him in every respect, 
that it would be too great a humiliation for his proud spirit 
to receive baptism at their hands. 

The stepping forth of Veronica Friedrichs, the fervent 

Thk Oldest known Repkesbntation of a Christian Baptism.'" 

prayers and pious ejaculations, all tended to increase the 
excitement of Beissel ; well may it be assumed that it 
reached a fever heat, and that his mental conflict was a 
fearful one. He, too, longed to enter the water and be 

" Original in crypt of St. Liicina in Cometerium of Callistiis, dating 
from the third century. 

Immersion of Beissel. 103 

plunged beneath the flood, and through it again enter the 
material world cleansed from all taint and sin. While he 
felt himself called to fulfill a mission to preach the Gospel 
among his fellow-men, yet his pride forbade him to humble 
himself, as he considered, to bow to his old master and 
receive the rite at his hands. 

While Veronica was being baptized the excitement rose 
still higher. Suddenly, in the very midst of the solemn 
rite, Beissel remembered how it was recorded in Scripture 
that even Christ had humbled himself to be baptized by so 
lowly a person as John. The scene on the banks of the 
Pequea upon that November day was certainly an impres- 
sive one ; religious enthusiasm was wrought to a high pitch 
and reached its culmination when Conrad Beissel announced 
his intention to be baptized in " apostolicwise," and impor- 
tuned Peter Becker to administer the rite. No preparations 
were made, but as Veronica Friedrichs was led up the slip- 
pery bank, Beissel humbly entered the freezing water and 
knelt before the elder who, 'after a short invocation, im- 
mersed the candidate thrice, face forward, under the cold 

The old record, commenting upon Beissel's baptism, 
states : " It was thus that Wisdom brought him into her 
net : he received the seed of his heavenly virginity at his 
first awakening ; but now a field was prepared for him in 
America into which he might sow this seed again." 

The scene of this baptism, Pequea creek, a typical Penn- 
sylvania mill-stream, has its source in Salisbury township, 
Lancaster county, and in West Cain township, Chester 
county, flows in a southwesterly course of about thirty 
miles, and empties into the Susquehanna river, dividing 
Leacock and Lampeter townships from Strasburg, and Con- 
estoga from Martic township. In its course it formerly 
furnished power for numerou.-! mills. 

If we except the immersion in the Wissahickon on the 

I04 The Gerfnaii Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

previous Christmas Day, this bai^tism in the Pequea was 
the most noteworty one in the history of the sect-people of 
Pennsylvania. While the former one laid the foundation 
of the Gennan Baptist Brethren church in America, the 
immersion of Beissel virtually created the first schism 
within that fold, from which may be traced the beginnings 
of the German Seventh-day Baptists in the Province : an 
organization which, though small in number, still exists in 
different parts of our State. 

After Peter Becker's work was finished, a procession was 
formed, and the party, amid the singing of a hymn, pro- 
ceeded to the house of Heinrich Hohn, where dry and warm 
garments were provided for the newly baptised, while the 
rest of the day was spent in edifying conversation. In the 
evening a Liebesmahl was given at the house of their host, 
at the close of which fervent supplications were again offered 
for the success of the new religious movement in the Con- 
estoga valley. 

Early on the next day, November 13th, the party went to 
Isaac Friedrich's house on Mill creek, where they attempted 
to hold a religious meeting. A disagreement, however, 
arose among the party, as some insisted upon returning 
home ; others, again, wanted to continue the evangelizing 
work. Among the latter was the elder, Peter Becker, who 
insisted on holding a religious meeting at the house of Sig- 
mund Landert on the coming Sunday. This meeting did 
not prove a success, either in power or in spirit. During the 
day the quarrels of the previous week were renewed. The 
first broke out among the women, and then Michael Wohl- 
farth and Simon Konig began to argue about the questions 
which had divided the Baptist congregation at Crefeldt. 

After peace was restored, Sigmund Landert and his wife 
asked to be baptized and received into communion. Peter 
Becker, before he would grant their request, spoke as 
follows : 

Return of the Pilgrims. 105 

" These two persons have applied to us for baptism ; but 
" as they are unknown to us in their walk and conversa- 
" tion, we make this announcement of the fact to all men 
"here present, especially to their neighbours. If you can 
"bear favorable witness concerning their lives, it is well, 
" and we can baptize them with the greater assurance ; 
" but if you have any complaints to bring against them, 
"we will not do it." 

But even this baptism failed to prove a success. The 
pool selected was a small dam in a tributary of Mill creek, 
within the bounds of the farm of the candidates. Here, it 
appears, that the water was shallow, stagnant and muddy, 
and after the immersion the two candidates were in so 
filthy a plight that they had to be washed off. Before the 
Germantown pilgrims finally departed for home, they con- 
sulted with the newly baptized converts from the Cones- 
toga and Pequea valleys, and told them that henceforth 
they would have to shift for themselves and arrange their 
own affairs according to their circumstances and ability, 
without expecting any help from the parent stem at Ger- 

The kiss of peace and charity was then given and passed, 
and the pilgrims, on November 14th, started upon their 
homeward journey east of the Schuylkill. 

The new converts were not slow in acting upon the sug- 
gestions of Peter Becker to arrange their own affairs ; the 
twelve persons, six brothers and six sisters, proceeded 
forthwith to form themselves into a regular Baptist con- 
gregation. This became known as the Conestoga Church 
or Gemeinde. It consisted of Conrad Beissel, Joseph 
Schaffer, Johannes Meyer, Henrich Hohn, Sigmund Lan- 
dert and Jonadab ; Sisters Migtonia, Christina, Veronica 
[Friedrichs], Maria, Elizabeth and Franzina. Beissel was 
by common consent acknowledged as the leader of the 
new congregation. He accepted the charge and promised 

io6 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Order of the Love-feast. 107 

henceforth to emulate Christ and live a holy and godly 

It may be well at this point to define what is meant by 
a love-feast or Liebesmahl among the German Baptist 
Brethren, as it differs materially from what is understood 
by a love-feast among other denominations. With the 
Moravians and others it is a symbolical service, at which 
coffee or chocolate and a small cake or bunn are served in 
church during the singing of hymns and the reading of 
suitable selections from Scripture. With the Brethren the 
love-feast is patterned after that of the early Christian 
church, being a regular full meal, partaken in silence be- 
fore the communion, similar to the supper eaten by Christ 
and the Apostles, and it serves as an introduction to the 
more solemn part of the evening's service. 


i^HE order of the love-feast, as observed at the 
present time in the Brethren church, differs 
but little from the service instituted by Peter 
Becker. It is as follows : 
Upon the day set for the observance preparatory ser- 
vices are held during the afternoon. If there are candi- 
dates for baptism present the service is usually held after 
the administration of the ordinance. This is what is known 
as a "self-examination" service, where is read i Cor. xi, 
special stress being laid upon verses 27, 28, etc. In the even- 
ing the services are opened by prayer and congregational 
singing. The members seat themselves at tables, the sexes 
separate ; all men (brothers) on one side, with heads un- 
covered, women (sisters) on the other side with heads 
bedecked with the prayer covering, usually a neat lace cap 
with strings tied beneath the chin. At large gatherings 
separate tables are arranged for the sexes at opposite sides 
of the room or Saal. 

io8 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

When all are properly seated, the elder present designates 
some one to read John xiii, and comment upon it. The 
men and women then turn on the benches, so that they sit 
back to back, with the table between them. The ceremony 
of feet washing is then performed, each sex attending to 
themselves, the act being performed separately but simul- 
taneously, accompanied by the singing of appropriate 

The present writer has witnessed the obser\-ance of this 
service in two ways, viz.: where it was performed by the 
elder on the male side and by the oldest sister on the female 
side. In the other method, which is the recognized custom 
and rule with the Brethren meeting in the old church at 
Germantown, the elder merely washes the feet of the first 
brother on the right, who in turn did the same for his 
neighbor, and so on until the ser^'ice was performed. The 
same was done on the women's side. The commencement 
in both methods was the same. Small tubs of tepid water 
were brought into the Saal for the use of each sex. The 
elder and eldest sister then proceeded to gird themselves 
with a large linen towel or apron, using this to dry the 
feet of the worshipers after the ablution. As the worshiper's 
feet are dried hands are shaken and the kiss of love and 
charity is given. This service is a solemn ceremony insti- 
tuted by Christ as a token of humility, and upon that 
account is scrupulously adhered to by the Brethren. 

When the pedelavium is completed, the members, having 
resumed the covering of their feet, face inwards on the 
benches, and the evening meal or love-feast is brought on 
the table. 

This consists of a full meal. The viands of which are 
varied according to the custom of the congregation ; at 
some places a large mug of coffee and wheat biscuits are 
ser\-ed ; at others, chiefly in the rural districts, lamb soup 
is the chief dish for the repast of the Brethren, while bread 

Breaking of the Bread. 109 

and apple butter are served the strangers and visitors. A 
blessing is invoked upon the meal, which is then eaten in 
absolute silence, the partakers, solemnly looking forward 
by faith to the time when Christ shall come again to serve 
us. When all have eaten, thanks are returned. After this 
comes the passing of the salutation of the holy kiss. When 
all have received and passed it, the communion emblems 
are brought forward and uncovered. This service com- 
mences with the reading of John xix, to call to mind the 
passion of Jesus. Then follows the breaking of the bread, 
which is unleavened and baked so that it may be broken 
into strips ; and as the members stand at the table the 
blessing of Almighty God is invoked upon the emblem. 

A strip of bread is then passed to both sexes, with this 
difference : As the pieces are handed from man to man, 
each brother breaks off a morsel for the one next to him, 
and repeats, " Beloved brother, this bread which we break 
is the communion of the body of Christ." For the sisters, 
on the other hand, the elder breaks a piece for each woman, 
and as he hands it to her repeats the above sentence, sub- 
stituting the word "sister" for "brother." This differ- 
ence in the administration of the Sacrament is parti)- 
founded upon the belief that, as the weaker sex had no 
part in the breaking of Christ's body, so even now they 
should have no part in breaking the emblem which 
typifies it. 

When all are served the bread is eaten simultaneously 
and in silence. After the bread is partaken the cup with 
unfermented wine is taken up, and as the members stand 
it is carried to the Lord in prayer. The elder then passes 
the cup to the nearest brother, saying : " Beloved brother, 
this cup of the New Testament is the communion of the 
blood of Christ." The brother in turn passes it to his 
neighbor. The same rule is used in serving the sisters as 
in the distribution of the bread ; the elder passes the cup 

I lo The German Sectarians of Pentisv/vania. 

to each sister in turn, who returns it to him after she has 

Tlie versicles used are based upon i Cor. xv., 23-26. 

When all have communed, prayer is offered and the ser- 
vices closed with the singing of a hymn, according to Mark 
xiv, 26. 

In the obserA'ance of this service the German Seventh- 
day Baptists of the present day, at both Ephrata and Snow 
Hill, have of late years made a radical departure from the 
time-honored custom of their fathers. 

The ser\'ice as now administered is celebrated by candle- 
light as of old, but is opened with the reading of such parts 
of Scripture as bear upon the service of foot-washing. This 
act is then obserx'ed ; as in years gone by the elder or oldest 
brother girding himself and washing the feet of the brother 
to his right, who in turn does the same for his neighbor. 
When this service is finished, the bread is broken and the 
cup passed, after suitable selections of Holy Writ have 
been read. 

It will be observed that in this instance the meal has 
been abolished. This change was brought about by Elder 
Andrew Fahnstock, a former preacher, who served the 
congregation prior to 1863. A cold eolation is, however, 
almost in every instance prepared for such members as 
come from a distance. 

Border from the Kloster Copy-booi. 



OR some time previous to 
the occurrences narrated 
in the last chapter Beissel 
and Wohlfarth had made 
a practice of keeping the 
Sabbath or the Seventh 
Day at their cabin in the 
forest without, however, 
making any effort to pro- 
mulgate the doctrine- 
This was an important 
feature which was over, 
looked by Peter Becker 
and his party in the excitement incident to the great revival. 
But no sooner had the party returned to Germantown than 
the fear was expressed that Beissel might attempt to intro- 
duce his convictions as to the true Sabbath. To counteract 
any such movement it was proposed to send Johannes Kem- 
per, who was endowed with the gift of prayer, as superin- 
tendent of the Conestoga congregation. There is, however, 
no record to be found that this proposition was carried into 
execution. The Sabbath question, together with Beissel's 
future course, gave the Germantown congregation much con- 
cern, and Elder Becker was publicly charged with having 
" left too much in the hands of the new converts." 

Notwithstanding these forbodings at Germantown, the 
meetings of the Conestoga congregation were held at 
regular intervals at the house of Simon Landert, and at all 
of them Conrad Beissel presided. After the baptism of 

112 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Beissel in the icy flood of the Peqiiea, a great change came 
over onr religious enthusiast ; he appeared to realize that 
a large measure of the spirit rested upon him. Our old 
chronicler states that " he conducted all meetings with 
astonishing strength of spirit, and used so little reflection 
over it that even in the beginning he was not suffered to 
use a Bible, so that the testimony in its deliver}' might 
not be weakened by written knowledge. He began his 
discourse with closed eyes before a large crowd of hearers, 
and when he opened his eyes again most of them were 
gone, not being able to endure the spirit's keenness. On 
such occasions wonderful mysteries of eternity were often 
revealed through him, of which he himself had before been 
ignorant ; but these were soon sealed up again, and then 
he would say : " The Spirit retires again into his secret 
chamber." He was a born orator, and could carry out a 
proposition to great lengths, especially if he had ration- 
alistic persons before him, for which his opponents blamed 
him very much. In his delivery, however, he was too fast, 
because he had to hurry after the spirit, when he often 
concerned himself but little about the rules of language. 

At one of the meetings at Sigmund Landert's during the 
month of December, the question was broached as to the 
advisability of obtaining a regular teacher, or, in other 
words: Who should be their spiritual leader? At this 
juncture Hans Mayer, a neighbor of Landert's, and one of 
the converts baptized on November 12, 1724, rose in the 
meeting, and pointing to Conrad Beissel, solemnly pro- 
claimed him to be the man-elect, chosen by God, to be 
their leader, and asked that he be accepted accordingly, — 
a proposition which was unanimously acceded to. Beissel, 
who again saw the hand of Providence in the direction of 
his course, accepted the trust and became their leader, or, 
as he modestly states, " the teacher of the new Bunkers on 
the Conestoga." According to the Chrom'con, "his ordina- 

The Cones toga Dunkers. 113 

tioii to tliis office he received from the same one who had 
bestowed it tipon Elijah, John the Baptist and other re- 
formers, who were awakened specially and directly to come 
to the help of a church fallen asunder." 

At either this or the following meeting a Liebesma/il was 
held, where the kiss of charity was passed, the bread broken 
and the rite of feet-washing observed, at all of which Con- 
rad Beissel officiated for the first time. From this time 
(December, 1724) the Conestoga congregation was a regular 
corporate body of the German Baptist Brethren. 

This wave of religious excitement among the German 
settlers in the Conestoga valley and adjacent countrj' in- 
creased rather than diminished during the winter. It was 
the season when farm work was out of the question, and 
the pioneer in these western wilds really had but two 
topics for thought or conversation during the long winter 
nights, — politics and religion. In the former the Germans 
were but little interested, as they had no part in the govern- 
ment, nor newspapers to advise them of legislative action. 
This left them with the single topic of religion, of which 
most of them knew even less than of the political questions 
of the day. Thus it was that new questions arose at almost 
every meeting. Many of these were based upon the true 
Sabbath, which was strictly observed by Beissel. These 
discussions caused some of the members to refer to the 
Scriptures and advance the argument, that if it was obliga- 
tory to obey Holy Writ in the question of the Sabbath, 
they must also conform in other matters, both ordained 
and forbidden. 

Several of these enthusiasts argued that if they were to 
emulate primitive Christians, who kept the Sabbath, they 
should also discriminate as to clean and unclean food. 
These extremists now proposed henceforth to eschew the 
use of pork, in which determination they were at first en- 
couraged by Beissel. 

114 "^^'^ (rcrman Sectarians of Peiinsylvania. 

As pork or Pokeljieisch (pickled salted meat, chiefly pork) 
was really the chief nitrogenous food of the early settlers 
during the winter season, this resolve led to some amusing 
experiences, and upon more than one occasion caused an 
involuntary fast upon the part of the devotees. 

jARLY in the year 1725, Beissel and several of the 
congregation went on a visit to the Baptists in 
Coventry and Germantown, thus returning the 
visit of the Becker party. Among the number 
from Conestoga were two of the brethren who 
had strictly determined to eschew unclean food as set forth 
by the Mosaic law. This led to no end of trouble during 
the trip, as the two men not only refused to partake of 
pork, but also absolutely objected to any food being pre- 
pared for them in any vessel in which pork had ever been 
kept or prepared. It was soon found that but few families 
had such culinary appliances as were absolutely free from 
any taint of the hog or his products. Others again refused 
to listen to the scruples of the two visionaries who, as a 
consequence, were doomed to fast while their companions 
regaled themselves with such viands as were set before 
them b}' the thrifty housewife. They then modified their 
objections so far as that, before such vessels were used, they 
were permitted thoroughly to scour and cleanse them after 
the manner of their own. 

These two brethren, whose names unfortunately have 
not come down to us, went to even greater extremes before 
they returned from this journey as they also raised scruples 
against geese. 

According to one account, their argviment was that as 
these animals supply man with feathers which are tised for 
his luxurious indulgence, the bird itself should be eschewed 
in every form by the true believer. 

The true reason, however, was that as in Jewish law the 
swan was classed among the unclean birds (Lev. xi, 17, 18), 

The Goose as an Unclean Bird. 115 

the goose, both wild and domestic, from its similarity to 
that bird, should also be rejected as food by the strict 
adherent to the law. 

How largely the goose entered into the domestic economy 
of the early Germans is shown by the following : To begin 
with, the feathers and down, which were plucked at regular 
intervals, furnished the bedding, and when sold were sup- 
posed to clothe the women. The eggs were a spring-time 
delicacy. Each egg was supposed to contain as much 
nutriment as a pound of beef. In the winter, after the 
goose had been crammed, it was prepared in different ways. 
One of the favorite methods was to boil it down in a spiced 
jelly {zitter gans). The giblets, feet and neck were used 
for soup-stock, while the abnormal liver was utilized for a 
tasty Christmas ^x^i^Ganse-Ieber pastete). Lastl)', the goose- 
grease {ganse/cit) was carefully preserved for its medicinal 
qualities. No housewife or mother would ever be without 
this panacea. No matter how sore the throat or bad the 
cold, an outward application of goose-grease was always 
depended upon to work a cure. 

Then again the great dish among the early Germans, 
upon high days and holidays, was a roast goose, usually 
stuffed with apples and chestnuts. This was roasted by hang- 
ing on a spit over live coals on the hearth, great care being 
over the wood used, as the meat was apt to partake of its flavor. 
This was a delicacy prepared only upon feast-days or upon 
special occasions, such as an official visitation. To refuse 
to partake of the dish was not only a great breach of civility, 
but was also taken as a mark of disrespect to the housewife. 

These peculiar actions of some of Beissel's party gave 
rise to the report that Beissel and his adherents were really 
attempting to revive Judaism. Owing to these unfavor- 
able impressions the party returned to the Conestoga with- 
out having accomplished anything of value to the Brethren. 

This attempt at Judaizing forms one of the strangest 

Ii6 The German Sectarians of PetDisvlc'onia. 

episodes in our early history, and, stranger yet, it was not 
brought about entirely by a search of the Scriptures upon 
the part of the settlers. 

Among the earliest settlers in the Tulpehocken country 
we find traces of Jewish Indian-traders, who had sojourned 
in the vicinity of the present SchafTertown, as far back as 
1720, to better drive their barter with the Indians. Whether 
they drifted down from New York or came by way of Phila- 
delphia is immaterial. Certain it is that they were here, 
prospered and eventually settled permanently in this val- 
ley. It is not supposed that any of these early pioneers 
had their families with them when they first came to these 
wilds, or that they were numerous enough to form a distinc- 
tive settlement or congregation. The presumption is against 
this theory : their object was to barter and trade for peltries, 
not to found a home and live by agricultural pursuits. 

That they were successful is shown by the fact that, as 
the settlers gradually increased in numbers, — coming down 
the Susquehanna from New York and overland from Phila- 
delphia, — we soon find traces of a few of these Jewish 
traders married and settled down. Whether they were 
married before they came here or took their wives from 
among the German settlers is an open question. It is cer- 
tain, however, that they strictly adhered to the ancient 
customs of their fathers. 

It was from intercourse with these Jewish traders, who 
adhered as strictly as they could to the requirements of 
their faith, that the Mosaic ceremonies and customs were 
derived and practiced by the Gennan settlers, whose reason 
was almost dethroned with religious excitement and vagaries. 
Some even went so far as to circumcise each other and 
blaspheme against Paul because he did away with that rite. 
The Ephrata chronicles quote several such cases, notably 
one A W , of Oley, and one D C . 

The result of this was that several German families in 

Synagogue at Schaffcrtown. 


the old township of Heidelberg actually returned to the 
old dispensation, and with these accessions quite a Jewish 
community was formed in Lancaster county. 

It was not long before a house of prayer was built by 
them for the worship of the great Jehovah : it was the first 
synagogue in the American desert. It was built on the 
old Indian trail leading from the Conestoga to the 
Swatara. The place where this synagogue stood — 
the first in Pennsylvania for many years — is still 
pointed out by old residents. It was a rude log-house, 
locally known as the Schiil; yet here the law was 
elevated and the shophar blown long before it was 
done in the chief town of the Province. 

Our view of the old post-road shows the 
site of the Schiil^ now occupied by a modern 
house. Tradition tells us that the ancient 
log-house in the foreground was formerly the 
OR Sacred Trumpet, homc of the Hazan OX reader, who in later 
years served the congregation, which at one time was the 
most distinctive and popu- 
lous one of the ancient 
faith in the Colonies. 

The claim that this Jew- 
ish congregation was re- 
cruited by proselytes from 
among the early settlers is 
strengthened by the fact 
that but few Jewish names 
— such as Isaac Miranda 
— appear among those of 
the settlers in the vicinity. 

Nor do either the Ephrata arms of the BtmLErFAMiLv as augmented 
records or those sent to ""^ ™'' ^""^^^"^ C"*'''-^^ v, may, .5a.. 
Holland by Boehm make reference to any number of Jews 
in the vicinity. The same is true of the Lutheran and 
Reformed reports ; they all, however, make reference to 

ii8 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the fact that Judaizing influences were rampant among the 
early settlers/' 

Then, again, a majority of names, whose owners are 
known to have been members of the congregation and rest 
upon the hill, were originally of the Reformed faith. 

How firm the hold of these Jewish customs became 
engrafted upon the early Germans in Pennsylvania is 
shown by the fact that traces of them still linger among 
us, as even down to the present day there are families in 
Berks, Lebanon and Lancaster counties who refuse to use 
milk in connection with meat dishes, such as frizzled 
chipped beef, etc., as they had learned from their parents 
or grand-parents that this was against Divine command. 
Another illustration was the practice of offering special 
supplications at the advent of each 
successive new light (new moon), 
traces of which may still occasion- 
ally be found in the rural commu- 
nities, and which, toward the close 
the third decade of the Eighteenth 
Century, culminated in the forma- 
tion of a distinctive sect, in the vici- 
nity of Ephrata, known as the " New 
Mooners," a full account of which is 
given in a subsequent chapter. 

This Judaizing movement in Pennsylvania was but a 
repetition of what had taken place upon a much larger 
scale in Germany, during the early days of the Reforma- 
tion, when a number of fanatics with their families went 
over to Judaism.^ For a time these influences and acces- 

Seal of David. 

" Vide Miihlenburg, Hallische Nachrichlen. 

*" There are still evidences of the above movement to be found in Ger- 
many, where families, who at that time returned to Judaism, have 
remained true to that ancient faith down to the present time. An inter- 
esting illustration is that of the Biihler (von Biihl) family, an old Prank- 
ish race, which at the time of the Reformation became Protestant. One 

Oldest Jewish Cemetery. 119 

sions increased to such an extent that three of the Rabbis 
ventured so far as to go to Luther and argue with him," 
and actually hoped to proselyte and carry him over with 
them and thus bring about the millennium by uniting all 
peoples under the old dispensation. 

Luther naturally opposed this movement in his own 
rugged way, and after taking the leaders as well as the 
Rabbis sharply to task, he published, in 1542, a pamphlet, 
which went through several editions, Concerning the Jews 
and their Lies. He requested the German nobility to take 
notice of these attempts at Judaizing and to suppress them. 

However, be this as it may, the German Jewish congrega- 
tion of Heidelberg township, in the absence of documentary 
information, will always remain one of the most interesting 
problems for the student of Pennsylvania-German history. 

Upon the high hill, about one-fourth of a mile south of 
Schafiferstown, is what remains of their burial-place ; it is 
the oldest Jewish cemetery in the State, and is now 
unfortunately almost obliterated., 

A revival was held at the house of Johannes Landes, early 
in May, 1725, upon which occasion Beissel for the first time 
publicly administered the ordinance of baptism. There 
were seven candidates, Hans Meyle and his wife, Johannes 
Landes and his wife, Rudolph Nagele and his wife, and 
Michael Wohlfarth, the fellow-mystic and companion of 
Beissel, who was the most important of the ntimber. 

branch, however, according to family traditions, during this agitation 
accepted Judaism, since which time the descendants have adhered strictly 
to that faith, and by intermarriage with others now show a strong pro- 
nounced Semitic type, while the other branch of the Biihler family, from 
which the writer and the Pennsylvania Biihlers are descended, and whose 
members remained true to the faith of the Reformation, show fair Saxon 
features. No representative of the Jewish branch of this family is known 
to the writer to be in this country. 

" See Lutheran Church Review, vol. xvii, p. 148 seq. ; also I\/artin 
Luther, the Hero of the Reformation, by Rev Henry Eyster Jacobs, D.D. 
(New York, 1898.) 

I20 The German Scclariaiis of Pennsylvania. 

^Immediately after their baptism, Wohlfarth, accom- 

^^ panied by Rudolph Nagele, started on a proselyting 

^^ tour throughout the country, mainly through Oley 

^^B and the country north of the Schuylkill, where the 

^1 revival of old Jewish and biblical ceremonies had 

H also received much consideration during the past 

^1 winter. This called forth a sharp rebuke from 

^B Beissel. It was a epistle to these few visionaries 

'^^^'in Oley wherein he counsels them to leave off their 

f folly. The efforts of the two evangelists awakened 

but few, as most of their hearers disregarded the message. 

A prominent German Baptist, known in the records as 

Brother Lamech, who had settled in the Conestoga valley, 

also joined the congregation about this time, and became a 

staunch supporter of Beissel. It was this same Lamech 

who kept the diary of the congregation, and later of the 

Ephrata Community, extracts of which were published and 

are known as the Chronicon Ephratettse. His proper name 

does not appear in any records known to the present writer, 

and he is one of the few prominent actors in our history 

whose identity has not been discovered. 

The Conestoga congregation increased rapid!)-, and in 
the spring of 1725 numbered twenty-two regular members. 
The growing demands of his flock now made it imperative 
that Beissel should be nearer to them. He, therefore, left 
his cabin at the SchtvcdenqucUc in charge of Stumpf, and 
went into a cabin which was erected for him on the land 
of Rudolph Nagele. The example of the leader was quickly 
followed by other members of the congregation, and in a few 
months the land in the vicinity of Nagele's house was dotted 
with the small log-cabins of persons who wished to live in 
closer communion with the new leader. The record states : 
" In this region wonderful influences came down upon him 
[Beissel] from eternity, of which the least ever became 

English Sabbatarians at French Creek. 121 

Beissel in his addresses now frequently introduced some of 
the mystic speculations of occult theosophy, which most of 
his simple-minded hearers failed to comprehend. The effect 
of this was that, while some of them deemed him inspired, 
others shook their heads sadly and thought him demented. 
Thus matters went on until it became imperative for him 
to sacrifice his beloved solitude and take up an abode among 
his people. 

The regular meetings were still held in the houses of dif- 
ferent members. No effort appears to have been made to 
build a separate house of worship for the uses of the con- 
gregation. At these house-services, the question of the 
Sabbath became more or less prominent as the time pro- 

This stimulus came from a source entirely distinct from 
the movement of Conrad Beissel. It was brought about 
by the English Sabbatarians who had settled on the borders 
of Conestoga and Coventry townships and there estab- 
lished a community of their own faith. It was about the 
same time as the German revival movement, which has just 
been described, that the English Sabbath-keepers in New- 
town, Providence, Easttown and Tredyffrin townships of 
Chester county became more or less restless, on account of 
persecutions from their more orthodox neighbors, and 
migrated to the upper end of the county, where they took 
up land at the falls of French creek in Nantmill township, 
and there founded a settlement and congregation, destined 
for years to be the largest and most influential body of 
Seventh-Day Baptists in the Province. Among the list of 
names of these early pioneers, who were mainly Welsh, 
are to be found quite a few who in later years appear in 
the Ephrata register, and whose remains await the general 
call in the old God's-acre at Ephrata. 

Following is a partial list of these early Sabbatarians : 
Owen Roberts, William Iddings [Hiddings], Richard, 

122 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Jeremiah, and John Piercell [Piersoll], John Williams, 
William David, Philip Roger [Rogers], Lewis David, 
Simon Meredith. 

Abel Noble," who is called the Apostle of Sabbatari- 
anism in Pennsylvania, made frequent visits to this set- 
tlement on the French creek, upon which occasions he ex- 
tended his visits to his old friends, Beissel and Wohlfarth, 
who in turn attended the meetings of the Sabbath-keepers in 
Nantmill. It was this intercourse which strengthened our 
mystics — Beissel and Wohlfarth — of the correctness of the 
doctrine of the Sabbath. Thomas Rutter, of Philadelphia, 
who had been baptized by Bernhard Koster^^ in 1697, also 
accompanied Noble on several of his visits to our two 
enthusiasts. The result was that Beissel and Wohlfarth 
eventually became the apostles of Sabbatarianism among 
the German-speaking population in the Province. 

The year 1725 passed without any special incident 
worthy of notice. The congregation continued to grow in 
numbers and influence, and the Chronicon states : " The 
Spirit awakened many free souls of both sexes, who began 
to strive for the knightly crown." Any amount of con- 
troversy was indulged in between the stronger members, 
mainly on the question of infant baptism and the Sabbath, 
but this merely added zest to the meetings without im- 
pairing their usefulness. 

During the year a number of immigrants arrived in the 
Province who in after years became identified with the 
Brethren movement in Pennsylvania. These persons were 
formerly attached to the Baptist congregation at Crefeldt, 

and among their number were Abraham Dubois, 

Luy {sic)^ the widow Becker and her children, and lastly 
the Eckerling family, consisting of the widow and four 
.stalwart sons, who were destined to prove, next to Beissel, 

*' Vide German Pietists, p. 126. 
*' Vide German Pietists, p. 275. 

Arrival of Palatines. 


the most prominent characters in the mystic Camp of the 
Solitary on the banks of the Cocalico. 

The first record we have for the year 1726 is the an- 

Type and Costumb of Early Palatines. 

nouncement that persons of both sexes flocked to hear 
Beissel. Among the fairer sex were two young women, — 
Anna and Maria Eicher, — who left their father's house and 
placed themselves under his guidance. This new departure 
caused much gossip throughout the community. To pre- 
vent any possible scandal the members built a cabin on 
Mill creek for the two sisters, who were the first to assume 

124 ^'''^ Gertnan Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

a solitary life, and they lived there under the care of 
Brother Lamech. 

The English congregation near the forks of French 
creek, in Nantmill, also increased in membership and im- 
portance. Early in the year 1728 they were joined by a 
number of seceders from the Great Valley Baptist Church. 
The leading persons in this migration were : Philip Davis, 
Lewis Williams, Richard Edwards, Griffy (Griffith) Grif- 
fiths and William James. Further accessions followed, 
and the Nantmill congregation became numerically the 
strongest in the Province. The intercourse between the 
Germans in the Conestoga valley, who were inclined 
towards keeping the Seventh-day, and their English- 
speaking brethren in Nantmill, was cordial and intimate, 
and was the means of spreading the doctrine of the Sabbath 
still more among the Germans south of the Schuylkill. 

Ou Easter Sunday, 1726, a Liebesmahl was held at 
Nagele's, at which a controversy was started upon original 
sin and purgatory, or, as the account states, the judgments 
of God. Be this as it may, a heated discussion was indulged 
in, wherein Daniel Eicher and Heinrich Landes, from 
Schuylkill, and Hans Meyer took an active part. This 
controversy caused great trouble among the Brethren, and 
so affected Heinrich Landes that he soon after died. 

During the year 1726, Simon Konig, who will be re- 
membered as Beissel's companion across the ocean, had 
surveyed, for himself and two friends, 500 acres of land 
adjoining that of Hans Graff, so that they might be near 
the new congregation. It was bought from John Estaugh, 
attorney for the London Company." The tract was located 
in Leacock township, and was watered by Mill creek. 

" The tract of land in Lancaster belonging to the London Company, 
which was laid out about 1727, is described as containing 5571 acres. It 
extended from the northeast corner of Lancaster Town eastward across 
both Conestoga and Mill creeks. 

An Old Survey. 


Copy OF Taylor's original plan showing 50-ACRK tract survkve 

FOR Christopher Saukr, in Mill creek valley, Lancaster county. 

(Original in collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.) 

126 The German Sectarians of Pennsyh'ania. 

Konig at once proceeded to divide his land, as is shown by 
the original survey, which is still in existence." Two 
hundred acres went to Jno. Childs, of whom we have no 
record. Johannes Hildebrand, a Baptist from German- 
town, got i68^ acres. Konig retained eighty-three acres. 
The remaining fifty were sold to a German tailor who 
came to this Province in the fall of 1724, and who, after 
failing to obtain any encouragement at his trade in Ger- 
mantown, .bought a small farm from Simon Konig and 
resigned himself to agricultural pursuits. 

The name of this humble settler, who came here to the 
Z/J ^ ^t»:*^^^ > Conestoga valley with 

j/^j" ' ^^ (^ . his wife and five-year- 

Q-^r^ ^'"'^^ old son, was Christopher 
" Sauer, who, though un- 

known to fame at this time, was destined to become a 
prominent character in both the political and religious 
sphere of the Germans in Pennsylvania. 

His sojourn in the Conestoga valley was undoubtedly 
the turning-point of his career. It was due to his inter- 
course with Conrad Beissel and his associates that this 
humble journeyman tailor from Laasphe, in Wittgenstein, 
became the first German printer in America, and through 
his press wielded an influence among the Sectarians in 
the Province greater than that of any other person or 

He also has the credit of being the second person who 
made an attempt to publish a German newspaper in 
America, and the first to be printed with German type and 
prove a permanent success. Such parts of his history as 
come within the scope of this our narrative will often read 
more like a romance than reality. 

Hildebrand, Konig and Sauer, who settled on their plan- 

** A facsimile is shown on page 125. 

Revival Services. 127 

tations during the summer, proved a valuable accession, 
not only to their countrymen in the Conestoga valley, 
but to the Baptist congregation as well. All were Sep- 
aratists from Germany, and the differences and discussions 
which arose among them in this country tended to in- 
tensify, if possible, their feelings toward the orthodox forms 
of worship. This was especially the case with Sauer. Of 
the three men, Hildebrand, who was a man of more 
than ordinary education, character and mental strength, 
was perhaps the most important and influential, and as he 
had been somewhat of a leader among the Baptists in Ger- 
mantown, he forthwith assumed an active part in the 
direction of the Conestoga congregation. 

Revival services were held at his house during the fall 
and winter, and culminated in a love-feast on Christmas 
Day, to which the whole commirnity were invited. During 
the afternoon a baptism was held, when six persons, — three 
brothers and three sisters, — were immersed by Beissel in 
the icy waters of Mill creek. Among the number were the 
sisters Anna and Maria Eicher, the two maidens who had 
left their home and settled on Mill creek to live a life of 
seclusion and prayer. An apparently well-founded tradi- 
tion states that on this occasion Christopher Sauer's wife, 
Maria Christina, was also numbered among the converts 
who received baptism at the hands of Conrad Beissel. 

The year 1727 dawned propitiously and witnessed an in- 
crease of membership. There is, however, but little to 
relate. New differences seemed to arise at almost every 
revival meeting, but still the work of evangelizing went on. 
The intercourse with the English Sabbatarian Baptists had 
its natural effect of leading many of the Germans toward 
that doctrine, and led to far-reaching results. 

The most important event of the year was undoubtedly 
the meeting held on Whitsunday (May 21, 1727) at the 
house of Martin Urner at Coventry, which all the congre- 

128 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

gations within the Province were invited to attend. This 
was really the first general meeting or conference of the 
Brethren Church held in America, and was evidently 
largely attended. In the absence of Elder Becker, who 
was detained by sickness, Conrad Beissel was obliged to 

PON this occasion great enthusiasm was mani- 
V/I^ifr ^^^ f ested. The multitude was exhorted by Beis- 
sel, Hildebrand, Wohlfarth and other reviv- 
alists. Deep impressions were made upon 
the hearers, and many were converted. Ac- 
cording to the Chronicon : " On this occasion quite extra- 
ordinary powers of eternity manifested themselves, such as 
were never known before or after, so that it was called the 
congregation's Pentecost." In the afternoon eleven con- 
verts were immersed in the Schuylkill by Beissel. This 
was followed in the evening with a love-feast and breaking 
of bread. The meetings were continued during the next 
day (Pfingst-Montag') with equal success. 

This revival, the most important one thus far held in the 
Province, is noteworthy for two special features. First, it 
was upon this occasion that Beissel first proved his great 
power as an exhorter and independent religious leader. It 
was here that the Germantown Brethren commenced to 
realize that Beissel was far stronger as a leader than Elder 
Peter Becker, and would soon dispute with him the leader- 
ship of the Brethren. The other feature was the introduc- 
tion of antiphonal or choral singing into the services of the 
simple worship of the Brethren. Here was the inception 
of the music and hymnology which, fostered by Conrad 
Beissel, proved in after years so important a feature in the 
Ephrata Community as to attract the attention of the 
musical critics of the Old World. Our record states : 
" The singing was pentecostal and heavenly ; yea, some 
declared that they heard angel voices mingling with it." 


Chrislian Confession of the Men)ionites. 129 

But the chronicler naively adds : " Of which tlie reader has 
liberty to judge for himself." However, the hyninology 
of both the Brethren and Sabbatarians dates from this 
meeting and developed rapidly in the Western World, 
where it now numbers hundreds of hymns and melodies. 

The religious activity among the German settlers at this 
eventful period was not confined alone to the German 
Baptists. Strenuous efforts were being made by those of 
the Orthodox faiths to obtain regular pastors from Ger- 
many. Even the Mennonites — recognizing the new con- 
dition of things in the Province and the necessity for 
providing for the coming generations and to spread their 
peculiar doctrines among their English-speaking neigh- 
bors — had printed an English translation of their con- 
fession of faith. A collation of this title reads : 

" THE I CHRISTIAN \ Confession \ Of the Faith of 
the harmless \ Christians^ in the Ne \ therlands^ known by 
I the name of Mennotiites. | Amsterdain \ Printed^ and Re- 
printed and Sold by | Andrew Bradford in Philadelphia, 
I in the year i'j2'].'''' 

Collation : Title, i leaf ; Preface, pp. (2) ; Confession, 
pp. 5-40. i6mo. 

This book was supplemented by another, somewhat of a 
historical nature, of 44 pages, under following title : 

"^« — Appendix \ to the \ Confession of Faith | Of the 
Christians, called, \ Mennonists. \ Giving \ A short and 
full Account of them ; because | of the Immagination of the 
Newness of \ our Religion, the Weapon and Revenge \ less 
Christendom, ajid its beifig. | Published formerly in Low- 
Dutch, and translated | ojit of the same into High-Dutch, 
and 02it I of that into the English Language, 172^ \ Phila- 
delphia : Printed by Andrezv Bradford in the Year \ 77^7." 

Upon the reverse of the title page appears the curious 
note : 

130 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 



Of the Faith of the harmlef^ 
Chrifiianfy in the J^e- 
t her lands J known by 
the name of 



Printed, and Rc-prinred and Sold by 

Andrew Bradford in Fhdadel^hia, 

Mk the Year, 1727. 

Title-pace of Mennonite Confession. 
(Original in Historical Society of Pennsylvania.) 

A Curious Book. 131 





Of the Chriftians, railed, 



A flion and full Account of them ; becaufc 
of the Immagination of the Ncwnefs of 
our Religion, the Weapon and Rcvenge- 
lefs Chriitcndom, and.iui beiing. 

Formerly in the Low-Dutch^ and tranflarcJ 
put of the fame into Htgh-Duub, and out 
of that into the Engli^i Language, ijajT. 


Printed by Aaircw Bradford^ in the Yeaiv 


GE TO Short History of the Mhnnonites, printed by Bradford, 1727. 
(Original in Historical Society of Pennsylvania.) 

132 The Crtrmau Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

" We lovingly desire thee, not to look so much on the 
" meanness of the wording of this little Book ; because we 
"are of Dutch Extraction, and therefore willingly will 
" own, that we are not exquisete in the English Language ; 
" but to look on the Grounds and Truths therein : And 
"also kindly desire thee to Read the Same without Parti- 
" ality ; and consider the Exhortation of the Apostle Paul, 
" I Thes. 5.21. Prove all things, hold fast that which is 

At the end of the book is printed the statement : 
" We the hereunder written Servants of the Word of 
"God, and Elders in the Congregation of the People 
"called, Metifwnists^ in the Province of Pennsylvania, do 
"acknowledge, and herewith make known. That we do 
" own the afore-going Confession, Appendix and Menno's 
" Excusation, to be according to Our Opinion ; and also, 
" have took the same to be wholly ours. In Testimony 
" whereof, and that we believe the same to be good, we 
" have hereunto Subscribed our Names. 


"Jacob Gaedtschalck "Hans Burgholtzer 

" Henry Kolb " Christian Heer 

"Martin Kolb "Benedict Hirchi 

" Claes Jansen " Martin Bear 

"Michael Ziegler "Johannes Bowman 


" John Gorgas " Velte Clemer 

"John Conerads " manatanv 

" Glaes Rittinghausen " Daniel Langenecker 
" Jacob Beghtly. 
The two books were issued in separate form, as well as 
bound in one. They are now extremely rare and afford us 
a valuable insight to what straights our German ancestors 
were placed to set themselves in the proper light before 

Lord''s Day or Sabbath. 133 

the community. The special object of the Mennonites in 
publishing these books in the English language was to 
show the Quakers that they were in accord with them as a 
peaceful body of Christians. Further, that they had no 
affiliation with the other sects, which were then organizing 
active revivals throughout the three counties. A fac-simile 
of the title-pages of these extremely rare books are given 
upon opposite pages (130, 131). 

At this time (1727) the chief question which agitated 
the leaders of the Conestoga congregation was that in 
reference to the Sabbath. A movement by which they 
antagonized the Mennonites, as well as those of the Ortho- 
dox faiths. While Beissel, Wohlfarth and several others 
adhered strictly to the Sabbath, others decided in favor of 
the Lord's Day, while some favored the observance of both 
days. Among the latter was Johannes Hildebrand, who 
held that Christians should remain passive on the Sabbath, 
abstaining from all labor and communing with God in 
spirit. Upon the L,ord's Day the public religious services 
should be held. These propositions did not meet with 
the approval of Beissel and his adherents, and eventually 
wrought a temporary rupture between the two leaders. 

Three months after the above occurrences (it was after 
the harvest was gathered, August, 1727) a grand visitation 
was made by the Germantown congregation to the Brethren 
of Conestoga. A series of general meetings was projected, 
to be held at the house of Heinrich Hohn, but they proved 
anything but harmonious. The disturbing circumstances 
were as follows : On the journey to Conestoga two of the 
Brethren, Stephen Koch and Heinrich Traut, went to see 
Stumpf, who, it will be remembered, occupied the cabin of 
Beissel at the Schtvedenqiielle. After the latter's departure 
Stumpf married his cousin, for which act he was disowned 
by the congregation. The two German revivalists, how- 
ever, extended to him the hand of fellowship and the kiss 

134 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

of charity, and urged him to accompany them to the meet- 
ing at Hohn's. Here Stnmpf, who was mentally unbal- 
anced, caused great excitement by imitating the action of 
various animals and shrieking amidst terrible contortions, 
and as he could not be pacified he had to be restrained. 

At the meeting upon the following day Beissel preached 
a sermon against the unrighteousness of Christians who 
kept persons in servitude, fortifying his statements with 
quotations from the New Testament. This was evidently 
aimed at Peter Becker, to whom Beissel had formerly in- 
dentured himself, and who, it appears, forced Beissel to 
indemnify him for some unexpired time before he would 
cancel the indenture. This berating so affected Peter 
Becker that he became sick and was taken to Hildebrand's 
house, where he remained for some time. 

The result of this meeting was to widen the breach 
already existing between the Germantown Baptists and 
the Conestoga congregation, which in turn divided itself 
into two factions : one under Beissel, who kept the Sab- 
bath ; the other, of such as adhered to the Lord's Day or 
Sunday, who acknowledged Johannes Hildebrand as their 
elder. Numerically the Sabbatarians were the stronger in 
the Conestoga congregation. Messengers or evangelists 
were now sent out by the Beisselianer, as they were called 
by their opponents, to the various German settlements to 
preach the doctrine of the Sabbath, — an aggressive course 
which had been decided by Beissel, and was at once put 
into execution. 

The most successful of these missions began in the fall of 
1727, and it extended from Falkner swamp to Oley. It 
was under the leadership of Michael Wohlfarth, assisted by 
three other brethren. So successful was this mission that 
Beissel was sent for to baptize the converts. The first 
immersion took place on March 8, 1728, when eleven can- 
didates were baptized, among whom was Andreas Frey, 

Baptism of Christopher Saner. 135 

■who was appointed elder of the new congregation. Five 
more were added toward the end of May. 

The year 1728 was designed to be an important one for 
the German Sabbatarian congregation, as it brought about 
a complete severance from the parent stem, and the founda- 
tion was laid for the future community of the Cocalico. 

Among the noteworthy occurrences was the conversion 
of one of the four Eckerling brothers, who in later years 
all became leading spirits in the Ephrata community. It 
was upon the advice of Michael Wohlfarth that the widow 
Eckerling sold her plantation at Germantown, and of Con- 
rad Matthai that two or three of the sturdy sons came 
to the Conestoga valley in August, 1727, where at least 
one of the brothers, Israel, hired himself to Christopher 
Saner as an ordinary farm hand. It was Sauer who first 
introduced the Eckerlings to Beissel and the meetings 
presided over by him. The result was that on the follow- 
ing Whitsunday (June 9, 1728) Israel Eckerling, his master, 
Christian Sauer, and Jacob Gass were baptized by Beissel 
and admitted into the congregation." An extended notice 
of the Eckerling family will be given in its proper place. 

The strict observance of the Sabbath amongst the con- 
gregation, together with the obedience to the command, 
" Six days shalt thou labor," soon led to some friction with 
the civil authorities, who were either English Quakers or 
Churchmen, and had little sympathy with the revivals or 
awakenings among the German population. The inter- 
course with the English Brethren on French creek and 
Newtown became more frequent, and Abel Noble, Thomas 

Rutter and Welsh were welcome visitors to 

Beissel's cabin on the Miihlbach. The tenets of the 
Seventh-day advocates were further spread by the use of 
that powerful aid of civilization, the printing-press. An 

*' Chronicon Ephratense, original edition, chap, vi, p. 34. 

136 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

extended account of this departure of Beissel will form the 
basis for the next chapter. 

During the year German emigration to the Province 
had assumed proportions so large as to again excite the 
fears of the government and cause Governor Gordon to 
appeal to the home authorities for protection against this 
influx of Palatines. The result of this appeal was made 
known in his speech at the opening of the Provincial 
House of Representatives, December 17, 1728, wherein he 
states : 

" What relates to the necessary Provision for the Exigen- 
" cies of the Government, with other matters that may 
" require your Attention, I shall leave to your own Con- 
" sideration, and as any thing further occurs, it shall be 
" communicated to you by Messages. Only I must make 
" use of this first Opportunity to acquaint you, that I have 
" now positive Orders from Britain to provide by a proper 
" Law against those Crowds of Forreigners, who are yearly 
" powr'd in upon us, of which the late Assembly took 
"Notice, in a Message to me of the i8th of April last: 
" Nor does this arise, as I conceive, from any Dislike to 
" the People themselves, many of whom we know are 
" peaceable, industrious and well affected, but it seems 
" principally intended to prevent an English Plantation 
" being turned into a Colony of Aliens. It may also re- 
" quire our Thoughts to prevent the Importation of Irish 
" Papists and Convicts., of whom some of the most notori- 
"ous, I am credibly informed, have of late been landed in 
"the River." 

This speech was printed and scattered as a broadside 
throughout the Province. Nothing, however, could stop 
the influx of the steady stream of sturdy German bone and 
muscle : Acts of Assembly, proclamations, speeches and 
broadsides were equally impotent ; and even before the 
expiration of Ciov. Gordon's term German influence be- 




opposition to the Palatines. 137 

TJ t^ >-J 

W > 

w p e^ r H CD 

5i. s ^ s n 


o" I" 


cr 2 . 

o =* ' P 

pop S. '^ O 

^ -^ « )^ » 


138 The Germatt Sectarians 0/ Pennsylvania. 

came an important factor in the settlement and develop- 
ment of the Province. 

The closing months of the year 1728 were turbnlent 
ones for the Brethren in the Conestoga valley. Johannes 
Hildebrand and his followers, Hans Landes, Heinrich 
Holin, Daniel Eicher, Hans Rolande and Luis, encouraged 
by Elder Becker, became quite aggressive in their opposi- 
tion to the Beissel party, who kept the Seventh-day. This 
animosity tended to widen the breach between the parent 
congregation and its daughter, until within a few months 
it ended in a complete rupture. The Chronicon, in com- 
menting upon affairs in the month of December, 1728, 
states : 

"About this time the power of God manifested itself 
"palpably in the meetings, witnessing against the old 
" Adam and his many false sanctuaries ; whereat many were 
"offended and separated themselves from the congregation. 
" These Separatists, like men sick with the plague, finally. 
" banded together and set up a meeting of their own ; so 
" that in those times there were more apostles than there 
" were righteous ones, which, however, by no means con- 
" founded the superintendent, for he had reckoned on all 
" these, and yet worse quarreling, when he left his beloved 
"solitary state and waded into the sea of humanity." 

The Germantown Baptists now reproached Beissel for 
his ingratitude toward them, as it was at their hands that 
he had received baptism. This, instead of rallying him, 
only tended to increase his vehemence against his former 
friends. At the same time he was forced to acknowledge 
the truth of their argument. How to overcome this 
dilemma was a serious question. At last, however, a way 
was found out of the difficulty, which was worked to their 
own satisfaction. This was the novel proposition to re- 
nounce the Becker baptism and return it to the old congre- 
gation, and then to have such of the Beisseliancr as had 

Re-baptism of Beissel. 139 

been immersed by Becker rebaptized. This strange scene 
was enacted toward the close of December, evidently in the 
Miihlbach or the Conestoga. Upon the appointed day a 
general meeting of the Sabbatarians was held, during 
which three brothers and four sisters were selected for the 
chief ceremony. It had been decided that it was proper 
for the Sabbatical number to be the foundation of the re- 
baptized congregation. The number seven and the two 
sexes were therefore chosen. According to the teachings 
of the Rosicrucians the number seven represents the union 
of the square and the triad, and is considered the Divine 
number, in the same sense in which forty is the perfect 
numeral. Jan Meyle and Beissel were the first to enter the 
icy water ; special hymns were sung, and after an invoca- 
tion, in which both men renounced their former baptism, 
Meyle immersed Beissel thrice backwards, and immediately 
afterwards repeated the operation thrice forwards, thus 
baptizing the candidate. Beissel then repeated the same 
ceremony upon Meyle and the others in turn. This act 
completed the separation between the Germantown and 
Conestoga Baptists. 

An incident which happened during the same month 
closes our record for the year. Peter Beller,^' a German or 
Swiss settler near the Pequea, had a very sick daughter, 
who had heard of Beissel and the religious revivals held in 
the vicinity. At the request of the girl the parents were 
induced to send for him. This was during the night, and 
when the messenger arrived at Beissel's cabin he was at 
his devotions, praying for the entire Christian church. 
Beissel at once went to Beller's house and prayed with the 
sick girl, who was rapidly failing and desired baptism be- 
fore she died. Beissel was willing to accede to her wish, 
night though it was, as he felt that not only her soul, but 

<6 Peter Beller was an earlj' settler in the Conestoga country. 
name appears among the list of taxables as early as 1718. 

140 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvatiia. 

her life as well, might be saved thereby. But to be effec- 
tive the immersion would have to be in flowing water. To 
this the parents objected, yet the condition of the patient 
was such that no time was to be lost. So Beissel bowed to 
the wishes of the parents, but expressed his doubts as to 
the efficacy of the rite thus administered. 

Preparations were now made without delay. It was a 
scene worthy of the pencil of a Teniers : the small cham- 
ber, with its rude furnishings, furtively lit by a few drip- 
ping candles, which threw their fitful shadows over the 
scene ; the bed in the corner with its pallid patient ; the 
weeping family, and the austere figure of Beissel, with a 
few sympathetic neighbors in the background. During 
Beissel's fervent prayer a scalding-tub, such as is used upon 
a farm in butchering swine, was rolled into the room, and 
then filled \vith cold water. When full the sick girl was 
lifted from her bed into the tub, wherein she kneeled. 
Thrice were buckets full of water thrown over her head, 
as she could not be entirely immersed in the tub. She 
was then again lifted into her bed and carefully covered 
with a feather bed. A hymn closed the services, which 
had extended well into the next day. 

The young girl after her baptism requested that a 
religious meeting be held in her presence at the house upon 
the next Sabbath. This request was acceded to by Beissel. 
Upon the next Sabbath a large congregation assembled at 
Peter Beller's humble house, the meeting was opened at 
the appointed time, and the young girl was present, but in 
her coffin. The meeting was a funeral. The circum- 
stances attending her death so deeply moved the parents 
that they both asked to be baptized. 


ERETOFORE we have 
known Conrad Beissel and 
Michael Wohlfarth merely 
as two religions enthusi- 
asts, erratic and peculiar, 
— often, it may be said, 
visionary schemers ; yet, 
with all their shortcom- 
ings and the delusions of 
their followers, it is a re- 
markable and strange fact 
that German printing in 
America was ushered in 
by these same pious evan- 
gelists ; call them erratic visionaries if you will, but the 
fact remains the same. 

While credit is undoubtedly due to the Pietists — headed 
by Kelpius, Koster, Selig and the Falkner brothers who 
settled on the Wissahickon — for the sporadic attempts 
made to use the printing-press in their descriptive and 
controversial literature in Dutch, German and English, it 
was left to their legitimate successors — headed by Conrad 
Beissel — to inaugurate a new era of Christianity and to use 
the local printing-press in disseminating the views and 
doctrine of the congregation. The attempt ended in the 
establishment of a press of their own at Ephrata, — the first 
in the western world to print with the accustomed type of 
both the English and German language. 

How early Beissel sought to obtain the use of a printing- 

142 The Gertnan Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

press for the purpose of spreading liis peculiar views is 
shown by the imprint upon the title-pages here reproduced. 
To him is due the credit of issuing the second original 
American book which was printed in both the German 
and English languages/"' 

The early works — controversial, mystical and poetical — 
were Pennsylvania products in the fullest sense of the 
word, as they were composed and translated here in the 
Conestoga valley ; or, coming down still closer, we may 
designate the valley of the Miihlbach, in Lancaster county, 
as the cradle of German literature in America. How in- 
timately this fertile valley is connected with the German- 
American press will be further recognized by the fact that 
from it, after a sojourn of some five years, emerged the 
German tailor-farmer Christopher Sauer, and started his 
press in Germantown, the first in America to print \vith 
German characters. 

Considerable credit is evidently due to both Beissel and 
Wohlfarth in bringing about the determination of Sauer to 
engage in a trade then entirely foreign to him, yet in which 
he became so prominent in after years. Then, again, the 
first substantial encouragement received by the German- 
town printer was a commission from Conrad Beissel for a 
hymn-book of some eight hundred pages. 

The first work issued by Conrad Beissel was, according 
to the Chrom'con^ Das Biichlein von Sabbath (a book on the 
Sabbath). It was an octavo in German, printed with 
Roman type by Andrew Bradford in Philadelphia, 1728. 

Strange as it will appear, the above may not have been 
the first or original edition of this curious work, as Dr. 
William M. Fahnestock, in a communication made to the 
Seventh-day Baptist Publication Society,*' at Plainfield, N. 
J., December, 1852, mentions a German copy of the Mys- 
tyrion Anomias in his possession, and distinctly states that 

'"• Vide German Pietists, pp. 266, 296-97. 
" Reply to Elder James Bailey. 

The Mystery of Laivlessness. 143 

it was written and published by Beissel in the year 1725, 
while he still belonged to the regular Dunker congregation 
and lived in his cabin on the Miihlbach, and that it was 
the publication of this " truly forcible and truly remark- 
able " tract which caused his separation from that body. 

No copy of either of the above versions are known to 
exist, although there is a bare possibility that Dr. Fahne- 
stock's copy may still be preserved by some member of 
that family. The German title was : "" 

TIGE WIDER-CHRIST \ Entdeckt u Enthullt \ Bezeu- 
gend dass a lie diegenigen sii dent \ Gottloscti Wider- Christ 
angehoren^ die \ bereitwillig die Gebothe Gottes verwerfen 

I unter welchen ist sein heiliges, und \ von ihn selbst 
eingesetzer SIEBEN—Tdger SABBATH | oder seine 
heilige Riihe vo7t welcher derselbe \ ein Vorbild ist. \ DEN 
SO SPRICHT DER HERR. Exod. xx. v. 10 \ Der Sie- 
bende Tag ist der SABBATH der Herrn \ deines 
GOTTES. I Geschrieben zu der Ehre des Grossen GOT- 
TES I nnd seine Heilige Gebothe \ von | CONRAD 
BEISSEL I Gedruckt i»i Jahr 1J28. 

This book caused a great sensation among the Germans 
in the rural districts, and was eventually translated into 
English by Beissel's trusty companion, Michael Wohlfarth, 
Beissel being but an indifferent English scholar. The 
English version, printed in 1729, was also done by Andrew 
Bradford at Philadelphia It was an octavo of thirty-two 
pages. One of these was the title ; one, scriptural texts ; 
three, to the Reader ; twenty-six, text. 

Mystyriou Anomias \ the \ Mystery of Laivlesness : \ or^ 

I Lawless ANTICHRIST \ discover'' d and Disclosed, | 
Shewing that all those do belong to that | Lawless Antichrist, 
who wilfully reject \ the Commandments of God., amongst | 

*' Title from an old German manuscript. 

t44 "^^'^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

MrsTYRioN Anomias 


Myftvr^ of Lmflefnejs : 




Shewing that ALL thofe do belong to that 
Lawlefs Antichri^i^ who wilfully rciecb 
the Commandments of GOD, amongHL 
whichjis his holy, and by himfcll' blelTcd 
Seventh-Day-Sahbathy or his holy Reft, 
of which the fame is a Type. 

For thus faith the Lord, Exod. xx. ver. lo, 

Tbe Seventh Day is the Salhath of the 
Lwd thy God. 

Written to the Honour ot the Great GOD 
and his Holy Commands. 

By CVNSiAD 3 E T S E L L. 

Iranflattd out 9f the High-Dutch, by M. W. 

Feinted. Ih xhA Ycai 1729 


(Original in collection of Julius F. Sachse, Philadelphia.) 

Curious Features of the Book. 145 

zvhick, is his holy, and by himself blessed \ Seventh-Day- 
Sabbath, or his holy Rest, \ of which the same is a Type. \ 
For thus saith the Lord, Exod. xx. ver. 10. \ The Seventh 
Day is the Sabbath of the \ Lord thy God. \ Written to the 
Honour of the Great God \ and his Holy Commands. \ By 
Cunrad Beysell. \ Translated out of the High-Dutch, by 
M. IV. I Printed in the Year i'j2g. 

The chief part of the title of this curious work was taken 
from Martin Luther's annotations to the second chapter of 
Second Thessalonians, verse seven. To this was added a 
part of the tenth verse of the twentieth chapter of Exodus. 
The reverse of the title-page contained six scriptural texts : 
Psalm 119-126 ; Psalm 89 : 30-34;* Isa. 24 : 15; Rom. 
2:12; Psalm no : 96. Then follows the preface. There 
is a very curious feature in this introduction " To the 
Reader," as in it Beissel sets forth that, in order to con- 
form strictly to apostolic usage, all truth to be proclaimed 
to the world must first be made known unto men by word 
of mouth, and after its delivery may then be written or 
printed. This plan Beissel adhered to throughout his 
whole career, all his epistles and Lectionen having been 
first delivered in public. The body of the book is written 
in a colloquial style as a spiritual dialogue between a father 
and son. Its whole trend is an exposition of the true Sab- 
bath, which here gets sharply mixed with the anti-Christ. 

However curious the work appears to us at the present 
day, it seems to have been successful in its mission in 
both tongues. Our records tell us that it was " so effective 
that the congregations now publickly adopted the Sabbath 
as the day for divine services." 

The editions of the Sabbath Book are the scarcest among 
the issues of the American press. They are so rare that 
they are not enumerated in any catalogue or list of Ameri- 
can imprints. In fact, they were absolutely unknown to 
bibliographers until the present copy was brought to their 
notice by the writer. 

146 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

This copy, of which the title-page is reproduced in fac- 
simile, was found bound up in a volume of tracts upon the 
Sabbath by R. Cornthwaite, of London, and bears the 
book-plate of Henry Gurney, Esq., of Philadelphia. 

Beissel's preface To tJie Reader is here reproduced in full, 
as it conveys the best idea of his rhetoric and style at the 
outset of his eventful career : 

"To THE Reader. 

" Kind Reader, Whosoever thou art, thou must know, that 
according to the Mind of the Spirit, it is not Apostolical to 
publish anj- Truth to the World, before it is made known unto 
Men by Word of Mouth, as it is to be seen bj- the Apostles. 
Wherefore we have followed them in this ; and that knowledge 
of Truth in us, (bestowed by God,) concerning the Rest of 
God, typifyed in the Seventh-Day-Sabbath, together ^ntli 
other Truths to us made known in the Light of God, seriously 
and with that Ability which God bestoweth, have laid open 
some Years before Men : Whilst we do and know, that the 
Time is near at Hand, wherein God the Truth, in which the 
first Christians did live in, will set on the Candlestick again, 
and that Whore, which has long bore the Name of Christ's 
Bride, shall be destroyed, together with her false Doctrine and 
Commandments of Men. And manj' Contradictious 
and Gainsayiugs have appeared against the Truth, and e.spe- 
ciall}' against the Seventh-Da)--Sabbath, or the Rest of God, 
and that mostlj' by them who do pretend to be clear of the 
Whore and her Cup, whereby the Truth is often dreadfully 
wronged: For which Rea.sou now, we have found it neces- 
sary', to write this Truth, and deliver it to the Press, .so that 
we may not hide God's Work nor Council, neither draw any 
Judgment of silence upon us, since the time draweth near, that 
God will glorify his Rest. 

"We do not seek for Contention, nor to quarrel with any 
Body; for Christendom (so called) is filled with it already. 
We do therefore say, If any Body has a Mind to quarrel, let 
him know, that the Church of God never hath that Custom. 
Neither do we want to fight with Letters, for we know very 

BctssePs Preface. 147 

well, that the sharp and subtil Reason of Men, can magis- 
terially pervert God's holy and simple Truth, and explain the 
Words of God after her crooked Serpentine Will. But we 
lay open the divine Truths (as we know them in the Light of 
God) before Men. He that can and may perceive, let him 
perceive; but he that will not, has it to himself; but let such a 
one know, that God in his own Time shall defend his Honour, 
and take Vengeance on his Enemies, and on the Enemies of his 
holy rest. 

" Furthermore, we find it very necessary to mention this yet, 
that by no means any body take us, or understand us after 
this Manner, as if we were of such Mind, to believe, that every 
body is a Christian, that doth but keep the Seventh-Day ; far 
be it, for we have not learned Christ after such a Manner : 
For we do believe that this Commandment of the Sabbath doth 
not touch an unconverted Heathen, or Nominal Christian, be- 
cause he doth not stand in the Rest or in the Peace with God. 
Wherefore we do testify, that, if any body will be Partaker of 
the true Rest and Peace with God, and also take Rest here 
with the People of God on the Seventh-Day, as a Type of 
Eternal Rest, that the same must truly repent, and withdraw 
with all his Heart and whole Mind from all Vanity, and Love 
of Creatures, and from all Worldly and carnal or fleshl)- Desire 
whatsoever, and turn with his whole Heart and Mind to God, 
to enter totally in that simple or mean, (and before the 
World,) despised Doctrine of Jesus Christ, to give himself 
over with perfect Obedience into the same, in denying of the 
World, yea, of himself, and of all his own Will and seeking; 
to live wholly and solely up to Jesus Christ, and thus he 
shall obtain Peace with God in Christ Jesus. Then and no 
sooner he shall taste and experience what it is to love God, 
and then that Love of God will constrain him to love God's 
Commandments, and to keep them with Christ and his Apos- 
tles, and with all true Believers. Then the Seventh-Day shall 
be called a delightful Sabbath unto the Lord, when he shall do 
with Love and Delight all the same things that are demanded 
of a true Sabbath-keeper, Esa. 58. ver. i, &c. 

' ' Here now, thou canst perceive our whole Mind briefly. Be 

148 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

thou recommended unto the Grace of the Almighty. May the 
Lord be pleased, according to his Promises, to pour out of his 
Spirit upon all Flesh, that many, many may come to the 
Knowledge of Truth, which is in Christ Jesus, and that the 
Whore together with Antichrist, maj- soon be destroj'ed, that 
not so many poor Souls may be deceived anj- longer, whom the 
false Teachers make believe, that themselves and they also are 
Christians, whereas they do live worse than Moral Jews or 

' ' Read and Consider. ' ' 

ICHAEL WOHLFARTH also published at this 
time, upon his own account, the pamphlet 
in both German and English, having for its 
theme the " Lord's Seventh Day." The 
immediate motive for its issue was the result 
of a series of political changes in the Province. 

In the year 1729 Lancaster county was formed from a 
part of Chester county. This new division inchided the 
Conestoga and Pequea valleys, while Nantmill and Cov- 
entry remained part of Chester county. The officials of 
the new county were no sooner installed than they began 
what might be called a crusade against the Sabbath^ 
keepers, who not only obeyed the scriptural injunction to 
keep the Seventh Day holy, but also complied with the re- 
mainder of the command, " Six days shalt thou labor." 
This restilted in a number of the Sabbatarians being ar- 
rested and imprisoned, upon their refusal to pay the 
imposed fine. This persecution, however, had an effect 
contrary to what was intended by the authorities, as the 
Sabbatarians were only urged thereby to more firmly 
uphold their religious principles, all being ready to stifier 
for their faith. 

In conseqtience of this unwarranted action of the civil 
authorities, Beissel, Wohlfarth and another brother made 
a pilgrimage afoot, staff in hand, to Philadelphia to in- 

Scene in Old Philadelphia. 


s < 


< > 

150 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

tercede for their brethren. While upon this mission they 
attended a Quaker meeting on the 19th of October, and 
after listening to a long testimony from a woman Friend, 
Wohlfarth, who was the best English scholar among the 
German Sabbatarians, arose and delivered a lengthy ex- 
hortation after the following introduction : 

"My friends, — I beseech you that you listen to me, for I 
have a message to you from the Lord. Therefore I demand 
that you listen to me, for I shall not leave this spot until I 
have delivered the message with which I have been sent unto 
you, so that I may appear without blame before my Lord, and 
may thus go hence in peace. ' ' 

This was spoken with earnestness ; the quaint gestures 
and appearance of the speaker from the first commanded 
close attention. In the lengthy address which followed, 
Wohlfarth earnestly and forcibly called attention to the 
necessity of keeping the Seventh Day holy, prophesying 
dire troubles in case his pleadings and message from the 
Lord were left unheeded. He closed his earnest harangue 
with the following exhortation : 

"O therefore! All ye People, Tongues and Nations, that 
hear these Words, turn to the true God ; worship no longer 
Gods which are the Works of Man's Hands, and of human in- 
vention; be not longer deceived; the Light of God shiueth very 
clear in these latter Days wherein God maketh known his 
Truth again, which has been manj' Years hidden, viz. , the low, 
mean and despi.sed Doctrine of Jesus, and of his holy, and of the 
World rejected Life, which has been hitherto desolate, having 
very few Followers, it being a very narrow Path to walk in, 
and a straight Gate to enter at; therefore all the World doth 
despise it, as a poor Widow that hath no Husband, and is 
desolate, nor no body to defend and protect it; but the Chil- 
dren of this World have Protection enough, and are well fed and 
maintained, and defended in their vain Worship. But let me 
tell you, the Time is very near at Hand, that God will destroy 

WohlfartK s Address. 151 

the Worshippers of Images, and break in Pieces the Strength 
of the Chcmarims, and black Money- Priests, and send out true 
Labourers into his Har\'est. O happy are they that take 
Notice of the Signs of these Times, and draw l)ack their Ears 
from Lying, and turn to the low and despised Truth; for it 
begins to shine forth very bright and clear, and I hope will be 
euflamed more and more by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that all 
Gentiles and Nominal Christians shall clearly see it, and give 
Glory to the Lord. Therefore repent truly, with all your 
Hearts; come to the right Fear of God; begin to love him, and 
keep his Commands with all your Souls, Mind and Strength; 
enter into the holy Doctrine and Life of Jesus Christ; follow 
him, and learn of him to obey God, and to do his Will; forsake 
the World; deny your selves; take the Cross of Jesus upon you, 
and learn of him to become meek and lowly of Heart; strive 
and labour hard in the Grace of God, to overcome your old 
Nature, and become new Men, spiritually minded, and Par- 
takers of the divine Nature; for except being thus renewed, it 
is in vaiu for you to imagine that you be Christians. This I 
tell you as a Word of Truth ; then j-ou shall find Rest for your 
Souls. Now I wish every one of you that is willing to forsake 
the Vanity of this World, both spiritual and natural, and to 
sen^e God in Purity of Heart, Grace, Love and Peace from the 
only God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, remaining a 
Lover of all Mankind, desiring your Welfare and Happiness." 

This address, which was immediately put into print in 
both the German and English languages, caused much 
discussion, and brought forth several pamphlets pro and 
con in both languages, two of which forttmately have come 
down to us. We have a single copy of Wohlfarth's ad- 
dress (English version) and an answer by John Meredith, 
also unique. The full titles of the German and English 
versions are : 

Die I ENTBLOSTE WAHRHEIT \ Widerstehend alio 
Geschminkte tmd \ verkleidetc | LUGEN^ — BETRUG u 
TAG ER-SAB BATH — Stehend wie ein Pels unbeweglig 

152 The German Sectarians 0/ Pennsylvania. 
T H B 


Standing againft all Pntrucd and Difguifed 

Lies J Deceit and Ealfbrnd^ 


Lord*s Seventh-Day-Sabbath 

Standing asaMOUNTAIN immove- 
able for ever. 

Proved by Three WITNESSES which 
cannot tie. 

Qv M. W. 

Feinted ia the Year, xix^. 


(Original in library of Alfred University.) 

A Unique Title. 153 



Proving Uiai the 

^emp or Seventh-Day Sabbath 

Is Abrogated and Repealed 

* « 

• • » * 

• * 


Printed and Sold at the New PRINTING-OFFJCE, 

in Higb'^tfat., near the Market. 1725^ 

TiTLK-PAnH OF Mhrfdith's Rkplv to thf. Sabbatarian Tracts of Bhissei- 
AND Wohlfaeth, 

(Original in I-enox Library, New York.} 

154 The Germatt Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

fiir Ewig \ Bewiesen durch DREI Zeugen wo nicht \ 
Lilgen kbnnen \ von M. W. \ Gedruckt zu im Jahr i']29. 

The I Naked Truths \ Standing against all Painted and 
Disguised \ Lies, Deceit and Falshood, \ or the \ Lord''s 
Seventh-Day-Sabbath | Standing as a Mountain inimove- \ 
able for ever. | Proved by Three Witnesses which \ cannot 
Lie. I By M. IV. | Printed in the year, 17 2C). 

The remarks about Beissel's Sabbath Book apply to this 
also. Both works stand unique in the list of American 
imprints and bibliography. 

During the remainder of their stay in Philadelphia, 
Wohlfarth and Beissel, together with Abel Noble, addressed 
the populace from the Court House steps, the three men 
joining in giving their testimony as to the truth of the 
Sabbatarian doctrine, and at the same time calling upon 
them to repent and change their ways ere it would be too 

Among those attracted to the meetings held by the three 
evangelists was the young printer, Benjamin Franklin. 
Conrad Beissel, with quick perception and knowledge of 
mankind, at once surmised that Franklin would be of 
great service to him, provided he could be induced to join 
them in their movement of evangelization. A means of 
communication between the two men was soon found, and 
resulted in business relations, which were maintained until 
the German presses were set up at Germantown and 

The printing of the Book on the Sabbath by Bradford 
had been imsatisfactory, and Keimer, the other printer, 
was cranky and even more impecunious. In Franklin, 
Conrad Beissel found an intelligent assistant, willing to 
print his works and issue them in a creditable manner, both 
as to typography and proof-reading. Upon the other hand, 
the young printer was vouchsafed encouragement of a sub- 
stantial character. 

First German Reformed Book. 155 



Biter Meofchea von verfchicdenea 

Natiosen und ReKgioneo 

Hih und v'ieder herum W^lodelce 

Und yerfchiedenfljch AngefodKCfle 


Abgemahkt und vorgeflellet 

In eineni Cefpraechmk Eiflem 

PoUtico und Neuotvarenen, 

Vcrfchiedenc StucK infonderhe!* 

Die l9eugt6bTt betreflende, 
Vofo^gec^uncl zu Beforderung der £&b 

J E S U 
SiSW aos cigener Erfahrung an dm 

Lick gebracht 

Pbtt Ceerg,M((hael ff^djf V. D. M. 

GedriTcke 1)67 Jadrew Brad&fdt, 17^9* 


(Original in Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.) 

156 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Strange as it ma\- appear, it is an undeniable fact that 
the German mystic and enthusiast, Conrad Beissel, was 
among the earliest, if not the first, patron of the Franklin 
press, as well as of Christopher Sauer's. 

Beissel and Wohlfarth, in the early day, it appears, were 
not alone in the field of German literature ; there was an- 
other pioneer in the field, who in point of time was but a 
trifling distance behind the two enthusiastic pioneers. 
This was Rev. George Michael Weiss, the Reformed minis- 
ter, who in 1729 published a pamphlet against the Separ- 
atists ; it was chiefly aimed against Bauman and his fol- 
lowers, the Newborn, of whom we have already spoken.*' 

Like many of the religious books of that period it was 
written in the colloquial st3le. This, too, is one of the 
rarest of our American imprints, a single specimen only 
being known.'*" 

It has the additional distinction of being, so far as we 
know at present, the first German Reformed book printed 
in America in the German language.'*' 

The little book is a duodecimo, and contains, beside the 
title, four pages of introduction and twenty-nine pages 
of text. The title reads : 

Der I In Der Americani- | Schen Wildnusz | Inter 
Mencken von verschiedenen \ Nationen iiud Religionen | 
Hin und zvieder heri^n Wandelte \ Und verschiedentlich 
Angefochtene \ Prediger., | Abgemahlet und vorgestellct \ 
In einem Gespraech mil Einen | Politico und Neugeborencn 
I Verschiedene Stuck insonderlich \ Die Neugebirt be- 
trejfende., \ Ver/ertiget, und zu Beforderting der Ehr \ 
Jesu I Selbst aus eigener Erfahrung an das \ Licht 

•' See chapter vii supra. 

*'For an account of the eflForts made by Rev. W.J. Hinke to locate this 
copy see Reformed Church Messenger, March 9-16, 1899. 

^' .\ book written in the Dutch language bj- Rev. John Lydius, a Dutch 
Reformed minister, was published at Albany as early as the year 1700. 
The only known copy is in the collection of Hon. Samuel W. Penny- 

5 f 
o < 

Rev. George Michael Weiss. 157 

gebracht \ Von Georg Michael Weiss V. D. M. \ Zii Phila- 
delphia : I Gednickt bey Andrew Bradfordt^ ^T^9- 

Translation : 

77/1? I in the Anieri- \ can Wilderness \ Among People of 
Divers \ Nationalities and Religions | Hither and Thither 
Wandering \ And Varionsly Tempted | Afinister | Por- 
trayed & Presented \ In a Dialogue with one \ Politician 
and Newborn \ Various Subjects Particularly \ Concerning 
the Newborn \ Drawn up., and to the Furtherance of the 
Honor of \ Jesus | Persofially from our Experience now 
Brought to the Light. | By Georg Michael Weiss V. D. M. 
I at Philadelphia. \ Printed by Andrew Bradford., ^T^P- 

From this curious booklet we get a further insight into 
the peculiar teachings of the New Born or Baunianites. 

The introduction is in the form of a poem, which, accord- 
ing to Mr. Hinke,'*' who made a careful study of the book, 
does not possess a very high poetical merit and contains 
some very harsh passages, but upon the whole reveals a 
fine Christian spirit, as it emphasizes our dependence upon 
and consequent obligation to God and submission to His 
word. Following is a translation of the closing stanza : 

" For if you wish, O man, to find 
The Lord most merciful and kind, 
And on that awful judgment day 
To meet the Judge without dismay, 
Then to the words of God give ear 
And follow them while you are here, 
Regard them as of highest worth. 
Place them above all things on earth." 

It is a strange coincidence that both Boehm and Bauman 
came to Pennsylvania about the same time from Lambs- 
heim, in the Palatinate. 

" The first five pages form a conversation with a politician. The subject 
of their conversation is religious toleration, which soon leads them to 
speak of its opposite intolerance. Weiss points out that this intolerance 

^" Rev. W. J. Hinke in Reformed Church Messenger, March 16, 1899. 

158 The German Sectarians of Pennsylz'aiiia. 

is noticeable especially among the sects of Pennsylvania, where tolera- 
tion ought to be unlimited, especially among the New Born, and when he 
expresses the wish to meet one of this sect, the politician is quite ready 
to introduce him to one, with whom he is acquainted. 

" They go to his house, and Weiss begins the conversation. He com- 
pliments the man on his nice farm, and tells him that he has good reason 
to thank God. 'Well,' the New Born answers, 'I have worked hard 
and that is the result, but I do not see any reason why I should thank 
God.' This leads to a discussion of Vae first false doctrine of the New 
Born, the rejection of prayer. Weiss proves from the blessings of God, 
which he had received and the help he had enjoj'ed, but especially from 
the Lord's Prayer and the direct injunctions of the Bible that he ought to 
pray. When he has exhausted every proof, the New Born replies to him: 
'I do not need all that, for I am a New Born I am perfectly without 
sin. God is in me and I am in God.' 

" Then Weiss asks him to answer three questions: i. WTiat do you un- 
derstand by the new birth ? 2. What are the proofs that you are new born? 
3. What are the fruits of the new birth ? The first question the New Born 
answers quite readily by saying that new birth is a communion and union 
with God, closing with his favorite formula: God is in me and I am in 
God. But Weiss shows him that this question is not as simple and easy 
as he had supposed ; in fact, that God could be in men in four different 
ways. He could be in us as He was in Christ by a personal union, or as 
He was in the prophets by a special illumination and power, or as He is 
in the children of God by a renewal of their whole man, or as He is in all 
men by His general providence. The New Born then claims without 
hesitation that He is in him in the most perfect wa}', because He is per- 
fectly sinless. This is the second false doctrine of the New Born, perfect 
sinlessness. But Weiss proves to him that he shows no likeness to Christ. 
He can neither perform miracles nor preach as Christ did, and, moreover, 
he contradicts the plain teaching of the Bible. But the New Born is not 
daunted. He answers by denying the authority of the Bible. This is the 
third false doctrine of the sect, the rejection of H0I3' Scripture, If God 
speaks in and through them, of course Scripture is superfluous. The dis- 
cussion of the divine origin and authority of the Bible is very interesting. 
It reveals the fact that Weiss is a good theological thinker. He presents 
three main arguments for its divine origin. In the first place, he points 
to the fulfilled prophecies; then he argues from the character of the Bible, 
that as there is no better nor more perfect book than the Bible, it must be 
of diSerent origin than all other books. And, lastlj-, he argues its divinity 
from the character of its authors. They were good and holy men who 
for that very reason could not deceive us when they claim to deliver 
divine revelations. Lastly, the objection that the Bible contains con- 
tradictions he traces to two causes. Men study the Bible without divine 
guidance and enlightenment, and, again, they have no knowledge of the 

Reformed vs. New Born. 159 

original languages, the geography, chronology of the Bible and the 
customs of Bible lands. The discussion then turns to the second question: 
How do you know that you are new born ? The answer is ready imme. 
diately; ' I feel it within me by a peculiar illumination of God's Spirit.' 
Weiss warns him against the danger of self-deception, especially since the 
fruits of regeneration must agree with our consciousness of it. He then 
defines the fruits to be all spiritual gifts as enumerated in Gal. v, 22; more- 
over, a Christian life and conduct, prayer, the desire to read the Word of 
God, to worship God both in public and private, to follow the teachings 
of faithful ministers, whom God has placed over us. The New Born an- 
swers him that he has all the inner fruits, but he declares he can see no 
use for such outward things as have been mentioned. Especially does he 
object to divine worship in a church and to ministers. He has absolutel)- no 
use for them. With these two peculiarities Weiss has reached "Cn^ fourth 
and fifth peculiar doctrines of this sect. They reject the ministry and divine 
worship, together with everything connected with them, as, e.g., the 
sacraments. The necessity of the ministry Weiss proves by a large num- 
ber of arguments. After all these sound and solid arguments, the New 
Born concludes by saying: ' All your words and arguments are in vain. 
It is all the same whether you talk or don't talk.' " 

HE first result of the acquaintance between Beis- 
sel and Franklin was the publication of a duo- 
decimo volume of thirty-two pages. It was 
printed in the German language with Roman 
type. It was of a theosophical character, and 
bears the imprint 1730. The title reads: 

Mystische \ Und sehr geheyme \ Sprueche^ | Welche in 
der Himlischen schule des | heiligen geistes erlet-net. \ Und 
dan folgens, einige \ PoetiscJien Gedichte. \ Auffgesetzt. \ 
Den liebhabern und schftlern der \ Gbttlichen und Himvi- 
lischen | iveisheit sum diensi. | Vor \ Die aiif dieser welt 
aber, haben wir keine | speise.,zverdenihnen auchwohl ei^i | 
verschlossenergarden,und \ versiegelfer brun- | nenbleiben. 
I Zu Philadelphia : \ Gedruckt bey B. Fratiklin in Jahr 


A fac-simile of the title of this rare work is shown upon 
the opposite page. There appears to be something of a dis- 
crepancy between the date upon the title-page and the 

I bo The Cifrman Sectariaf/s of /'eniisylvania. 


Und fehf geheyme 


Welche in der Himlilchen fchule dea 
heiligen geiftes crlemet. 

Und dan foJgenSy eimg$ 



Den liebhabern und fcbCUem der 

GottUchen und HimmUfchcn 
weifzheit zum dienft. 

V O R 
Die fau dicfer weltaber, h^bcn wirkeine 

ipcife, werden ihncn auch wohl eia 

f edchlofTencr garden, . und 

vcrficgeltCT bnm- 

nSR bleiben. 

Gednckt bey B. FRANKLIN ioJdhrTljo. 

Book of Mystical Proverbs, Printi:d bv Franklin for Conrad Bkissel. 
(Original in collection of Henry S Heilmaii, Esq., Lebanon, Pa.) 

Early German Imprints. i6i 

notice of its publication in the Chronicon, which places the 
issue in the year 1729. This may be explained from the 
reckoning then in vogue. It was late in the fall of 1729 
when the arrangements for printing were made with 
Franklin, and the book was evidently printed within the 
next five months. This, according to the Old Style, would 
still be in 1729. According to the popular reckoning, the 
three months, January, February and March would be in 
1730. If this is the case, the imprints should have been 
1729-30. Books printed during the over-lapping months, 
however, usually bore the date of the coming year, which, 
no doubt, was the case in the present instance. 

Another piece of evidence which would seem to establish 
the correctness of the above, if not of the actual date given 
in the Chronicon^ is the fact that no mention whatever of 
the printing of either this book or of the Gdttliche Liebes 
iind Lobes Gethdne appear in Franklin's journal and day- 
book, which he begun July 4, 1730, and which has lately 
been found in the collection of the American Philosophical 
Society. Consequently the book was printed, delivered 
and paid for prior to that date, and ranks among the very 
earliest of the Franklin imprints, if not the first. 

In connection with this interesting subject it may be 
asked why no mention of any of these German imprints is 
to be found in his autobiography or other writings. The 
answer is a simple one ; it was due to Franklin's supreme 
contempt in which he held anything that savored of the 
German. He took the money of his German patrons, but 
his private entries were simply as " Dutch." If we were to 
accept the Chronicon literally the discovery of the Franklin 
imprint would lead to the possibility of a previous edition, 
probably by Keimer or Bradford. 

In regard to this pamphlet the Chronicon states : " When 
" a learned scholar named Guide saw them he traveled to 
" him, and asked him [Beissel] why he had made 99 of 

1 62 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

"them, and not loo. Beissel's answer was that when the 
"number 99 was reached he stopped in the spirit." 

[Rev. Samuel Guldin, a Swiss clergyman, was the first 
regular ordained minister of the Reformed faith to settle 
permanently in Pennsylvania. While in Europe he became 
imbued with the teachings of mystical theosophy, and 
came to the Province early in the century to join the 
Kelpius Community on the Wissahickon. From a letter 
written two years after the death of Kelpius (December i, 
1 710), it would appear that he was then living as a recluse 
in the cabin of Kelpius, and was acting as Magister of the 
Society of the Woman in the Wilderness. He afterwards 
became a landowner in Roxborough township and lived 
there for some years]. 

As a matter of fact, according to Rosicrucian theosophy, 
the figure i stands for the finite or man, while the o repre- 
sents the infinite, and to make the number 100 would 
have been to place the finite before the infinite. There- 
fore 99 was selected, because the figure 9 embodied the 
symbol of the infinite above the finite. This same question 
again arose, as will be seen in our account of the building 
of Bethania, where the symbolism will be explained at still 
greater length. As an introduction to this book Beissel 
prints two Scripture texts : 

Prov. iii, 13-14. — " Happy is the man that findeth wis- 
dom, and the man that getteth understanding. For it 
is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain 
thereof than fine gold." 

Wisdom, vii, 3-8. — [Citation in original is a misprint, it 
should be Sapi. viii, 4-8.] — For she is privy to the mysteries 
of the knowledge of God, and a lover of his works. 

" If a man desire much experience, she knoweth things 
of old, and coujectureth aright what is to come, etc." 

Then follow the " Mystical and very Secret " sentences, 
etc., ninety-nine in number. A specimen page is produced 
in facsimile on opposite page. 

Theosophical Sentences. 163 





Und fehr geheyme 


1fc%1fc51CH felbcr recht erkcwien ift .Ue 
•J J^ hiJchftc voUkommenheit, und den ei jt- 
•"* '^^ gen, Ewigen, und unfichtbabren Gotc 
r«f«r<f? m Chrifto Jefu recht vercltrfn und en- 
• • beten, ill das Ewige lebcn. 

ft. Alleuntugend ift ffinde, abcr dochiftkeinelaj 
grofi als die; von Gott gefchicden fern. 

3. WerGottlicbet, deriftvonGott, nndhatdea 
eingebohrnen ibhn in ihm bicibend, dann dcxlelbe 
ift aufgegangen und kommeu von Gott. 

4. Die hCchfte wcifzheit ift, keine weifzheit lia- 
bcn: doch ift der dcr hoclifte, der Gott belitzet, 
daiiu £r id allein wcif^ 

A « I- AUc 

Specimen Page of Beissel's Mystical Provebs. 

164 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

A careful examination of these sentences will show that 
they are simply moral proverbs, orthodox in the fullest 
sense, and are but little imbued with any of the mystical 
teachings which would be implied with the title. 

The ninety-nine proverbs are followed by sixty-two 
original poetical compositions, sixty-one varying in length 
from two to twenty-four lines. The sixty-second or last 
one is an independent composition of twelve lines, with a 
continuation of twenty-two lines. Then follows : " ^ 
Lesson for a Christian., given unto him to lear7i by his 
Taskmaster.''^ This consists of eighteen rules for self- 
examination, and is followed with a two-page prayer, closing 
with the couplet : 

" To be dead to the world translates the soul unto God, 
And brings celestial air, releasing from distress and death." 

In conclusion we have another Lection or section : " Very 
serviceable and useful for the followers and scholars of 
Jesus Christ." 

The next commission given by Beissel to Franklin was 
a hymn-book for the uses of the awakened Germans in the 
Province. This was also a duodecimo of ninety-six pages, 
and bears the Franklin imprint of 1730. The same re- 
marks as to the time of printing made in regard to the 
previous volume on page 161 apply to this hymn book. No 
mention of it is to be found in either Franklin's journal 
nor ledger subsequent to July 4, 1730. It was the largest 
work issued thus far by the Franklin press, and it was also 
printed in German with Roman type. It contains sixty- 
two hymns, all of which appear to be original compositions 
written by Beissel and his associates during their sojourn 
in the Miihlbach valley. Beissel was the author of thirty- 
one of these hymns, in which mystic exultation revels in 
rhythmic measure, and free use is made of the vocabulary 
of sensual love to symbolize religions ecstasy. Beissel and 
his associates followed in the wake of men like F. Spee, 

A German Hymn-book. 165 

J. Scheffler and Gottfried Arnold, who took the song of 
Solomon to be a sacred pattern of style." 

The full title of this book reads : 

Gdttliche \ Liebes und Lobes gelhbne \ IVelche in den 
hertzen der kinder \ deriveiszheitsusammenein. \ Undvoti 
da zvieder auszgeflossen \ Zum Lob Gotfes, \ Und nun denen 
schiilern der himlischen | iveissheit zur erzveckmig tend auf- 
I munternng in ihrem Creutz und \ leiden aus hertzlicher 
lie- I be mitgetheilet. | Dann | Mil lieb erfiUlet sein., brin''gt 
Gott den besten Preisz | Und giebt zum singen uns^ die 
allerschbnste weisz. \ Zu Philadelphia : Gedruckt bey Ben- 
jamin I Fra7iklin in der Marck-strass^ 1730.^ 

Upon the reverse of the title-page we find the following 
curious announcement ; it is introduced as it sets forth the 
peculiar religious feeling with which these people were 
then imbued, viz. (translation) : 

Necessary Observation. 
There are here presented, to such as have been summoned 
from the world, and souls purchased from mankind [by the 
blood of the Lamb] , divers continual sounding songs of Love 
and Praise, to extol and glorify their God and the Lamb, who 
hath redeemed them. 

For the world with its rabble. 
Who only scoff at God's children, 
Here find no meat, 
As they, living in their sins, 
Against God's truth strive 
In the most outrageous way. 

^' Seidensticker, in the First Century of Geiniau Printing. 

" This book has been frequently mentioned as the first German book 
printed in America. That this is a gross error is shown by the titles here 
reproduced. The same is true of the claim that Beissel and his associates 
were the pioneer publishers of German literature in America. This 
honor belongs strictly to Henry Bernliard Koster and Johannes Kelpius, 
as is fully shown in the Gertnan Pietists, pp. 100-108, 166, 278-80. 

i66 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 


Liebes und hobes gethSne 

Welche in den herczen der kinder 
der weifzheit zufammen ein4 

Vnd von da wieder aujhgefioffen 


Und nun denen fchulem der himlifchea 

vreifzheit zur eiweckung und auf- 

munterung in ihrem Creutz und 

leiden aus hertzlicher lie* 

be mirgethcilet 

D A N N 

^ &i erfSOet Jtit^ hhi'gi Gat den hejhp Prti/ji 
Uhigieittimftigenimtt die atterfdSfpe vpeift. 

4 ( { I.I iim m wwNj t misu immmim 

T^n^hiladelfhia: Gedvmdkt'bsfBsB/amn 
FraakJh in der Mirch^^ ^S^» 

Title-page of Beisshl's Hymn-book. 

Original in collections of Historical Society of Pennsylvania and 
Hon. Samuel W. Pennypacker. 

BeissePs Book on Matrimony. 167 

Only such as here earnestly strive 

God and his commands to revere, 

And follow Christ's path to the Cross, — 

On such we bestow this : 

That they continually to God's Glory 

May sing songs of Praise. 

ivEN to students of Amercan bibliography it is 
a fact but little known that to Conrad Beis- 
sel, the Rosicrucian recluse in the wilds of 
Conestoga, belongs the honor of being the 
author and publisher of the first book of 
German poetry written in America.'^ 

During the same year (1730) Beissel pub- 
lished his Ehebiichlei^i [Book on Matri- 
mony], Die Ehe das Ziichthans fleischlicher 
Menschen. This book was also printed by 
Franklin, and was written in the interest of 
celibacy. Matrimony is declared therein to be 
joHN'pmup BotHM. the penitentiary of carnal man, and the abom- 
inations committed therein under the appearance of right 
are fully exposed. The writer has never succeeded in tracing 
a copy of this curious work, but has reason to believe that at 
least one copy is still in existence among the Moravian Ar- 
chives at either Bethlehem or Hernnhut, as it was seen and 
quoted in a private letter by the late Rev. Wm. C. Reichel. 
The distribution of Beissel's Biichlein von Sabbath^ as it 
was called for short, as well as the Ehe biichlein among the 
German settlers, at once attracted the notice of Johann 
Philip Boehm, who at that time had sole charge of the 
Reformed congregations in the Province, Rev. Weiss 
having returned to Germany. 

Boehm not only opposed the doctrine set forth in these 
two books before his people, but he also sent a copy of each 
to the Classis of Amsterdam invoking their aid to counteract 

** The Kelpius hymns remained in manuscript. So far as known they 
were not printed at the time. 

i68 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the dissemination of such literature. Boehm's request was 
acted upon by the Classis, June 4, 1731, and the two books 
were referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs to ex- 
amine and report. 

September 3, 1731. The Committee reports that the one 
is a dissertation on the Sabbath, wherein the writer asks 
that Saturday shall be kept in place of Svmday. As to the 
other book the following Classis will report. 

October i, 1731. Dominie Alstein reports that the other 
book has been examined ; it treats of marriage, and is not 
worthy of any further notice. '^ 

There is a strong possibility that these two early Ameri- 
can imprints, in the German language, are still preserved 
in some library or archive in the land of dykes and wind- 
mills, and it is hoped that this extended notice may attract 
attention and lead to the finding of the books. 

*' Extracts from Acts of Classis of Amsterdam : 

June 4, 1731. — Uit Pensilvanieu syn overgesonden, twee bocken, die 
overgegeven zyn aen de Gecommitteerde tot de buitlandse saeken om 
die te ondersocken en daervan rapport te doen. 

September 3, 1731. — Aangaande de twee bockjes U3't Pensilvanien 
overgesonden, is gerapporteerd, dat twee behelst een vertoog van de 
Sabbath, wiliende de schryver dat deselve gevoegelyker op den Saturdag 
als op de Sondag gehoude soude worden, en dat van 't tweede bockje op 
de volgende Classis worde rapport gedaan. 

October i, 1731. — De zaake, Aangaande de twee bockjes uit Pensil- 
vanien voergesonden waarvan in vorige Acten, rapporteerd D°Alstein, 
't 2de bockje, handelnde over huwelyk, niet waerdig is om verder op 
gelet te worden. 

Autograph of Rev. John Philip Boehm as a Rbformbd Schoolmaster. 


ETURNING once more to 
Lancaster county we find, 
at the opening of the year 
1729, two distinct organi- 
zations of German Baptists 
in the Conestoga valley, 
who are divided chiefly on 
the question of the Sabbath. 
The year proved an event- 
ful one for the German 
Baptists at large, as well 
as for the congregations 
on the Conestoga. 
The chief event of general interest was the arrival of 
the venerable Alexander Mack, the patriarch of the denomi- 
nation, who came to Pennsylvania with his family and a 
number of Baptists from Germany. 

The event of special interest to the local organizations 
was a political one — the forming of Lancaster county from 
a part of Chester county. This act brought about a new 
set of officials, who had but little sympathy with the Ger- 
mans and their religious movements, and resulted in a 
series of persecutions against those of them who persisted 
in keeping the Sabbath and working upon the Lord's Day. 
This annoyance the English Sabbatarians on French creek, 
in Nantmill, fortunately escaped, as they were not affected 
by the political division, and remained within the bounds 
of Chester county. 

170 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Notwithstanding these tribulations the German congre- 
gations continued to increase, obtaining their additions 
chiefly from among the Mennonites and Separatists. To 
aflford temporary accommodations for the new-comers, Beis- 
sel and others of his followers, who lived in separate 
cabins, now gave up their habitations to such families as 
wished to unite with the congregation and settle here, and 
either built new cabins for themselves or took up tem- 
porary abodes with some of the resident members. Thus 

Building a Homk in the New World. 

Beissel went to Rudolph Nagele's ; Michael Wohlfarth to 
Caspar Walter's ; Jan Meyle to Hans Friedrich's ; Peter 
Bucher to Hansil Landis', etc. Israel Eckerling and Jacob 
Gast joined Jan Meyle, and lived together for one year.*' 

From the Tage-biich (diary") of one of these pious en- 
thusiasts we learn that all these cabins were built accord- 
ing to a uniform rule, viz.: length, twenty-five feet; 
breadth, twenty feet ; height under joist, eight feet, six 

" See survey map, p. 92. 

The Settlers' Cabins. 171 

inches. Wherever possible the door opened toward the 
south, with a small porch over it six feet in the clear from 
floor to ceiling (overhead piece). 

An interesting account has come down to us descriptive 
of the building of these humble cabins. First, four large 
stones were laid at the corners, so as to be about a foot 
above the level of the ground. These served as a founda- 
tion. Upon these stones the ground-logs were laid ; they 
were notched at the ends and fastened with hickory pins. 
Smaller logs were inserted at regular distances to form 
floor-joists. In most cases, however, a solid log floor was 
laid. Upon the ground-joists the cabin was raised, the 
logs were run upon skids by the help of wooden forks and 
the corners were notched so as to bring them as close to- 
gether as possible. This work was done by the most 
experienced men, who were known as axe or corner-men. 
The others carried the logs and ran them up. The door 
and windows were not cut until all the logs were in place. 
The interstices between the logs were then filled with 
loam, the latter being mixed with dry grass. The roof 
was usually of split oak shingles ; the rafters were formed 
of chestnut saplings, hewn flat on the top. It often hap- 
pened, when a cabin was built in a hurry, before all the 
necessary material was prepared, that a temporary thatch 
or sod roof was put on to shelter the settler. Chimneys 
and fireplaces for these cabins were an after consideration, 
and were usually built of loam and stones outside, at one 
end of the cabin. Another curious feature of these humble 
dwellings was that many were built without the use of a 
single pound of iron. 

The time of the " Single " or " Solitary " brethren was 
by no means spent in idle speculations ; they betook them- 
selves to various kinds of manual labor, chiefly carpentry, 
and refused their services to no one who asked their assist- 
ance in building a home in the wilderness. 

1/2 The. German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The harnessing of the printing-press in their behalf by 
Beissel and Wohlfarth proved a powerful factor in the 
spread of the Sabbatarian doctrine among the English, as 
well as among the Germans. An extended account of 
these publications will form the theme for our next 

With the advent of spring renewed efforts were made by 
Beissel to extend his doctrines of the Sabbath and baptism 
among the Germans throughout the country beyond the 
Schuylkill. This included the territory from Falkner 
Swamp to Oley, to which Jan Meyle and Israel Eckerling 
were sent to assist Andreas Frey. 

These efforts at revival tended to increase the feeling 
between the Germantown Baptists and the Beisselianer, as 
the Sabbatarians were called in derision. More or less 
friction was engendered between the individual members, 
which gradually extended to the leaders. A similar con- 
dition existed on the Conestoga and Miihlbach, with 
the exception that, as individual differences arose, the 
aggrieved member would join the rival congregation, for 
a time at least. Thus the changing back and forth was a 
common practice. This resulted in making the condition 
of the German Separatists in the Province one of spiritual 
unrest and uncertainty. 

It was at this juncture that Alexander Mack and his 
party arrived on the good ship Allen, James Craige master, 
from Rotterdam, September 5, 1729. He was accompanied 
by his family and a number of German Baptists, among 
whom were Andreas Bony, the Kalckglaessers, Kriebels, 
Pettikoffers and other prominent Separatists. It was 
fondly hoped by the Germantown party that the arri\al of 
Alexander Mack in Pennsylvania would once more quiet 
the factions and again unite them upon the common basis 
of the Schwarzenau movement, of which the venerable 
Mack was the patriarch. These expectations, however, 

Arrival of Alexander Mack. 173 

failed to be realized as the two leaders, evidently uncertain 
as to each other's strength, kept aloof ; as it was not until 
the following year that Beissel and Mack stood face to face, 
a meeting which did not prove conducive to a union of the 
two parties. 

The Chronicon^ in speaking of the arrival of Alexander 
Mack, says : " This reverend man would have well-deserved 
" to be received with arms of love by all the pious in com- 
" mon, after all that he had had to suffer in Germany, 
" especially from his own people. But he was no sooner 
"arrived among his fellow-believers than they filled his 
"ears with heavy accusations against them of Conestoga, 
" namely, how they had 
"separated from them, 
"had written them abu- 
"sive letters and had 
"treated them very un- 
" lovingly with judgments 
" and condemnations, yea, 
"and over and above all 
" this they had yet done 
"a terrible thing, where- 
" by not only they, but 
" even their dead, had been 

"condemned and put un- Skal (enlarged) of Alexander Mack. 

"der the ban. . . . Now the good man should, at least 
" until he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with 
" the matter, have suspended his judgment. But prejudices 
" so overpowered his mind that he was not capable of passing 
" a sound judgment, nor of counteracting the separation." 
Another noteworthy incident of the year was the arrival, 
some time during the summer, of the widow Eckerling 
with her youngest son Gabriel. She came to Lancaster 
county, and for a time lived with two of her other sons in 
in the house of Jan Meyle. She did not remain long with 

174 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the congregation, as she died within a month or two after 
her arrival, and was buried beside Landert's wife and 
Beller's daughter in the family graveyard on Sigmund 
Landert's farm. This was the first graveyard of the Cones- 
toga congregation. 

^^^^^ vTSPiclOUSLY the year 1730 opened for the 

/'^^^l^^^^^ Sabbatarians. The diarist of the congre- 

^^ ^^B ^H gation states that the new congregation, 

^^ ^H ^H " impelled by holy zeal, grows as the sweet 

' ^V ^B savor of its walk and conversation is spread 

^m ^H abroad." Then referring to their leader, 

^^ ^H he says: "First of all we are to be re- 

.<^^^ ^H minded that the superintendent, who had 
^^^x'^^^before his baptism led an angelic life 
.^^ Y^ hidden in God, now by baptism had con- 
secrated himself to the lowly humanity 
of Jesus Christ." 

Notwithstanding the bright outlook when the year 
opened, it was doomed to be a turbulent one. The first 
trouble was brought about by some gossip in the neighbor- 
hood, affecting the young women who had elected to live 
a spiritual life, and for the purpose of being nearer to the 
elder, had lived under the protection of Lamech. This 
gossip, like the story of the three black crows, increased 
until it became a tale of scandal, in which Beissel and the 
two daughters of Daniel Eichcr were involved. When 
this came to the knowledge of a local Justice of the Peace, 
Samuel Jones, he issued a King's warrant for the two girls, 
and later one for Conrad Beissel. At the hearing Beissel 
acted as counsel for the defense. The result is thus given 
in the record : 

" To the question whether they were guilty, Beissel de- 
manded the witnesses, and they not being forthcoming, 
administered a sharp rebuke to the justice, and went his 
way ; for he had interfered with his oflSce, as it was the 

Maria Chrisfina Sauer. 175 

Sabbath. Thereupon the justice sent out the constable 
after witnesses, who brought together all the old women in 
the township. Each one of these referred to the other, 
until at last the accusation was traced back to one. Then 
the misunderstanding was disclosed ; for this one had said 
it concerning a sister, who, after the flesh of the accused 
sister, who had a husband ; it had been understood, how- 
ever, of the latter, who was single. The justice thereupon 
begged pardon of the accused sister and let her go in 

This case so incensed Beissel that he published his 
Ehebilchlein (Matrimony the Penitentiary of Carnal Man.) 
One of the immediate results of this persecution and the 
issue of the pamphlet was that two married women of the 
congregation deserted their husbands and joined the two 
sisters in their retirement. One of these matrons was 
Maria Christina Sauer, wife of Christopher Sauer, and the 
other was Maria (Weidenbacher) Hanselmann. Both were 
rebaptized into the congregation during the summer, and 
eventually entered the sisterhood at Ephrata. 

This act of the two women tended to still further in- 
cense those settlers who were not in harmony with the new 
movements against the leader and his followers. Yet, de- 
spite these trials and annoyances, the Sabbatarians gained 
in both number and importance, and during the summer 
issued, for the uses of the congregation, a hymn-book, the 
first German hymn-book printed in America. This book 
was fully described in the last chapter. 

We now come to the meeting of Beissel and Alexander 
Mack, the patriarch of the German Baptists. Two accounts 
have come down to us of this interview ; one of these is 
the story in the Chronicon^ the other is a contemporary 
manuscript ; from these two sources the following is 
gleaned : In October, 1730, Beissel and a number of his 
followers planned a visitation to Falkner Swamp. After 

176 The German Sectarians 0/ Pennsylvania. 

their arrival there meetings were held at different houses. 
As soon as news of this incursion came to Germantown a 
number of the Becker party, headed by Alexander Mack and 
Becker, started for Falkner Swamp. A meeting had been 
called at the house of Johann Senseman, and when it was 
well under way, while the worshippers were at silent 
prayer, the door was suddenly opened, and the German- 
town party, headed by Mack, rushed into the room. The 
latter exclaimed : " The peace of God the Lord be with 
you." A voice answered the salutation, saying: "We 
have that peace." Mack now commenced a spirited 
harangue, demanding to know why the Conestoga people 
had placed the Germantown congregation under the ban 
of non-intercourse. In conclusion, he proposed that both 
parties should now betake themselves to prayer, so that 
God might reveal unto them which party was guilty of 
separation. Accordingly they fell upon their knees, each 
taking hold of his pilgrim-staff with both hands, resting 
their bearded heads upon their wrists. There was a differ- 
ence in their mode of prayer ; while the Beissel party 
offered up their invocation in silence, Alexander Mack, as 
leader of the Germantown party, broke out in a loud and 
fervent prayer, raising his voice as he proceeded. As his 
voice grew louder he was interrupted by Michael Wohl- 
farth, who shouted : " Cry aloud ; shout louder, perhaps 
your God is asleep," and similar derisive remarks. After 
order was restored. Mack asked whether Beissel was present. 
Upon his being pointed out, Mack failed to identify him, 
and requested him to come forward and speak to him, as 
he was a stranger to him. Conrad Beissel then stepped 
forward, and said : " I am the man after whom you ask." 
Mack then took Beissel to task in a somewhat rough man- 
ner. The latter merely answered with the query : " Why 
came he here, in so unseemly and improper a manner, to 
raise a disturbance ?" Before Mack could answer, Wohlfarth 

Meeting of Beissel and Mack. 177 

took up the word and overwhelmed both Mack and Becker 
with denunciations. This precipitated a general wrangle, 
in which Peter Becker, Alexander Mack, Jacob Weiss, 
Valentine Leslie, David Gemahle and Michael Wohlfarth 
took an active part. While the Chronicon contents itself 
with the entry : " Then things became lively," our manu- 
script account says : " Upon both sides many words were 
spoken which it is best not to record." 

The discussion ended with the discomfiture of the Ger- 
mantown party, who left the meeting without having 
accomplished their object. Alexander Mack shortly after- 
wards wrote and published a small tract bearing upon the 
controversy,^' and giving his version of the affair. No 
copy of this brochure is known. There can be but little 
doubt that Mack and Beissel, as well as Becker, were 
pained at heart and deeply regretted the differences which 
had divided the various congregations of German Baptists 
in the Province. Beissel, in one of his Theosophical 
Epistles directed to Becker, writes : "I am well-disposed 
toward you all in those matters on which the spirits can 
unite in God ; but in those which concern your mode of 
divine worship I can take no part."*^" 

During the next year or two several meetings were ar- 
ranged between the two leaders, always, however, without 
result. The insurmountable objection upon the part of the 
Mack faction was the system of re-baptism practised by 
Beissel and his followers, as they contended that there was 
no Scriptural foundation for such procedure. Beissel, in 
turn, challenged his opponents to show him a single verse 
in the whole of the New Testament wherein re-baptism 
was forbidden. In support of his own opposition he 
further claimed that many of the persons baptized by John 

^ Ein Tractalein, darin Er ihner erwiesen, dass sich ein jeder Stamm, 
miisse zu seinen Pannier halten, Chr. Eph., p. 41, original edition. 
*' Epistle xvii. 

178 The Gerii/aii Src/nrians of Pennsylvania. 

the Baptist were again baptized by the Apostles. It was 
settled, however, that such re-baptisms could not be made 
an article of faith. Therefore, when in later times some 
of the old congregation went over to the new, and some 
wanted them re-baptized, wise men arose among them and 
hindered it.*" 

How Beissel, Wohlfarth and Meyle went to Philadelphia, 
and the immediate results of their journey is told in the next 

Among the curious superstitions of this time was the 
belief among the Germans in lucky and unlucky days. 
This was an outcome of the neglected spiritual condition of 
the German settlers, as the lack of regular orthodox pastors 
tended to foster these and other superstitions. Many of 
these traditions were brought from the Fatherland, and to 
them were added such as were current among Irish and 
English neighbors. The German, being of a sanguine 
temperament, was especially prone to foster a belief in 
celestial signs, traditional superstition and unlucky days 
( Ungliickslage). 

Another belief was that of hexing or bewitching. When- 
ever anything appeared to be wrong with any person or 
animal, which could not be accounted for by the local 
Bader., it was at once assumed that the person or thing 
was behext or bewitched. An old manuscript in po.ssession 
of the writer gives the following " infallible" remedj- : 

When a human being or animal is behext or bezatibert, 
take equal parts of cinquefoil, fennel flower seed, a piece 
of a human skull {Todeiibeiu), water-soaked wood. 

These ingredients are to be pulverized. Dose : For a 
child, as much as will go on the point of a knife ; for an 
adult, a drachm ; for a horse, one ounce ; for cattle, one- 
half ounce, to be mixed with vinegar. 

Our old MS. records that when the year 1731 was ushered 

«» Ch. Eph., p. 42. 

Legal Persecutions. 179 

in Satan became more active than ever, causing great tribu- 
lation for the Elder. The first cause for trouble came when 
several other matrons followed the example set by Sauer's 
wife, and deserted their husbands and families to live a 
life of Christian retirement. Beissel was blamed by the 
irate husbands, and several turbulent scenes were enacted 
at the public meetings. 

Beissel and Wohlfarth, however, continued in their activ- 
ity by organizing revivals and preaching the Sabbatarian 
gospel. Success crowned their efforts to so great an extent 
that they again attracted the attention of the civil authori- 
ties, who feared that in time they might change the day of 
worship in the Province and, if not promptly checked, 
might soon obtain the upper hand if their present rate of 
increase continued. So they again began to fine and im- 
prison all such persons as were informed against for per- 
forming manual labor on the first day of the week. Their 
action was taken under the Act of 1705, viz.: 

An Act to restrain people from labor on the First 
Day of the Week. 

To the end that all people within this Province may with 
the greater freedom devote themselves to religious and pious 
exercises : 

[Section i.] Be it enacted by John Evans, Esquire, by the 
Queen's royal approbation Lieutenant-Governor under William 
Penn, Esquire, absolute Proprietary and Governor-in-Chief of 
the Province of Pennsylvania and Territories, by and with 
advice & consent of the freemen of the Province in General 
Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, That ac- 
cording to the example of the primitive Christians and for the 
ease of the creation, every First day of the week commonly 
called Sunday, all people shall abstain from toil and labor; 
that whether masters, parents, children, ser\-ants or others, 
they may the better dispose themselves to read & hear the 
Holy Scriptures of Truth at home, & frequent such meetings 
of religious worship abroad as may best suit their respective 

i8o The German Sectarians of Pennsylz'ania. 

persuasions. And that no tradesman, artificer, workman, 
laborer or other person whatsoever shall do or exercise any 
worldly business or work of their ordinary callings on the 
First day or any part thereof (works of necessity and charitj' 
only excepted) upon pain that every person so offending shall, 
for every offense, forfeit the sum of twenty shillings, to the 
use of the poor of the place where the offense was committed; 
being thereof convicted before any justice (either upon his 
\'iew, confession of the part}-, or proof of one or more wit- 
nesses) and the said justice shall g^ve a warrant, under his 
hand and seal to the next constable where such offense shall 
be committed, to levy the said forfeiture or penaltj' by distress 
and sale of the offenders goods and chattels, rendering to the 
said offender the overplus of the moneys raised thereby — 

Among the victims of this crusade were two of the 
brethren, Bene and Samuel Eckerling, who were arrested 
under the above Act in the fall of 1731 for working upon 
the Lord's day (Sunday), and were imprisoned in the county 
jail at Lancaster. But, as they persisted in their convic- 
tions, and to quiet the clamor of the populace, the fine was 
remitted and they were discharged. This ended the prose- 
cution for a time. 

With the growth of the congregation and the rapid in- 
crease of settlers who flocked into the Conestoga valley, a 
serious problem presented itself. This was the question of 
the ownership of the land. It was further aggravated by 
the increase of solitary brethren and spiritual virgins. 
Numerous cabins for both solitary and householders now 
dotted the land, both settled and vacant, between the Con- 
estoga and the Miihlbach. The separate orders of religious 
enthusiasts looked upon Beissel as their spiritual director, 
and refused to obey any mandate, either civil or judicial, 
unless approved by him. The)' further demanded of him 
ministrations different from those of the secular congrega- 
tion, which was made up of the various householders or 
regular settlers. 

Ejectment of Squatters. i8i 

This peculiar state of affairs, civil and religious, soon 
brought on a conflict of authority between the settlers and 
Henry Hodge, Esq., the attorney for the London Company 
that owned a large part of the Conestoga valley. In the 
spring of the year (1730) Attorney Hodge determined to 
dispossess the German squatters by force, and an applica- 
tion to that effect was made to the court at Lancaster. 
Before proceeding to extreme measures a hand-bill was 
distributed throughout the Conestoga valley, as a final 
notice to all concerned. A copy of this notice also ap- 
peared in Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette : 

Philadtlplia, 20th of the 6ih Month, 173»>. 

Yl/" H E R E A S divers Perfons have (il- 
legally) fettled themfelves arid Families on feveral 
Trafts of Land, known by the Name of 'fhe Leneht Coiii* 
fattf'i Limd, and that to the Damage of the Owners theteofs 
THESE are therefore to give Notice to all fuch-p&e 
ftns, tliat if they (within one Month ifter the Dare hereof) 
Aall refufe or negleft to make Satisfaftion for the DarhMCS 
already ddne, and flialtprefumc hereafter to cut any Tim- 
ber-Treet or Underwood, &f . they may cxpe& to be pro* 
eeeded againft according to a Law of this Province, made 
and provided in that Cafe. Henry Hodge^ Attorney. 

This notice evidently had the desired effect, and amicable 
settlements were undoubtedly made, as no records are to be 
found of either evictions or prosecutions. 

In view of these complications and differences the sugges- 
tion was made to Beissel that he retire with all the solitary 
of both sexes and, after the precept of the holy forefathers, 
begin a household in the wilderness. This suggestion 
Beissel refused to entertain at the time, and stated that the 
secular, or congregation at large, had the greater claim 
upon him. Thus matters continued until February, 1732, 
when he called a general meeting at which a fervent ex- 
hortation was delivered upon the " comforting state of God's 
kingdom." At the close of the discourse he appointed 

1 82 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Sigmuiid Landert and another brother as Elders to preside 
over the congregation in the wilderness. Maria Christina 
Sauer was designated as matron over the single women of 
the fold. These three persons were bound by a most solemn 
promise (at the same time giving to each a Testament) to 
govern strictly according to the rules of the book. Beissel 
charged them to regard the Holy Writ as their sole guide, 
and not to be misled from the straight path therein indicated. 
He earnestly impressed upon the members of the congrega- 
tion at large the necessity of remaining steadfast in their 
faith and convictions. 

When this ceremony was at an end Beissel, to the surprise 
of all present, with tears coursing down his cheeks, impres- 
sively laid down his office and resigned his position as J^or- 
steher or teacher of the congregation. Then he stepped 
down from the prayer-bench an humble member of the 

That this unexpected action of Beissel threw the members 
into consternation, is not to be wondered at. Henceforth 
Sigmund Landert assumed charge, but the meetings proved 
far from harmonious, and from the frequent judicial ques- 
tions asked and argued, the general gatherings of the Con- 
estoga congregation appeared more like court sessions than 
religious meetings. 

What became of Conrad Beissel and the congregation 
will appear in a subseqiient chapter. 

A Fragment from an old Samples. 


HEN Conrad Beissel bade 
his dramatic adieu to the 
congregation, it was evi- 
dently part of a precon- 
ceived scheme to throw 
off the care of them and 
once more retire to the 
solitude of the forest, there 
to devote himself to a life 
of self-contemplation. 

Whether he had well 
considered the effect of 
the desertion of his fol- 
lowers is a question not to be answered at this late day. 
However, he gathered up his books and papers and once 
again, winter though it was, journeyed, staff in hand, 
deeper into the unbroken forest. His goal lay eight miles 
north by west. Here, upon the banks of a romantic stream, 
beside a never-failing spring of limpid water, a cabin 
had been previously built, far away from any human 
habitation, by Emanuel Eckerling. The situation was a 
somewhat peculiar one : the bottom or meadow wherein 
the cabin stood was one avoided even by the Indians on 
account of the numberless snakes with which the meadow 
and the banks of the creek were infested. They called it 
Hoch-Halekiing^ or the Den of Serpents. The new settlers 
kept the word, which in time was spelled as pronounced, 
— Cocalico. 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Emanuel Eckerling evidently expected the coming of 
the late leader. He received him with open arms, and 
gave up his cabin in part to him until a separate one could 
be finished for his use. The situation of this cabin was in 
the meadow or schwam beside a spring of pure water, 
which bubbled out of the ground, sparkling and bright, 
winter and summer, and thence found its way into the 

creek, which here makes 
quite a bend. This spring, 
at which the two hermits 
were wont to refresh them- 
selves, is the one still used 
by the inmates of the old 
Brother-house. The water 
is just as clear and refresh- 
ing as it was a century and 
three-quarters ago, and 
upon more than one hot 
summer day has served to 
quench the thirst of the 

Conrad Beissel lost no 
time in clearing a piece 
of laud for seeding when 
spring opened. This he 
cultivated entirely by 
manual labor. At the same time he hewed the necessary 
timber to build a cabin. He completed this habitation 
during the summer months. His time henceforth was 
divided between cultivating his garden and the wooing of 
the celestial Sophia, passing his hours alternately in study 
and labor, and living on the simplest fare. He was once 
more in his beloved solitude ; just what the state of his 
mind was may best be judged from the beautiful hymn, 
composed during the early days of his sojourn on the 
Cocalico : 

An Ideal Hermit. 

Prelude to the New World. 185 

" O blessed solitary life, 
Where all creation silence keeps! 
Who thus himself to God can yield 
That he ne'er from him strays, 
Hath to the highest goal attained, 
And can without vexation live. 
Faith, toleration, love and hope. 
These all have come to his support." 

During the spring and summer, when not at prayer or 
labor, he devoted all spare moments toward perfecting the 
hymn-book which he had printed for the congregation. 
His labors culminated in an enlarged collection of hymns, 
printed by Franklin, with a new title. 

Vor spiel \ der \ Neiien- Welt. \ Welches sich in der letsten 
Abendroethe \ als ein paradisischer Lichtes-glantz \ unter 
den Kindern Gottes \ hervor gethan. | in \ Liebes^ Lobes., 
Leidens, Krafft, \ und Erfahj-iings liedern abgebildet, die 
I gedri'ickte^ geb'uckte und Creiits- | tragende Kirche mif 
Erden. | Lhid wie inzivischeti sick | Die obere und Triiimp- 
hirende Kirche | als cifte Paradiesische vorkost her- | vor 
thut und offenbahret. \ Und daneben^ als | Erjtstliche und 
zurtiffende wachterstimmen | <?« alle an7ioch serstreuete 
Kinder Gottes^ das sie \ sich sanimlcn und bereit machen 
auf den \ baldigen ; Ja bald herein brechcjt- \ den Hochzeit- 
Tag der braut | des Lamms. \ Zu Philadelphia : Gedruckt 
bey Benjaynin | Fj'ancklin, itt der Marck-strass, 17 J2. 

The main part of this title sets forth that it is a " Pre- 
lude to the new World, which in the last rosy sunset has 
appeared as a paradisal refulgence unto the children of 
God. Illustrated in Songs of Love, Praise, Suffering, 
Power, and Experience — the crushed, cringing and cross- 
bearing Church on Earth," etc. The title-page is repro- 
duced upon the opposite page. An appendix, Zu77i Be- 
schluss^ a mystical A, B, C, consists of twenty-four sentences, 
after the order of Beissel's book of 99 proverbs. 

i86 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 



Welches fich in derletzten Abendroethc 

als ein paradinfcher Lichtes-glaiitz 

unter den Kindem Gottes 

hervor gethan. 



uttd Eirfahrungs liederif abgebildeP, dis 

gjsdt^kte, gebuckte und Creatz* 

tragefiSe Kirche a^fErdem 

Und wie iotwilcheb' Cith 

Die obere und THumphirende Kifchs 

als cine Faradiefifche vorkoft ber<* 

vor thut und offetibahretu 

Und damhett, ah 

Ernflllche und zuruffcnde wachterftimmeil 

floalle annoch zeiftreuete Kinder Gotten, das& 

Ccb (arorolea und bereit maohen auf dca 

baldigen ; Ja bald herein brechea* 

dea Hocnzeit-Tag der biaut 

des L^mins. 

Za 'Philadelphia I Gcdruckt bey Betijamin 


Original in Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Franklin^s Accounts with Beissel. 


This book, a small octavo of two hundred pages, of 
which only a few copies have been found, contains all the 
hymns of the G'dttliche Liebes und Lobesgethbne (1730) 
with the addition of fifty-five new ones, of which twenty- 
four were written by Beissel, the rest by Michael Wohl- 
farth, Martin Bremer and others. 

The business part of the publication of this new hymn- 
book was evidently attended to by Samuel Eckerling. 
This fact is inferred from three entries in Franklin's Com- 
mercial Journal, now in possession of the American Philo- 

4 yyso^:^ 

sophical Society. This shows that, with the usual Ger- 
man thrift and honesty, the venture was a cash transaction ; 
in fact, a portion of the money was paid before the work 
was even begun. These entries even offer another illus- 
tration of the contemptuous antagonism entertained by 
Franklin against the German race. 

1731-1 March 20. Saml. Ackerling [sic] 

Cr. for Cash towards printing 

his book of Dutch £ 10. 00. o. 

1732 May 8. Received of Samuel Eckerling Cash toward 

printing the Book £ 10. 00. 00. 

October 6. Last week I iinished the Dutch for Samuel 

" Eckerling, and received of him as nmch 

Cash as made all even between us. 

1 88 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

As this account merely calls for printing, the sheets were 
evidently bound either at Germantown or in Lancaster 

county. Further, it being a cash transaction, no ledger 
account was opened by Franklin with his German patron. 

Beissel had no sooner left the Conestoga valley than dis- 
cord and dissensions arose among the persons composing 
the congregation, which was now left without a Vorstehet 
who had the requisite firmness and executive ability to 
guide its affairs. Factious and vexatious questions arose 
among the different parties, and harmony ceased to prevail 
in their councils. Upon one point, however, they were 
unanimous ; this was to recall Beissel from his seclusion 
and induce him to return to them, or at least to come and 
give judgment upon their distracting questions. The con- 
sequence of this was that on September 4, 1732, just seven 
months after his withdrawal from the I'orsteher Amt^ 
Conrad Beissel again presided at an Agapas or love-feast 
of his former congregation, which was held at Brother 
Landert's house. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, Beissel stated that, 
notwithstanding their earnest prayers for him to remain in 
their midst, he felt it his duty to adhere to his original re- 
solve, and return to his cabin in the wilderness. This he 
did after giving them a final admonition to be faithful and 
to keep the Sabbath and other ordinances of Scripture. 
Returning to the Cocalico, he was not permitted, however, 

On the Cocalico. 189 

to enjoy his retirement, as not a week passed without some 
of the members of the congregation making a pilgrimage 
to his cabin for advice or instruction. 

During the winter (1732-33) the little settlement was in- 
creased by the arrival of three more single brethren, Jacob 
Gast, Martin Bremer and Samuel Eckerling, whose wife 
Catharina had died a few months before. These three 
built for themselves another cabin on the banks of the 
Cocalico, so as to be near their spiritual master. This was 
the third house in the settlement. 

The next arrivals were the two sisters, Anna and Maria 
Eicher, who clamored for permission to pass their time in 
seclusion and silent contemplation, and receive further 
spiritual instruction from their former teacher. Their de- 
mand was not received with favor by the resident brethren, 
but all attempts to dissuade them proved futile. After a 
long consultation it was concluded that the hand of Provi- 
dence was in the matter, and, such being the case, they had 
no right to object. So a house was at once erected on the 
opposite side of the stream for the exclusive use of the two 
sisters. This house was completed in May, 1733, and was 
occupied by the two girls until the erection of the first 
community-house at Ephrata. 

Beissel throughout this trying period took for his proto- 
type Pachomius, a soldier in Constantine's Legion, who, it 
is said, saw the flaming cross in the skies surrounded by 
the legend, In Hoc Signo V'lncis^ as it appeared to his 
leader. Converted to Christianity, Pachomius retired to 
the Theban desert, and for a time lived the life of a hermit. 
A few years later he built a hut on Tabenna, an island in 
the river Nile. Here he founded the nucleus of a large 
monastic institution with separate buildings for the male 
and female members. When the two sisters were ques- 
tioned as to their course, they were wont to answer that 
they merely followed in the footsteps of St. Paula. 

190 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

An English contemporary account states : " But he 
[Beissel] had not been long in the place before the society 
found him out and repaired to his little cot ; the brethren 
settling with him on the west banks of the Cocalico, and 
the sisters on the east, all in sight of one another, with the 
river running between them." 

During the middle of October (1733) Michael Wohlfarth 
made another of his periodical pilgrim- 
ages to Philadelphia. He was accom- 
panied by a single brother, whose iden- 
tity is hidden under the monastic name 
of Jonadab. The two enthusiasts went 
into the Yearly Meeting then in session 
and began to harangue the assembly 
on the iniquity of their ways. Their 
violent language, which was heightened 
by their strange appearance, with long 
hair and flowing beards, caused some 
excitement among the Friends, and 
ended in the two strangers being un- 
ceremoniously hustled out of the meet- 
ing-house. This, however, was no new 
experience for Wohlfarth, and, nothing ^ conestoga pilgrim. 
daunted, he and his companion mounted the court-house 
steps, then at Second and Market streets, and spoke to such 
of the multitude as would give attention. 

Toward the close of 1733 a steady stream of German 
settlers set in, who flocked into the fertile fields and 
bottoms of this end of Lancaster county. Wherever a fine 
spring of water was to be found there a German famil}- 
settled. The vacant lands were rapidly taken up and sur- 
veyed for the purchasers, who soon turned the wilderness 
into a blooming garden. Most of these settlers were 
Lutheran and Reformed. Accessions also came from 
among the various German Sabbatarians who were scat- 

Adoption of Distinctive Dress. 191 

tered through Falkiier Swamp, Coventry in Chester county 
and elsewhere. These latter, many of whom were poor 
and without means, clustered around the settlement of 
their leader. Philadelphia and the surrounding country 
also furnished some representatives of them. So great 
was this movement that when the year 1734 opened the 
country, within a radius of three or four miles from Beis- 
sel's cabin, was all in possession of his followers. 

According to the Chronicon, " Wherever there was a 
spring of water, no matter how unfertile the soil might 
be, there lived some household that was waiting for the 
Lord's salvation. " 

The country was now divided into four parts or settle- 
ments, named respectively, Massa, Zoar, Hebron and 
Kadesh. The site of only one of these settlements can be 
definitely located at the present day, viz., Zoar. This was 
the present Reamstown in East Cocalico township. Kadesh 
is believed to have been the original settlement on the 
Cocalico, now the Kloster grounds. 

At the opening of the year 1734 the first entry of interest 
is the record of the death of one of the brethren, Peter Lessly 
by name, who died of consumption on the last day of the 
first month. Another cabin was added to the number on 
the west bank of the creek early in the spring. This was 
for the use of Israel and Gabriel Eckerling. 

It is at this time that we find the first traces and mention 
of distinctive clothing. Heretofore both men and women 
had worn plain dress similar to that of the Friends. Now, 
however, still more radical innovations were introduced, 
which eventually resulted in the adoption by some of the 
most austere members of a costume somewhat similar to 
that of the pilgrims of old. 

This action caused reports to be circulated that the 
brethren living separately on the Cocalico were in reality 
Jesuits who were here to seduce the populace. It was even 

192 77^1? German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

reported by some of their enemies that they were sent here 
from Mexico, and were amply supplied with Spanish gold. 

These and many like tales were believed by the common 
people, and some, whom the Chronicon designates as " de- 
generate Mennonites and partly spoiled church people," 
became so wrought up by these reports that it was deter- 
mined to burn down the entire settlement and thus rid the 
community of the religious celibates. With this object in 
view, fire was set to the dry leaves and brush in the forest 
on a night when the wind blew strongly from the west. 
After the fire was fairly started and began to gain headway, 
the wind providentiall)- changed, the course of the fire 
turned, and actually burned the barn and buildings of the 
chief instigator of the scheme. 

To alleviate the wants of the many poor settlers who 
were attracted to the vicinity (and many of these were 
found among the number who vilified and denounced the 
brethren) a granary {Korn-magazin') was erected for the 
storage of rye and corn, which was raised by the single 
brethren or contributed by the more prosperous secular 
members. It was a grand and charitable scheme for the 
assistance of poor German emigrants, the first organization 
of its kind in the Western World. Several large brick 
bake-ovens were also built to supply Pumpernickel to the 
indigent settlers. The bread thus baked was distributed 
to the needy without charge. These ovens were all under 
one roof and opened into a large room with troughs for the 
mixing of the dough. A cabin was built between these 
two offices for Samuel Eckerling who was in charge of 
both granary and bake-house. 

Among those who came to the settlement during the 
summer (July, 1734) and joined the solitary brethren, was 
an erratic French Switzer, Jean Fran9ois Regnier, a native 
of Vivres. This man, brought up in the Reformed faith, 
was now a visionary fanatic, and claimed to have been 

Scriptural Acorti Diet. 193 

awakened in his seventh year. He professed great holi- 
ness, and began to formulate his strange notions whenever 
opportunity offered. A number of the people, among whom 
were two of the Eckerlings, became impressed with his 
apparent earnestness. Beissel, however, with his cool 
judgment, warned his followers against the new-comer, 
and cautioned them to beware of him, as his reason was 
certainly unbalanced. 

Some of the ridiculous ravings of this fanatic led to 
strange extravagances. Among others he asked his fol- 
lowers to bind themselves with him not to eat any more 
bread made from cereal grain ; so, when fall came, Pmnper- 
nickel axvA Schwartzbrod ^^x& eschewed for a time ; and as 
a substitute the woods were scoured and acorns gathered 
and brought to the common granary for their use. All 
this was done iinder a supposed spiritual guidance. Regnier 
also taught that it was consistant with holiness to follow 
the example of Elijah and other saints, and not to dwell in 
any house. 

Beissel now ordered the brethren to build a rude hut in 
the woods for the visionary ascetic, and that he be fed 
upon his scriptural diet {eichel-kost) prepared from acorns. 
As the season progressed the stored acorns became wormy 
and spoiled, and the Swiss prophet was forced again to beg 
for plain Pumpernickel. This so worried Regnier that his 
reason became seriously affected, and for a time he ceased 
to be a factor in the settlement. 

[From a fragment of an old manuscript bearing on the 
Regnier episode, it is shown that there was considerable 
method in his madness, so far as the acorn diet is con- 
cerned. It was not original with him, but was really a 
revival of a belief which dates back into the dim ages of 
the long-forgotten past, when the oak furnished the first 
food for man, both meat and drink, and contained all that 
was necessary for man's existence. From this manuscript 

194 ^ li<^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

it appears that Regnier not only suggested acorns as a sub- 
stitute for rye and wheat in making bread, but also for 
other dishes, such as cereal food {mehl-speise), coffee, and 
lastly as a basis for making an excellent schnapps (whiskey). 
For making bread the acorns were first soaked in water or 
steamed, to eliminate the bitter principle {entbittert) ; they 
were then dried and ground into meal, which was baked in 
the usual manner. The bread, Eichelbrod^ was about as 
palatable as Pumpernickel, but much less digestible. 

As a substitute for coffee the largest and soundest acorns 
were selected. Only thoroughly ripe ones were to be used. 
The acorns were then hulled or taken out of their cups, 
cut into quarters and scalded with boiling water, after 
which they were drained and allowed to cool. Then they 
were placed in a bake-oven until thoroughly dry, and 
finally were roasted in the same way as ordinary coffee 
beans, and ground for use. To make coffee, about a 
drachm of the ground acorns was taken for every three 
cups of boiling water, which was poured over the powder 
and boiled for about ten minutes. The taste and stimu- 
lating action of this decoction were entirely different from 
regular coffee, as it lacked both the caffeine and essential 
oils of the latter. 

This coffee substitute was supposed to have peculiar 
properties, both medicinal and mystical, and was also used 
to drive all hereditar}' taint or disease from the system. 
Thus, down to the present day throughout the farming 
districts of Pennsylvania, it is frequently given to children 
who are affected with scrofula. Regnier also made a mash 
from acorns, which not only furnished a good vinegar, but 
an excellent whiskey as well. Lastly, there appears a 
receipt for an Analeptikum or tonic, to be used after any 
serious illness. For this purpose the acorns were to be 
buried when the moon was in a certain quarter, until they 

Jean Francois Regnier. 


had lost their bitterness, then dried, roasted, powdered and 
mixed with sugar and certain aromatic herbs. 

In the teachings of the Rosicrucian mj'stics it was stated 
that the oak furnished the first food for mankind, the 
acorn as meat and the honey-dew {honigmeth) as drink. 
The rustle of the foliage denoted the presence of the 
Deity. Even at Ephrata the Zionitic brotherhood would 
wander into the forest and appeal to this supposed oracle. 
It was further firmly believed that when the time of Phila- 
delphian restitution should come, it would once more bring 
about the primeval simplicity when the oak would furnish 
unto man his entire sustenance.] 

Regnier, after his expulsion from the community, had 
himself baptized by David Gemaehle, one of the seceders 
from the Sabbatarian congregation, after which the two 
men went through the country as apostles, paying especial 
attention to such of the German settlers as had accepted 
Judaism,^' who were scattered throughout the eastern part 
of the Province. Eventually they drifted to New York, 
where they spoke in the synagogue and aroused much atten- 
tion. From thence Regnier made a pilgrimage, on foot and 
bareheaded, to Georgia, where he joined the Moravians. 

" Vide chapter ix, supra. 


ROPERLY to present the 
spiritual condition of the 
German settlers within 
the Province during the 
time of Beissel's activity 
in the Conestoga country, 
it will be necessary at this 
point to make a slight di- 
gression in our narrative 
and take a retrospect of 
the whole religious con- 
dition from the time of 
Pastorius' arrival in 1683 
down to the time when 
the Conestoga Sabbatarians were left without a leader by 
the voluntary retirement of Beissel. 

Many of the earliest German emigrants prior to their 
departure from the Fatherland were for a time dazzled 
with the doctrines of Quakerism. Pew of their number, 
however, actually joined their meetings after coming to 
this country, and even these few exceptions at heart still 
clung in secret to some of the good old ordinances of the 
Lutheran and Reformed faiths. 

As a prominent example of this kind may be named 
the Germantown pioneer, Francis Daniel Pastorius, who, 

'^^nciJ ^mlcL 9kflorucj 

Francis Daniel Pastorius. 197 

though to all outward appearances in full fellowship with 
the Quakers and conformed to their usages, yet had his 
two sons baptized in the Lutheran Church. Who officiated, 
who the sponsors were, or where the ordinance was ad- 
ministered neither history nor tradition tells us. That it 
was done, however, is shown by the published letter to his 
father, dated June i, 1693 : 

" My wife brought to the world, March 30, 1690, unto me 
a son, named Johann Samuel, and then April i, 1692, a 
second one. The name of Heinrich was given him by holy 
baptism." "' 

During the earliest days of Penn's proprietorship there 
was but little German emigration, and such as sought the 
shelter of our promised religious toleration were mostly of 
the Mennonite faith, and in the course of a few decades be- 
came one of the most important sects which aided in 
the making of our Commonwealth. It is a fact worthy of 
note, that during the whole of the first decade following 
the landing of Penn there was no place of religious worship 
for the Germans who adhered to the Lutheran or other 
orthodox faiths. Pastorius, in a letter written to his father 
in 1686, states : 

" We have here in Germantown, Auuo 1686, built a church 
for the congregation, but have not cultivated outward appear- 
ances by erecting a great stone edifice, that the temple of 
God (which we believers are ourselves) may the rather be 
erected. ' ' '^ 

''- ("Welches mein Eheweib mir Anno 1690 den 30 Martii ein Sohnlein 
namens Johann Samuel zur welt gebohren. Und dann Anno 1692 den i, 
Aprilis das zweite, deme der name Heinrich bey der heiligen Tauffe 
gegeben worden. Umsfandige Beschreibung, p. 60.") 

63 (" wir haben allhier zu Germanton Anno 1686 ein Kirchlein fur die 
Gemeinde gebauet, darbey aber nicht auf ein auserliches, grosses Stein, 
Gebaude gesehen, sondern dass der Temple Gottes (welcher wir Glaubi- 
gen selbst sind) gebauet werden, und allesamt heilig und unbefleck seyn 

198 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

How the first orthodox services were introduced by 
Heinrich Bernhard Koster, who came to Pennsylvania 
with Johann Kelpius, in 1694, and how a tabernacle was 
erected on the rocky banks of the Wissahickon has been 
fully told in the preceding volume." The ministrations of 
Daniel Falkner, in the territory which still bears his 
name, " Falkner Swamp," are also fully described. It 
was here that, during the earliest years of the eighteenth 
century, was built the first German Lutheran house of 
worship in North America of which any definite record 

It is unnecessary to say that it was an unpretentious log- 
house, without any outward sign denoting its sacred uses. 
It sufficed, however, for the few Lutherans and Reformed 
in the vicinity until 1721, the very year that Beissel com- 
menced his ministrations, when it was replaced by a more 
solid structure to accommodate the increased number of 
worshipers who flocked there under the pastorate of Rev. 
Gerhard Heukel. 

Returning to the close of the seventeenth ceuturj- and 
the earliest years of the next one, we have an occasional 
arrival of vessels bearing a few German emigrants. These, 
as stated, were chiefly followers of Simon Menno, and set- 
tled in the vicinity of Germantown, and by the year 1708 
were strong enough numerically to erect a meeting-house 
within the bounds of the corporate limits of the town, with 
Wilhelm Rittighauseu as their first preacher. 

This meeting-house, also a plain log-house, was the first 
congregational house dedicated to the worship of Almighty- 
God within the boimds of the German township of which 
we have any definite record. This house, supplanted in 
1770 by the present stone structure, is still used for its 

*' The Germa7i Pietists of Provincial Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1894. 
" Gloria Die, at Wicacoa, was a Swedish Lutheran church, see Gennan 

An Old Landmark. 


200 The Gertnan Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

original purposes by descendants of the early German 
pioneers who built it. 

It was not until the commencement of the second decade 
of the century that the great wave of German emigration 
struck the shores of the American colonies, and Pennsyl- 
vania received the greater share. Among these emigrants 
there were many Lutherans and Reformed, as well as 
Mennonites, Baptists and other non-orthodox sects. It was 
from the latter that Becker and Beissel gained nearly all 
their converts. None were thus far gathered from the 
Lutherans, and but few from the Reformed. 

The lack of any number of regular ordained German 
pastors of the Lutheran and Reformed faiths at this period 
(1715-1725) was an unfortunate one, and led to a number 
of both these faiths joining other churches and sects, both 
German and English. 

A situation of which some of the dissenting English 
clergymen quickly availed themselves, and taken together 
with the fact that the Quaker tenets were making little 
or no headway among the laboring classes, and that the 
Church of England, from its peculiar organization and its 
relation to the State, failed to appeal to the masses, proved 
to be the opportunity for both Presbyterian and Baptist 
clergymen in the Province, one by which their congrega- 
tions might be increased and the churches placed upon a 
better financial footing. 

There was, however, an important factor which gave the 
leaders of the above two denominations great concern. This 
was the Sabbatarian movement, which was then steadily 
gaining strength among the English settlers in Chester 
and Philadelphia counties, owing to the distribution of 
the English tracts of Beissel and Wohlfarth. Numerous 
attempts were made to counteract the arguments of the 
two German evangelists, and this eventually brought about 

Evans' '■'•Help for Parents.'''' 201 

the re-publication of the Westminster Shorter Catechism 
in Pennsylvania. 

Among the leading clergymen of the county of Chester 
was David Evans, pastor of the Presbyterian congregation 
at TredyfFryn in the Great Chester valley. David Evans 
was a bold, fearless and aggressive man, who, when finding 
that the English Sabbatarian publications of the German 
enthusiasts were being distributed in his territory, and the 
question of the true Sabbath was even agitated among the 
staunch members of his own flock, he determined to issue 
a book, which was not only to refute the doctrines of the 
Quakers, counteract the arguments of the Sabbatarians, 
but at the same time supply the long-felt want of an 
orthodox book of primary instruction, and by reaching the 
youth would thereby ensure a healthy growth, not only of 
his own congregation, but of the church at large as well. 
To accomplish his object he, too, made a journey to Phila- 
delphia and visited the " New Printing Office " lately set 
up by Benjamin Franklin. Thus far all that was known 
of this venture was an advertisement, which appeared in 
the Pennsylvania Gazette.^ No. 174, March 30, 1731-32, 
setting forth : 

"Just Published. 

"A Help for Parents and the Heads of Families, to in- 
struct those under their Care, in the first Principles of 
Religion : Being a short plain Catechism, grounded upon 
God's Word, and agreeable to the Westminster Assembly's 
excellent Catechism. 

' By David Evans, a Labourer in the Gospel at Tredyf- 
fryn in Pennsilvania. Philadelphia : Printed and sold by 
B. Franklin. Price grf." 

No copy of this Catechism seems to have come down to 
us, and with the exception of the above advertisement, the 
book appears to be entirely unknown to bibliographers. 
Nor was it even known that the book was ever printed. 

202 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Now at the close of the nineteenth century light has 
been unexpectedly shed upon the subject ; the veil of 
uncertainty is lifted as it were, and although no copy is 
known to have survived at the present writing, we are able 
here to present positive information as to its printing and 
distribution of what was the first edition of the Westminster 
Shorter Catechism printed in the Middle Colonies. 

From the personal entries of Benjamin Franklin in his 
journal or day book, commencing July 4, 1730, it appears 
that Rev. David Evans had printed in 1732, an edition of 
over four hundred of these " Helps" or Catechisms, viz : 




3 Reams paper £2. 5. 0. 

Printing 3 sheets & a quarter 

of Catechisms a 25.J. /4. i. 3. 

Stitching 100 5. 

Binding i doz. 6. 

The size of the edition is arrived at by the following 
calculation : as there were three and a quarter sheets to a 
book, the three reams of paper would call for about four 
hundred and forty books, provided none were spoiled in the 

Two entries made upon May 8th and June 3d, following, 
call for cash credits of five and three pounds respectively. 
Five months later, November 9th, Franklin writes : 

" Settled with Mr. Evans and his Dr. to balance ;^5.8.9." 
This appears to have closed the transaction so far as the 
first edition was concerned. 

The majority of these " Helps" and " Catechisms" were 
chiefly distributed among the settlers in Chester and the 
adjoining counties. A number, however, were sent to parts 
far from the beautiful valley of Chester ; again referring to 
Franklin's Journal we find that on June 20, 1732, he con- 
signs 50 catechisms to Thomas Whitemarsh, of Charleston, 

Fra)iklin^ s Shorter Catechism. 203 

South Carolina. April 22, 1733, he sends by Captain 
Watkins to his brother James, at Boston, Massachusetts, 50 

During the year 1735 a second edition was printed, in 
the absence of any specimen of this book it is impossible 
to tell how near it conformed to the previously quoted one, 
the only knowledge we have of it being an advertisement 
in Franklin's paper of March 21, 1733. 

" Lately printed, and sold by the Printer thereof. The 
Shorter Catechism of the Assembly of Divines, with the 
Proofs at large. Price ifS. per Doz. or 6^. single.*' 

This was evidently a private venture of Franklin, based 
upon the success of David Evans' edition. 

Following interesting entries relating to this second edi- 
tion, are copied from Franklin's Journal : 

Mr. Thomas Evans of Welsh Tract for 100 Catechisms 
bound a yi. 8d. 

Sent to Mr. Timothee by Robert Stevenson 
100 Catechisms 

Sent to Brother James by Brother Peter 
100 Catechisms 

Returning once more to our retrospect, as German emi- 
grants continued to come to the Province in large numbers, 
both by sea and from other provinces, the various evangel- 
ists and enthusiasts for a time had the field to themselves, 
of which they did not fail avail themselves. 

Among the many letters and missives sent to Germany 
giving an accotmt of the various " awakenings" and the 
religious condition of Pennsylvania, written by the partici- 
pants in these movements, accounts wherein they describe 
the situation from their own point of view, none is more in- 
teresting than the letter dated October 28, 1730, and sent by 

" Pennsylvania Gazeiie, No. 277. 

204 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

John Adam Gruber, of Germantown to Berleburg, which was 
then the veriest hotbed of sectarianism in the Fatherland. 

An extract of this missive was published in the Geistliche 
Fama for 1731. Gruber was a Separatist, who in Germany 
belonged to what were known as the Inspired {Inspirirten) 
and after his arrival in America remained in hearty sym- 
pathy with them, both here and at home. A fact to be 
taken into consideration when passing in judgment upon 
this letter. After a short introduction he states : 

" In this vicinity all is dead, and the living spark in those of 
good conscience, is being completely extinguished by the tumult 
of the world. 

"About the well-known companions of our voyages, one 
could mention enough to fill a great register of sin and scandal. 
The Lord look into it and sa^-e such as are willing to be saved, 
and such as labor and groan luider corruption, so that the enemy 
does not completely engulph them. 

"At Conestoga, some twentj' miles from here, a new awaken- 
ing has appeared among some of the new Dunkers. The leader 
is the well-known baker Conrad Beissel. They have a grand 
opening among the disposing minds, and urge strongly upon 
the rejection of the world and self. Their clothing and food 
is limited to the extreme necessities, and they dispose of all 
superfluous chattels and cattle. They salute no one whom 
they meet upon the street, but go straight ahead. To all out- 
ward appearances they live in great harmony. Both sexes, 
almost daily, practice the breaking of bread. They sanctify 
the seventh day, and testif}^ bj' the rest of their demeanor, that 
their aim has been taken with great power and zeal, towards 
an irreproachable life, and a constant communion -with God. 
They have offered some weighty testimonies toward a reawake- 
ning of other members, chiefly Schwarzenau Dunkers, from 
whom they went out, and who now offer them much opposi- 
tion. The}' have also given them in the meeting-houses of 
the now declining Quaker sect. 

" How it will go with them in the future time alone will 
tell. I wish them a true Spirit and the help and assistance of 

Reports to Germany. 205 



wri ^ 



Title PAGE of the Gkistlichh Fama. 
Original in collection of Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

2o6 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the Lord. At least some iu these places and land look upon 
them as a sign of the time. A. Mack has a literary contro- 
versy with them about the sanctification of the seventh day. 

" Here and there, Socianism, Natwalism and Atheism spread 
themselves mightil}'. Therefore I have often wished that one 
of the elder brethren from home were here : or that I could be 
amongst them, so that we could quicken our faith in the Lord 
amongst ourselves. Alas ! my wife will not let herself be dis- 
posed unto this. So one must exercise patience until the Lord 
disposes otherwise. 

' ' I certainly promised to compile a medical history of the 
Indians. But the knowing ones, who are the best natural 
scientists, live from 50 to 100 miles from hence, so that I can- 
not get to talk with them. The most frequent diseases among 
us are cold and burning fevers, epileptic fits, small-pox and 
stomach troubles. The root of the wild Spikenard, boiled in 
milk, is used by the Indians as an antidote for snake-bites. It 
is taken inwardly, and applied outwardly as well. The Biber- 
M^// essence with which I supplied myself, has thus far ser\'ed my 
house well. Children with us grow fast but have no stamina. 
In summer the heat is great and in winter it is cold. Sudden 
changes also occur, all of which ruins our nature. 

' ' The most good natured of the accompanying friends, intend 
to join the new B[rethren] congregation. They desire Hymn- 
books. In case any friends are found who wish to do a pious 
act, let them send us a couple of hundred." 

In the same volume of the Geistliche Fama is to be found 
a reprint of Matthias Bauman's Newborn pamphlet, quoted 
on page 75 of this work. This was not known to the writer 
when the previous chapter (VII) was put into print. On 
account of its extreme rarity a specimen page has been 

The imprint " Philadelphia" upon the title of the Maga- 
zine, called the Geistliche Fania, is a false one. The books 
were printed at Berleburg, Germany, and contain some im- 
portant contributions from Pennsylvania by different lead- 
ing sectarians in the Pro\ince. Another of these pseudo- 

G ruber's Missive. 207 

Extraft-ScbtetSettauf J. A,Gr» 

SSrtcf au^ Cermantovvntn ^nfotoanl* 
en torn as- Oct irao^jttipfangen 

^^Sffen ®e(ie6te« brtt titi'd) fe^r wfreuff r 
'^-^ «m2lnl)cncfcin»otti&miOf«l)cn. 3c& 
tttunfd&e nur, Da§ foltfce^ jlaWBor &em |)grm 
in fdner ^ccuc »or cinanD« fcon un& flcben 
tnigc. !I)enn bci; bicfen S^ftrcnnungg^unD 
ScrftreuungfisDoUen 3cifeti, DaieDec in Dad 
©einigc fic^ wen&et , tt \i\)i n6tf)Js t(l, t)or Die 
3\itTe ju ftel)cn, unD bag, wag fcfiwac^tinO mtoe 

3n bicjiger ©cgenU t|1 aUc« wic tobtitinD 6ei 
ffutc guncfcn bcr guten SlGifiei' wirD in Dfm 
aeeltsiaetiimmel BoUenDg ciHicft. QJonunfw 
bcfannten yv«i;{j.®efaf)rten warcmonc^e^gri). 
|je«^nt)«iMinD Sjcrgernig* DvcgiOcr ju mtl 
Den. . ®f s >&Sa' f«l)e &flr«in/ unD wUf / wajj flcl 

lc<J wUenW i)(?rfct)finge. ^o^wnKwau 

tbut ric5 cine neuc grmecfung ^ercDruntS 
y2;neuen^ai#m. ^«2lVu5rer.(tS/cb^ 

grofen Singorig bey Dencn ®etiififf>ern,bi?n9 m 

2o8 The German Sectarians of Penjisylvania. 

imprints, which circulated among the German sectarians in 
Pennsylvania was Gesprache Im Reich der Geistlichen Tod- 
ten^ etc. It was a small quarto of forty-eight pages ; a copy 
is in possession of the writer. 

The beginning of the second quarter of the century, how- 
ever, brought about a change in the unsettled spiritual con- 
dition of the German settlers. The arrival of Johann 
Philip Boehni, a devout schoolmaster. Rev. George Michael 
Weiss and Peter Miller, upon the Reformed side, and the 
two Stoevers and others of the Lutheran faith brought 
order out of chaos. 




S^cr ^ntetf(()ei^/ jtPif(|)mt)mu in 3aiflt' 
tocn 28iit)ffn=$auff juntjft&infBtbtcftni entbii- 

^AomttsfeiC/ unbctneng:&cif}cBaafidBDu 


Pbii4»(lp^i<)/ 1719. 

While Boehm, Weiss and Stoever proved sturdy, faithful 
yeomen in their respective fields, Miller, who was probably 
the most learned German in the Province, after a few 
years' labor in the orthodo.x bounds of the Reformed 

Baumati's Tractate. 209 



<intie untDicbcrgebo&rne Selt 
SBattgeiS Sauntann. 

^(Sf) giyjattbeld Q5ttumann (ani«§o in5frtic« 
<0 tica) war in (Suropaint)er(E5ur£Wai^ 
in D«c ^tai)t ^am0i)dm m arnut $()0f6i)n(e 
tiitO ® »;fa^. Anno 1 70 1 . in Oem ^unio itl niid^ 
cin @<l)auei' o,Der ^x\m\\ anfomoien, '\m eii 
nen 9)Jcnfd)cn cine 5arfe.^M«cfI)eitan!onimr, 
iinD t* fibftcjab mid) ©Ott > iinD war «cl) j 
|p$ j)on DerSKJdt^Ofll i* ju ©Ottfoflto. lOj 
wolltc gcrn |l«rbcn. 2U(J i((> mi(^ m &ad 55rtt 
Icgtc, t)a wu^tcit^ fllcic^ nic^jWoonmirfefbcr, 
tino n>ar»i;cincrt>cc aI«lc&0«6enwof(t: wic* 
ftol i4) Da« nicfct ^m. mein SScib fnafe ctf 
dfd. $(n Dcm ffer! 5^ag fam ou({ mir tclbcr, 
iihD watwriucft In ben ^immcf , unD batfe 
SBocHjort^Ofr, t)a^ icf) a) bcnen ?J}2enf(||cn W 
flcn foDte, f?e foUten nc6 beFefcrm, bctjungfle 
?iii(j wurDc femmf n. UnO ba 5ab icl)gcrufen wol 
htx) cincr^tunDc cincn 9iuf ubcc&enflnDorn. 

First Page of Bauman's Call to the Unregenerate World. 

2IO Tlie German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 


'<, (y^ 


Stoever^s Acfizn'/y. 2ii 

church, left his charges, threw his fortunes into the 
balance with Beissel and entered the Ephrata Community, 
where, after the vorsteher'' s death, he became the leading 
spirit. It is a curious coincidence that nearly all the lead- 
ing spirits of the mystic movement at Ephrata were re- 
cruited from the Reformed church. 

Among all the early clergy who labored within the 
Province of Penn, none were so active in their ministra- 
tions or as organizers of congregations as Johann Caspar 
Stoever. He not only disputed the field with the various 
Separatists, but entered their very strongholds and organ- 
ized Lutheran congregations in their midst. It was Stoe- 
ver's ceaseless activity which proved the greatest check to 
the spread of the rationalistic ideas among the Germans 
brought about by their intercourse with the Quakers, and 
the subsequent abandonment of all regular church forms 
and discipline, to say nothing of such sporadic movements 
as that of the New Born and others. If it had not been 
for the zeal of Stoever and a few others in organizing and 
protecting the Germans from the inroads being made among 
them, it is more than probable that a majority of the German 
and Swiss settlers would have come under the baneful in- 
fluence of the spiritual lethargy known in German as Frei- 

Of all the orthodox clergy then within the Province, 
Stoever, more than any other, foresaw this danger, and 
fortunately was prompt to act in the premises. It may be 
said that at almost every cross-road, wherever there were 
any number of Germans, Johann Caspar Stoever organized 
an Evangelical Lutheran congregation, and started a 
church-book for them ; upon the title of which is found 
his autograph with the addition : " dermahligen Evan- 
gelisch-Liitherischen Pfarrherrn daselbst.'''' 

A reference to his record of ministerial acts shows that 
he organized congregations or ministered at the following 

212 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

places : Coventry, French Creek and Nantmill, in Chester 
county ; Maxatawney, Oley, Manatany, Conewago, Falk- 
ner Swamp (New Hanover), Trappe (New Providence), 
Schifenthal, .Schuylkill Valley, Colebrookdale, Merion, 
Wissahickon (on the Ridge), Skippack, Chestnut Hill, 
Germantown, Hosensack, Perkiomen, Leacock, Earltown, 
Lancaster, Cocalico, Tulpehocken, Macungie, Quitaphila 
(Lebanon), Philadelphia and elsewhere. 

Many of these congregations are still flotirishing churches, 
whose members now point with justifiable pride to the fact 
that their earliest records are in the peculiar and unmis- 
takable handwriting of Johann Caspar Stoever. 

The beginning of the third decade of the century was 
evidently the critical period in the religious history of the 
Province. The rapid strides made by some of the visionary 
and unscrupulous agitators for a time threatened to drag 
the German settlers into rationalism and spiritual anarchy. 
The activity of the Lutheran and Reformed pastors, with 
the shaping of the German Baptists (of which the Sab- 
batarians may be called the strict Scriptural branch) into a 
regular denomination of the Christian church, and the 
closer organization of the Mennonites, turned what threat- 
ened to be a tide of infidelity and once more brought the 
Germans into regular paths of worship. 

Another factor in this direction — one which is not to be 
overlooked — is, that during these years (1730-1733) we 
find the earliest traces of German Roman Catholic mis- 
sionaries, who proved important agents in combating the 
wave of indifference. They were evidently attracted by 
the fact that, among the many German settlers who had 
located here of late years, a considerable number were of 
their faith, and now, owing to the total absence of any 
services of their church and the intercourse with the various 
Separatists were lapsing into a state of heterodoxy. 

Thus it was that several priests itinerated through the 

Catholic Missionaries. 


Province and labored among the Germans of their faith, 
scattered as they were, in the hope of gathering and keep 
ing them steadfast in the traditions of their fathers. There 
does not appear to be any evidence or record that these 
missionaries made any attempt at proselyting, or that they 
labored among any but their own faith. 

Such was the spiritual condition among the Germans in 
the Province at the time when Conrad Beissel resigned the 
leadership of the Conestoga congregation, and took the 
step which led to the establishment of the Mystic Com- 
munity on the Cocalico. 

Original tail piece from Kloster Type Font. 

314 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Ws> xm Cotttrrtfacmr/ 

fptM: Sd^wencfftltts von (Dntng/lub^oberft 


Anno ;ctati>j- 

5VjE UCVl K. 

» ER«nCH TPTFI D "WEiiK^Pcyr 


..*- c^ CHOTT^ -f, » car 

Original in collectir 


of Hon. S. W. Hennypaclcer. 


N the latter months of the 
year 1734 several inci- 
dents are chronicled which 
had an important bearing 
on the Germans in the 
Province. The most im- 
portant one was the arrival 
of the Schwenkfelders 
during September and 
October. These peaceful 
Christians settled princi- 
pally on the branches of 
the Skippack and Perkio- 
Upon their first arrival in Pennsylvania they held a 
" festival in grateful memory of all mercies and divine 
favors manifested towards them by the Father of Mercies." 
This commemorative festival has, since 1734, been annually 
observed by their descendants. The arrival of these people 
added another Christian sect to the numerous divisions of 
the Germans in Pennsylvania. 

When Beissel heard that they had come, he, with several 
of the solitary brethren, made a pilgrimage to the region 
north and east of the Cocalico, giving especial attention to 
the Perkiomen country. His efforts among the Schwenk- 
felders were, however, without effect, for the)- adhered 
strictly to their faith. 

One of these revival meetings was held at the house of 

2i6 The German Sectarians of T'ennsylvania. 

Leonard Heidt at Oley. His daughter Maria, a beautiful 
young girl, just budding into womanhood, became so af- 
fected by Beissel's preaching about the " spiritual solitary 
life," that, when the evangelists left the house, she followed 
them to the Cocalico and joined with other women living 
on the east banks of the stream. This was the more 
strange as she was betrothed to a young swain in the 
neighborhood of her father's home. The day for her mar- 
riage had been set and her Aiissteur (dower) already pre- 
pared. She subsequently entered the Sisterhood, with- 
standing all the appeals of her parents and fiance to return 
to him and the world. She was also the first of that devout 
band to change her temporal state for that of immortality. 

In September of this year (1734) Michael Wohlfarth 
made his usual pilgrimage to Philadelphia to harangue 
the Quakers at their general meeting. He was accom- 
panied by Jacob Eicher, a son of old Daniel Eicher. The 
Friends, advised of their coming, refused to admit them ; 
so nothing was left for the two pilgrims but to take their 
usual station on the court-house steps and deliver their 
testimony to the people as they came from the meeting. 

The following notice of this incident appeared in the 
next issue of Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette : 

" Yesterday' Morning Michael Wellfare, one of the Christian 
Philosophers of Conestogoe, appeared iu full Market in the 
Habit of a Pilgrim, his Hat of L,innen, his Beard at full Length, 
and a long Staff in his Hand. He declared himself sent by 
Almighty God, to denounce Vengeance against the Iniquity 
and Wickedness of the Inhabitants of this City and Province, 
without speedy Repentance. The Earnestness of his Discourse, 
which continu'd near a quarter of an Hour; the Vehemence of 
his Action, and the Importance of what he delivered, com- 
manded the Attention of a Multitude of People. And when 
he had finished, he went awa^^ unmolested." 

The subject of Wohlfarth's discourse was " The zvisdom of 

Death of Alexander Mack. 217 

God crying and calling to the sons and daughters of men 
for repentance.'''' This was published by Franklin some 
three years later (January, 1736-37) together with some 
additional " remarks on the present state of Christianity in 
Pennsylvania.^'' It was sold at four pence. No copy of 
this curious work is known to exist. 

Another incident of the autumn of this year was the 
strange death of Caspar Walter, one of the first members of 
the Conestoga congregation. He was married and a house- 
holder. The troubles of the congregation, after the resig- 
nation of Beissel and his refusal to return, so affected this 
devout brother that he sickened and died of a broken heart. 
The Chronicon states that he was " an earnest housefather, 
went out of time to eternity in deep sorrow of heart on 
account of the sad schisms in Zion." 

January, 31, 1735, a sad bereavement overtook 
the German Baptist Brethren in America. 
This was the death of Alexander Mack, the 
organizer of the Schwarzenau branch of the 
denomination. This patriarch of German Bap- 
tists was born at Schriesheim in 1679; educated in the 
Reformed faith, and was by profession a master miller. 
He embraced the Baptist principles in 1708, came to 
America in 1729, and acted as chief elder or bishop of the 
Brethren until his death. 

He lived in a log-house which stood in front of the 
present meeting-house, and was used for the meetings of 
the Brethren as well as a dwelling of the elder. 

This house was built upon half an acre of ground in Van 
Bebber township, donated August 4, 1731, by Peter Shoe- 
maker to Johannes Pettikoffer, who is said to have procured 
the necessary funds and material for building by asking 
gifts therefor from the inhabitants. It was one of the 
earliest houses built on that part of the highway from Ger- 
mantown to North Wales. This little settlement became 

Tlie German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

known as Bebberstown after the original owner of the land. 
Owing to the similarity of the name and the humble con- 
dition of the German settlers in the little village, the place 
in derision was soon corrupted into Beggarstown [Bettel- 

Signature to Deed of Shoemaker to Peftikoffer. 

hausen in German). The story, so oft told, that the name 
was due to Pettikoffer soliciting funds and material towards 
building his house is not warranted by the facts, as the 
name Bebberhausen or Bebberstown appears prior to the 
arrival of Pettikoffer. 

Here in this humble habitation died the patriarch of the 
great body of German Brethren now distributed over this 
broad land as a denomination having over 100,000 com- 
municant members, and enjoying the 
respect of all Christian bodies. 

Alexander Mack was buried in 
what is known as the upper biirying- 
ground of Germantown. A small 
tomb-stone was placed over the body 
in the centre of the grave bearing 
tlie inscription : 

Hier Ruhen \ die gebeine \ A. M. 
I geboren i6jg. \ gestorbeti JJ35. \ 
Alt 56 Yahr. 

Here the remains rested until the year 1894, wheu they 
were carefully removed to the God's acre in the rear of the 
Brethren church, where they now repose beside those of his 

Preparations for the Funeral. 


I The fiRsi MINISTER ." I 

IN THE YEAR l»08 . 
BORN AT SCHRltSHtln " ;, 
^ CERMANY. 1679. ' 

1769. DIED 1735 . 1 

son, Alexander, and family. The inscription upon liis new 
tombstone reads : 

Alexander Mack Sr. \ the first minister | and organizer 
of the I Church of " The Brethren^'' \ in the year iyo8 \ 
Born at Schriesheini \ Germany., i6yg. \ Came to German- 
town I ij29.,died lyj^ \ Removed 
from I Axe''s Burying Ground \ 

Let us now lift the veil of the 
past for a few moments and pic- 
ture to ourselves and the genera- 
tions of the future the scenes en- 
acted at the burial of this ven- 
erable patriarch and warrior in 

No sooner had the soui taken | 
its flight upon that bleak winter 
night, than the Einlader or Ameiger (notifier) was sent 
out towards Germantown, Ephrata, Coventry, Oley and the 
Swamp. Wherever there were Brethren the}^ went from 
house to house, advising them of the death of the patriarch 
and inviting them to the funeral. This was a peculiar 
custom in vogue among the Germans and existed down to 
the early years of the present century. 

Other brethren again took charge of the obsequies. The 
schreiner (cabinet-maker) was sent for to measure for the 
coffin. This was a shaped wooden box made of unpainted 
cherry wood, as it was believed that the grave-worm could 
easiest penetrate this wood, and thus the body would be 
devoured most quickly. In making the cofifin great care 
was taken that no shaving escaped. These, as well as all 
particles of sawdust, were carefully gathered up and placed 
in the bottom of the coffin, and then covered with a linen 
cloth, upon which the body was placed. The reason for 
this great care was the belief that, if any particle escaped, 

220 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

whatever house it blew into the next death would occur 
therein in the near future. Then, when the coffin was 
carried into the house of mourning, it was always brought 
in head first, or else another funeral would soon follow. 
Care was also taken to have the foot always towards the 
door and the lid hidden from view behind the outer door. 
There were two peculiarities about this coffin. Owing 
to the prominence of the deceased, eight metal handles were 
procured, a species of extravagance rarely indulged in by 
the Germans of that early day. The other was that the 
lid was a peaked one, giving the body ample room. The 
ordinary coffin of that day had a flat lid, and was com- 
monly known as a }iasenq?i etcher , from the fact that it 
often flattened the nose of the deceased. 

iREAT indeed was the company that assembled on the 

^^^ day of the funeral ; the humble cabin in Bettel- 

A ^K hausen^ wherein reposed the mortal remains of 

^ H the patriarch, was much too small for the mul- 

H H titude who had journeyed from all quarters over 

^1 H the snow-capped hills to bear tribute to the charac- 

^^^1 ter and pure life of the founder of the German 

^vH Baptist Brethren in America. A man who was 

^ H once in affluence, while in the Fatherland gave 

H up his all for the cause, came to the wilds of 

^f America for conscience sake, and here ended his 

^ days in a cabin built for him with contributions 

of the charitable. 

Upon this occasion were gathered the Brethren from 
Germantown, prominent among whom were Peter Becker, 
Christopher Sauer, Heinrich Kalkglaser, Heinrich Pas- 
torius and others, young and old. Then came the solitary 
from the Cocalico, who, led by Bei.ssel, Wohlfarth and the 
Eckerling brothers, all in their picturesque Pilgrim garb, 
had walked the whole distance from Lancaster over the 
frozen ground in silence and Indian file. There were 

Burial by Torch-light. 221 

brethren from Coventry and Chester county with Martin 
Urner, who had but a short time before been consecrated 
by the deceased as his successor and bishop of the denomi- 
nation in Pennsylvania. There was also a deputation of 
the Sabbatarian Brethren from the French creek. Lastly, 
there came from the Ridge on the heights of the Wissa- 
hickon those of the Pietists of the Kelpius Community 
who still lived there as hermits. Among these recluses 
were Conrad Matthai, Johann Gottfried Selig, Daniel Geiss- 
ler, Christopher Witt, Andreas Bony and others ; all to 
perform the last homage to the religious leader who now 
reposed cold and inanimate in the lowly cabin by the 

The obsequies commenced, as was then the custom, 
about noon with a funeral feast, of which gamon, cakes, 
cheese and punch were important features. This was fol- 
lowed by religious services, lasting until the sun had set, 
and when darkness had fairly set in a cortege was formed. 
First came flambeau-bearers ; then the carriers, four of 
whom bore the coffin upon their shoulders ; then fol- 
lowed the Wissahickon Brotherhood, chanting the De 
Profundus alternately with the Ephrata contingent, who 
sang a hymn specially composed for the occasion. The 
rear was brought up by the relatives, friends and German- 
town Brethren. 

It was an impressive and weird sight as the cortege, with 
its burden and flickering torches, filed with slow and 
solemn step down the old North Wales road. A walk of 
about a quarter of a mile brought them to a graveyard. It 
was merely a small field, half an acre in extent, which was 
divided from the road by a low stone wall and partly 
fenced off from the other fields by a rail fence. This 
ground was known as Der obere gemein Kirchhoff (the 
upper common burying-ground), and was free to all resi- 
dents who had contributed towards the wall and fence, or 

222 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

such respectable white residents as paid a certain sum for 
opening the grave. The ground belonged to no particular 
congregation, nor was it consecrated ground in the usual 
sense of the word. When the procession arrived at the 
grave the sight was an inspiring one, worth}' of the artist's 
brush: — the hermits and brethren in their peculiar garb, 
with uncovered heads and long flowing beards, chanting 
their requiem ; the snow-covered ground ; the flickering 
torches ; the cofiin upon its rude bier ; the black, yawning 
grave, and the star-lit canopy above. As the mourners 
surrounded the grave another dirge was sung while the 
body was lowered into its resting-place. Three clods were 
then thrown into the grave, a hollow sound reverberating 
in the night air as they struck the coffin. This ceremony 
was typical of the return of the body to dust, whence it 
came. A number of Brethren then seized spades and 
filled in the grave. When it was about half full the 
torches were extinguished and thrown into the tomb and 
the filling proceeded with. After this the company dis- 
persed, and the body of Alexander Mack, founder of the 
Dunker denomination in America, was left to repose in its 
narrow cell until after a lapse of a century and a half, when 
the remaining dust was tenderly removed to consecrated 
ground in the rear of the church of which he was the 
patriarch. Well may it be said that he now rests with his 
own people. 

j^iS wife was Anna Margretha Kling, who died 
in Germany. He left four children, three sons 
and one daughter, Alexander, Valentin, Johannes 
and Elizabeth, all of whom became more or less 
identified with the Ephrata Community. Val- 
entin, his wife Maria [Hildebrand] and daughter, and the 
sister, Elizabeth, ended their days therein. Alexander (b. 
1712, baptized 1728), for a time Brother Timotheus [Theo- 
philus], married Elizabeth Nice, was ordained by the 

A Ne.zv Hymn-book. 223 

Brethren at German town in 1749, and ended his days in 
their service. Heinrich Klackglasser succeeded Alexander 
Mack, the elder, as elder of the Germantown Brethren, but 
the death of the patriarch so unsettled the members that 
seventeen, both men and women, eventually joined the 

At this period the hymn-book of the Ephrata congrega- 
tion was again enlarged. For some reason this edition was 
not printed upon a press, but laboriously executed during 
the long winter nights in the cabins on the Cocalico with 
the pen by the men and women who lived as solitary. 
The title of this curious work is as follows : 

Paradisische Nachls Tropffcn | Die sich in der Stille zu 
Zioii als I ein Lieblicher Morgentaic \ uber die Kinder 
Gottes I Ausgebreitet \ in \ Die Sonderheit | Denen zu de?i 
fitssen Jes2t Sitzenden Kindern | Ihrer inwendigen erzveck- 
iiiig und I IVahren herzens andacht \ als \ Ein rechle tind 
G'dttliche Schulubung um | Die wahre und geheime, ja 
im I Geist kier verborgen | legende \ Sittg-Kunst su lernen 
I niitgetheilt | 7ind | ans licht gegeben | Im Jahr | iyj4. 

The Paradisische Nachls Tropffen contains 136 pages, 
viz., title one; text, consisting of 213 hymns, 132 pages; 
register, two pages. An appendix of thirteen pages, con- 
taining sixteen hymns, was afterwards added ; this was 
paged separately, and bore the following heading : 

Ein/altige-Gemiilhs betvegungen^ Welche aits der inweti- 
digen \ Geistes-Stille in Wahrer-Hertzens Andachl heraus 
I geslossen, und zum Tdglichen Ubung ge \ sangs weise in 
reimen ge \ brachl. 

Translation: [Simple commotions of the Spirit, emana- 
ting from the secret spiritual quietude of true inward devo- 
tion. Rendered hymn-like into rhymes for daily practice.] 

Specimens of this book are exceedingly rare. Fac-simile 
of both the Nachls Tropffen and the appendix are here re- 
produced from the copy in the possession of the Historical 
Society of Pennsylvania. 

224 T^h^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

(T^drScfie/tfiiie <4Sltis ^o^en 

£ifK ret/ihimd^kilHffp S^uiu^un^ um 
^rnfi/w J y B' 4 


Original in collection of Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania-German Chirography. 



**w^ 1 li t i/ \ lix jhrrirrm. (>♦»' 

FaC-SIMILS of the first page of BBISSBL'S MS. EiNFALTlGK Gemuths Bewegung. 

226 The German Scctariaus of Pennsylvania. 

The year 1735 opened with a great religious revival, 
which assumed large proportions, extending to nearly all 
the German settlements in the adjoining counties. 

In addition to the accessions from Germantown subse- 
quent to the death of Alexander Mack, all the converts 
from Falkner Swamp came in a body to the Cocalico 
during the first and second months of the year. 

In the third month (May) Biessel organized a pilgrimage 
to the Tulpehocken region, preaching a crusade against sin 
and Satan with so great an effect, that a number of promi- 
nent members of the Reformed congregation longed hence- 
forth to live a spiritual life and woo the celestial Sophia. 



'A c, 6 , 7-' =z=:f=4 

? T 1 


<. i C I J 




^ \ t\ ft 





m t ^' 


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T t ? 

CI f.l/ 





,: LI r i / zfc 





F all the various movements 
chronicled in connection 
with the history of the 
Ephrata Community none 
is harder to explain than 
the outcome of this revival 
preached by Conrad Beissel 
in the month of May, 1735. 
We have here several 
organized Lutheran and Re- 
formed congregations, the 
latter in charge of two pas- 
tors, one of whom was ranked 
among the most devout and learned theologians in the 
Province. Educated in one of the best universities of 
Europe, he was ordained to the ministry and for four years 
faithfully served his charges. Of his church officers, there 
was one of the clearest headed men in the Province, who 
for years was consulted by both civil and military authori- 
ties in times of need and danger, and at the same time was 
the official Indian interpreter of the government. Yet both 
of these men were so carried away by the arguments, 
sophistry or eloquence of Conrad Beissel, that they, together 
with several officers of the congregation, left their faith, 
went to Ephrata and entered there as humble postulants, 
and, with the exception of a single family, ended their days 
in the Community. 

228 77/1" German Seclariafis of Pennsyhmnia. 

What these convincing arguments were it is difScult at 
this late day even to surmise. The fact, however, remains 
that we have a regularly ordained minister of the Reformed 
faith leaving his church and following the footsteps of one 
who but a few years before had been a humble, uneducated 
and unknown journeyman baker ; but now as an evangelist 
is spreading the Sabbatarian gospel, combined with mystic 

In following the course of Conrad Beissel, from the time 
he first settled on the Miihlbach, we are first of all struck by 
his peculiarities, and then astonished beyond measure at the 
wonderful power whereby he induced other people to imitate 
them. He has been rather irreverently compared with the 
Pied Piper of Hamelin, who tuned his pipes and a great 
multitude followed him wherever he went. In these days 
it is hard to understand how it was that when Beissel 
established his hermitage in what was then a desolate 
region, men and women came from distant parts to put 
themselves under his direction. They voluntarily sub- 
mitted to hardships, bearing burdens — themselves draw- 
ing the plow — and sleeping at night on a rude bench with 
a billet of wood for a pillow. Similar phenomena were 
witnessed in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, 
when Thomas Lake Harris, an ex-Baptist preacher, induced 
an accomplished diplomatist, known in every capital of 
Europe, to endure like privations at Brocton, N. Y. 

Perhaps the best illustration of this strange infatuation 

is instanced by the Tulpe- ^,w*Q yy^ ^ s 

hocken awakening, which ^ v — J ^i yar^'y 

forms the subject of this f^^^^^^^ /-^--tir^^T 

chapter and introduces such V.— ^ 

important personages as Rev. Peter Miller and Conrad 


Johann Peter Miller (Miiller), son of a Reformed minis- 
ter, under the inspection of Kreis Kaiserslautern^ was born 

A '■'■Dutch Probationer.'''' 229 

early in the year 17 10, at Altzborn (Alsenborn) Oberamt 
Kaiserslautern in the Palatinate. He studied at Heidel- 
berg, and matriculated December 29, 1725, at the Univer- 
sity while yet in his teens. In his twentieth year the young 
deacon volunteered in response to the urgent calls for clergy 
from Pennsylvania. 

In the sinnmer of 1730 he floated down the Rhine to 
Rotterdam, and embarked at that port for America on the 
good ship Thistle., of Glasgow, Calvin Dunlap, master. He 
arrived safely at Philadelphia, August 28, 1730, and took 
the oath of allegiance on the following day.^ 

Almost immediately upon his arrival he applied for ordi- 
nation to Rev. Jedediah Andrews, pastor of the First Pres- 
byterian church in Philadelphia. After a personal exami- 
nation that clergyman advised the candidate to apply to 
the Sj'nod. That this advice was acted upon without 
delay is shown by the following extract from the minutes 
of that august body, and is dated just three weeks after his 
arrival in this country : 

"1730, 19th day [September], at seven o'clock a.m. 
'■'■ Post precis sederunt qui supra. 

" It is agreed by the Synod that Mr. John Peter Miller, 
" a Dutch probationer lately come over, be left to the care 
"of the Presbytery of Philadelphia to settle him in the 
" work of the Ministry." 

The subsequent proceedings were as follows : In accord- 
ance with the above resolution the Presbytery appointed 
three ministers to make the necessary examination of the 
candidate for holy orders. The latter was now summoned 
before them and questioned, at the close of which the com- 
mittee note that they " do appoint him for part of his Tryals 
" to make an Exegesis in latine on ye Question of Justifi- 

^ Vide Penna. Archives, Second Series, vol. xvii, p. 21 ; also Hazard's 
Register, vol. xvi, p. 254. 

230 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 


O 2 

o ". 
o < 
5 J 

^ i 

Ordination of Peter Miller. 231 

" cation, and Yt he prepare a Sermon to be delivered before 

A week or so later (October 13, 1730)^* the parties again 
met, as shown by anoti'iWJr minute, where the candidate 
" came under Tryals, and after a previous Test of his 
" ability in Prayer, Examining him in the Languages, he 
"read his sermon and Exegesis on ye Justification and 
" Various suitable questions on ye Arts and Sciences, 
" officially \sic'\ Theology and out of Scripture." 

So well did the young probationer acquit himself that 
Rev. Jedediah Andrews, writing to Rev. Thomas Prince, 
at Boston, 8th month, 14, 1730, says: "He is an extra- 
ordinary person for sense and learning. We gave him a 
question to discuss about justification, and he has answered 
it, in a whole sheet of paper, in a very notable manner. 
His name is John Peter Miller, and he speaks Latin as we 
do our vernacular tongue."^' 

The old manuscript further tells us that the candidate, 
" having preached a popular sermon on ye day and ye place 
appointed, and now having delivered his Exegesis upon ye 
question of Justification, to our satisfaction, ye Presbytery 
did license him as a Candidate of the sacred ministry to 
preach the Gospel where Providence may give him 
opportunity and call."™ 

The young candidate now, after his " Tryals " were 
passed, expected that his ordination would take place dur- 
ing the week following. In this, however, he was doomed 
to disappointment, as, for some reason, the service was de- 
layed, and did not take place until after the twentieth of 

" Vide unpublished manuscript minutes of the Philadelphia Presby- 
tery, case of Charles Tennant and others of the same period. 

" Date from Boehm's report to Amsterdam Synod, November, 1730. 

" Hazard's Register, vol. xv, p. 201. 

™ Vide foot-note 67. 

" Boehm: reports to .\msterdam Synod. 

232 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

•HEN, finally, arrangements were completed, 
Peter Miller was ordained in the old Button- 
wood meeting-house, as the Presbyterian 
church was called, which then stood at the 
south-east corner of Market street and Bank 
alley, the officiating ministers being Rev. 
Jedediah Andrews, Rev. William Tennant 
and Rev. John Boyd." 
From the day of his arrival the young minister 
officiated among the Germans in Philadelphia and German- 
town, and to such of the Reformed in the Skippack valley 
as refused to accept the ministrations of Johaun Philip 
Boehm, and promised to supply them until the return of 
Rev. George Michael Weiss,"' who had gone to Germany in 
in May, 1730, for the purpose of collecting funds for the 
struggling congregations in Pennsylvania. 

From this intercourse with the Skippack congregation 
Miller came into conflict with Boehm, and disputed the 
latter's right to exercise ministerial functions because of 
his lack of any regular ordination. Some of this corres- 
pondence is said to be still in existence. Upon the other 
hand, Boehm seems to have doubted Miller's orthodoxy 
and cautioned his people against the new arrival. 

Rev. Peter Miller is described as being a man of good 
stature, with a kindly face and friendly manner. He was 
open-hearted toward those to whom he took a liking, and 
was modest and genial, upon which account strangers 
always tried to get an introduction to him and sought his 

He was a man of much learning and had a good theologi- 
cal training. His disposition, in addition to the simplicity 
and kindness of his character, was open, affable, familiar, 

" Vide Hazard's Register, vol. xvi, p. 254. 
" Boehm's reports to Amsterdam Synod. 
" Vide Acrelius; New Sweden, p. 374. 

The Organizing of Congregations. 233 

easy of access and agreeable in conversation. A British 
officer, who visited Ephrata after the Revolution, describes 
Peter Miller as " a judicious, sensible, intelligent man : he 
'' had none of that stiffness which might naturally have 
" been expected from his retired manner of life, but seemed 
"easy, cheerful, and exceedingly desirous to render us 
" every information in his power." " 

Almost immediately after his ordination Peter Miller 
visited the scattered congregations in the Province, and 
was called upon to take regular charge of the Tulpehocken 

Tno^i fywniMi J*njtnd 


Original in American Philosophical Society. 

church, together with the union congregation of Lutheran 
and Reformed, which had been formed by the Germans 
living in the valley of the Cocalico and the Bucherthal. 
This congregation was known as Die Evangelische Ge- 
meinde an der Gogallico (the evangelical congregation on 
the Cocalico). Both of these charges — viz., the Tulpe- 
hocken and the Cocalico — were organized into congrega- 
tions by Johann Philip Boehm, a devout schoolmaster of 
the Reformed faith, as early as October, 1727, the Tulpe- 
hocken church having thirty-two communicants and the 
Cocalico congregation thirty-nine communicants on their 
list,^'^ while the same service was done for the Lutherans a 

'■'■ Edinburgh Magazine; also American Museum, Vol. vi, pp. 35-40. 
" Boehm's Report to the Synod of Holland. Unfortunately the names 
of these communicants were not given. 

234 "^^^^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

year or two later by Rev. Caspar Stover. When Johann 
Miller came into this territor)- Boehm strenuously objected 
to his invading his field of labor. His protests proved 
without avail, as they had two years previously, when 
George Michael Weiss had taken the congregation away 
from Boehm. This action of IMiller opened up the old 
feud," which, however, ended in the discomfiture of Boehm, 
and the new-comer was installed in the circuit" consisting 
of the following congregations : Tulpehocken, Cocalico 
(Muddy Creek), Weisseichenland (White Oak)"^ and Lan- 
caster city. This circuit was then known as the Cones- 
toga Churches.*' 

It must be rembered that the Tulpehocken region, as 
well as the upper end of the Conestoga valley, was settled 
almost entirely by Germans of the Lutheran and Reformed 

ENTION has been made of the Evangelical 
congregation on the Cocalico. When it 
was determined to build a church for their 
uses a site was selected about six and a half 
miles northeast of Ephrata, and a log church 
was raised on a commanding knoll in what is now Breck- 
nock township, beyond the Bucherthal. This congrega- 
tion, in church annals, is known as the ]\Iuddy Creek 
{Moden creek^ Mode crik, etc.) church, and is still a union 
church where Lutherans and Reformed worship upon alter- 
nate Sundays. The Lutheran pastor at present writing 
(May, 1899) is Rev. G. B. Welder ; the Reformed minister 
is Rev. S. Schweitzer. 

The old record book of this congregation, like nearly all 

" Boehm: Reports, November 5, 1730. 

" There were seven churches in the Conestoga circuit; the other three 
were kuown as Quittaphilla (Berg-kirch), Swatara and Donegal; these 
were served by Mr. Conrad Templemann. 

" In Penn township, Lancaster county. 

"" Boehm: Reports, February 13, 1733. 

The Reformed Congregation "■Cocalico?'' 235 

the early Lutheran church registers in Eastern Pennsyl- 
vania, was started by Pastor Johann Casper Stover. The 
title-page, in his peculiar chirography, bears the date of 
1733, and sets forth that this "Church book and Protocol 
for the Evangelical Lutheran congregation on the Cocalico" 
was started by him, and that the early records were partly 
extracted and copied by him from other books and then 
continued by him. A fac-simile of this title-page appears 
upon the following page. It is in this register that we find 
the earliest evidences of Rev. Peter Miller's parochial acts. 
Thus, upon the first page, under date of January 20, 1730 
(O. S.), we find that he baptized a daughter of George 
Wendel Biigle. This entry further shows that soon after 
his ordination the young pastor itinerated in the rural 
districts. Another entry, dated February, 1733, notes the 
baptism of a daughter of Leonhardt Miiller. 

The same folio notes acts performed b)' Rev. Johann 
Caspar Stover, Rev. Johann Christian Schultz and school- 
master Zartmann. A reduced fac-simile of this interesting 
folio is shown on page 237. 

As the Reformed element increased in the vicinity a new 
congregation was formed "' within the valley of the Cones- 
toga, and had its place of worship about a mile and a 
quarter southeast of the Ephrata settlement.*" The church 
became known as the Reformirte Gemeinde Cocallico m 
Conestoken^ and is still a flourishing congregation within 

" The earliest entry in its register is the baptism of Henry Kaftroth, 
son of Gerhard Kattroth and his wife Mary, baptized December 7, 1738, 
and their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, baptized October 4, 1740. 

"'- The present church is a building of unhewn stone. It stands, as it 
were, in the midst of the old God's acre. It was erected in the year 1817, 
supplanting the first church. This primitive building was a log structure 
with a dirt floor. The material of the old building was purchased by a 
man named Fasnacht, who carted it to about one mile east of Greenville 
and converted it into a dwelling house, for which purpose it is still used. 
— Rev. D. C. Tobias, History of Bethany Charge. 

*^ Title from the old Kirchen Protocoll. 

236 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 




An Old Church Register. 


'j^Tr"« A-^'-' 


238 The German Sectarians of Pennsyh'ania. 

the bounds of Ephrata borough, under the name of Bethany 

This congregation and church were established several 
years after the building of the Muddy-creek church. The 
movement was stimulated by the fear that the religious 
enthusiasm manifested in the valley would tend to lead 
more of the Germans of the Reformed faith into the fold 
of the Beisselianer. This congregation was always a strictly 
Reformed church ; it was never what was known as a union 

Rev. Peter Miller ministered to this congregation in 
addition to his charges at Tulpehocken, Muddy-creek, 
White Oak and Lancaster. His name appears among the 
list of early pastors who served the congregation, and from 
some of these entries we should infer that he occasionally 
preached for them even long after he entered the Ephrata 
community, for the entries read : " Peter Miller Jaibetz" 
(Jabez), the latter being his monastic name as prior."' 

These congregations, together with several others within 
that part of the old county of Lancaster, were evidently 
served with fidelity by the young pastor until his strange 
conversion to the Sabbatarian doctrine as advanced by 
Conrad Beissel. It was while the young pastor was itiner- 
ating among the people of his faith that Beissel's attention 
was first drawn to him. 

Pastor Miller, who is said to have shown a leaning 
towards the Separatist movement before he left Germany, 
and he naturally became interested in the activity of Beissel, 
who had settled, as it were, within the bounds of one of his 
parishes. The study of the situation by these two religious 
leaders — one impetuous, the other of a retiring disposition 

** The corporate name of the church, under the present charter granted 
November 21, 1861, is "The German Reformed Bethany Church of Eph- 
rata township." 

"^ Extract from records, through kindness of Rev. J. C. Hiillhorst, 

Brother Lamech^s Account. 239 

— must have been a mutual one, each from his own stand- 
point. The sequel of our story discloses the victor. 

According to Brother Lamech, " the Superintendent 
" [Beissel] after he had heard that two young preachers 
" had come into the country, who stood in good repute as 
" to their character, and also thought well of his work, 
" aware of his own inability, in view of the important 
" work before him, thought in his foolishness \_AlberHkeit'\ 
" that his work would be better carried out if God would 
" provide one of these young preachers for him, for which 
"also he often bowed his knees before God. This led to 
" important matters. For the Superintendent soon after 
" found occasion to make a visit to Tulpehocken with 
"several of his disciples, where he was received by the 
" teacher and elders with the consideration due to him as 
"an ambassador of God ; while on his return the teacher 
"and C[onrad] W[eiser] an elder accompanied him over 
"the mountain for six miles. The result of their visit to 
" Tulpehocken was that the teacher, the elders, and several 
"others withdrew from the church; whereupon a vener- 
" able Pietist, by the name of Caspar Leibbecker [Leut- 
" becker], took the teacher's place in the church." 

Of Conrad Weiser the Chronicon states that he was " a 
man who had received from God remarkable natural gifts 
and sound judgment, and therefore carried great weight 
with him into whatever sphere he might turn, whether 
that of nature or of the church. He was the teacher's 
[Rev. Peter Miller's] main stay, for they were on intimate 
terms together, which death itself did not destroy." 

In the meantime Conrad Weiser again visited the Super- 
intendent in his solitude in the settlement. According to 
the records, " during this visit he was so enmeshed by the 
Philadelphian ' little strength ' that wisdom finally drew 
him into her net." The allusion here made refers to the 
eighth verse of the third chapter of Revelation. 

240 The German Sectarians of Pennsvlz'ania. 

The result of this conference was that before the month 
of May was over Beissel went again to the Tnlpehocken, 
and with Weiser's aid removed all remaining objections as 
to re-baptism from the minds of the clergyman and others of 
his flock. The culmination was reached upon the last Sab- 
bath in the month of May. It was a beautiful spring day ; 
all nature was clad in its pristine verdure and seemed to smile 
ablessing on the sacred rite which was enacted in the valley. 

Local tradition mentions both the Tnlpehocken and Mill 
Run ^ as the scene of this remarkable ceremony, where the 
pastor, schoolmaster, three elders with their families, and 
several members of a Reformed church voluntarily entered 
a Sectarian body. 

The pastor, Rev. Peter Miller, has left the following ex- 
planation of what was perhaps the most important step in 
his long life : 

" Having officiated among the Germans several years, I 
" quitted the ministry and returned to a private life. About 
"that time our small state [the Ephrata Community] was 
" in its infancy : I never had any inclination to join with it, 
" because of the contemjiit and reproach which lay on the 
" same ; but my inward conductor brought me to that criti- 
" cal dilemma, either to be a member of this new institution, 
"or consent to my own damnation, and so I was forced to 
" chose the first. We were incorporated with said congre- 
"gation in May, 1735, by holy baptism. When we were 
" conducted to the water, I did not much differ from a poor 
" criminal under sentence of death. However, the Lord 
" our God did strengthen me, when I came into the water ; 
"and then I, in a solemn manner, renounced my life with 
" all its prerogatives without reservation, and I found by 
" experience in subsequent times that all this was put into 
" the divine records ; for God never failed in his promise 
"to assist me in time of need." 

' Mill Run, a tributary to Tulpehocken creek, in Lebanon county. 

Recall of BocJim. 241 

HAT this hejira caused considerable tumult in 
the infant communities in the Tulpehocken 
valley, as well as at Muddy Creek and the Con- 
estoga country, may well be imagined, and much 
feeling was engendered against the seceders. 
Some laid the delusion of their pastor and church officers 
to witchcraft and sorcery upon the part of the Beisselianer; 
others went still further, and suggested demonology or the 
direct intervention of the Evil One. The most cool-headed 
of the Reformed congregations who had remained steadfast 
proposed civil prosecution against the Sabbatarians for 
hetrodoxy and for invading their territory. 

In this effort they were seconded by the members of the 
Cocalico [Bethania ?] and Muddy Creek congregations, who 
had also lost their pastor by Miller's defection. No local 
magistrate, however, could be found to take action, as all 
charges apparently fell as soon as it was learned that Con- 
rad Weiser, the official Indian interpreter, was a leader 
among the seceders. 

The faithful members of the Reformed congregation 
forthwith sent for Pastor Boehm to take charge again of 
the churches abandoned by Miller, congregations which he 
had founded. Upon receiving the message of Miller's de- 
fection, Boehm immediately returned to his old charges 
and held his first service at Muddy Creek church on May 

II, 1735- 

Boehm, in his reports of this period to the Amsterdam 
Synod, writes : *' 

" " Und hat dieser Miller Tulpehocken an selbiger Zeit (1730) an sich 
gezogen, fiir welchen falschen Geist ich sie ofters gawarnet. Sie blieben 
aber, als verfurte einfaltige Menschen an ihn hangen. Bis endlich der 
betrug wofiir ich sie forthin so getraulich gewarnet an den Tag gekoni- 
men, und dieser Miller zu der wiisten siebentager Tumpler Secten offent- 
lich iibergegangen ist, und sich zu Canestoka in monat April, 1735, hat 
Tumpeltaufen lassen, und hat bei zehn Familien Reformirt und Lutherisch 
aus der Gemeinde Tulpehocken mit sich genomen, die thaten wie er. " 

242 The Gcrniai! Src/ariaiis of Pcunsylvanin. 

"And this Miller at the same time (1730) drew [the] 
Tiilpehocken [church] to himself, against whose false 
spirit I frequently warned them ; but they continued to 
adhere to him like misguided silly people. 

" Finally, the fraud against which I warned them so 
honestly and continuously has come to light, and this 
Miller publicly went over to the dissolute Seventh-day 
Tumpler sect and had himself baptized Tumplerwise in 
the Canestoka, in the month of April, 1735. He took out 
ten families, Reformed and Lutheran, from the Tulpehocken 
congregation, who did as he did." 

That IMiller's conversion to the Sabbatarian fold was not 
a matter of sudden impulse would be inferred from another 
of Boehm's reports, dated October 18, 1734."*' He there 
states : 

"About two }ears ago*^" he [Miller] together with one of 
his elders, whom he had installed at Goschenhoppen, went 
into the house of one of the Seventh-day Tumplers, where 
they were received as brothers and permitted the host to 
wash their feet. And this," adds Boehm, "is the truth." 

The most curious incident connected with the Tulpe- 
hocken revival took place a day or two after the immersion 
of the converts. It was an act which stands unique in our 
Pennsylvania church history. This was nothing more or 
less than a solemn auto-da-fe, held within our grand Penn- 
sylvania-German county of Lebanon. Nothing could be 
more foreign to our thoughts, and yet such is the fact. Who 
the Inquisitor-General was upon this occasion tradition fails 
to record. Conrad Weiser, however, appears to have been 
the chief familiar, while his assistants with torch and forks 

"* Ungefahr vor zwei jahr ist er mit einen seinen Eldesten, den er in 
der Gemeinde zu Goschenhoppen eingesetzt hat in ein haus von einen 
siebentager Tumpler gegangen, und sie liesen sich als Eriider griissen, 
und von ihn die fiisse waschen, und dass ist die Wahrheit. 

"' 1732. 

An Auto-da-fe in Pcunsvlvanin. 


(mist-gabehi) were made up of plain every-day German sett- 
lers of the beautiful Tulpehocken. It is true there was no 
human victim with San Benito and Carosa ; but the scheit- 
crhaufen burned just as brightly and was fed bj' the same 
fuel as if it had been in Seville under a Torquemada of 
days gone by- 

The scene was in front of Godfrey Fiedler's house,"" and 
was brought about as follows : After the baptism of the 
converts, it was proposed to destroy, as heretical, all devo- 
tional literature of the old faith which was not in accord 

Sfugfpurg^ aiinoiyTc. ffatclb.V. 

kai/cnD oxa tmn Orlgindl ktOn j^^urfilrpai 

Soillff n vne ISrantatn™ luatiit lift. 




aiI<iiC{n(I(n jurkjloiMgtn »vAt\it xx* vngu 
f^<wtd y rfnimH aufliiii<a>iiipiorfflcfl(t<B. 
Cum priv!Ic|>!u;«xoiucofle BrinAliiiTgicfc 

IM Skift nut {toDmdjrn iliiictci/ 

^ixtn 3ol)nnn atnbi^/ 

99<ti 0n(Tflf < e< u m Ujl < u P(itfnrt M Sfirflnu^iufl 

©(Imtlldx ©nftr»d)< ^iim 

^^ 2>om2Bol)rm 


Vilftmft 8u(k/ bftllcdjrr Wra iiitb bit ub«t bi« ©ih*t 
ont nxUiitm (Blaubni / oud) bflligtm bin int iSanM 

t»t mbtfn gMbtm SteiflaL. . . 

nidii<U<iamit ic7Brt'ilBWi«<b<«ni/ai««iiff«om/le»«»' 
Ub4 btt Anion. 006 ntAigm JUffflnsi 

am RbCBll4ni eiaiMhn aab mto CtfUnnit/ 
inA (igrc S(4tcd)th|<l)ni Sudtinins era 388. Jriign 

CU« ka 


Uii>»imOTWonlwii9t(9ifkni/ wtniitttl(l Bfll^Ui.i 

Oiffldi/ mav* ctnun toM* (Mnw 

with the new departure. To accomplish this act of tem- 
porary aberration, all the German devotional books in pos- 
session of the various families were gathered and taken to 
Fiedler's house, and among them were a number, if not all, 
from Peter Miller's little library. 

It appears that upon the appointed day, Peter Miller, 
Conrad Weiser and others assembled at this lowly cabin, 
and there solemnly condemned the books and ordered 
them to be burned upon the scheiterhaufe^i. These libri 

, *' At or near Womelsdorf. 

244 T^"' ' '<'i'»'<Ti Sit/ariaiis of I'tiinsylvania. 

herelici consisted of the Heidelberg Catechism ; Luther's 
Catechism, both the larger and smaller ; the Psalter, and 
a number of time-honored devotional books which for ages 
had been held sacred in the Fatherland. 

Among the proscribed books was a copy of Arndt's Para- 
dies G'artlein^ a noted German devotional book." This, ac- 
cording to the belief of the peasantry, was protected by 
divine interposition from both fire and flood. Many cases 

are quoted in print, as well as in 

t.,«BM<M.3rn ^^^j tradition, of the miraculous 

Sicrrn Sobann arnJtS/ . . , . . , , 

ak«. »M . en<t<»Mn< M aMoan preservation of this book; and 

anmuttscS some persons present objected to 

^nrrt?^iS'^nrf frill ^^ ^^'"^ included, as the Lord 
^UlUVH'-^S^UilHIH ^ould not allow it to be con- 

ffbtiftlt^n'sugenicn/ ^"'"^^- '^^^^ ^^^'^^' however, 

6oi«i overruled, and our Paradies Gdrt- 

Sut((» anM(6hg( unS gtiftrcittK 0<6ett lein was thrown with the others 

c<»tk»b«ta«n,c«M«M*MtM to be destroyed. A heap of dry 

"""^ brush was prepared in front of 

oawviMlftlMe— m Fiedler's house, all ready to ignite 

°* when the proper time arrived for 

it to feed upon the sacred literature. 

It was a strange procession that filed out of the humble 
cabin of Godfrey Fiedler, headed as it was by the late pastor 
and chief elder of the Tulpehocken congregation. Next 
followed the Schubneister^ carrying an armful of the con- 
demned books, as did others of the participants. When 
they arrived at the improvised pyre the kindlings were lit 
and the dry brush was soon ablaze. At the proper moment 
the various books were solemly consigned to the flames by 
Weiser, the schoolmaster and others, with the invocation : 
" Thus perish all priestcraft." 

When the fire had died down the ashes were scattered to 

" For a description of this book see German Pietists, pp. 3, 4. 

A Miraculous Preservation. 245 

the four winds, and the party, who now considered them- 
selves entirely cut off from the faith of their forefathers, 
returned to the cabin. Thus ended the first solemn auto- 
da-fe in Pennsylvania of which we have any record. That 
it was not the last one will appear in the course of our story. 

In connection with this burning of the devotional books, 
there is yet another tradition which relates to the copy of 
Paradies Gartlein. On the morning after the ceremony, 
it is said that a member of Fiedler's family passing the ash- 
heap and partly consumed boughs saw a square block among 
the embers. On picking it up it proved to be the identical 
Paradies Gartlein thrown into the pyre on the day before, 
and which had been under discussion before the ceremony. 

There it was, unscathed, while all others were consumed. 
It is true it was charred on the edges ; the leather cover was 
shrivelled and black, and the clasps almost burned to a crisp ; 
yet they held the leaves together, and not a page of the print 
was destroyed. It was but another instance of the miracu- 
lous preservation of this remarkable prayer-book. 

When this fact became noised about the country, the 
simple-minded settlers at once attributed its preservation 
to Divine interposition, and it was soon quoted with the 
other remarkable instances of preservation from fire and 
flood — ^tales which were prevalent in the Fatherland. 

Be this as it may, the book was evidently clasped when 
thrown into the blazing heap, and by some means it fell 
short or was diverted, so that instead of falling into the 
vortex of the fire, it fell among the embers forming the 
outer circle of the pyre, and was thus saved from destruc- 
tion. Among the peasantry, however, the miracle story 
was believed, and the demand for the book in after years 
became so great that an American edition was printed b}' 
Christopher Saner. For some reason the Germantown 
printer was never able to imnnme his output from fire and 
flood, as was claimed for the German edition. 

246 T7ic German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

As the reports of the Tulpehocken awakening, with the 
defection of so many prominent churchmen and the destruc- 
tion of the devotional literature spread over the countrj-, they 
aroused the greatest indignation among the clergy of the dif- 
erent denominations. Several highly colored accounts of 
the occurrence were sent to Germany, where cert '.in pastorals 
were issued, warning candidates who contemplated emigra- 
tion against going to this country: a policy both short-sighted 
and erroneous, as it was just the want of such regular clergy 
that led to the peculiar condition in Pennsylvania. 

Letters were also written to various pastors in the Prov- 
ince not to concern themselves about the matter, as it was 
only a Strohfeuer. At the same time the fear was expressed 
in Germany of a possible introduction into Pennsylvania 
of the Ellerian heresy {die Ellerianischen Secte zn Rons- 
dorffim Herzagthiim Berg). How groundless this fear was 
is shown by the fact that no trace of this sect appears in 
the history of our State. 

FEW weeks after the auto-da-fi., Beis- 
sel made another visit to Tulpehocken, 
with the intention of forming the con- 
verts into a new congregation, with 
Peter Miller as elder. When this pro. 
position was made to Miller, he re- 
quested a night's time for reflection and prayer. On the 
next morning he declined the offer and made the announce- 
ment that he intended to withdraw into the solitude and 
live the life of a religious ascetic. This determination of 
the late pastor was evidently to Beissel's liking, and Michael 
Wohlfarth was at once appointed as teacher or elder of the 
congregation. We will here leave the congregation for a 
while and follow the course of the late incumbent. 

Peter Miller selected as a place for his voluntary retire, 
raent a secluded spot on Mill Run, a tributary of the Tulpe- 
hocken. As nearly as can be judged at the present time 

Peter the Hermit. 247 

it was either at or near what is now known as Illig's Mill, 
and it may be that the spot still known as Bunker's Spring 
designates the place where the Tulpehocken Brethren were 

The chosen situation was an ideal one. The valley of 
Mill Run, the Milhlbach of Lebanon county, is a romantic 
dale within the Lebanon valley. The little stream, clear, 
cold and sparkling as it courses, now turns burr after burr. 
Every way one looks romantic bits of scenery meet the eye. 
A century and a half ago this was yet a primitive wilder- 
ness. No sound but the purling stream and the plaintive 
note of the feathered songster broke the silence, while the 
balsam fir and sweet-scented shrubbery filled the air with 
heavy perfume. Such was the spot selected by the pious 
recluse for his probation and retirement. A cabin was 
quickly built for him chiefly by his own labor. Aided as 
he was by the other converts, he soon cleared and planted 
a piece of ground as well as a number of fruit-trees in the 
coming fall. Here Peter Miller, who now became known 
as " Peter the Hermit," lived during the summer and fall of 
1735. In November he joined the Society on the Cocalico, 
which was then being organized into a monastic community. 
In his own account of this period of his life he says : 

"At that time (May, 1735) the solitary brethren and 
sisters lived dispersed in the wilderness of Canestogues, 
each for himself, as hermits ; and I, following that same 
way, did set up my hermitage in Dulpehakin at the foot of 
a mountain on a limpid spring. The house is still (De- 
cember 5, 1790) extant there, with an old orchard. There 
did I lay the foundation of solitary life, but the melancholy 
temptations which did trouble me every day did prognos- 
ticate to me misery and afflictions. However, I had not 
lived there half a year when a great change happened ; for 
a camp was laid out for all solitary persons at the very spot 
where now Ephrata stands, and where at that time the 

248 The German Scclarians of Pennsylvania. 

president [Beissel] lived with some hermits. And now, 
when all hermits were called in, I also quitted my solitude 
and exchanged the same for a monastic life, which was 
judged to be more subservient to sanctification than the 
life of a hermit, where many, under a pretence of holiness, 
did nothing but nourish their own selfishness. For, as the 
brethren now received their prior, and the sisters their 
matron, we were by necessity compelled to learn obedience, 
and to be refractory was judged a crime little inferior to 
high treason." 

While the devout recluse in his cabin on Mill Run was 
communing in solitude with God and nature, matters were 
not running smoothly with the new congregation on the 
Tulpehocken. Michael Wohlfarth failed to prove himself 
an acceptable teacher ; his violent way of exhorting, with 
his austere manners, did not suit Weiser and his fellow- 
members. Consequently he was soon recalled, as Lamech 
states, " in shame and disgrace." He was at once succeeded 
by Emanuel Eckerling, who could preach by the hour. 
He, too, proved unacceptable to the congregation. Where 
Wohlfarth was aggressive and violent, his successor proved 
too prosy and suave. So, ere the summer was over, we 
again find the congregation without any teacher. The 
outcome may explain the cause for opposition to the two 
evangelists sent to preside over the congregation by Conrad 

After the retirement of Emanuel Eckerling, Conrad 
Weiser assumed the priestly role and installed himself as 
teacher of the congregation. Weiser and Beissel at this 
time were in full accord. He assumed the pilgrim garb, 
grew a full beard, and mortified his flesh so that even his 
former associates failed to recognize him. While these 
events were happening in the Tulpehocken region, a vital 
change was working on the Cocalico. Accessions were 
coming to the settlement from various quarters. No less 

Bttilding of Kedar. 249 

than seventeen members of the Germantown Dunkers 
eventually came to the Cocalico after the death of Patriarch 
Mack and joined the Community. Among these persons 
were three children of the dead patriarch : Alexander, Val- 
entine and Elizabeth. Others came from Falkner Swamp, 
Oley and elsewhere. Thus the settlement assumed quite 
large proportions, with no cabin or house in the vicinity 
large enough to accommodate the congregation for worship. 
With the increase of membership it was evident that some 
other system of worship had to be devised, as the little habi- 
tations on the Cocalico were all too small to hold a general 
meeting. The largest structure then within the bounds of 
the Lager was a cabin built against the hillside. This was 
known as the Berghaus^ and on account of its roominess 
was the favorite place for holding the love-feasts and meet- 
ings. But even this now failed to accommodate the people. 

To overcome these difficulties it was resolved to erect a 
large building for religious and devotional purposes. A 
commencement was made in July, 1 735, and so rapidly was 
the work prosecuted by the united eiTorts of the brethren, 
both solitary and householders, who willingly contributed 
their share, that by fall a fine structure was ready for occu- 
pation. This house, known to us as Kedar^'^ and erected to 
God's glory, contained besides the hall for meetings large 
halls furnished for holding the agapae or love-feasts. In 
addition there were also a number of small rooms or kam- 
mern^ intended for the solitary, after the manner of the 
primitive Greek church. 

Before this house was entirely finished the Tulpehocken 
brethren, with Miller and Weiser at their head, came to the 
settlement. Among this party were five families or house- 
holds. The names of three are : Peter Klopf, Conrad Weiser 
and Hans Michael Miller. In addition there were several 

'' In an old MSS. Kedar das haiis der traiirigkeit, i. e., the house of 

250 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

single men and women who kept to the solitary state. Of 
the former, Peter Miller, Jemini and another brother, sup- 
posed to be Rufinus, have been identified. Of the women, 
several joined the Sisterhood, but only one remained stead- 
fast. This was sister Thecla,"^ daughter of Peter Klopf." 
Henceforth the Tulpehocken converts became an integral 
part of the community on the Cocalico. 

Before passing this episode, so pertinent to the Ephrata 
movement as it was to the Reformed church, it may be 
well to state that the members of the local Cocalico (Betha- 
nia) congregation never forgave Peter Miller for his defec- 
tion. No opportunity was neglected, either in public or 
private, to show their disapprobation of the Prior's course ; 
and it was a common occurrence for them, when any of the 
church officers or members met the devout Prior in road or 
field, to express their contempt by spitting before or upon 
him. A local family tradition of one of these Reformed 
householders states that, upon such occasions, the Prior 
would never resent the insult, but, merely crossing his 
hands over his bosom, would utter a short prayer or bless- 
ing for his tormentors. 

No one could have shown more of a true Christian spirit 
under such trying circumstances than did Peter Miller. No 
matter how persistent his tormentor, if at an}' time the latter 
got into any trouble no one was more ready to extend a 
helping hand than this same meek enthusiast, Johann Peter 

The same resentful spirit, only in a somewhat less degree, 
was evinced toward Conrad Weiser, and whenever an oppor- 
tunity offered, neither the Conestoga nor the Tulpehocken 
people hesitated to give vent to their disapproval, — a course 
in which the aggressors did not always go unpunished,- — -as 
their opponent lacked the meekness of the Prior, and was 

" Died October 6, 1748. 
" Died, 1753. 

A Pointed Repartee. 251 

apt to resent any attempt at insult. An interesting illus- 
tration of this is given in a story current early in the present 
century among the older people. It was that upon a cer- 
tain occasion, shortly after Weiser had left the Kloster to 
accept the commission offered him by Governor Thomas, 
he was riding over the old Bergstrasse towards Downing's 
Mill, and when near the Reading road he met the Reformed 
pastor of the Cocalico (Bethania) congregation riding upon 
a horse, Weiser, thinking it a good opportunity to repay 
the dominie for some previous insults, accosted him with 
the greeting that he (the pastor) evidently thought himself 
above the Lord whom he professed to serve. The dominie 
asked for an explanation. Weiser's answer was that where 
an ass was good enough for the Saviour it should be good 
enough for him. The quick-witted dominie replied, that 
he knew perfectly well that that was true ; but as the Gov- 
ernor had appointed all the asses as justices he was forced 
to ride upon a horse. 



S the new house of worship 
neared completion the vari- 
ous Solitary of both sexes, 
who had dwelt as settlers 
scattered through the coun- 
try, gradually moved to the 
settlement. After the arri- 
val of the Tulpehocken 
Brethren, four — Peter Mil- 
ler, Johann Heinrich Kalck- 
glaser, and the two Ecker- 
lings, Israel and Gabriel — as 
the most important in the 
Community were quartered in the Bergkaus. 

Kedar, the new house of worship, was of a peculiar 
construction, different from anything then existing in the 
New World. The material was of wood, the interstices 
between the frame-work and floor joists were filled in with 
wet clay and cut grass, and the sides were then coated with 
a thin layer of lime. This filling was a peculiarity of all 
the larger Ephrata structures, and made a house warm in 
winter and cool in summer, as well as impervious to vermin. 
The structure was of three stories, of which the middle 
one was the chief. This contained the Saal or meeting- 
room, besides the rooms necessary for holding the Agapse 
or love-feasts. The upper story, as well as the ground- 
floor, was divided off into small rooms or kanimerv for the 

Even before Kedar was finished, iiac/it-mctten were insti- 
tuted by the Solitary of the settlement. These gatherings 

An Exciting Experience. 253 

were religious watch-meetings held every day at midnight, 
as at that hour the great Judge was expected. At first they 
lasted four hours. This time was, however, soon reduced 
to two hours, as it left but little time for the necessary rest. 

When the house was advanced enough for dedication to 
its pious uses, preparations were made for a general love- 
feast, the expense of which was contributed by the house- 
holders to the glory of God who, as the record adds, " had 
made known His wonders in these heathen lands." 

Einlader or inviters were sent out through the Prov- 
ince among all German Baptists and English Sabbatarians, 
asking them to participate in the dedicatory services. As 
the day approached ample preparations were made for a 
great multitude. In the matter of numbers, however, 
Beissel was doomed to disappointment, as but few strangers 
were present, the exception being a strong contingent of 
English Sabbatarians from the French Creek settlement. 

Then again Beissel had rather an exciting experience 
upon the night preceding the great love-feast, which almost 
prevented him from assuming his usual place at the meet- 
ing, and which, it was given out and firmly believed, was 
an act of the Prince of Darkness. Upon the night in ques- 
tion it was dark and cloudy ; several human forms entered 
the settlement and silently picked their way to the cabin 
occupied by Beissel. It was just before midnight, and all 
was still and quiet in the Lager, as the time had not yet 
arrived for the watch-meeting. Two of the intruders lifted 
the latch and entered the cabin. The anchorite reposed in 
slumber upon his hard pallet of wood, with a block of the 
same under his head for a pillow. Not a sound was to be 
heard but the breathing of the sleeper and the rustle of the 
wind without. The two men, now beside the cot, without 
saying a word proceeded to belabor Beissel with a knotted 
rope and leather throngs. With the first stroke the sleeper 
awoke with a howl of pain. The blows, however, fell thick 

254 '^^^^ German Sectarians of Poinsylvania. 

and fast as the intruders followed him about the little room. 
At last he gained the door and escaped to the next cabin, 
where he fell with fright and covered with bruises. During 
this scene not a word was spoken, the only sounds being the 
shrieks of the victim and the swish of the lashes. After the 
escape of Beissel, those who inflicted them departed as mys- 
teriously as they had come. 

While Beissel and his followers may have firmly believed 
that this flagellation was administered by familiar spirits of 
the Evil One, so as to prevent the leader from making further 
inroads in his kingdom within the Province, the facts are 
that the unseen spirits were plain matter-of-fact Germans 
of the German Reformed congregation, who thus punished 
Beissel for inducing one of their wives to leave her family 
and join his society. 

^3s^«aiaesij^^^^ such adverse circumstances the great 
\/|^ jfc ^~ love-feast and dedication services proved 
somewhat of a disappointment from two 
causes. The first was that so few of the 
invited guests came to the meeting. The 
other was an unfortunate break made by one of the brethren 
during the sacred rite, by which the strangers present 
were more offended than edified. During the Pedelavium 
the brother who washed the feet of Beissel reverently 
kissed them and said : " These feet have made many a 
step for our welfare." 

With the completion of Kedar, one of the house-fathers, 
Hans Meyer, the same who first named Conrad Beissel as 
Elder of the Conestoga congregation, handed over to Beissel 
his daughter Barbara, a young girl of twenty-two summers, 
with the request that he " should bring her up to the glory 
of God." Beissel regarded this matter as a providential 
leading and, as the Chronicon states, " received her, and 
had her serve him for the purpose, namely, of founding 
the Order of Spiritual Virgins." The first of these Spiri- 

Midnight Services. 


tual Virgins were Maria Hildebrand, Barbara Meyer, Maria 

Stattler and Maria Heidt, who now bound themselves by a 

pledge to a communal life. The upper story of Kedar was 

given to them as their retreat from the world. Shortly 

afterwards the lower or ground-floor was 

handed over to the strictest of the single I 

brethren for a similar purpose. These 

were Michael Wohlfarth, Jan Meyle, Just 

and Theonis. The arrangement was that 

the brethren first held their devotions ; 

then, after they had filed out of the Saal, 

the sisters entered for their hour of prayer. 

This was soon afterwards changed so that 

the midnight prayers {nachi-nictten) were 

held jointly — an arrangement which gave ^^"SX 

renewed cause for scandal and gossip "c*:s»>oJ 

among the enemies of the Community. 

Beissel, who at first presided over the 
joint services, taught them on both sides 
" as a priestly generation to lift up hands unto God on 
behalf of the domestic household, which was so sorely 
bound under the yoke of the world ; and that this was 
the continual service of God." The prayers of the pious, 
however, failed to conciliate the tongues of Dame Rumor ; 
so, after these joint meetings had continued for some 
months, Sigmund Landert, now a widower, who had dis- 
posed of his plantation on the Miihlbach to good advan- 
tage, proposed to Beissel that Kedar should be kept exclu- 
sively as a Sister-house, in which event he would build out 
of the wealth which God had vouchsafed him a large house 
adjoining Kedar to be used exclusively for assembly pur- 
poses, provided that he and his two daughters be received 
into the settlement. 

Beissel at first objected to the scheme, but eventually, 
when Landert offered in addition to build a separate house 


256 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

for him, his consent was given. So popular was the pro- 
posal, that Hermann Zinn, a householder, also sold his 
plantation and ofFered the proceeds towards the proposed 
house of prayer. 

Plans were at once laid for a large edifice on the hillside, 
and resulted in a house of stately 
dimensions, which, when completed, 
was known as the Bethaus (house 
of prayer). Besides the large Saal 
for the general meetings and public 
worship, there were ample rooms 
and offices for the love-feasts. At 
the time of its completion the Saal 
was the largest and most imposing 
room for public worship in the Prov- 
ince. It is described as having two 
Porkirchen or galleries for the Soli- 
tar)', while in the east there was a 
raised platform for the grey-bearded 
fathers. The body of the hall was 
|[|y 'tk via for the householders or secular mem- 

*i/'rY<? s# bers. The walls were as white as 

lime could make them, the only de- 
coration being a number of proverbs 
and sentences of Scripture executed 
in ornamental German characters or 
scrijDt known as Fracturschrift. 

No definite picture of this house 
has come down to us. There is an 
old tradition that two of the first 
community houses of Ephrata are 
pictured on the old symbol Arbeite 
und Hoffe which appears upon the title-page of the Martyr 
book, printed in 1748. An enlarged reproduction of this 
symbol is presented on opposite page, and though some- 


Zion and Kedar. 257 

what vague and indistinct, it may perchance convey to us 
an aspect of the former Kloster on Zion hill. 


The solitary brethren who were quartered upon the 
ground-floor of Kedar were again relegated to the cabins 

'^ The only known picture of the houses on Zion hill. The indistinct 
one in the foreground is intended for the Hill house (Berghaus), above 
it are Kedar, Zion and others, used as hospitals during the Revolution, 

258 The Germa)! Sectan'ans of Pennsylvania. 

the settlement, and henceforth Kedar was handed over 
to the Sisterhood. The Saal upon the second floor now 
became the chapel of the Order of Spiritual Virgins. 

Several additional young women were installed and 
became Spiritual Virgins. Among the number were the 
two daughters of Sigmund Landert, one of whom, Maria, 
as Sister Rahel, ended her days in the Kloster. The foun- 
dation for a communal life was also laid at this time. Ac- 
cordingl}' all provisions were delivered to the Sisters in 
their kitchen, who daily prepared a supper for the entire 
settlement in a large dining-hall, they being separated from 
them by a dividing screen. As Lamech states : " Every- 
thing withal was done in order and reverently, according 
to the leading of the Holy Ghost, and under the supervision 
of the superintendent, so that the powers of the New World 
were markedly manifested." 

There appears to have been no record kept of any special 
dedicatory services of the great Saal, except that upon this 
occasion the camp of the Solitary {Lager der Einsamen) 
received a name to which was attributed a mystical inter- 
pretation by the Sophists of the Community. This was 
taken from Ruth iv, 11, and used in connection with Ruth 
i, 2, and Genesis xxxv, 16-19. This name has since become 
historic, viz. : 


[Ephratah or Ephrath : Hebrew, fruitful, ^i?l?? ; Greek, 

Eippaftd E<ppdd. 

1. Name of second wife of Caleb the son of Hezron, 
mother of Hur and grandmother of Caleb the Spy. 

2. Ancient name of Bethlehem-Judah (Gen. xxxv, 16, 19; 
xlviii, 7). So called in Jacob's time. 

Some say that Ephratah may have been the name given 
to a daughter of Benjamin to commemorate his brother's 
death near to Ephrath. This would receive some support, 
because Rachel's son Joseph was called Ephraim, a word of 

Ephrata. 259 

identical etymology, as appears from Ruth i, i, 2, and 
I Sam. i, I. 

It is, perhaps, impossible to come to any certainty on the 

In Genesis, or perhaps in Chronicles, the name is called 
Ephrath or Ephrata ; in Ruth, Bethlehem Jitdah, but the 
inhabitants, Ephrathites ; in Micah, Bethlehem Ephratah ; 
in St. Matt, ii, 6, Bethlehem in the la^id of Jjidah. Jerome, 
and after him Kalisch, observes that Ephratah, y;7^/V/5</, has 
the same meaning as Bethlehem, ho2ise of bread., — a view 
which is favored by Stanley's description of the neighboring 
cornfields. In Psalms cxxxii, 6, we have Ephratah, mean- 
ing perhaps Ephraim. ] "'*'' 

'='' Smith's Dictionary of Itie Bible, London, 1893. 


(Size one-fourth of original.) 


HE setttlement now became 
the rallying-point for all the 
German Baptists, both First- 
and Seventh-day, within a 
wide circuit ; the meetings 
were also largely attended by 
many Mennonites of the sur- 
rounding country, and by 
such of the German settlers 
as were either lukewarm in 
their fealty to their ortho- 
dox faiths or were debarred 
by distance from attending the services of any organized 
congregation of their particular order. 

Again, the introduction of mystic theology-, combined 
with some of the esoteric teachings of the Rosicrucian 
cultus and a closer form of organization with stricter 
discipline, added to the strength of the new community 
by attracting a number of kindred spirits who had been 
imbued with such speculations in the Fatherland. 

Among the new arrivals about this time may be men- 
tioned the Thoma family, from Viedendorf, in the Canton 
of Basel, province of Wallenberg, Switzerland. It consisted 
of the father, Durst [Theodorus] Thoma, his wife, Catha- 
rina, three sons, Theodore, Hans Jacob and Martin, and two 
daughters, Catharina and Anna. 

This family came to Pennsylvania in the ship Princess 
Augustus, Samuel Merchant, master, landing at Philadel- 

The Thama Family. 261 

phia, September 15, 1736. They had been among the 
awakened in Switzerland, and upon their arrival at once 
joined the Ephrata Community, in which they all filled 
positions more or less prominent. The family, with the 
single exception of the daughter Anna, sleep in the old 
" God's acre" by the roadside. 

Anna, who was for years a " Rose of Sharon," became 
the wife of Johannes Wiister [Wister] the Philadelphia 
merchant, and sleeps in an unmarked grave in the Quaker 
ground at the corner of Fourth and Arch streets. 

With the rapid increase of membership, additional efforts 
were put forth by Beissel and his supporters to still further 
extend the scope and usefulness of the new institution on 
the Cocalico, which was rapidly gaining a reputation for 
the holiness and aceticism of its people. 

The first of these efforts was a decided innovation, it was 
the introduction and public reading of confessional papers 
known as lectiones. It was ordered that weekly, on the 
evening of the sixth day, every one should examine his 
heart before God in his own cell, and then hand in a 
writen statement of his spiritual condition to the Superin- 
tendent, which was to be read at the meeting of the con- 
gregation on the following Sabbath. A number of these 
papers were afterward collected and published in a printed 
form (a specimen in fac-simile is shown upon the opposite 
page). It is remarkable that the most unlearned and simple- 
mined stated their condition so artlessly, unreservedly and 
simply that one cannot but be astonished at their guile- 

The second new departure of the year was a missionary 
movement, the object of which was to influence the Germans 
in West Jersey, where a number of Baptists were settled in 
Amwell. For this purpose a pilgrimage upon a large scale 
was undertaken, in which twelve fathers of the congregation 
joined, prominent among whom was Conrad Weiser. This 

262 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

100 Ct)eor^pbiTd)c 

©if XLlll Section. 

^ucfis^t, ifir i|?imiiid, unb Du^rtc fm fr6lirt),au(f)Jatf 
ganOe aueerweblte @crcl)lcct)t in ^inDcr C^Dnv^/ tie 
n)ir fjoffcit aufCcn troft^lVacleJ, rtcuct euft), Dunn We 
3rit unfcrer (jrlofung nat)ct l)ciljct^. Db tpirjtfton |e$f o|t 
itiufTcn imfere (Saat init :tl)rdnen unD ^ctjninl^cn facn, und 
&ic @ct)mact> Dct SBltttvcnfctajft tragcn, bug t^ etit fffceinct, 
flig Ob bee Xroft unfcret ©eelen von ung gc njfcfccn unb untf 
»frfiif|cnf)dtte: fo (jabcn'reir i^ii Pennocf) licb, unc fonnca 
unD mcTDcn^nictt toon iljm roeicfefn in grit unb (Jipigfut 
llnb Ob TOir if)n fcbon mipfinDIictjfi: SBcifc nictjt fcfccn ucc^ 
fpu^rcn;fo"tPiflfn ttJit boct) (^ftiif?, batj ct in utifm $n^cu 
an^unb aufgcnommm iff unb lo.^ ft ung unffre.^eulafle 
Xo^U bftrflbrtn n^trb rtuf bmXaa bcr Offcnbatung pub (Jrc 
fctcinung 3^'« tfbrifri/ ba afle 0(f^1^^fne unb.Iraurigf ju 
3ion follcn criofct n>frbfn,unb tnit Jrcubatiiiitf Itrcm, i^rr* 
tfcr acbf n. ©arum tve rbrn mx ni^t ntiibf,'mif bte rcrrila 
<t)e Bufunffr unfcrtf Nitimlirctjfni^r^uti^aintf. ju ft>artnT# 
m fo nabc tor bet 7^ur'ia]|un^3^ fcinct 3«itl»<rt> ^ctf<» 
brcrt)cn mit ffinmi ^rac^t'unb ^mltc^trtt, tinbtcltbbcn 
(Jrb strrtpn ncbtcn mit;SHf(t)t unb 0<t«<CH9f«t. ©onini 
CTbultcn TOii- aucb unfcrr 2(nffcHunA«nnilt ^rfHben#tt>cilirir 
fpiibren, bafi bfl« ^cttrt^t auf (ftbcn cinm anfoiift mit un* 
ma(ftct ©ann ba^ (Ikrichr niufi ^uftft flnbrnij^mireOOtte* 
antan(\fn, fbe f^ trtttrr qcl^m fon/SJmm. <5OXXU0l^ddtr 
(Jamm flcbiibrct ollcin bie (Jt)W. 

£)(e XLIV forttoit- 


Pilgrimage to New Jersey. 263 

pilgrimage was under the personal leadership of Conrad 
Beissel and his trusty lieutenant Wohlfarth. All were 
clad in the coarse garb of the pilgrims of old, the habit 
reaching the feet and being secured with a rope and girdle 
around the waist. This band of missioners, with their full 
beards and sharp features, their broad-brimmed hats, san- 
daled feet, and long Pilgerstab, walking in silence in single 
file and head bowed down, could not fail to attract attention 
wherever they appeared. Their journey led through Nant- 
mill and Coventry in Chester county, and after visiting and 
exhorting their English brethren in the former and their 
German brethren in the latter place, they crossed the 
Schuylkill at Parker's Ford, proceeding over the hill and 
down the Reading road, through the German settlements 
— Lutheran, Reformed and Mennonite — to Germantown, 
where another halt of a few days was made with the re- 
cluse on the Wissahickon, then under the leadership of 
" Sehlee" [iz'c] (Selig) and Matthai, after which they pro- 
ceeded to Philadelphia, where they again held forth from 
the court-house steps, admonishing the populace and ad- 
vancing the truths of Sabbatarianism. After a somewhat 
lengthened stay the party finally crossed the Delaware 
river and journeyed into New Jersey. Here, too, their 
austere aspect and humble deportment greatly impressed 
the onlookers. Wherever a German settlement was to be 
found there they went, preaching and admonishing, and 
exhorting the settlers to repentance. Thus they pursued 
their journey until they arrived at Amwell, where, as already 
stated, there existed a congregation of German Baptists. 
There the pilgrims met with a cordial welcome, and an 
awakening or revival of religion at once took place, and as 
a result preparation were begun to form a congregation 
similar to the one on the Cocalico — an attempt which 
proved but a partial success, as will be shown in a sub- 
sequent chapter. 

264 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The most important event of the year (1736), however, 
was the issuing of an enlarged edition of the hymn-book 
of 1732, to which was appended a work of fifty-two pages. 

The abstruse title sets forth that it was " Jacob's Tour- 
nament and wrestling place, where, the spirit, longing after 
its origin, in its sophiam enamoured soul, wrestling with 
God for the new name, and came off victorius. Devised in 
various hymns of faith and pathos, and expressions of the 
mind, wherein there are set forth, upon the part of God, his 
unceasing work to cleanse such souls as trust his leadership. 

"As upon the part of ]\Ian, the eagerness of the Spirit is 
to preserve and the process of refining and dissolving sin 
from Man, and the continuous sounds of praise emanating 
therefrom. For the genial awakening of such as love the 
welfare of Jerusalem [this book is], published by a lover 
of the Truth, who lives as a recluse. 

"At Philadelphia, Printed by B. F., 1736." 

The original German title-page, as printed by Franklin, 
is shown in fac-simile upon the opposite page. 

This consists of thirty-two mystic hymns, of which twenty- 
eight were written by Conrad Beissel, the final one contain- 
ing no less than forty-three stanzas. Upon the reverse of 
the title-page is a motto which, translated, reads : " God 
gives the Spirit not according to measure ; the mystery is 
great ; reason cannot fathom it. " The very abstruse pre- 
face is dated : 

Ephratha in der gegend Canestoges, den 27. April^ 1736- 
This is the earliest public mention of the name Ephrata in 
connection with the settlement. 

It must not be assumed that the religious recluse on the 
Cocalico spent all their time in mystical speculation and 
religious devotion. That manual and physical labor was 
not neglected is shown by the following note by Peter 
Miller : "At that time works of Charity hath been our 
chief occupation ; Canestogues was then a great wilderness 

A Rare Fra>iklht Impri^it. 265 


Kampff und Ritter-Platz 

ALL wo 
Per nach feinem urfprang fich fehnende 
geift der in Sophiam vcrlicbten feelc 
mit Gott urn den ncuen namea 
gerungen, und den Sieg 
davon gccragcQ. 
a. kidens'hedern^u. erfahrmgs vollen aas" 
imckupgefi ctes gemuths^ darimienjich 
dar pellet y fo wolauffetten Gottes 
Jeine unermuedete arbeit zur ret'* 
nigungjolcher feelen, die Jich 
feiner jnerung afwertrouU 
Auff feiten des Menfchen der ernft des 
geiiles im aus halten unter demprocefa 
der laurerung und abfchmeltzung 
des Menfchen derSiinden famt 
dem daraus entfpringen- 
den lobcs-gethon. 
Gem&thlichen erwcckung derer die das heil 
Jerufakms lieb habeo. 
Von mem Uebbaber d(r -wahrheit die im v^r- 

borgenen wobet. 
^ ^5<^ ^|e» -ai§»» ^So» ^g**- «*?SC» ^ 
Zu ^hiladd^hia^ gedruckt bey B.F. 1 7^6. 


Original in colleclioii of Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

266 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

and began to be settled by poor Germans, which desired 
our assistance in building houses for them ; which not only 
kept us employed several summers in hard carpenters work, 
but also increased our poverty so much that we wanted even 
things necessary for life." 

In addition to these labors the ground was tilled and con- 
tributions of grain were secured which were stored to supply 
the wants of the poor. Substantial assistance was never 
refused to such as needed it, and a sweet spirit of charity 
pervaded the settlement ; the solitary of both sexes freely 
responded to all calls of mercy or humanity. Works of 
charity and benevolence indeed occupied most of the time 
of the solitary when not engaged at their devotions, which, 
however, were so regulated as not to interfere with their 
daily laoor, and upon that account were mainly held after 
nightfall. This unselfish activity was carried to such an 
extent that they frequently lacked even the supplies neces- 
sary for their own daily wants. 

kOWEVER, this primitive mode of life on the part 
of the Solitary was not without its tribulations ; 
there were a number of persons who failed to 
appreciate tlieir works of charity, or to sym- 
pathize with their austere piety. Prominent 
among these persons was the township consta- 
ble, who in the performance of his duties entered 
the settlement and demanded payment of what 
was known as the "single men's tax." This 
levy was made under an Act originally passed 
February 22, 1 717-18, supplemented March 20, 
1724-25, which stated: "Those single men 
whose estates shall not be rated at fifty pounds, 
they shall be assessed after the rate of three shil- 
lings a head upon a tax of one penny per pound, 
both for poor rates and city and county levies." '^ 

^ Statutes at Large, vol. iii, pp. l4-'5- 

CcBsar and his Tribute. 367 

This invasion by the constable caused a great commotion 
in the camp. Beissel at once summoned all the Solitary 
Brethren to the Saal to ascertain in consultation the views 
of all concerned. Nothing, however, was accomplished at 
the meeting held, as there was a difference of opinion result- 
ing in a division. 

One party argued that it was but just and right to pay 
unto Caesar his tribute as commanded by Scripture, and 
counseled that the tax be paid and thus all trouble and 
annoyance be avoided. The opposing party, headed by 
Peter Miller, were of contrary opinion, refusing to pay the 
assessment and claiming personal immunity. Their argu- 
ment was largely from the history of the Eastern countries ; 
they instanced the fact that the monks and hermits col- 
lected by their labor every harvest so much grain as to 
regularly supply all the prisons in Alexandria with bread, 
wherefore Theodisius Magnus and other Christian emperors 
declared them free from all taxes. Considering that they 
were in no wise inferior to the ancient hermits they urged 
that the same immunity should be allowed in their case. 

The constable, however, who was a plain matter-of-fact 
person, refused to receive early Church history as a prece- 
dent. Summoning some of the neighbors who were an- 
tagonistic to the Sabbatarians, without more ado he seized 
six of the lattter party and marched them off" to Lancaster. 
These brethren were Peter Miller, the four Eckerling 
brothers and Martin Bremmer. The troubles of the con- 
stable and his posse were by no means over when the arrest 
was made, as the prisoners positively refused either to 
furnish or to enter any conveyance, even if one were pro- 
vided by the constable. They, however, offered to go 
peacefully in their usual mode of travel ; nothing else, 
therefore, was to be done by the officer and his deputies 
than to walk with their prisoners over hill and dale to the 
county seat. Upon their arrival they were arraigned, and 

268 77/1? German Scctariatis of Pennsylvania. 

in default of taxes or bail they were committed to the 
cotmty prison. 

Here ten days elapsed, the six brethren subsisting, with- 
out a murmur, on the coarse prison fare supplied to them. 
Not a word of complaint was heard ; their time was passed 
in prayer for their persecutors, in the firm hope that deliv- 
erance would come from above, and that in due time their 
prison doors would be thrown open. At last, no one having 
come forward to enter bail for them, Tobias Hendricks, a 
venerable old man and himself a justice of the peace, 
ofTered bail for the prisoners, taking their bare word for 
their appearance in court when wanted. So they were 
released from captivity, and upon the twelfth day the six 
brethren once more filed into the camp on the Cocalico. 

When the the next court convened the six brethren duly 
put in their appearance according to promise. The only 
account we have of this interesting trial, or of the argu- 
ments advanced, is the short account in the Chronicon : 

"At the following May Court of the year 1737 (1736?), 
they were brought up for a hearing before the Commis- 
sioners and Assessors of Taxes, over whom, when they saw 
before them the men who in the bloom of youth had raised 
such a warfare against the world, the fear of the Lord came 
so that they did not speak to them otherwise than friendly, 
and offered them every favor. The first question was. 
Whether they would be loyal subjects of the King? To 
which they answered respectfully, ' that they had already 
pledged allegiance to another King, and therefore could 
obey the King only in so far as his rights agreed with 
those of their King.' The other question was, Whether 
they would pay the taxes ? Answer : ' Not the head-tax ; 
because they acknowledged no worldly authority's right 
over their bodies, since they had been redeemed from the 
world and men. Moreover, the}' considered it unjust that, 
as they were pledged to spend their lives in their present 

An Impressive Scene. 269 

condition, they should be measured by the same standard 
as vagabonds, and be made to pay the same tax as these. 
If they would consider them as a spiritual family, however, 
they would be willing to pay of their earthly possessions 
according to what was just.' All this was granted them, 
and remains unchanged to the present day." 

The final result of the trial is best given in Peter Miller's 
own words, as shown from a manuscript in the possessiou of 
the present writer. 

"The fear of God came upon the Gentlemen, who were their 
"Judges, when they saw six men before them, which in the 
' ' prime of their ages by penetential works had been reduced 
" to Skeletons, that they used great moderation, and granted 
" them their personal freedom, under condition, that they 
" should be taxed as one family for their Real-Estate." 

Jrom another contemporary source we learn 
that the judges finally asked the six brethren 
to say how much tax in their judgment would 
just and fair ; or, in other words, for them 
to assess their own rate. This the brethren refused 
to do, but finally after much persuasion suggested that a 
tax of forty shillings laid against the settlement as a whole 
would be fair. As this proved satisfactory to the board of 
judges the prisoners were discharged. 

Great was the joy of the six brethren when free again 
and out of the toils of the law. It was with light hearts 
that they started on their long tramp through forest and 
field to the Cocalico. When they arrived in the settlement 
it was already after midnight and the night-watch was in full 
session. Fervent prayers were being offered for the release 
of the absent ones. During the invocation the six brethren 
silently filed into the Saal. 

It was an impressive and picturesque scene ; the large 
Saal, with its two galleries, shrouded in semi-darkness, the 
only light being the flickering tallow candles, one of which 

270 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

stood in front of each worshiper ; the dark shadows in the 
corners ; the six released brethren silently ranging them- 
selves in front of the platform with heads bowed and hands 
crossed upon their breasts similar to the penitents of old ; 
Conrad Beissel standing erect upon the platform, austere 
and immovable ; and the various long-bearded solitary, 
sitting upon the hard wooden benches, listening to the 
invocation in behalf of their absent brethren. 

With the entry of the party a hush at once came over 
the assembly. For a few moments the silence was painful ; 
then it was broken by the stentorian voice of Brother Con- 
rad [Weiser] intoning the grand old German chorale of 
Martin Luther, Eine Feste Burg ist unser Gott. Before 
the singing of the first line had been completed the hymn 
was taken up by all present, until the strains of the rugged 
melody reverberated throughout the large room. It was a 
spontaneous thank-offering emanating from the hearts of 
the assembled brethren. When the hymn was finished, 
thanks were offered, and the night-watch closed with an 
impressive address by Beissel on the power of the Beast 
upon earth. 

As to the instigators of this persecution, the old record 
says : " Upon those neighbors, however, who had gloated 
over the misfortune of the brethren, there fell the terror of 
the Lord, so that they hurriedly left this region." 

Shortly after the incident just related. Governor George 
Thomas made an official visit to the settlement. He was 
accompanied by a large retinue of "people of quality" from 
Virginia and Maryland. The fame of the settlement was 
not alone the result of the sensational trial just completed, 
but was mainly due to the professed holiness of the brethren 
and sisters, and the austere life of the solitary, together with 
their reputation for acts of charity, which had already spread 
over the country far beyond the bounds of the Province. 

It was upon this occasion that Governor Thomas, who 

The Governor's Visit. 271 

declared himself well pleased with the institution, first 
offered to Conrad Weiser a commission as justice of the 
peace. Brother Lamech, in noting this act, says : " Hav- 
ing made a favorable impression on the brother, he now 
tendered him [Conrad Weiser] the office of a justice of the 
peace, which the brother would no doubt have gladly 
accepted if it were not against the principles of his people ; 
he did so, however, only on condition that the congregation 
would permit it. Thereupon at his request a council was 
held to decide the question whether a brother of this con- 
fession might be allowed to hold a government office. The 
fathers were of opinion that this could not be done. But 
the Superiniendent [Beissel] thought differently, and asked 
them whether they had a right to restrict a brother's con- 
science. And when he [Conrad Weiser] was asked about 
it, he declared that his conscience did not forbid him to 
accept ; upon which full liberty was granted him. The 
Governor also gave him the privilege to withdraw from 
court whenever such matters should happen to come up as 
were against his conscience." 

This happened in the year 1736. As a matter of record 
Conrad Weiser was not commissioned until five years later, 
viz. , 1 74 1 . Conrad Weiser at the time of Governor Thomas' 
visit was an active member of the Community, and with his 
family lived within the bounds of the settlement. 

Another noteworthy incident of the year 1736 was the 
pilgrimage made by the Germantown Baptists to Ephrata, 
with the avowed purpose of combining the two congrega- 
tions. This movement was directed by one of the Baptist 
leaders from Germany, Jeremias Naass, who eventually 
became the elder of the German Baptists in West Jersey. 

As Beissel, Weiser, Miller and other prominent characters 
were absent on another revival tour in the Tulpehocken 
country, no definite results were reached as to the proposed 
union. The outcome of this movement will be related in 
a subsequent chapter. 

272 The Grriiuni Sectarian': of Pennsylvania. 

We will now once again change the scene of our narra- 
tive and return to Germantown, to tell the story of the 
movement which led to the temporary settlement of a little 
secluded valley on the Wissahickon, a spot about which 
now cluster many tales of romance and fiction, one which 
has been immortalized by the artist's brush and the poet's 
pen, and which is known to the generations of the present 
as the JNIoNASTERV OF THE Wissahickon. 



there now follows the 
awakening in German- 
town. This was partly 
the result of the visit to 
Ephrata related in the 
previous chapter. 

It will be remembered 
that after the death of the 
Patriarch Mack, the con- 
gregation of German Bap- 
tists in Germantown be- 
came more or less unset- 
tled, with a strong leaning 
toward the stricter observance of the Ephrata movement. 
This feeling led to a closer intercourse between the two 
congregations, and culminated in an attempt made by a 
few of the more austere brethren at Germantown to estab- 
lish a camp or settlement in that vicinity similar to the 
one on the Cocalico. 

To carry out this purpose they settled upon a site on the 
land of Johannes Gumre. It was an elevated plateau, about 
one hundred and fifty yards east of the strip of land where 
the first baptism was held. This plateau is a little vale on 
the rugged hillside which forms the ravine of the Wissa- 
hickon. No more secluded scene can be pictured. It was 
an ideal spot, where these enthusiasts could retire from the 
outside world and yet remain in touch with it. It must be 

274 ^^^ Gertnan Seclarians of Pennsylvania. 

Stephen Koch's Vision. 275 

seen to be appreciated, — how it nestles among the tree-clad 
hills, — and the choice of the early enthusiasts will not be 
wondered at. 

The leading spirit of this movement to establish a " Camp 
of the Solitary" near Germantown was Stephen Koch. He 
was one of the most austere members of the congregation, 
who fasted and prayed until he saw visions. He was 
known in the Community for his piety, and ended his 
days among the Brotherhood at Ephrata. He fortunately 
left some account of himself and his actions during this 
period giving us a few facts and dates, to which we will 
confine ourselves at present. 

Stephen Koch notes that the immediate cause of his 
spiritual unrest was the death of Henrich Traut (January 
4, 1733). Traut, who originally professed belief in the 
teachings of the Hermits of the Ridge, and took the vow 
of celibacy, subsequently fell a victim to the wiles and 
smiles of a widow whom he married. As the Chronicon 
states: "His Virgin [Sophia, the heavenly Wisdom, i.e.^ 
saving faith] left him and he fell into earthly ways until 
finally, after many tears of penitence, she again took 
him up." 

Koch relates the following incident, " how God finally 
regarded his misery" and came to his assistance : "On the 
third of May, 1735, at Germantown, as late at night I went 
behind the house into the orchard, it being bright moon- 
light, there came to me a delightful odor, partly from the 
blossoms of the trees, partly from the flowers in the garden, 
whereat I sobbing spoke to God : ' O, my God, everything 
is in its order and contributes to Thy glory and honor, 
save I alone ! For I am created and called by a holy call- 
ing to love Thee above everything, and to become a pleasant 
savor unto the glorifying of Thy name. Now, however, I 
behold the contradiction ; for I not only do not love Thee 
as I ought, but am also become an evil smell in Th)' nostrils. 

276 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Alas, unfortunate that I am ! Must I then pass my days in 
such misery ? I gladly would love God, the highest Good, 
but I cannot. The world with all its glories cannot satisfy 
my sad spirit, for I ever see before my eyes spiritual and 
bodily death.' 

" While I lamented thus to God it seemed to me as though 
suddenly a flame of God's love struck into me, which entirely 
illumined me within, and I heard a voice say to me : ' Yet 
one thing thou lackest.' I asked, ' What is it then ?' The 
answer was, 'Thou dost not know God, and never hast 
really known him.' I said, 'Yes, 
that is so, but how shall I attain to 
it?' Then it seemed as though I 
were beside myself. But when I 
came to myself again, I felt an in- 
expressibly pleasing love to God in 
ray heart ; and on the other hand all 
anxiety, with all the temptations of 
the unclean spirits, had vanished. 
Yea, it seemed as if all my trans- 
gressions were pardoned and sealed, 
and day and night there was nothing 
else in my heart but joy, love and 
praise to God." 

Upon another occasion, early in the year 1736, he "saw 
in a vision a beautiful virgin come into the meeting of the 
devout brethren, who preached wonderfully concerning 
sanctification and a life of virginity." 

Koch at this time was much in company with Alexander 

Mack the younger. 
This intercourse 
had such influence 
upon the latter that 
he too became greatly disturbed about himself and the 
religious condition of the German settlers, so much so that 


m Kloster MSB.) 

jiie^Ljnca^OL- (//^<^eJ\ 

The Log-house on the Wissahickon. 277 

he believed he would soon die, and made his testament 

April 16, 1736, Stephen Koch, who for some 
time past had publicly exhorted the settlers 
whenever opportunity offered, took up his resi- 
dence with Alexander Mack in the Pettikoffer 
house, the better to commune with the Spirit 
and contemplate the way to holiness. Shortly after they 
were joined by Heinrich Hocker. The three enthusiasts 
occupied one-half of the house, while Valentine Mack — who 
had married Maria Hildebrand, one of the original Spiritual 
Virgins living at Kedar in Ephrata — occupied the remaining 
part of the Pettikoffer house on the North Wales road. 

During the summer of 1737 the three enthusiasts, 
Stephen Koch, Alexander Mack and Heinrich Hocker, 
concluded to retire into the solitude of the forest and live 
a life of holy seclusion, whence they could sally out among 
the German settlers and admonish them to repentance. 
The spot selected was, as before stated, a secluded valley 
on the grounds of Johannes Gumre the younger, who had 
bought the tract of 82 acres from his father. The ground 
was cleared by the three men, upon which they built a 
one-story log house'^ as a community house. This became 
known as the Kloster, which is the German word for mon- 
astery, a name which has adhered to the plot until the 
present time. 

The eastern boundary of this secluded valley is a small 
rocky ravine, down which flows a little stream into the 
Wissahickon. Its source is a fine spring adjacent to the 
cabin built on the plateau. This spring gushes out from 
the rocks high up the hillside, and then leaps from crag to 
boulder until it mingles with the waters of the larger creek. 
This ravine, a dark rocky dale, was called by the recluse 

" According to Sangmeister, the cabin was built by Ulrich Hageman. 

278 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the Felsen-sch/uch/, and was used, as Kelpius used his cave, 
as a place for silent meditation and prayer. It was just 
such a spot as was used during the seventeenth century in 
the Fatherland for incantations and the conjuring of spirits. 
Weird, dark and ghostly even in midday, it was doubly so 
when the rays of the moon struggled through the foliage or 
were obscured by passing clouds. For our recluses, how- 
ever, the dark nooks and fantastic shadows raised no fear ; 
to them the little picturesque ravine became a place for 
prayer and silent contemplation, while the spring at the 
head of the stream furnished them with their only drink. 
The cabin was finished in the early fall and was occupied 
at once. The first religious service was held there upon 
October 14, 1737. The three recluses were now reinforced 
by another solitary brother, Johannes Riesmann, and a pious 
married couple. Thus was passed the winter of 1737-38. 
But on March 21, 1738, Alexander Mack, Heinrich Hocker 
and Johannes Riesmann left the Kloster on the Wissahickon, 
removed to Ephrata, and there joined the Solitary, while the 
housefather and his wife returned to their own piece of land. 

This left Stephen Koch alone in the community house, 
he was, however, soon joined by another pious couple, Louis 
Hocker, with his wife and daughter Maria. 

Shortly after the three first brethren left for Ephrata 
two deaths occurred in the German township, which ex- 
cited more attention than any death since that of the Patri- 
arch, Alexander Mack. This was the death of Johannes 
Gumre, May 16, 1738, and that of his wife upon the fol- 
lowing day. It will be remembered that these two were 
among the party of Baptists from Germany who assembled 
at the house of Peter Becker, on that memorable Christmas 
Day in 1723, to organize the congregation ; and it was at 
his humble home that the first love-feast was held immedi- 
ately after the administration of the sacred ordinance. 

Johannes Gumre, also spelled Gumrie^ Goniory, Gotnorrie., 



A Fiineral Feast. 279 

Giimry, was a tailor by trade, and came to this country with 
Peter Becker in 17 19. That he was not without means is 
shown by the fact that in January, 1719-20, he purchased 
from John Cunrads and his wife Alitic [w] eighty-two 
acres of land fronting on the Wissahickon. This was a 
part of the Hugh Roberts tract, which Cunrads acquired 
on August 3, 1709. 

Gumre, as he advanced in years, sold his farm to his 
eldest son, Johannes, and retired to a house which he had 
built on the North Wales (Germantown) road. Here he 
again worked at his trade as a tailor, and became a man of 
some estate and prominence in the German community. 

His will is dated May 16, 1738, and was probated on 
May 24th of the same year. By a curious coincidence, his 
wife Anna died upon the following day. Considerable pre- 
parations were made for the double funeral. This was 
preceded by a great feast, at which, according to the 
account of the executors, there were consumed among 
other viands : 

Bread & Cakes, at Sd Burialls £1. i. o 

Gamons, Cheese & Butter 15. 2 

Molasses & Sugar i. 14. 3 

The last item evidently stands for rum and sugar. 

The old couple were btiried in the Upper Burying-ground 
near the Patriach^ in the Gumre row, where they rest in im- 
marked graves. Johannes Gumre left three children : two 
sons and one daughter, viz., Johannes, who lived upon the 
plantation on the Wissahickon ; David, who inherited the 
house on the Germantown road ; and Catharina, who was 
married to William Johnson. Gumre's personal estate was 
appraised at no less than ;^290.03.o, a goodly sum for that 

Stephen Koch, now alone with the Hooker family in the 
improvised Kloster, was far from idle ; he preached and 
exhorted almost incessantly during the summer among the 

28o The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Germans in the vicinity, and his labors were crowned with 
success. The Kloster on the Wissahickon became, for the 
time being, the favorite place for revival meetings, which 
ended in a great awakening in and about Germantown. 
The most marvellous thing about these meetings was the 
number of young people who were attracted to them and 
professed religion. 

Meetings were held in the grove surrounding the Kloster, 
and after the close the worshipers would walk back to 
Germantown and through the town, hand-in-hand, singing 
as they went, all of which attracted much attention. 

Frequent meetings were also held at night within the 
borough, at which Rev. Peter Miller, Samuel Eckerling 
and Michael Wohlfarth were active leaders. 

The presence of these three leaders of the Ephrata Com- 
munity in Germantown at this time is accounted for by the 
fact that they were there as " correctors," supervising the 
printing of a new hymn-book for the Community on the 
Cocalico ; of which more hereafter. 

This revival movement caused much discussion among 
the Germantown Baptist 

congregation. While some 'Ji'^i^jr^.^^i^^^i^ TUcJ^ 
of the aggressive leaders — ^y ^^ 

— spirits like Valentine 

Mack, Heinrich Kalckglaser and Johannes Hildebrand — 
supported it, the conservatives, led by Peter Becker, Jere- 
mias Naass and others, opposed the movement and de- 
nounced it as merely " an outbreak of the Seventh-day 
Baptists of Conestoga." 

Many were the heated discussions and recriminations 
between the two factions of the Germantown congregation. 
The chief contention was as to the true Sabbath and a 
a stricter observance of the Christian duties. The troubles 
of the congregation culminated in the summer of this 3'ear 
(1739) by a division, when twenty or more of the prominent 

Exodus of Germantoivn Dunkers. 281 

members left the township and joined the settlement on the 

During this agitation Johannes Pettikoffer, who still held 
title to the house built for the Patriarch and used for religi- 
ous purposes, deeded it (August 22, 1739) in fee-simple 
over to Johannes Mack, stocking- weaver, eldest son of the 
Patriarch, and Andreas Bony, weaver, one of the original 



Schwarzenau Taufer, who was living as a hermit on the 
Ridge ; after which act PettikofiFer with his wife joined the 
Sabbatarian party. 

Among the people who left Germantown on this occasion 
and cast their lots with the monastic community at Ephrata 
were Heinrich Kalckglaser and wife ; Valentine Mack and 
wife Maria (Hildebrand) ; Louis Hocker, his wife, Mar- 
gretha, and daughter, Maria ; Johannes Hildebrand and 
wife ; Johannes Petti- 
koffer and wife Anna __ ^ 

Elizabeth; the widow (, /^ 'itik^'i'VU^ AV-^l^ 
Gorgas and her chil- 
dren. Among the sin- 
gle persons who joined the celibates at Ephrata were Alex- 
ander Mack, Johannes Riesmann, Christian Eckstein, Hein- 
rich Hocker, Martha Kinsing, Miriam Gorgas and Elizabeth 

282 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The chronicler, in noting this division, says : "At length 
the affair came to another separation, in which the Baptists 
a second time were made naked, and the flower of the con- 
gregation was lost. The separatists went together to the 
settlement of the Solitary, while the rest of this awakening 
gradually became extinct, extinguished like a straw fire." 

This large secession sadly depleted the Germantown con- 
gregation, and proved a bad set-back for Peter Becker and 
his adherents. It was many years before the Germantown 
congregation recovered from this loss of membership, and 
then only \>y the efforts of some of the seceders who re- 
turned to Germantown in aid of the scattered congregation. 
Notable among these people was Alexander Mack the 
younger, who, after his return, it may be said, eventually 
placed the congregation upon a steady and firm foundation, 
and directed its fortunes, both spiritual and secular, until 
the end of his long and pious life, which did not occur 
until after the opening of the nineteenth century. 

Stephen Koch, the real instigator of this awakening in 
Germantown, left the Kloster on the Wissahickon, March 
27, 1739, and removed to Ephrata, leaving the Hocker 
family as its sole occupants. They kept it, until their de- 
parture for the Cocalico, as a sort of hermitage for any of 
the Ephrata Solitary who might come to the vicinity. With, 
their departure in the fall of the same year the Kloster on 
the Wissahickon, so far as we know, was closed and left 
tenantless, and if iised at all was, for the time being, put 
to the prosaic uses of an ordinary fann-house. 

There is, however, a tradition, and in view of modern 
investigation evidently a true one, that, up to the time 
when Joseph Gorgas entered in possession of the tract, as 
well as during his tenure, the old Kloster, or at least a 
portion of it, was kept for the uses of the Ephrata Brethren 
when any came to Germantown. The same tradition adds 
that, even after the building of the stone mansion, the upper 

Gorgas' Mills. 283 

floor or loft of the new house was reserved as an asylum for 
any of the Solitary who sought its shelter. 

It is never an agreeable task for an historian to turn 
inconoclast, especially in a case like the present, where so 
many romantic legends, weird stories and pathetic tales, 
which emanated from the fertile brains of Lippard, Fahne- 
stock and others, were all founded upon this old stone 
mansion and the mystic monks who were supposed to have 
once lived here, but who, as a matter of fact, are the mere 
creations of the novelist. 

*ET us now trace the story of this particular 
spot, with its historic reminiscences, as they are 
to be found in the original records. As before 
stated, the land was originally a part of the 
Hugh Roberts tract. He sold eighty-two acres 
to Johannes Cunrads and wife, August 3, 1709. The latter 
held it until February 8 and 9, 1719-20, when they deeded 
it to Johannes Gumre, tailor. It will be recollected that 
the latter was one of the organizers of the Germantown con- 
gregation, and also that it was upon this ground, during his 
tenure, that the first baptism and love-feast were held. 

At some time prior to his death, in 1733, Gumre sold the 
land to his eldest son, also named Johannes, he taking his 
bond therefor. The latter was evidently also in communion 
with the Brethren, as it was he who gave permission to Koch 
and his associates to settle in the little valley and there 
build their cabin or Kloster. 

The younger Gumre and Sarah his wife finally disposed 
of the ground to Benjamin Shoemaker by an indenture 
dated October 29, 1742. Shoemaker, on March 2, 1746-47, 
sold it to Johannes # 

Gorgas, a skin- A JJ 

dresser He in ^^0^4^ q(n^ i£/tM 

turn sold it, o^^y "^ T^*- J^*^** 

April 6, 1752, to ^^"^ *^^ ^^ 

284 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Joseph Gorgas, who was a miller or millwright. He ap- 
pears to have occupied the land during the tenure of 
Johannes Gorgas, and to have developed the water-power 
of the creek at that place. It was Joseph Gorgas who built 
on the creek the first mills, which for over a century stood 
on its banks a few yards above the old Indian trail and 
ford. He also built the three-story stone mansion as a 
homestead, which has called forth so many legends and 
romantic tales. 

By referring to the deed of Johannes Gorgas to Joseph, 
the following clause will be found, which, so far as the 
date of the Monastery goes, is final : 

" Whereas the above named Joseph Gorgas has since 
[1746-47] at his own cost and charges built and erected a 
stone three-story house or messuage on a certain piece or 
spot of ground," etc. The property now became known as 
the " Mill Lands," and remained in possession of Joseph 
Gorgas until 1761, when he and his wife Julianna, under 
date of June 8, 1761, sold the property to Edward Milner. 
The indenture recites : 

"A Grist or Corn Mill, with three pair of Stones under 
one roof, and a Saw mill thereon, also erected, unto the 
whole of which said Tract of land, with the IMessuage or 
Tenement and the other buildings and Improvements 
thereon erected by the said Joseph Gorgas., etc." 

Since this time it has gone through various hands. Of 
late years the Garseeds and the Kitchens were the most 
prominent owners, until now, at the dawn of the twentieth 
century, the property has been acquired by the Fairmount 
Park Commission, who are removing the remains of the 
old mills and out-buildings, together with the ruins of the 
former tenant- and mill-houses. The dam has also been 
opened and the stream unharnessed at this point, and , 
henceforth the historic Monastery grounds will form a 
prominent feature in the greatest urban park in the world. 

The Old Stone House on the JVissahickofi. 285 

It will be apparent from the above recital that the present 
three-story stone building known as the " Monastery on the 
Wissahickon," has little or no connection with our band 
of mystic enthusiasts, or with the religiovis awakening in 
the German township during the years 1736-39, except 
that it was built between 1746-52 upon the site of the log 
cabin or community house erected in 1737 by the three 
austere revivalists, and which was called, partly by courtesy 
partly in derision, "The Kloster." 

We will now say a few words about the Monastery. The 
house, when built by Joseph Gorgas, was perhaps the largest 
and finest private residence within the German township, if 
not in the immediate vicinity of Philadelphia, and appears 
to be the first three-story house of any pretensions in the 
outskirts of the city of which we have any record. 

It was a large roomy house, practically square, the 
dimensions of the main building being thirty-three feet 
by a trifle over thirty-two feet ; in addition there was an 
extension at the eastern end of twenty-five feet, which 
contained the kitchen offices. The main house was orna- 
mented with an old-fashioned hollow cornice or pent-roof, 
which extended around the house between the second and 
third stories, as well as across the gable ends, — an orna- 
mental feature which was still intact during the Garseed 

At the same time it is well to consider that during the 
tenure of the various mill-owners, extending over a cen- 
tury and a half, the old mansion underwent numerous 
changes in its interior arrangement, which were modern- 
ized as the wealth of the owners increased. Among other 
changes the old fire-places were replaced with grates and 
hot-air appliances were introduced. These various changes 
also affected the doors and windows, in both its interior 
and exterior, from what it was when built by Joseph 
Gorgas. This will become apparent at a glance upon an 

286 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

inspection of the house and walls. Formerly a balcony 
extended out from the north as well as the south front of 
the house, the supporting posts forming a porch below. 
Doors opened out upon both of these balconies. Formerly 
the west wall was pierced for two additional windows in 
each of the three floors near the south front. A door also 
opened out vipon this side about where the cellar window 
now is, all of which are now closed. In the north wall 
there were originally five windows, four of which are now 
walled up. In the eastern end there was an additional one 
in each story, these are now also closed. 

Just when these radical changes were made the writer 
has been unable to discover. The painting in the possession 
of the Garseed family, made many years ago, shows the 
house as it now is. 

However, these various changes do not affect our opinion 
in reference to the position we have taken as to the early 
uses of this old mansion. 

The house, a fine specimen of colonial architecture, in 
its time, was a stately one, both in design and build, and 
with its many ofiices and out-buildings was a grand man- 
sion, not only when in its pristine dignity, but even in 
later days when the hum of industry broke the silence of 
the romantic vale of the Wissahickon. 

/ / ERY naturally the question arises : How came it 

^^L^^k that Joseph Gorgas, a plain German miller, 

^^V^^f should build so elaborate and massive a man- 

H H sion in this secluded spot ? Joseph Gorgas and 

^H ^H wife, so far as known, had no issue, nor were 

H ^1 they burdened with a surfeit of earthly riches. 

H ^^ It is true that their mills once enjoyed the 

^^^^patronage of the German settlers, and became a 

/^ profit to the miller ; but this mansion was one far 

above their needs and wants. Was it built with any other 

design in view than for a dwelling-house? The style 

Traditions and Legends. 287 

would be against any such assumption. The large win- 
dows, high ceilings and bold stairway fail to harmonize 
with our ideas of narrow cells and cloistered monks ; nor 
do they show any kinship whatever with the community 
buildings still standing at Ephrata. 

Yet somehow all the old traditions, as heard by the writer 
in his youth, connect the Ephrata Solitary with the old 
mansion. Several even went so far as to say that Gorgas 
and his wife were wooers of the celestial Sophia. These 
traditions are independent of the many stories which for 
years have been accepted and printed without any proof as 
to their authenticity. 

The Chronicon Ephretense and other Ephrata records are 
all silent upon the subject, neither is there any entry to be 
found in the Moravian diaries, usually so full of detail, that 
would shed any light upon it ; no word or mention of the 
Gorgas mansion is to be found in any of the contemporary 

Consequently the careful annalist of the present day 
would naturally assume that there was nothing in the old 
traditions susceptible of proof. This was exactly the posi- 
tion of the present writer, who was almost in despair in his 
attempt to harmonize the traditions with the dated records. 
In view of the latter, the investigation simmered down to 
the question : Whether the old stone mansion was ever 
used as a hospice for the Mystics or Solitary of Ephrata? 

The finding of a diary kept by one of the Solitary, which 
fortunately came into the writer's possession, appears to 
give us a ray of light ; and several entries, when taken 
together with the manuscript burial records, would seem 
partly to verify the old traditions, so far as showing a con- 
nection between Joseph Gorgas and his wife, on the one 
hand, and the Ephrata Brethren, on the other. They seem 
to substantiate the tradition that the Gorgas's sold the 
property to Milner in 1761 for the purpose of entering the 

288 The German Sectana>is of Pennsylvania. 

Coinimmity on the Cocalico. Joseph Gorgas, as is shown 
by the records just mentioned, died five years later as a 
Solitary, his identity being hidden under the kloster name 
of Brother Chrysostomus^ and his wife, who outlived him 
many years, being disguised as Sister Julianna. 

With these facts before us, we may well assume that the 
doors of the Gorgas mansion on the Wissahickon were ever 
open for the reception of the Solitary from Ephrata. There 
is, however, no word or mention to be found anywhere to 
show that any meetings or revival services were ever held 
on the grounds after the departure of Stephen Koch in the 
spring of 1739, possibly a decade before the stone houst 
was built. 

For over a century the mills of various kinds at the foot 
of the hillside were hives of human industry ; rows of 
tenant houses, built for the operatives, skirted the road 
beside the creek ; dye-houses and other industrial build- 
ings were reared against the hillside ; yet so secluded was 
this spot, that none of these buildings were to be seen from 
the old stone mansion built by Joseph Gorgas, the second 
of that family to own and develop the land, once the site 
of the Brethren's community house. 

The past two centuries have dealt kindly with this his- 
toric spot ; little or no change has been wrought by time 
in its immedate locality, and now, thanks to the Park 
Commission, it will once more be in its original condition, 
as all buildings, except the mansion proper, are to be re- 
moved. What the future of the old Monastery or Gorgas 
Mansion will be none can tell. A proposition has been 
made to restore it and use it for Park offices. May it 
remain for decades to come as a landmark, and in its 
romantic setting keep vigils unbroken by the inroads of 
time and recall to future generations the story of its im- 
mediate surroimdings : how, at the foot of the hill, on the 
banks of the creek, the German Baptist Brethren com- 

A Landmark for tlic Future. 289 

pleted their organization in America ; and later, how some 
of the strictest and most austere members retired to this 
little vale, clearing the ground and building for themselves 
a humble cabin of rough logs, where they prayed for the 
conversion of their countrymen in this foreign land — from 
which fact it received a name which has clung to it through 
all the changes of time. 


(Original in collection of Julius F. Sachse, Philadelphia.) 



URING the Slimmer of 1736 
yet another religious ele- 
ment appeared in Penn- 
sylvania in the form of a 
pioneer party of evangel- 
ists who arrived in the 
Province in April. Chief 
among them were the Rev. 
Joseph Spangenberg and 
Bishop David Nitchmann. 
Upon their arrival they at 
once joined with Christo- 
pher Wiegner, Christopher 
Bans and George Bohnisch at the house of the former on the 
banks of the Skippack. These three brethren had been 
sent to America with the Schwenkfelders, September, 1734, 
by Count Zinzendorf. 

These new arrivals had come to oiir shores as mission- 
aries with the avowed purpose of preaching the gospel of 
Christ to all persons, irrespective of color, race or condi- 
tion ; they were known as the Unitas Fratriim, or United 
Brethren, — the Moravians of the present day. 

As soon as the arrival of Spangenberg and Nitchmann 
became known to Beissel, he sent three solitary brethren 
to Wiegner's on the Skippack to extend fraternal greetings 
to the newcomers, and invite them to visit the settlement 
on the Cocalico. As the awakenii.g and successful revival 
movement instituted bv Beissel and his followers was 



spang enberg^ s Visit. 291 

already well known by report to Spangenberg and Nitch- 
mann, they readily accepted the invitation to visit the set- 

As the Chromcon states, "At first sight there was felt by 
both parties a magnetic attraction between their spirits ; for 
both were yet in their first love." The visit and conference 
between Beissel and Spangenberg proved satisfactory to both 
parties. The visitors were greatly touched with what they 
saw and heard in the settlement on the 
Cocalico, as well as with the marvelous 
success of the movement among the 
Germans, together with the great show 
of holiness and piety evinced at Ephrata 
and the surrounding country. During 
their stay they took part in the love- 
feast instituted in their honor, as well 
as in the nocturnal devotions, and were 
deeply affected with the mode of ad- 
ministering the sacred ordinance of baptism as practiced on 
the Cocalico. 

At the end of their sojourn, after special religious services, 
the Moravian missionaries set out on their return to the Skip- 
pack. They were escorted by a number of the Ephrata 
Brotherhood, who accompanied them for some distance on 
their way ; an old local tradition tells us that it was as far 
as French creek in Nantmill, the stronghold of the English 
Sabbatarians in Chester county. There amidst the wild 
scenery and stupendous rock formation, at the spot known 
as the " Falls," under the tall trees, where the silence is 
only broken by the turbulent stream as it leaps from ledge 
to ledge, or of the note of the feathered songster, a halt was 
made. A circle was formed, and after certain mystic cere- 
monies a hymn was sung and an invocation offered in which 
all were commended to Almighty God. Then hands were 
joined, the sacred word was passed, and after mutual em- 

292 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

braces the brethren separated, each party going its own 

How much the visiting brethren were impressed with 
some of the observances at Ephrata is shown by the fol- 
lowing entry in the Chronicon : "It has been reported 
concerning them that in St. Thomas, whither they went 
from Ephrata, they baptized the blacks whom they con- 
verted there by immersing them imder the water, accord- 
ing to the Ephrata manner." 

This was the finst ofBcial meeting between the Sabbata- 
rians and the Unitas Fratrum. The introduction was aus- 
picious ; the denouement came when the great leader. Count 
Zinzendorf, was in this country a few years later and sought 
to combine the two movements. This story will be told in 
its chronological place. 

During the winter of 1736-37 Michael Wohlfarth, the 
irrepressible, published both German and English versions 
of his Testimony, which he delivered publicly in Philadel- 
phia in September, 1734. To the English version were 
added some additional remarks upon the present state of 
Christianity in Pennsylvania. The booklet was printed by 
Benjamin Franklin and sold at four pence per copy. No 
specimen of this production has come down to us ; the only 
positive evidence we have of its publication being the ad- 
vertisements in the Pennsylvania Gazette., which set forth 
as follows : 

Juft Eublifhed, 

XHE WISDOM of GOD crjhg 
ard calling to the Sons and Dau^hrtrt cf Men (or R EPEN • 
CE. Hdog the TESTIMONY delivci'd 10 th« 
Peo]>lc in Fhiladelphia MaAet.-Sept.lJ^t^, by Mkhael If^ef^e ; 
Together with fomc Addirional Remarks oa the Pitfcnl 
Srare of Chriftiaoity in fennfjlvanta. To be fold by B. Ftank- 
W», price 4d 

WohlfaylJi's " Wisdovi of God." 293 

The title to the German version reads : 

Die Weissheit Gottcs schreyende luid riiffende den S'dhen 
Ufid Tcechtern der Menc/ien zur Biisse^ seyiide das Wort des 
Herrett^ das Michael Well/are^ Verkilndiget hat dem I olck. 
Zu Philadelphia gedruckt iind zu Verkauffen bey Benjamin 
Franklin und Johannes Wuster in der Afarkt-strass, 1737.^^ 

Such of the writings as were published in English 
attracted considerable attention among the Quakers and 
Sabbatarians in both this and the adjoining Provinces, and 
in some cases even were the means of bringing converts 
into the fold of the English Sabbath-keepers. This tended 
to strengthen the intercourse between the congregations 
whose bond of sympathy was the observance of the biblical 
Sabbath. Visits were made and reti:rned between the 
leaders at French Creek and Ephrata, and great respect 
was always paid by the English Sabbath-keepers to the 
Germans on the Cocalico on account of their austere life 
and holiness. 

Conrad Beissel also kept his pen active at this time. As 
the community increased in numbers and the awakenings 
in various parts of the neighboring country showed a long- 
ing for religious teaching and instruction, Beissel, to meet 
this want, proposed the collation of a new German hymn- 
book, not only for the use of the Ephrata Community, but 
for such other congregations as sought to be guided by the 
inner light and live a life of holiness. For this purpose 
he, with Wohlfarth and several others of his immediate 
supporters, composed a number of hymns, in which pre- 
vails a strain of inspiration and mysticism. To these 
hymns were added those contained in the three Franklin 
imprints of 1730, 1732 and 1736, which have already been 
described, and the manuscript collection of 1734, together 
with a large number of hymns used by the Inspired in 

" Title from Hildeburn, Issues of the Press in Pennsylvania. 

294 The German Sectarian!, of Pennsylvania. 

Germany, and which were printed in the '•'• Kleine David- 
ische Psalterspiel der Kinder Zions.^^ These hymns, about 
seven hundred in number, were grouped under thirty-three 
separate headings. How this collection, which enjoys the 
distinction of being the first book to be printed with Ger- 
man type in America, was eventually brought out together 
with the controversies it engendered between the printer 
and publisher, forms one of the most interesting chapters 
in Pennsylvania bibliography. 


Made at Ephrata prior to 1748. 


RADUAIvLY, as the Commu- 
nity on the Cocalico increased 
and mystic theology supplanted 
the plain Gospel teachings of 
the early Baptist and Sabba- 
tarian movements, it became 
apparent that some other form 
of government was needed 
to ensure a permanent exist- 
ence for the new community, 
which consisted of both sexes. 
As it was, the settlement 
was merely an aggregation of religious enthusiasts, most of 
the men living separately as hermits or anchorites. It will 
be recalled that an attempt was already made to organize 
the single women under a rule known as the Order of 
Spiritual Virgins. But all efforts looking toward the 
bringing about of a similar organization among the Breth- 
ren had thus far come to naught. 

The only government of this peculiar settlement thus far 
consisted of the dictates of Conrad Beissel, or Brother Con- 
rad as he was usually called, and even these were frequently 
ignored, as there existed no means of enforcing his com- 
mands. Now, however, the number of Brethren requisite 
to complete the mystic number of forty, the figure of Rosi- 
crucian perfection having been reached, renewed efforts 
were made to change the solitary mode of life into a con- 
ventual one. This movement culminated in the estab- 

296 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

lishment of a mystical monastic society. Rev. Peter Miller 
explains this step as follows : 

" That a Monastic life was judged to be more inservient 
to sanctification than the life of a Hermit, where many 
under the pretence of holiness did nothing but nourish 
their own selfishness. For as the Brethren now received 
their Prior, and as the Sisters their Matron, and we were 
now by necessity compelled to learn obedience, and to be 
refractory was judged a crime little inferior to high treason." 

From the first formation of the congregation on the Miihl- 
bach, its members realizing the vanities of the world in the 
matter of apparel, had adopted the plain garb of the Friends. 
This was also in accordance with the course pursued by the 
Sabbatarian Brethren of Providence and Nantmill, a manner 
in which they were later followed by the German Baptists 
of Germantown and elsewhere. There were, however, cer- 
tain innovations which were gradually adopted by the Con- 
estoga congregation — peculiarities in dress which are still 
to a greater or less degree in vogue in Lancaster and the 
adjoining counties. Some of these peculiar features con- 
sisted in making as near an approach to man's original 
state in costume as could be done under existing laws and 
conditions. The main features were the letting the beard 
and hair grow, and going barefoot whenever the weather 
permitted ; this, together with abstention from animal food 
it was claimed, would restore man to his primitive state of 
health [ Urgesuudhcit\ , thus giving him the means of more 
fully enjoying life and attaining a patriarchial age.'* 

^ This was by no means a new theory ; in several German works of two 
centuries ago it was propounded as a meaus of obtaining primitive health. 
So late as the year 185 1 a man named Mahner boldly advocated this theory 
in Germany, and succeeded in gathering a large number of followers. 
The chief congregation was at Naumburg, and flourished for some time 
until suppressed by the authorities. An account of this movement will 
be found in the Medical Nczi'S, Philadelphia, 1851, vol. ix, p. 98. 

At the present writing a somewhat similar theory is again being widely 

The Grozving of Long Beards. 297 

As to the growing of long beards, it was argued that, 
according to the Jewish literati, Adam was created in the 
fulness of manhood, and in the first hour of his existence 
upon earth disported himself in a luxurious black beard. 
In the East, even at the present time, oaths are taken upon 
the " beard of Moses," and even the Psalmist revels in a 
description of the venerable " beard of Aaron, which reached 
down to the hem of his garment." The Levital priests per- 
mitted their beards to grow, and had a definite law forbid- 
ding the trimming of the edges.'' Among the ancient Jews 
long beards and trailing robes were held as a sign of honor 
and esteem. A cropping of the former or a curtailment of 
the latter was used as a severe punishment or as denoting 
the greatest humiliation.'™ 

In the religious ceremonies incident to the love-feast and 
the Lord's Supper, the beard also played an important part ■ 
for, when the kiss was passed, each brother would grasp his 
neighbor's beard with the right hand as he gave him the 
salute. This particular custom, which appears to have 
been confined to the Zionitic Brotherhood, was based upon 
the reference found in the second book of Samuel, verse 
ninth of the twentieth chapter, viz. : " And Joab took 
Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him." No 
trace of this custom has been found to exist among the 
regular Dunkers or Seventh-day Baptists of the present 

With the introduction of the monastic feature the dress 
of the members received renewed consideration. Much 
attention was given to this question by the leading breth- 
ren in council. Their avowed object was to approach as 

exploited in several of the larger cities under the name of the " Kneip" 
cure ; it is claimed that going barefoot in the grass in early morn, while 
the dew is yet upon it, will cure all diseases flesh is heir to. An Institute 
with a professor ( ?) was lately opened in this city on Germantown avenue. 

^ Leviticus, xix, 27. 

i™ II Samuel, x, 4. 

298 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

nearly as possible to the life and customs of the first Chris- 
tians. It was argued that to do this it was necessary to 
adopt a style of garment such as would muffle the mortal 
body, for its humiliation, in such manner that but little of 
it should be visible ; they would thus be distinct from the 
material world, and would be recognized as persons who 
had renounced this world's vanities. To accomplish this 
object, the services of Martin Bramer (Bremer) the commu- 
nity tailor, were called into reqiiisition. He proposed a 
habit somewhat after the style of the Capuchins or White 
Friars, yet modified so as to meet the ideas of Beissel and 
others of the congregation. 

This distinctive dress was designed to be made of un- 
bleached linen or wool according to the season of the year, 
and consisted, for the brethren, of a shirt, trowsers and a 
kind of vest, together with a long gown to which was 
attached a pointed cowl or monk's hood. The habit of the 
sisterhood differed only in the substitution of a narrow skirt 
for trowsers, and some little peculiarity in the shape of the 
hood or cowl, it being rounded in place of pointed. A belt 
or girdle was also used when the gown was worn. In addi- 
tion the sisterhood, as a distinguishing mark of their spiri- 
tual betrothal, wore a large apron which covered them 
entirely in front and extended down the back as far as the 
girdle ; this garment was somewhat similar to the Roman 
scapulary. When the different members of the Order at- 
tended public worship they wore in addition a special short 
cloak which reached well down to the waist ; this garment 
also had a cowl attached which could be pulled over the 

" The domestic householders," as the Chronicon desig- 
nates the secular Sabbatarian congregation, soon after 
adopted a similar " Thaler" or gown of a gray color, as a 
distinguishing mark from the Solitary. This was to be 
worn at divine service as well as upon all public occasions. 

special Prayer Robes. 299 

such as baptisms, processions and pilgrimages. In this 
habit there was also some distinctive mark for widows and 

This special prayer costume was received at first with 
almost universal favor among the secular congregation, 
and the members vied with each other to be the first to 
discard their heathenish and Babylonian clothing, and long 
before the winter set in the faithful of the congregation 
when they assembled for worship upon the Bible Sabbath 
were equipped in the habit which they claimed was that 
of the primitive Christians. 

The adoption of this distinctive habit gave rise to much 
gossip and unfavorable comment among the settlers not in 
sympathy with the Sabbatarians. Some said it was a mere 
revival of popish discipline and methods. Others, again, 
who were members of the congregation but did not feel 
kindly toward the movement, refused to assume the habit ; 
they were men and women whom an old record designates 
as " extra holy" and " half-hearted" (zwey-seeligen und 
halb-herzigen)^ who gave as their objection that it were 
better to change the heart than the clothing. These and 
other arguments had their effect, and in the course of a few 
years the secular members gradually conformed themselves 
to the methods of the world in the way of dress as they did 
in many other respects. 

This relapse, however, does not apply to the solitary 
orders, the members of which adhered strictly to their re- 
spective adopted habits, few or no changes being made in 
the peculiar costume during the existence of the monastic 
orders. Fortunately several contemporary sketches or draw- 
ings have come down to us which give an idea of the habits 
of both sexes, some of which are used as illustrations to this 

An interesting account of the habit worn by the sister- 
hood, as well as of the immediate causes which led to the 

300 The German Sectarians of Pcunsvl'oania. 

adoption of the peculiar dress, is recorded in the manuscript 
Chro7ticon or diary of the sisterhood. This is written in that 
peculiar German phraseology and style used in the Theoso- 
phical epistles. A translation of this chapter is here given, 
care being taken to preserve as much as possible the quaint- 
ness and construction of the original : 

"As it came to pass that the Society of persons appeared 
to increase, and the Souls were attracted and called together 
by the only-begotten {einigen liebes Geist) loving Spirit of 
Jesus Christ ; as one came from here and the other from 
hence, so accordingly all kinds of fashions and manner of 
dresses were gathered together ; which did not accord with 
the only-begotten Spirit of Love, which was the cause for 
the Souls to resort to this our Spiritual-household or Family, 
that they might again obtain from God their support of the 

"As this did not seem to coincide, but appeared at vari- 
ance, it happened that once upon a time, our by-God-elevated 
Father, or Spiritual leader, explained the circumstances of 
the many diversities of the clothing, as a matter entirely 
defective, and that could not exist according to the confined 
[schrankeufnassige) rules of the Spirit. He came to consult 
about this with several of us Sisters, and said that the matter 
was not to be continued, nor could it be concordant with a 
cloisteral or communal life according to Christian or Divine 
conduct with and among each other. 

" While our comport (betrag) in clothing appeared to be 
entirely in contrast to the internal Spirit of Love, these 
speeches were well received by us. And we soon accom- 
modated ourselves after this conference to change the vari- 
ous hues of our clothing, inasmuch as we were still blended 
in a multitude of colors. Thus were we then first assisted 
to take into hand the unity of color. Therefore we accord- 
ingly selected what we thought was the most diverse ; we 
chose the black color for our clothing. Thus was the mul- 

Designing the Habit. 301 

titude of color changed into a certain unity, but to an actual 
unanimity of the clothing itself, we were not helped ; as 
such was a weighty matter, to find something between both 
[extremes], which the secular spirit had not previously ap- 
plied in some other way. Therefor the matter was not to 
be reached quickly, but the instruction therein was to be 
obtained from God himself ; so finally after a long embar- 
rassment, and painful desire of the intimately-in-God- 
enamored spirits, it was given unto our God-blessed Father 
or Spiriual leader how to act in this matter. 

" So it happened that there was found among the most 
venerated brethren one b)' the name of Martin Bramer, who 
now has pa.ssed from time into eternity ; the Lord reward 
him on the day of Eternity for his pains and faithfulness 
which he demonstrated in this sorrowful struggle. This 
brother whom we have mentioned, at that time had the 
sewing for the brothers and sisters in his hands. With 
this brother our Spiritual leader consulted about the cir- 
cumstances of the whole matter and how and what had 

" Then sundry of us Sisters were found who specially 
urged that the habit of the order should now be taken up 
and adopted. So with the consent (Jiatidfiillung') of our 
Spiritual Superintendent this brother was elected thereto, 
and at the same time was instructed by our Superintendent, 
how and in what manner he was to construct them. Conse- 
quently it was concluded to first fabricate the habits for the 
concordant Sisters. At first it was held that white woolen 
cloth should be taken therefor. And that the clothing 
should be arranged as follows : a long frock plain and 
straight {schlecht und recht\ narrow sleeves without facing, 
so consequently the whole frock was to be narrow and close, 
so that it is more like unto a penitential robe than one for 
inciting worldly pomp. 

" What further concerns the veiling or covering of the 

^o2 The German Sectarians of Peniisylvania. 


Schleyer and Kappen. 303 

countenance and the body, is this : Over the frock follows 
a loose veil (^schleyer) without hood, which is back and 
front almost as long as the frock, only that there is a little 
contrast in one from the other. After [upon] the veil fol- 
lows a cover or hood {kappeti) which back and front reaches 
a little below the girdle, so that the shoulders and the coun- 
tenance may by it be hidden and covered, and further, there 
is still a wrap or mantle which is closed all around, wherein 
the whole body can be mufEed from top to bottom, and be 
covered. This is not usually worn, except in wintertime, 
and to the midnight masses and during the devotional 
hours, also in the meetings of the general community, as 
it is designed as a cover or protection against the cold of 
winter, and all of these clothes were made from white 
woolen cloth, therefore it was customary to wear them 
only in winter. In the summer we wear even similar 
clothing as is commanded, only that they are arranged to 
the summer season, as the former are for winter, therefore 
we usually use cotton cloth, or else take a light flaxen 

"To this habit belong shoes of uncolored leather, with 
low heels, rounded front [toes?] plain and straight. This 
now is the habit of our Order, which is worn for our bodily 
[comfort] and separate uses. 

" Further we are in all earnest intent, that in our whole 
actions both outward and inward the unity of the Spirit shall 
be felt and perceived. Therefore it is especially seen, too, 
that this order of habit be assumed, wherefore it is ordered 
and directed, some for the holy masstime, the other for 
sacred duties [such as], going out to houses to break the 
Bread, to proclaim the death of the Lord Jesus or otherwise 
when visiting in a communal manner. For wintertime 
it is unanimously agreed that the wraps or mantles be 
usually worn to devotions, the masses, and general meet- 
ings. For going out, visiting or performing sacred offices 

304 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

it is ordered that the loose veil and clothing be worn, and 
it is not allowed as regular, that one robes herself in one 
way and another in a diverse manner." 

Although the above habit called for leather shoes, as a 
matter of fact both orders usually went barefoot or wore 
sandals in summer, while during the inclement seasons 
heavy woolen stockings with either leather or heavy cloth 
soles gave the necessary protection. 

How closely the Sisterhood of Ephrata clung to the 
adopted habit will appear in another chapter of this 



OW that the monastic feature 
was adopted by both orders of 
solitary, and the vain clothing of 
the world with its varigated hues, 
ornaments and furbelows had 
been renounced for the peniten- 
tial robe of the early Christians, 
the next step was to sink their 
identity still further by dropping 
the Babylonian names given 
them by their parents at baptism 
and substituting therefor new 
spiritual names, — names by which many of the inmates 
became more or less famous and by which they are known 
in history. 

There are quite a number of these religious enthusiasts 
whose former identity is irretrievably lost, as there is no 
clue to their baptismal names or former station in life. 
There is a tradition that originally a register was kept 
wherein the names, both baptismal and cloister, are said to 
have been entered. An extended search, covering a period 
of over twenty years, has failed to find any person who has 
ever seen such a book. The sisterhood, in connection with 
their diary, kept a register of such as became unfaithful 
{Bundbruchig). This record unfortunately was destroyed 
about ten years ago to prevent its ever being published, as 
some of the descendants of these spiritual virgins who left 
the Kloster to re-enter the world and marry are now occu- 

3o6 7^1? German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

pying high social positions in the community. In addition 
to the above records, mention is made in the sisters' Chroni- 
con that there was kept, besides the diary, another book, 
Ein Biirgerliches Siadt Buck., wherein the names of all 
members of the Community were enrolled ; no trace of this, 
however, is to be found. No pains, expense or time has 
been spared upon this part of our narrative, as the identity 
of some of these persons is of considerable literary, genea- 
logical and historical importance. 

The interest in these names has been further increased 
by finding the fragment of a book, some fifteen years ago, 
written in the peculiar mbnchschrift of the Ephrata Com- 
munity, and giving a partial list of the monastic names, 
together with their meanings, of the celibates of both orders 
of the Kloster. Unfortunately this list is far from com- 
plete, and fails to give any clue to the secular names of the 
people. From several notes in this fragment the writer 
Avould infer that the different religious names assumed by 
the members were selected and applied according to their 
peculiar fitness to the recipient, and that it was not an 
arbitrary selection. The writer was permitted to copy this 
list at the time of its discovery, and it is incorporated 
in the present roster, the definitions being added in the 
original German. 

The other names were gleaned from various sources, 
manuscripts, legal documents, records, private letters at 
home and abroad, diaries and printed books, together with 
the Chronicon Ephratetise and the manuscript Chronik of 
the Spiritual Virgins of the Order of Saron. By a careful 
comparison and after long and laborious research the iden- 
tity of many of these persons has now been positively 

The list of names presented herewith is probably as 
nearly complete as it is possible to make it, unless some 
original registers or lists should be found. 

The Rosier of the Brolherhood. 307 

The roster is as follows : 


AgabuS {/iirtrefflicher vatter), Stephen Koch. 
Agonius Michael Wohlfarth (Welfare). 

[To his English letters he signs himself '■'■A mean 

Servant of Jesus Christy and Pilgrim ivalkmg to 

Eternity. '''''\ 
Amaziah [Amasias] (des Herrn Last), Hansly Mayer. 
Amos (beschwerliche last\ Jan Meyle. 

Abel {Klagort) . 

Alburtus . 

Anton, Anton Hollenthal. 

Agrippa [Roman for Jaebez] {Schwerlich geboren), Rev. 

(John) Peter Miller. 
Andreas, Andreas Erlewein. 
Benedict, Benedict Jughtly. 

Benno [Benni] {kitidschaft), . 

Benjamin [Ben Jamin] {sohn der rechten). 
Chrysostomus, Joseph Gorgas. 
Conrad, Johann Conrad Beissel. 

Darius {iiberwinder), . 

Daniel (tnein Richter ist Gott\ Daniel Eicher. 
Eleazer (Go// //^^^r) Jacob [Christian] Eicher. 
ElimeleCH {^Golt Kdnig\ Emanuel Eckerling. 

Elkanah {Gottes eiffer), Schaffer. 

Enoch [Henoch] (ein geweihcter\ Conrad Weiser. 

Ephraim {Gewachs\ Jacob Hohnly. 

Ezechiel (des Herrn Slarck), Heinrich Sangmeister. 

Friedsam Gottrecht, Johann Conrad Beissel. 

Gottlieb, Gottfried Haberecht. 

Gideon (zerstdrer), Christian Eckstein. 

Germann, . 

HoSEAS [heiland), Benjamin Gorgas. 
Haggai {feyertdglich), Kroll. 

308 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Isaiah (des Herrn Heil)., Lassly. 

Jaebez {init Kitmmer geboren\ Rev. (John) Peter Miller. 

Jacob {/lisseniretter), Jacob Zinn. 

Jehoiada [Jojada] {des Herrn Bekenner).^ Rudolph 

Jephune [Jephuneh] (AnseAer), Samuel Eckerling. 

Jemini {gerecht) . 

JOTHAM {gerechter Herr\ Gabriel Eckerling. 
Jethro {fiirnemlich\ Jacob Gast. 
Joel {an/anger)., Peter Bucher. 

JONADAB i/reigcbig), . 

Jonathan {des Herrn gaab), Jonathan Hocker. 

Just {gerecht), . 

Joseph {zunehmer), . 

Johannes {gnadselig) . 

Javado, . 

Kenan {Erb)ieinmer\ Jacob Funck. 

Lamech {arm\ . 


Macarius, Hermann Zinn. 
Man.\sseh {vergessen), Martin Funck. 

Melchy [Melchi] {des Herrn Kdnig\ . 

Michael {Scldagender Gott\ . 

Martin, Martin Bramer. 

Manoah {gaabe), Stattler. 

Naanam {wohIgestaU\ Adam Konigmacher. 
N.\THAN {geber\ Nathan Hagemann. 
Nathaniel {des Herrn gaab), Nathaniel Eicher. 

Nehemiah {trbstender Herr), Hagemann. 

Obed {diener\ Ludwig Hocker. 

Obadiah [Obedja] {des Herrn knecht), Samuel Funck. 

Onesimus [Leidselig] {niitzlich), Israel Eckerling. 

The Roster of the Sisterhood. 309 

Philemon {liebhaber)^ Johann Conrad Reissmann. 
Peter, Peter (?) Fahnestock. 

RuFFiNUS [Rufus, Rupinus] {feuerroth)^ Christian Reb. 
SealtiEL [Shealtiel] {gottes begehrer\ Sigmund Lan- 

Salma [Salmon] {friedmacher)^ Hoffly. 

Simeon {wacht)., Simeon Jacob ? 

Shabia [Sheba] (bekehrer), . 

Stephanas {geh-ont)^ . 

Theobald, Philip Weiser? 
Theodorus, Thomas Hardy. 

TiMOTHEUS(^./.«./^r..), I Alexander Mack, Jr. 
Theophilus {Gottheb), ) 

WiLHELMUS, Wilhelm Witt. 

Zenna [Zemah] {gezvachi)^ . 

Zephania [Zephanja] {schauender Herr), Rudolph 

Zadock {gerecht)^ Peter Beissel. 

the sisterhood. 
Abigail, Maria Hildebrand-Mack. 

Amalia, . 

Albina, Margaretha Hocker. 
Anna, Anna Eicher. 

Armella, Fahnestock. 

Armella II, . 

Anastasia, Anna Thoma. 

Athanasia, . 

Athanasia II, . 

Barbara, . 

Basilla, Elizabeth Hoffly. 

Blandina, Christina Funck ? 

Bernice (rein, unschuldig\ Heyd [Heidt]. 

3IO The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Catharina, Catharina Bohler. 

Catharina II, Catharina Thomasin [Toma]. 


Constantia, Valeutine Mack's daughter. 

Drusiana {beihauet), Hofflj'. 

Deborah (u'ohlrednerift), . 

Effigenia [iphigenia], Anna Lichty? 

Elizabeth, . 

Esther {vcrborgene artztin)^ . 

EuNiCKE [Eunice] {gjiter sieg), Widow Hanselmann. 

EuFEMiA [Euphemia], Traut. 


Eufrosina, Catharina Gartner or Gitter. 
Eugenia, Catharina Hagemann. 

EuSEBiA, Beissel. 

EusEBiA II, Hildebrand-Nahor. 
FoEBEN '[Phoebe], Christianna Lassie. 

Flavia, . 

Franzina, . 

Genoveva, Funck. 

Hannah {hold se/ig), Miller. 

Hannah II {gnadenreich), Veronica Funck ? 
Jael {die erhoc/e), Barbara Meyer. 

JosEBA {des Hcrrn fiUle\ — : . 

Julianna, Gorgas. 

Keturah {verbiinden), Elizabeth Eckstein. 
Lucia, Catharina Foltz. 

Louisa, . 

Magdalena {thurn erhohet)^ Hagemann. 

Maria {bitter), Maria Eicher. 
Maria II, Maria Baumann. 

Maecha {serstdsserin), . 

Marceli.a, Maria Christina Sauer. 

Melonia, Bramin. 

Migtonia, . 

The Roster of the Sisterhood. 31 1 

Miriam [bitter meer)^ Mary Anguas. 

Martha {lehrerin\ . 

Maria Magdalena, . 


Naemy [Naomi] {lieblich) Eicher. 

Phcebe [see Foeben] {hell und klar\ 

Paulina, Maria Miller. 

Pelagia, . 


Persida, Schuck. 

Petronella, Maria Hocker. 

Priscam {alt) , Graff. 

Rahel [Rachel] {Shaaf), Landert. 

Rosa, Lassie. 

RosiNA, Schenk. 

Rebecca {feist dick), Gehr. 

Sarah {filrstin), Salome Guth ? 

Seraphia {brenner\ Jung. 

Sincletica, Maria Stattler-Miiller. 

Sophia, Gorgas. 

Sophia II, Rosina Guth ? 

Sevoram, Beissel. 

Susanna {Rdslein), Susanna Hartmann. 
Tabea {giitig), Margaretha Thoma. 

Thekla, Klopf. 

TherESIa, Stattler. 

Veronica, . 

Zenobia, Susanna Stattler. 


und dem LAMM. 


REDIT for establishing the 
first German printing office 
in America is universally 
accorded to Christopher 
Saner of Germantown, 
whose acquaintance we 
have already made in our 
sketch of the Conestoga 

Christopher Sauer, the 
Germantown printer, has 
been deservedly lauded for 
his enterprise in both prose 
and verse by speakers and writers of both German and 
native birth upon the platform as well as in the historical 
literature of the day. 

Little has heretofore been known or written as to the 
immediate causes which led to Sauer's embarking in the 
printing business, and where the necessary funds were pro- 
cured to successfully launch an enterprise whose first ven- 
ture was to print what was thus far, with a single exception, 
the largest book issued in the middle colonies. Christopher 
Sauer himself is silent upon these points. Now, however, 
several documents, lately discovered by the writer, will shed 
some light upon this interesting question, and show the im- 
portant part directly and indirectly borne by Conrad Beissel 
and his trusty supporters, such as Conrad Weiser, Peter 
Miller, Samuel Eckerling and others in the establishment 

Christopher Sauer. 313 

of the Germantown press of Christopher Sauer. The con- 
nection, so far as Beissel was concerned, was one of short 
duration, owing to the firm stand taken by the printer and 
the equally unyielding course of his patron in reference to 
the meaning of one of the hymns. 

It will be recalled that Sauer was by trade a journeyman 
tailor, from Germany, of humble extraction and with a 
common school education, whose early years in America 
were spent either at his trade or as a tiller of the soil in 
Lancaster county. Both employments were entirely foreign 
to the printer's art. 

It further appears that Beissel and Sauer had been con- 
genial spirits in Germany,"" and when Sauer migrated to the 
Miihlbach and joined the congregation, all was well between 
the two men until Sauer's wife left her husband and family 
to follow the fortunes of the enthusiasts who longed for a 
stricter observance. 

Christopher Sauer, now bereft of his housewife, upon 
whom so much depends in the rural districts, even down 
to the present day, was forced to give up farming ; so he 
disposed of his plantation, and with his ten-year old son 
Christopher, journeyed in 1731 once more to Germantown, 
where he affiliated with the Dunkers under Mack and 
Becker. Here he worked at various trades, chiefly as a 
carpenter, wheelwright and cabinet-maker ; and, being of 
an ingenious and mechanical turn of mind, he also repaired 
and cleaned the Schwartzwalder wall-clocks among the 
German settlers. 

According to other accounts,'"^ Christopher Sauer upon 
his return to Germantown lived for some time with Doctor 
Christopher Witt,'"^ a former member of the Kelpius com- 
munity and from him received some instruction in the 
mechanical and curative arts. 

'"' Chronicon Ephratense, chapter xvii. 

"» Thomas'' History of Printing in America, vol. i, p. 270. 

"" Vide, German Pietists, pp. 402-18. 

314 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Christopher Witt. 315 

The above statement appears the most plausible, as it is 
known that Dr. Witt did give instruction in medicine, 
physics and the occult sciences, and to such of his students 
as made satisfactory progress he granted a diploma or cer- 
tificate to that effect at the end of their term. One of these 
peculiar certificates is now in the collection of Hon. Samuel 
W. Pennypacker. 

Incidentally it may be mentioned that among the students 
of Dr. Witt was a lad born of Jewish parentage, in Philadel- 
phia, in 1720, who in after years became famous throughout 
Europe as "Jacob Philadelphia," one of the most renowned 
physicists and mechanicians of his day.'"^ 

There is nothing whatever to show that Christopher Sauer 
entered as regular student with Doctor Witt, or that he was 
ever granted any diploma by that erudite philosopher and 
student, in fact the evidences are against any such presump- 
tion, but being of an ingenious and mechanical turn of mind 
he was evidently employed by the versatile doctor as an 
assistant in his mechanical workshop, where he assisted 
among other mechanical pursuits in making and repairing 

Christopher Sauer became proficient in this branch of 
mechanics, and when he left the employ of the mystic and 
mechanician he considered himself a capable clock-maker, 
and at once entered into competition with his late employer. 
For this purpose he took up his abode in Germantown on 
the land of John Adam Gruber. It was upon a lot contain- 
ing six acres of land, which faced upon the northeast side 
of the main street opposite to Indian Queen lane ; here he 
had a small house and workshop where he worked at vari- 
ous trades, chiefly as a carpenter, wheelwright and cabinet- 
maker. The sign, however, over his shop door bore the 
legend Christopher Saur Uhrniacher, etc. (clock-maker). 

103 ggg monograph on Jacob Philadelphia, read by the writer before 
the American Jewish Historical Society, December, 1897. 

31 6 77?^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

In addition to his trades he dealt in divers merchandise 
including medicinal remedies, religious books, etc. 

From contemporary letters and documents, 1734-50, it 
appears that Sauer's ambition in that early time was to be 
considered a clock-maker, and that he was known as such 
for a decade after he had embarked in the printing business. 
This fact becomes even more apparent when he finally pur- 
chased in 1750, from John Adam Gruber and his wife Eliza- 
beth, the six acres of land upon which he had lived for almost 
twenty years, and for the past eleven years had set up his 
printing office. 

This deed, dated August 14, 1750, Recorded in Philadel- 
phia, Deed-book H. I., p. 129, designates him as Christopher 
Sauer, clock-maker. The consideration for the land being 
thirty-five pounds Pennsylvania currency. This deed is 
the earliest record of Christopher Sauer as a landholder in 
Germantown or Philadelphia county. A subsequent deed 
in the next year (1751) mentions his son Christopher Sauer, 
Jr., as a bookbinder. 

There is a strong probability that Sauer got his first ideas 
of a German press while he was yet in the Miihlbach valley. 
The relations between Beissel and Franklin, the Philadel- 
phia printer, had proven more or less unsatisfactory, on 
account of the latter's antipathy to the " Dutch," as he 
called anything that was German. Consequently the lack 
of an independent German press was felt more and more as 
the German population continued steadily to increase in 
the Province. 

To partly supply the wants of the Germans, Franklin, it 
is said, at the instance or suggestion of Beissel and the 
Eckerlings, started, as early as June 11, 1732, a German 
weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Die Philadelphische 
ZeitJing. The editor was Louis Timothee, language- 
master, who was a practical printer and scholar, and the 
first librarian of the Philadelphia Library. This paper 

First German Newspaper in America. 317 

purported to be a translation of the Pennsylvania Gazette, 
and was issued upon the Saturday following the English 
edition. This was the first German newspaper published 
in America. No specimen copy has been preserved, so far 
as is known, nor is it known how long the paper was con- 
tinued. A fac-simile of Franklin's announcement of its 
publication is reproduced. 

*the Gazette will come out again m Monday imt^ ati eaUl- 
imeto beftibllfiedim Mondays. 

Aid on the Satur<lay following will he fuhUlted Philadelphi- 
(che Zctmng, or Ntwfpaper in Higb-Diocb, which will con- 
tinue to be pitblified on Saturdays once a Fortnight, ready to be 
delivered at Ten a Clock, to Country SubfctlSert. Advetvile^ 
ments are taken in by the Printer bnecf, or by Mr. Louis Timo- 
thee. Lan^iagt Atafier, who trdnjlaus tlem. 

This venture of Franklin's may have been another in- 
centive for Sauer to set up a German press. There was, 
however, one great obstacle : this was the lack of means 
to import the necessary outfit. It was about the time 
when Beissel was casting about for a printer for his third 
hymn-book, Jacobs Kampff Jind Ritterplatz. Sauer, it is 
said, requested him to delay for a year, as he might get a 
press, which would then be at the disposal or under the 
control of the congregation. This being acceded to, Sauer, 
for the time being again became a devout Lutheran, and 
posed, at least in his correspondence, as an extreme Pietist. 

Letters were written to the Reverend Friedrich Michael 
Ziegenhagen, the celebrated Lutheran Court preacher at 
London, wherein representations were made as to the con- 
dition of the Lutheran Church in the Province. Warnings 
were also sent out regarding a committee sent by the Penn- 
sylvania congregation to solicit contributions in Europe. 
In fact, Christopher Sauer constituted himself the confiden- 
tial agent of the German Lutheran Church authorities. 

The same course was pursued by Sauer toward the Rev. 

3i8 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Gotthilf August Francke, director of tlie Orphanage at 
Halle. There is still a letter in existence in the archives 
of that institution, dated June 15, 1735, wherein Sauer, 
after denouncing the committee from Philadelphia, then 
on a collecting tour in Europe, closes with a demand that 
a press and type be purchased for him and sent to America. 
Repayment was to be made some time in the future to Rev. 
Ziegenhagen at London. Francke, in communicating 
Sauer's request to Ziegenhagen closes his letter as follows : 

" The before-mentioned Sauer has demanded in his letter 
that some type for printing be bought here and sent to him, 
and that he would refund the money advanced to your rev- 
erence. But, as we are overloaded here with other matters, 
we cannot adapt ourselves thereto. Further, I doubt whether 
any service would be rendered by a in the 
West Indies." 

When Sauer learned that his well-laid plans had failed, 
he again became an outspoken Sepa- 
ratist, and whenever the opportunity 
offered expressed his opinion about the 
clergy of the orthodox faiths. This 
was especially the case as to such as 
were subsequently sent to these parts 
by the Halle institution. 

The immediate result of Sauer's fail- 
ure to interest the Halle authorities in 
1735 was the printing of the Ephrata 
Hymn-book of 1736 by Benjamin ^kms of the^printers' 

The embryo printer was not dismayed by the rebuffs 
from Halle and London. In less than two years after he 
received Francke's letter, we find him in possession of his 
coveted type, Sauer, in a letter to Biidingen, dated Ger- 
mantown, November 17, 1738, and which was published 
in the Geistlichc Fama^ No. 25, p. 85, writes : 

The Germantown Press. 319 

" Where can I find words to praise the good God ! I am 
deeply indebted to Him. My all be at His service for the 
glorification of His name. This was in feebleness my 
desire and longing for the great benefits which I have 
enjoyed during my sojourn here as well as during my whole 
life. Therefore I longed to establish a German Printing 
establishment {Biichdruckery) in this land, which N. bought 
for me and has forwarded to this place." 

Who this person was has thus far remained an impene- 
trable mystery. It has been repeatedly stated that this 
outfit was obtained from Jacob Gass (Gast), a Swiss Separa- 
tist, and a member of the Ephrata Community, of whom 
we shall speak a little later as Brother Jethro. The writer 
has not been able to verify this statement. All indications, 
however, point towards strengthening the tradition that 
Gass obtained the original outfit used by the Ephrata 

In regard to the Sauer press, there is a tradition, and no 
doubt a true one, that the printing-press was a home-made 
affair constructed by the printer himself. 

After the type and press had been secured, an agreement 
was made between Sauer and the Ephrata congregation for 
printing a new hymn-book for the use of all Separatists in 
the Province. It was to be a duodecimo containing some 
six hundred and fifty hymns. There was, however, an 
obstacle in the way of its immediate execution. While 
the Germantown printer had his press and type, and was 
able to make his own ink, and the members of the Ephrata 
Community stood ready to aid in setting the type, working 
the press and correcting the proof, there was no paper. The 
whole stock of printing paper in the Province was controlled 
by Benjamin Franklin, and he refused to let Sauer have any 
except upon his own terms and for cash. 

Here was an unlooked-for dilemma, as neither Sauer nor 
Beissel had the requisite amount of ready money. The 

320 The German Sectarians of Petinsylvania. 

situation was, — no cash, no paper ; and even then only at 
Franklin's price, who flatly refused '-credit to the Dutch." 

At this critical period Conrad Weiser came to the rescue 
of both the Community and Sauer. He made a journey 
from Ephrata to Philadelphia in the beginning of July, 
1738, and pledged his personal credit for the amomit of 
the paper bill. The paper was then delivered, and the 
IVeyrauchs Hiigel became an accomplished fact. 

The title-pages of this book are as curious as its history. 
The chief title, by which it is generally known, reads : 

Zionitischer \ IVeyrauchs Hiigel | oder: | Myrrhen Berg, 
I Worinneti allerley liebliches und wohl riechen- \ des nach 
Apotheker-Kunst 221 bereitetes | Ranch- Werck zu finden. | 
Bestchend \ In allerley Ltebes-Wurckiingen der in Gott | 
geheiligten Seeleti, welche sich in vielcn tind manchcrley | 
geistlichen und lieblichen Liedern ajis gebildei. \ Als darin- 
neu I Der letzte Ruff zu dcm Abendmahl des gros- \ sen 
Gottes auf unterschiedliche IVeise \ trefflich aus gedrucket 
ist ; I Zum Dienst \ Der in dem Abend-Ldndischen Welt- 
Theil als \ bey detn Untergang der Sonnen erwecken Reiche 
— GotteSy und zu ihrer Erm2interung auf die | Mitter- 
nachtige Zukunfft des BrdutigHms \ aus Licht gegeben. | 
Germantown : Gedruckt bey Chris toph Sauer, ^739- 

[Translation. — Zionitic Incense Hill or Mountain of 
Myrrh, wherein there is to be found all sorts of lovely 
and sweet-scented Incense, prepared according to the 
Apothecary's Art. Consisting of divers workings of effec- 
tual Love in God-awakened souls, which has developed in 
many and various spiritual lovely Hymns. Also therein 
the last Call to the Supper of the great God, in various 
ways is most admirably set forth, for service of those who, 
in this benighted part of the world, at the setting of the sun, 
awakened Church of God, and is given to the light for their 
encouragement, upon the midnight advent of the Bride- 
groom. Germantown : Printed by Christoph Saner, 1739.] 

Ah Issue of the German Press. 





Wen %u% 

Dcj nad!) Oipoi^cfcrs Ainil jubtcuitid 
9iau(t) : SJcrcf ju ^nDcn. 

Sfn nHerfei) Cecbc^^^Biircfungcn D«r (n ©O't^ 

9(()(iligien®e((cn/ ip(l(^(jt(t) in otder unt> matt(()(rU9 

gei|lliit)(n unD liebliitcn I'itDecn ou^gtbilDet. 

S((fi batinnen 

'Dcr (cQteKuff etu 6em 2(bendmal^( 6e6 grof^ 

(eit (5<£>tte6 auf unterfd^ieMicbe tTcife 

trcifii(^ aas ge^nl(Eet ili ; 

3um DUnfl 

;j)cr in bem 2lbcn&*J'dn^ifc^^n 215c(t * Tf>eif aid 

bci; bun UiiterQang bcc Council troecften 5eirit)c 

(>)0ii(j, unb }u ibrcr C^inunf<rung auf Die 

^i((erna4)rige3utan(Tt be^SrdiKigamS 

ans ILt4>t 0c0ebeiu 

l^trit'nnioiDii -, ffiebriKfr btp €f|rinoo() 6auer 1719 


322 The German Sectarians q/ Pennsylvania. 

3fn Dcr ^iiften girrtn&cn 
unl) ginfamen 

gin fi«flli(f)eg ^flrffcn»@piel 

3n ben 

?0Janc^crl«p3elfcn Der ©dttlic^en 

4. 4< 4. 4. 4. 4. 4< 4. Hh * 4 4 4< 4 4< 4 4 •!< •» 

SIpocal. It. v. I. 2. f.6. 

lln^ ed erfc&ien ein grog 5«d)en tm .^immel : tin 

n?cib mit tcr (3onnen beFlel^«/ unU ber IHonb 

tinter ibren .^uflcrt / urtb ftiif ii)rcm ^aupt eine 

l^rone ron ^tpolff ©terrten. 
Unb fie trarb fc^tpanger/ unb f4>ryc/ unb tror in 

:&mb€d (lot&en/ un^ botte 0rof7e (Duoal ;ur 

Unb fie gclw^r cinen 6obn / cm %nSblzin / bcr 

*ne =J^etben folte trctben mit ber eijfem Kutben. 

Unity ibr %\nti ivdrb ent3udt $u (5(DCS^ unb 

feinen^ 6tubl. 
XXn^y baa IPeib entflobe in bic U>ijf?e/ ba fie b«Ke 

cincnOrtbcrcitet von (5© 2^1/ bag fie bftfelbff 

crnobi^MXiurbl iiufitiQ/ ^voty bunberi unXi fet^ 

Vt n 'St 4t 'B' 4v n* n" 4t 4i' fi" 'ft 'i' v' v' Tf vr M* 4r sv 


Explanation of Title-page. 323 

A partial explanation of the peculiar wording of this 
strange title will be found in Exodus, xxx, 34-36. 

" And the Lord said unto Moses. Take unto thee sweet 
spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum ; these sweet 
spices with pure frankincense : of each shall there be a 
like weight : 

" And thou shalt make a perfume, a confection after the 
art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy : 

" And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put it 
before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, 
where I will meet with thee : it shall be unto you most 

In the mystic cult Weyrajich is but a synonym for Gebef, 
prayer. It was taught that when ignited during supplica- 
tion the prayer became corporeal and was wafted in frag- 
rant clouds toward heaven. Upon this account the gum 
was kept exclusively for religious uses. A hiigelox hillock 
also denotes an object held in special veneration by the 
mystics, as the rising sun first gilded the hill-tops when it 
rose in the east. Thus from time immemorial hills have 
always been designated as holy ground and became the 
chosen place for offering and sacrifice. To the adepts the 
chief line in the title meant more than a mere hill of 
incense. It typified the book as a volume of prayer, 
which, if properly used, would, like the visible fumes of 
burning incense, go direct to the throne of Grace. 

Upon the reverse of the title-page it is dedicated to : 

Allen I In dcr Witsten girrenden | und Einsamen | 
Turtel-Taeublein \ Ah \ Ein Geistliches Harffen-Spiel | In 
den I Mancheidey Zeiten der Gottlichen \ Heimsjichung. 

[Translation. — To all cooing Turtle-Doves, alone in the 
desert as a spiritual harp-strain in the divers times of Divine 
visitation. ] 

Then follow four Scripture texts from Apocalypse xii, i, 
2, 5. 6. 

324 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The book proper has a preface of ten pages. This is 
dated : '■'■Ephrata in Pensylvanicn, den 14. des ^ten Afonats, 
ijjgy Then follow 649 hymns on 736 pages. These are 
arranged under thirty-three different heads. To the com- 
plete book there is an appendix of 45 pages, containing 38 
hymns, which are numbered separately but paged con- 

The title of this appendix reads : 

Die I Ehmals verdorrete, \ Nun aber \ Wieder grtinende 
und Frucht-bringende \ Rtithe \ Aarons, | Bestehend in 
eineni Anhang | Wichtiger und Erfahrungs-voller Lieder.^ 
I Darinnen \ Die Tritte Gottes im i?inern-Heiligthn?n | 
umstandliche vorgestellet sind ; \ Zur Aufmutiterung | Den 
JVdysen und Verlassen su Zion \ Den Zionitischen Wey- 
7-auchs-Hiigel | 7nit angehenckt. \ Psalm 1 26., v. 5. | Sie 
gehen hin und "veinen, und tragen edlcn \ Saamen ; und 
konimen mil Freuden und bringcn | ihre Garben. 

[Translation. — The once withered but now re-quickened 
and fruit-bearing rod of Aaron, consisting of an appendix 
of weighty hymns, fraught with experience ; wherein the 
steps of God in his inner Sanctuary are circumstantially 
presented, for the encouragement of the orphans and for- 
saken in Zion. Appended to the Zionitic Weyrauchs HUgel. 
Then follows Psalm cxxvi, 5.] 

Upon the reverse of the title is a quotation from the Song 
of Solmon viii, 6, 7. 

x\fter the appendix follows an index of the thirty-three 
subjects and a general alphabetical index of the hymns. 

The statement has been repeatedly made, and almost 
universally accepted, that all of the hymns in the JVeyrauchs 
Hiigel were original with Beissel and his followers. Such, 
however, does not appear to be the case. While it is true 
of the majority ; a number of popular German hymns were 
included evidently on account of the familiarity of the tunes 
if not for the associations of the Fatherland. Among this 

A Sub-Title. 


5J^un aber 


?ScOe5«nl> in mm 2(nl^ang 
^jc^tiger unD grfa^rung^* toller ft'eber/ 
Si(!'5:ntte@0'5:'5:€(S im innern >5<i(i9t5iim 
umflant)lt(& »orge|I<aet ftnt) ; 
jttr 2ti»ft««iitcrurtg 
S)cit ^di>fcn unt> QS^rfaffenen ju 3«ort 
3)em Sionitifc^en ^ej;iau(^S**&u3cl 
nit angebtncff. 

«ljfalm 1*6, t). 5. 
^»c gc^en |>in un^ wcincn / unb tra^crt cbfcn 



The German Sectariatis of Pennsylvania. 

list may be mentioned: No. 185, 510, Silesius ; 49, Rem- 
bach ; 14, 518, Frank; 158, 465, Schroder; 173, S. v. Bir- 
ken ; 187, Neander; 328, Dreius ; 345, 482, Luther, 385, 
397, Gerhard ; 386, Dessler ; 395, Justus Falkner ; 495, 
Mentzer ; 560, Schmidt ; 568, Nicolai ; 608, Trestrege ; 
610, Granmann ; 617, Gotter ; 627, Schutz. 

The fact that Conrad Weiser was in any way instrumental 
in the printing of this remarkable book is shown by the en- 
tries in Franklin's account books, from which it appears 
that upon July 9, 1738, Conrad Weiser, on behalf of the 
Ephrata Community, bought of Benjamin Franklin 125 
reams of paper for £62. 18. 6., upon which bill he paid on 
account ;^20. Some time afterwards he made an additional 
payment of £T)6^ and an order on Caspar Wister for _j^ 10. 16.6. 

On the following eighth of September he ordered 52 
reams more amounting to ;^, which, with a ream of 
Post paper for ;^, made the transaction amount to a 
total of ;^96.i2.6., upon which a third payment was made 
of _;^I3.4.6., making a total cash credit of _;^84.o.9. Another 
payment was made during the winter of ;^5.5.9- Franklin 
notes that on April 5, 1739, there remains due;^7.6., which 
upon the opposite page is marked " Settled and Adjusted." 

A fac-simile of interesting accounts is here given : 


Original in collection of American Philosophical Society. 

Interesting Commercial Accounts. 327 



Original in collection of American Philosophical Society. 

328 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

That Christopher Saner, inexperienced as he was in the 
printer's art, had undertaken a task beyond his capacity 
may well be imagined. In a letter published in the Geist- 
liche Fama, dated Germantown, November 10, 1738, we 
read : 

" Sauer's newly established printing office is very irksome 
to him, and he must pay more dearly for his experience 
here than in any venture he has thus far tried. He must 
print for the Seven-dayers [/. ^., those who keep the seventh 
day holy] a large hymn-book. They are sharp and par- 
ticular enough, as one hears : therefore it makes him much 

The Ephrata Brethren, who were superintending the 
printing, as stated in the above letter, were exacting in 
their demands. The supervising brother and responsible 
proof-reader, or corrector, was Brother Jaebez (Rev. Peter 
Miller) ; he had for his chief assistants Brothers Jephune 
(Samuel Eckerling) and Agouius (Michael Wohlfarth). 

After the paper was secured the printing of the book 
went forward without delay. All, however, did not go 
smoothly, as Saner set himself up as a censor of the hymns. 
This from the first caused more or less friction between him 
and the supervising brethren, and finally when the 400th 
hymn was set up, a personal controversy arose between 
Beissel and the printer, which became exceedingly bitter, 
and ended in an estrangement lasting for fully ten years. 
Letters passed back and forth between the two men, which 
only tended to aggravate the controversy, and culminated 
in Sauer's publishing an account of his side of the story 
under the following title : 

Ein abgenbthigter Bericht: odcr zum dffiertt begehrte 
Antwort denen darnach fragenden dargelegt ; In sick hal- 
tende : zwey Brieffe und deren Ursachy 

Upon the reverse of the title Christopher Saner printed the 
following pertinent Gospel verses, Matthew, xxiv, 24-26 : 

The Prinler's Side of the Dispute. 329 

Sum djffcrn bcgc^rtf 


©cticn DavnacI; fragcnDcn ^ar3cfcg^ 3ttf»c^5«6 
tcnt)e ; jtvci) ^riefte unD Dewn 

©em tt^cb rtttg^^awgee worteif eitte^iffo* 

5Sncffc wii Dcmfcl'oen ju un# 
fcrcn 3eifi'ti ntft^i^ m 



Only known copy in collection of Hon. Sainuet W. Pennypacker. 

330 The Gennait Sectarians of PcnnsvlDauia. 

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and 
shall show great signs and wonders ; insomuch that (if it were 
possible) thej' shall deceive the very elect. 

Behold I have told you before. 

Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the 
desert ; go not forth : Behold, he is in the secret chambers ; 
lielieve it not. 

But a single copy of this curious publication has come 
down to us. It is in the library of Hon. Judge Samuel W. 
Pennypacker, who has kindly placed it at the disposal of 
the writer. 

Not the least interesting feature of this book is Sauer's 
explanation setting forth his objections to the spirit of 
hymn 400. This follows the preface, and is printed in 
heavy Gothic type. Both fac-simile and translation are 
inserted : 

'^^ le -^nft^fle |o i^ Ah bicfefliilicbc \^o<xtz xrarcri 
fS^ t>iere : cer tlUrtiflll^ii>'Ufl^ tTTercurialird)e 
(BeijI TOolte feucnunb tPolcferuSdulc ^t'^n-.'^os 
furn n?ollen fafl alle VPorte bcr 4. ci (teiiT'erfe bes 
Itiebd fopiel ^!:.^zn ; oX& \ttn^tt eud) an mid) / unb 
%\i\xt nic^ta ala teas i4> eud) fajje/ Jofit>erlid> im 
14. unJ» 2j Vzxe^ 'Jrms Hft^t er Da0 er veracbtct 
wer^e voit feincnX^rubernfoxvobl als tjon l>eri 
€'unbcrn ; x\\\t> er tatte fte boc^ fdjon ?u (Bottes cjebrv>d)|:/tcte im j i . Dem ?u fe^ert. 3n> 5 ? . 
unbH-moc^t cr i^nen trieber Uiut^/minfoUe 
tl)n nur obit rerbr«»ffen anfebtt/fo tcurbc man 
fd^onbcilrom^^t^IangeniBtg. 3nt 36. will crfa; 
0en : biefes fcieb^enbflf 0emad?tbcr niemalis mil 
feyn tjcrac^t. 3m ? 7. J 8. unb ? 9. rers fprin^t nie« 
cunu5 ^ar sufe^r/unb fcbtringt ftc^ auf ben 
?r|)t-on/unb rufft : ©ebet/febet jc. Unb biefcs foil 
man audb nod? flnrtcn ; ^evciglid) bic ^aare folten 
etnem jubercje f?e$^n bey foldber^brtotterey/ trann 
tnan ni4?c bes^iuberc bimb ober (oU. 

Martial and Murcurial Spirit. 331 

Translation. — " The objections which I had to this hymn 
are these : The Martial and Mercurial spirit [meaning Con- 
rad Beissel ] wanted to appear as a Pillar of fire and clouds. 
Therefore almost all the words in the first four verses say 
as much as: 'Join yourself unto me, and do naught but 
what I command you ;' especially so in the 14th and 23rd 
verses. In the 25th [27?] he complains that he is de- 
spised by his brethren as well as by sinners, although he 
had already brought them to God's light, as is shown in 
the 31st verse. In the 33rd and 34tli he again [attempts 
to] inspire courage. If one could only look upon him 
without loathing, he would be safe from the serpent's bite. 
In the 37th, 38th and 39th verses, Mercurius [Beissel] 
leaps entirely too high, and swings himself upon the throne 
and cries, ' See, see,' etc. And this we are also to sing. 
Verily, our hair shall stand upon an end at such idolatry, 
if one be not bewitched or mad." 

The Chro?iicon, commenting upon this episode, states : 

^HE printing of the above-mentioned 
hymn-book now went forward. 
But towards the end there hap- 
pened a matter which caused a 
great stir in the land, and which 
shall now be communicated. The 
printer Saur had already in Ger- 
many become acquainted with 
the Superintendent during the 
awakening there. He considered 
him indeed to be a God-fearing 
man; but when Providence placed 
him at the head of a great awakening in Conestoga, the good 
man held him in suspicion of seeking to become a pope, to 
which there came yet a secret dislike for the Superintendent 
because the latter received his wife, who had been separated 
from him, under his leading, and even made her sub-superin- 
tendent of the Sisters' House. At that time opinions concern- 

332 The Geriiiau Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

ing the Superintendent varied in the country. The great and 
coarser part of the people regarded him as a great wizard, 
whereto certain things that happened gave an appearance of 
plausibility. As has been mentioned above, the spirit under 
whose guidance he was, at times made him invisible, concern- 
ing which the following is j'et to be mentioned in passing. A 
justice of the peace sent a constable after him with a warrant ; 
he took an assistant with him named Martin Graff. As they 
came towards the house, they saw him go in with a pitcher of 
water. They followed him, and while one stationed himself 
at the door, the other searched the house from top to bottom ; 
but no Superintendent was to be found. As they departed, 
however, and were quite a distance from the house, they saw 
him come out again. 

" His brethren, however, who were daily with him, and may 
have seen much of this kind of thing, fell into the opposite ex- 
treme, and like the Jews concerning John, thought whether he 
might not be Christ. Even Brother Prior Onesimus said that 
such thoughts often came to him. Of all this the printer was 
aware. Wherefore when in printing the hymn-book he came 
upon the hymn : 'Since the pillar of cloud dissolveth,' etc., 
he wanted to force out the 37th a meaning as if the 
Superintendent intended himself thereby. He accordingly 
took the corrector to task about it, who, however, asked him, 
whether he then believed only in one Christ ? This so out- 
raged him that he wrote a sharp letter to the Superintendent, 
in which he reproached him for his spiritual pride. The Super- 
intendent, who in such things never remained anyones debtor, 
sent back to him a short reply to the following intent : 'Answer 
not a fool according to his folly,' etc. ' As vinegar upon nitre, 
so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart. ' (Prov. xxv, 20. ) 
This aroused the good man to a fiery heat, and he resolved to 
avenge himself for this affront. Therefore he published a 
document against the Superintendent in which he told under 
how strange a conjunction of stars the Superintendent was, 
and how each planet manifested in him its own characteristics: 
from Mars he had his great severity, from Jupiter his friendli- 
ness, from Venus that the female sex ran after him, Mercury 

Quarrel between Saner and Beissel. 


had taught him the art of a comediau, etc. He eveu found iu 
his name, Conradus Dcusselus, the numbers of the Beast, 666. 
By this occurrence the good understanding between the printer 
and the Community at Ephrata was interupted for manj' years, 
and was not restored until the printer's wife, who had hitherto 
lived at Ephrata, went back to him again. From that time on 
until his death, he lived on good terms with the Superintendent 
and all the Solitary in the Settlement, and won for himself an 
everlasting remembrance among them by many deeds of love. 
May the Lord grant him to enjoy the fruits of this good seed 
in the resurrection of the righteous ! ' ' 

Sauer's published statement, before mentioned, contains 
several of the letters al- 
luded to in the above 
notice. On account of 
its extreme rarity and the 
light it sheds upon the 
publication of the first 
book printed in German 
tpye in America, a transla- 
tion of such parts as relate 
to the controversy is in- 
corporated. The transla- 
tion is by Hon. Samuel 
W. Pennypacker, who first 
brought this curious work 
to the notice of historical 


students in a paper en- 
titled " The Quarrel between Christopher Sauer, the Ger- 
mantown printer, and Conrad Beissel, founder and vorsteher 
of the Cloister at Ephrata." '"' 

Christopher Sauer to Conrad Beissel : 

I have until within the last few days been in hopes that the 
work which I did, and caused to be done, upon the hymn-book 

'" Vide Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. xii, p. 
76, et seq. 

334 Tf^^ German Sectarians of Pennsyh'ania. 

would redound to the honor of God, to whom I am under the 
greatest obligations for all that he has done for me and all 
creatures, and will still do through time and eternitj', and I 
remain bound to Him even though I shall see no good daj- 
more. It is his way that when we dismiss all which is not 
from Him He fills us with that which more concerns Him. 
The result is that we love all that is from Him, and have a 
hatred and horror of all that does not please Him. In the 
beginning much remains concealed, while we are in the shoes 
of children as the saying is, which in years of youth and man- 
hood become as clear as day. I have therefore with patience 
overlooked some hymns, which I had rather sacrificed to Vul- 
can by throwing them into the fire. I thought something 
might be given to the first alphabet scholars as it were accord- 
ing to their ability and which they could grasp and that it 
would not be wise to break down the first rounds of the ladder. 
I have willingly let go what the amateur poet through vanity 
and sentiment have brought together, especially since Brother 
Peter Miller said to me : ' ' The worst soldiers are always put 
in the front rank." Taking this view of it I had nothing more 
to say. Afterwards so much of wood, straw, stubble, and trash 
came that it went pretty hard with me. It was very deeply' 
impressed upon me that each work should be a birth to appear 
in eternity, not in the lightness of the mercurial pictures drawn 
by men, but to stand in the clean way. However I remained 
in hope that something better would come in the future. A 
still greater mercy befell me, to wit : In the beginning of the 
1 6th Rubric or division there was placed a silly hymn which, 
on first reading through it, I con.sidered to be among the stupid 
amature poetry and I wished that something better could be 
put in its place. In the 29th verse it runs : 
" Der docli traget deine L,ast 
Und dabei hat wenig Rast. " 

There I stopped and read the remainder over again, but while 
I was attending to some other business, it was printed. I was 
not at ease about it. I regarded it as among those great errors 
of which to-day the world is full and wi.shed that it might still 
remain among those rejected. I thought if it .should come. 

Salterns Argn»ient. 335 

either here or in Gerinauy or auy where else, before the ej'es 
of ail enUghtened spirit who has found and delights in God 
and his Saviour as the true rest, he might be deceived bj' such 
miserable stuff after such a magnificently brilliant title-page 
and I should be ashamed because of my negligence. I might 
perhaps be able to find excuses that would answer before men, 
but in my breast would burn a fire that would be quenched 
by no excuses. I thereupon asked Brother Samuel whether 
he did not think a great mistake had there occured in writing, 
since unskillful poets are often compelled for the sake of their 
rhyme to use which destroy the sense. He said to me, ' ' No, 
I shall let it stand just as it is." I consented to do it then 
because it suddenly occured to me, that in the pine forests the 
industrious ants gather together straw, wood, earth, shells, 
and resin, from the pines which they carry underneath into 
the hill and that this is called " Weihrauch." This pacified 
me to some extent because it accorded with the title. Still I 
could not reconcile the word " Zionitisch" with it, because 
upon Mount Zion no such collection can be found as I have 
de.scribed. There God is praised in silence. There are there 
only two hymns. The one is the song of Moses running, 
briefly, like this, ' ' L,ord, thou and no other hast delivered 
us from all of our enemies and dost protect us and lead us 
through outer danger. " Exodus, 15th. There is no quarrel- 
ing more, no time, no change of day and night. It therefore 
occured to me that you must have a wonderful idea of Zion 
since you fix its nature but know nothing of and have not ex- 
perienced real and actual death. The second .song is short. It 
is the .song of the I,amb which is strangled. It runs thus : "All 
is fulfilled. There is nothing more to do. Now praise we our 
God in silence. ' ' 

But you said in the meeting when I was there that every 
verse was suitable for Mount Zion. That is easily said if a 
man has a well smoothed tongue. You will find out otherwise 
however. Meanwhile I regretted my lost time ov^r the book 
and that my hope which had something honorable for its object 
should have so entirely failed. I spoke with Brother Samuel 
once more about it in what way it was to be understood. He 

21^6 The Gervian Sectarians of Pennsvlvania. 

answered me that I should not blame them for being Catholic, 
which I from my heart wished to be true siuce iu the Commu- 
nity of Christ there are no others. For instance we believe in 
the mediation of holy ones and truly of those who are afterward 
in life. This caused me no scruple because it is my dailj' exer- 
cise notwithstanding I am still not holy. What then will the 
holy do. But when he asked me whether I believed only in 
the one Christ I would have been .shocked into a cold fever if 
true quiet had not prevented. I then read the whole hymn 
over again once more and saw the man who was intended and 
it gave great sorrow. But I remembered how far the human 
race depart from God and that man is inclined to idolatry and 
easily moved to make images and to honor himself while the 
tendency to depart from the true waj^ (found only in the ground 
of the spirit and by the abandonment of all creature things) is 
born in him. He is therefore easily led to act with sects, par- 
ties, and like divisions, and one believes and receives from 
another that which is pleasant without real experience of what 
will be the outcome. It may be therefore that it ought not to 
be taken amiss in the writer of the hymn, since as the eyes are 
so do they see. Still I have no real peace about this affair. I 
determined then to write to you and ask you whether you had 
not seen or read this piece or had not considered what a dread- 
ful production it is ; to say that without serious difficulty it can 
still be taken out and in its place something to the honor of God, 
or for the good of weak souls, can be put in where the two 
pages are cut out which I will do at my own expense ; and to 
ask you whether on the other hand it was done according to 
your wish and inclination. If so, I would remind you that 
the good Moses could not go into Canaan because he honored 
not the Lord when he said ' ' must we fetch you water. ' ' See 
what an afflicted burdenbearer and once true knight Moses 
was and where is such a Moses ? Herod may well have made 
such an unusually good address to the people that it caused 
them to say' ' ' That is the voice of God and not of man. ' ' The 
angel struck not the unwitting people because they were in- 
clined to idolatry but him who accepted the Godl)- honor. 

See, See, the Man ! 337 

Already you suffer yourself to be called "Father. " '"^ Oh , would 
there were a single one who comprehended Christ and respected 
and carried out the commands of him who absolutely forbid 
that you let any one call you master and should call any man 
"Father" upon this earth! The misery is already great 
enough, as you yourself said to me significantly. You are 
the greatest God in the community. When you sat still 
everything fell back. You had once for sometime given up 
the meeting and everything fell away. Your dearest brethern 
hastened to the world. Even Brother N. had made a wagon 
in which to ride to the city. There were other instances 
which you told me. And did you not the other day in the 
meeting significantly and at great length speak of this idolatry 
and how they went whoring after you as is indeed the case. 
And now will they with full throats call and sing : 
"Sehet, sehet, sehet an ! 

Sehet, sehet an den mann ! 

Der von Gott erhohet ist 

Der its unser Herr und Christ." 

If Brother Samuel had not said to me concerning it that the 
hymn had a double meaning and one might take it as he chose, 
I should have considered the last as referring to Christ and 
looked upon the " God without rest" as a compulsion of the 
verse. Are there not already molten calves enough ? Is not 
the door of Babel great enough that they should build another 
little door through which they call loudly, " See here is Christ" 
in order to entice souls to themselves ? Do not misunderstand 
me. I value highly the favor of returning to you. But I fear 
God will play his own part in it and leave the beautiful vessel 
empty lest otherwise upright souls might suffer an injury which 
certainly would cause no single child of God pleasure. Much 
more where it to be wished from the innermost heart that all 
the might of the stars were entirely lost and that Christ were 
indeed the ruler in 3'ou and the whole community. This would 
give me great joy to look upon through my whole life long. 
There is nothing more to say except that, with the permission 

' His Kloster name was Father Friedsam. 

338 TIic Girnian Sectarians of Pcnnsvlvauia. 

of Brother Michael,""^ I should like, if I might, to take out this 
one hymn and put another in its place because it concerns the 
honor of God. It is easy to see that I have no earthly concern 
in it and that the influence of no man's interest has anything 
to do with it. There are still as many as a hundred hymns 
with which you can feed the senses that they die not. I am 
sure that a thousand pounds would not persuade me to print 
such a one, for the reason that it leads the easy way to idolatry. 
If it were my paper it would have been already burned. But 
my suggestion was met by the brethren only with scornful and 
mocking words, and at last they said, " Now we will pack up 
the paper. " '" I thought ' ' they have still better right to it than 
the Hussars. ' ' With such disposition of the matter for my own 
part I can be at peace. God will find a way to protect his honor. 
As to the rest, I love thee still. Christoph Saur. 

Thereupon I received the following letter instead of an 
auswer : 


In some re.spects the subject is entirely too bad for me to 
have anything to do with thee about it, since it has been 
written : " Answer not a fool according to his folly, least thou 
also be like unto him." 

" Answer a fool according to his follj% least he be wise in 
his own conceit. ' ' This is the reason that I have been moved 
and thou needest not think that thou hast made a point. But 
that I should be like unto thee from having to do with thee 
will not happen, since we already before made the mistake of 
having too much to do with thee. Thou wast not fit for our 
community. Therein also was fulfilled what has been written : 
" As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as 
vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an hea\'y 

If thou hadst not always acted in this way it might perhaps 

"" Michael Wohlfarth, who in the Cloister was Brother Agonius. 
"" This is another proof that the paper did not belong to Sauer, vide 
pp. 320, 326, 327, J. F. S. 

Beissel to Salter. 339 

have been thought that there was some reason for it, but since 
thy whole heart is always ready to blame what is above thy 
conceited Sophist — Heaven, it is no wonder to me that thou 
comst now puffed up with such foolish and desperate conceits : 
through which thou layest thyself so bare that any one who 
has only ordinary eyes can see that thou art indeed a miserable 
Sophist. If thou hadst only learned natural morality thou 
wouldst not have been so puffed up. A wise man does not 
strive to master or to de.scribe a cause of which he has neither 
comprehension or experience, but it is otherwise with a fool. 
Thou ought first to go to school and learn the lowly and 
despised way of the Cross of Jesus before thou imaginest 
thyself to be a master. Enough for Thee. This may inform 
thee that henceforth I will have nothing to do with thy two- 
sided, double-hearted, odious and half-hypocritical pretensions 
of Godliness, since thy heart is not clean before God, other- 
wise thou wouldst walk upright in the way and go not the 
crooked way thou dost. 

One almost springs aloft when he .sees how sharaefullj' the 
name of God is misused. 

The world sings its little song and dances straight and with- 
out hesitation to hell, and covers it over with the name of God 
so that the deception and wickedness may not be seen. Believe 
me, thy way is sure to come before God, thy juggling tricks 
and spiritual slight of hand which thou, from the natural stars 
and not in the true fear of God, hast learned will come to 
judgment : and I say to thee as the word of truth that if thou 
dost not make atonement and change thy heart thou mayest ex- 
pect a wrathful and terrible God, since the Lord is hostile to all 
that is double-faced and false. Indeed, the paths which lead 
out from thee run through one another so wonderfully that 
the wonder is that God does not punish it at once as he did 
the rebellious pack, — Korah, Dathan and Abiram. 

Thou hast also in thy letter to me said that a fire burned in 
thy breast over this or that. It would be a good thing if that 
fire, if there is one, should consume thee until there should 
nothing remain but a .soft and sweet spring of water in which 
thy heart might be mollified to true repentance. Then indeed 

340 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

couldst thou for the first time learn to know rightly what is 
from God and what from nature, what from God and what 
from the stars in the heavens. 

When I know of a man that he does not bend before God but 
still walks in his own highway, I accept absolutely no judg- 
ment as in Godly affairs, but say to him freely that he wash 
and clean himself before I can have anything to do with him. 

As concerning those other things in which one man has to 
do with another it has also come to an end. Further and 
lastly it is my determination to remain as I have said above. 
I am so tired of the untruth of men that if I were not under 
the greatest necessity, if God did not plainly intend and it 
were not His will that I must be needed for the cause of con- 
science, I would rather be dismissed into the still everlasting. 
On that account I would have prayed that I might henceforth 
be spared from such defamation, but should it give pleasure to 
load me with more of it I shall bear myself as one who knows 
not that there are such things in the world. I will at the last 
be separated from all and will no further participate pro or con. 
Still will I in some measure continue my writing and do it 
again if circumstances require it. 

What I have still further to say is this : that henceforth all 
right over my person shall be taken entirely out of thy hands, 
since thou for many years hast gone to work so wonderfully 
about it as if thou hast bought it for a sum of money in order 
to do with it according to thy pleasure. Thou must not think 
that one is blind and foolish and dost not see what thou hast 
in mind. It does not even please me that I could write German 
to thee, since thy envy and falsehood are so great that it is 
not easy to measure them. Therefore I consider thee entirelj' 
unfit to be a judge in Godly affairs, and for this reason I have 
little or nothing to an.swer to thy letter. Thou hast no ex- 
perience in the way of God, for thou all the time walkest thine 
own way. 


We have here now heard a voice, whether it came from Zion 
or Mount Sinai maj- those judge who know the difference. I 

Comment on Beissel. 341 

am inclined to make a comment upon each word, but every 
one may make his own as he chooses. I wish him only the 
soft and sweet spring of water which he needs instead of the 
fiery zeal of Sinai. Otherwise when he goes forth soon will 
he make fire fall from heaven, which we always hear crackle 
in his letter, and do signs and wonders. If I had thought he 
would take the trouble to describe my propensities and his, I 
would have sent him a great register of the old Adam in me 
which I could describe much better than he. Since I for a 
long time have besought God to enable me thoroughly to dis- 
cern their enormity, and since I have found so much to do with 
myself I am ready to say the simple truth so that no man need 
be disturbed about me. And this is the reason for my long 
silence, and also for va.y thinking seldom of his person, not 
that it is too bad for me but because it can neither aid nor 
hinder me. If I were in such a position as he, to give my 
natural possession I should need only the princes and powerful 
who still to a considerable degree have rule over the conceited 
Sophist- heaven, since they desire so much to rule upon earth 
and to fasten their throne there. I could have also given him 
certain information that I have been beloved by spiritual per- 
sons who trul)' were more beautiful and purer than those whom 
he holds above Christ. God has also so willed it that I for the 
same time cannot otherwise believe than that all is good to 
which the same spirit impelled me. I blame not the spirit 
which impelled him. He is God's creature. I only say : he 
is not clean and is still far from the spirit of Christ. I rejoice 
that he praises God the L,ord as all good spirits do, and in that 
re.spect I love him. I hate only the untruth which he brings 
to light and wishes to lay in the hearts of men. And when 
he as that one which through a maid had its pleasure in telling 
only the truth pointed out the Apostles to men, and sought to 
further their happiness (Acts, xv, v, 17), I should leave him 
in the place for which he is good, and as for myself rather 
hunger until death for the completeness of my Jesus. In that 
I make myself entirely clear. In like manner I make a dis- 
tinction between Conrad Beissel as he stands in his still well- 
proportioned attributes derived from the old-birth or birth of 
thestars— l?2tc?0 9 5^3). 

342 The Gcrniini Sectarians of Pcniisvlvauia. 

When one approaches him lie shows first the complaisance 
of Jove ; when one bends, rises, and heeds well he finds his 
sweetness and lovingness from Venus, his solar understanding 
and mercurial readiness. If one fails a little he shows the 
gravity and earnestness of Saturn. If one attacks only a little 
his spiritual pride he shows the severity of Mars with thunder 
and lightning, popely ban, the sword of veugence and fiery 
magic. What can induce a weak soul in sorrow and need to 
come and lay itself humbly at his feet, when the unclean spirit, 
which takes plea.sure in the fact, triumphs in this way. There- 
fore would I counsel no one upon whom he has laid his hands 
or who has been baptized by him or by another Father, since 
all those who have given up the world and the gross fleshh- 
life are prepared to be the habitations of a spirit, and through 
their own freed spirit and its suggestions and help of other 
spirits they have the power to torture a deserter and to put 
him in pain of body and soul, and also those who have little 
strength and do not depend with their whole hearts upon the 
true living God, but rely particularly upon their own virtues. 
Conrad has subjected me to this proof. He has intruded upon 
my etheral past, which has taught me how it goes with others, 
and how I have need of the support of my Saviour and to press 
into the centre of love or heart of Jesus where this aqua fortis 
cannot reach. Therefore, as I have said, I would not counsel 
no one without higher strength to oppose this Spirit. It is 
very powerful. And yet they are not bound by this strong 
magic, they have a free will. God has for many years shown 
me how many good and beautiful spirits there are which .still 
are not clean. Already in the time of the Apostles there were 
many spirits which had gone beyond their limits in this our 
world. I therefore do not believe all that every one tells me, 
even when they speak through a spirit and speak only what 
the spirit saj-s. The moon goes through many phases, and 
this is also his nature. It has happened because of his beauti- 
ful and well-proportioned nature that he would like to be some- 
thing great. He looked upon the dumb creatures in their 
deformity and wanted to bring them to the right. For this 
purpose he takes the means, method and way which pleased 

Beasf of the Apocalypse. 343 

him. So that now all must dance according to his will and do 
what through the power of his magic he compels. But I also 
want to say that I by no means overlook what he has in him 
which is good, and I freely recognize that he has much that a 
true Christian cannot be without, and this many innocent people 
see and they are drawn to him by it. But for myself I can 
never be attached to him for the reason that I know that his 
teaching hitherto has been a compound of Moses, Christ, 
Gichtel and Conrad Beissel. And no one of them complete. 
The spirit of Moses stood up beldly and prayed for the people 
who had disobeyed him and done wrong. Should his people 
oppose him how soon would Mercury spread his wings. Christ 
was an entirely different disposition. He knew his betrayer 
long before, and when the latter came to take his life he was 
such a gentle lamb that he said, " Friend ! wherefore art thou 
come?" He received his kiss. He cured the ear of Malchus. 
Our dear Conrad is very far from anything of that kind. In 
many points he is very close to Gichtel and still closer to the 
little beast, described in Revelations, xii, 11, which represents 
his peculiarity in spiritual things. His figure is such that if 
one beseeches him he has the horns of a lamb, but if one 
touches his temper only a little he speaks like a dragon and is 
indeed not to be regarded as the first great beast, whose num- 
ber is 66. He is not indeed so beast-like, but is also not clean 
Godly, but is humanly peculiar and no other than CVnraDVs 
BelseLVs. DCLVVVI— 666. 

If he had not for the future entirely taken out of my hands 
all right to his holy person, I could and would have opened up 
to him the inner ground of his heart a little between me and 
him alone, but I must now be entirel}' silent for I am bound 
hand and foot. It seems to me that during the two weeks 
which he took to write to me he did not remember Him who 
suffered an entirely different opposition from sinners, who, 
although He was in the Godly image, held it not for a wrong 
to be like God but lowered Him.self and became as a man. But 
this one must be regarded as a God, and therefore the little 
calf should and must remain upon its place. When my Saviour 
had done a noble deed He desired it should be unknown. See 

344 T^^^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

to it that no man learn of it. But to this God we must sing to 
his folly. If I had ten hymns in the book and had been 
requested I would have taken them out, but Conrad is nof 
accustomed to ha\ang his will broken. I could have over- 
looked it in silence out of natural morality and as a printer, 
but it concerned the love of God that I should not he silent. 
The spiritual harlotry and idolatry would have been increased 
and confirmed my suppwrt. I would rather die of hunger than 
earn my bread in such a way. It would go worse with me 
than with the primate in Poland who proclaimed a king upon 
the throne and could not keep him there. I have, without 
baptizing myself and letting myself be baptized four times 
(like him), placed myself under the standard of my Saviour 
and loved him, and still have not had the freedom to ask of 
him that he make an oflScer of me ; but I gave myself to him, 
as he best knows, as poor clay to be formed in his hand as by 
a potter, or to be thrown into a corner as clay which is worth- 
less. He has nevertheless appointed nie as the least beneath 
his standard as a sentry to watch my post, a watchword has 
been given to me which reads " love and humility." When I 
then upon the dark nights call out "who goes there?" and 
this parole is not answered me, I know that it is no good friend 
and no man of ours. I must then fire my piece so that each 
upon his post may be warned. But since the Commander is 
not far away he will himself have a care. To him only the 
honor. For me willingly the shame. 

This interesting controversy with Beissel did not, how- 
ever, estrange Christopher Saner from the Ephrata Coin- 
tniinity, as we find a constant intercourse between the Ger- 
mantown printer and some of the mystic brethren on the 
Cocalico, especially with the faction opposed to Beissel. 

Before dismissing Christopher Sauer, it may be well to 
mention a few items about the earliest i.ssues of his press : 

The first i.ssue of the Germantown printer was a broad- 
side, printed on one side, it bore the following title : 

Eine \ Ernstliche Ermahunng^ | An Junge und Alte : J 

Issues of the German Press. 


346 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Zu einer \ Ungehcucheltcn Priifung | Ihrcs Hertsens und 
Zns/andes. \ Kiirizlich aus Engeland nach Afnericagesandi, 
tmd zvegen seiner ]Vichtigkeit \ Aus dern Englischen ins 
Deutsche treuliche iibersetzt ; Vo7i einem Liebhaber der 

This was a translation from the English, who the " lover 
of truth" was does not appear, the typography and press- 
work, however, shows the work of a practical printer, 
whoever he may have been. The heading and imprint of 
this broadside, the " first issue of the German press in 
America," is presented in fac-simile. But two copies of 
this imprint are known."" 

It will also be noted that the printer's name is spelled 
with an " E." In the early days of his sojourn in Pennsyl- 
vania he always wrote it "Saur. " 

Again referring to his letter in the Geistliche Fame., he 
writes that he knew of no better vehictdutn to spread the 
news of the establishment of a German press throughout the 
land than to issue an almanac. 

Der Hoch-Deutsch \ Ainericanische Calender \ auf das 
Jahr I nach der Gnaden-reichen Gehurth utisers | Herrn 
und I Heylandes Jesu Christi \ /Jjg \ Eingerichtet vor die 
Sonnen-Hohe von Peunsylvanic7i ; Jedoch an denen angren- 
zenden Landen ohne merklichen Unterschied zu gebrau- 
chen. Zum ersten 7nahl herausgegeben. Germanton., Ge- 
druckt und zu Jinden by Christoph Saur, wie auch zu ha ben 
hey Joh. Wister in Philadelphia. 

No perfect copy of this almanac is known, the specimen 
in the Pennsylvania Historical Society lacking the title- 

After the completion of the IVeyrauchs Hiigel, Saner 
put into execution his plan for a German newspaper, the 
first successful German periodical on the continent. 

'"" One in the collection of the Historical Society of Philadelphia and 
the other in that of Judge Samuel W. Pennj'packer. 

Sauer's Newspaper. 



»•«% vS f>^ iA n 
*5 Cr *^ Q. or* 

g ;? 3 S<2 J^ 

2 '—'/-» ^"« 

>3^ S S » «*■ 3 

3 #2.2 




348 Tlie German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The initial number bears the date August 20, 1739. It 
was a small sheet of four pages, with double columns, the 
size was thirteen inches by nine inches, and bore following 
title :— 

Der I Hoch-Dentsch | Pensylvanische \ Geschicht-Schrei- 
bcr, I Oder: | Sarnnilttng \ IVichtiger Nachrichten.^a7is dem 
Natur- tind Kirchen-Reich. 

The paper was issued monthly at a subscription rate of 
three shillings per year. Subscribers had the further privi- 
lege of having advertisements inserted gratis. 

The heading of the first page of this issue of Sauer's news- 
paper is reproduced in fac-simile on page 347. So scarce 
have these specimens become, that one hundred dollars 
were paid for the page here reproduced. An even greater 
sum is offered for a perfect copy of the Almanac of 1739. 

As a matter of interest we also present on page 349 a re- 
duced fac-simile of Sauer's specimen sheet and price-list 
for printing and the various sizes of type. This unique 
specimen, supposed to have been issued as early as 1740, is 
undoubtedly the first typographical specimen sheet issued 
in America. 

After the German printing house at Germantown was 
firmly established, the two publications Der Hoch-Dentsch 
Americanische Calender and Der Hoch-Deiitsch Pensylva- 
nische Geschicht-Schreiber were used by the printer as a 
vehicle to give expression to the Separatist views, and at 
the present day give us an interesting insight into the 
religious condition of the Province from a non-orthodox 
standpoint, of which more will appear in the course of 
the narrative. 


©to6c Conon. 


9? Oman Jractur. 

lilt 33Dgeu Don bie^ 
3600 lliic^fiabeu: gdr 


(!a5en im ^ogen 9?,il\ unb 

unb bie erfte too <StM an 

gjltttcJ gractur. 

Sin ^ogcn Ol^.toon Mcfcr 6d)tift Cc;? 
ftcht niig 146^0 ^uc^ftabm ; UnD foft 
tcr SSogcn ju feOfn/fomgiercu unD joo 
(otucf 3u trucfen xs <S<f)Bm' 


03011 Dicfcr @d)rifft beqrcift eiii ^ogcn ^. 
S. gcmciniglici) i8?44 ^ucbllaW; UnD tt)\it 
DaS @i'^<n unD Soviigiercn ncbii tTcn ctftcn f 00 
©tucf iu Drucfcn; Drcpgifl ©filling. 

(Ticcto Smchir. 

^I'clcr fd gcrtaiitctt CiecM Scbwxtbdcbcr 

' or iRooo; 5'ura Scrjen ua6 ([Arrigietcn 
eb\l Ocr vongcdcfoten 5n^1 ju brucfeiv 
ncununOittfartQig S4>iUing. 

^armont gracfur. 

33on Burcr ei^cifi oerfajt <ia 3o8(n8lRotfl]t< 
f<6r ti<6cn unD joanQis (aufen|un( finff ftuntcit 
95uil)fla6tn ; unB btirdf* 6a« Se^tn. eorrigfenn iu» 
tie Dor geDcii{)ie funf DunDeri Siu(f}iiDru(t(n. fitto 
unb DctDfiig 6<t)iaini;. 

(Sdtmont ©c^iroabad) 

Cicftf (Barmont ScbraaDaicr ifl m oer ;it^ 
von 6er (Sarmont .frsctur nidjt fcfer unterfiie* 
6eti/ uno al(o auib im prcyg nicfet. 

IJctit grociur. 
ein Sogin trnn tiiftr fjrtit edjtifft, fcSlt infi* onf ma 
%mi' f<(i« unli tlixlli3illllfen^, fi(b«n ijunNrt u^^ fe4lt« 
od)« SuilJiiatin; uftt) btltiit M ©e?tn, dorigrrtii «n6 bi< 
cic 500 '5o*rn iu trucfen tttn 'Junt unt ir«r ubrt tu 
etde ?oo ^ooft) melit gitiruJt reirt, ^ll fafltt l(r« 100. 
a©(()illiii3 nn^ s "Pen*, ull^^aCll^i(rllPl'«cttluttiasl<^. 

pen erc gractur/ Oman i(? ««* wcii.3 untcclri«cOt 
im ptcvfu 

'iS^cfcg tft nun ^el• <»rcifi toon Den otaemclfcn ©cftnftcn, nemlicf;, wie rc^L^JJ. 
L S? "oraeDn^ten igortc <n«. lo ©coining; ©jn ^6 ^^t^° ^jj ^ ?S 


ET lis now return once more 
to the peaceful vale on the 
Cocalico. The year 1738 
opened sadly for the soli- 
tary orders, ushered in as 
it was with a sad bereave- 
ment for the Community. 
It was during the night 
of Friday, March 3d, the 
midnight services being 
over and the Solitary 
having returned to their 
respective ka7nniers to rest 
their weary heads again upon the hard blocks which served 
as pillows, that suddenly the stillness of the night was 
broken by the notes of the Kloster bell. Clear and loud 
the ringing sounded forth in the quite night. From Ephrata 
mountain to Zion hill the echoes reverberated the metallic 
sound. Awakened from their slumber, Solitary and settlers, 
irrespective of faith, rushed to door and window seeking 
for the cause of the unusual alarm. Suddenly the pealing 
ceased, to be followed by a solemn tolling of the bell until 
a certain number was recorded. It was the public announce- 
ment that the grim Reaper had invaded the Kloster confines 
and had claimed his first victim from among the Solitary. 
To Brother Martin (Bremmer) the lot had fallen. He had 
wrought as the Community tailor, and in that capacity 
had designed the habits for both the male and female 

All Ancient Custom. 351 

The ringing of the Kloster bell at the death of any 
member of the Community was practiced for many years, 
and as it took the popular fancy it was followed by both 
Lutheran and Reformed churches, while in the Moravian 
congregations public announcement of the death of mem- 
bers was made from the roof of the church by trombonists, 
special melodies being played according to the class and 
station of the deceased. Among the Seventh-day Baptists 
of the present day the custom has for many years fallen 
into disuse, yet in many of the other churches in the 
vicinity, and it may be said throughout Lancaster and the 
adjoining cotmties, this usage still obtains, particularly in 
the rural communities. It is customary when a death occurs 
among the members of the congregation for the pastor to 
notify the sexton, who immediately rings the church bell 
to attract the attention of the community, and then tolls a 
knell to indicate the age of the departed, giving one stroke 
for each year of age. It happened to the writer to be in 
the vicinity of the old Bergstrass Evangelical Lutheran 
church during such an announcement. No more solemn 
publication of a death could be made, if we except the 
trombonists of the Moravian church. Upon the occasion 
referred to the mournful strokes that wafted their notes 
over the still November air numbered forty-eight. 

Martin Bremmer's death caused much sadness in the 
Community, as he was universally beloved, and his funeral 
was made the occasion for considerable ceremony. Among 
the strange customs observed in the case of Brother Martin, 
transplanted from the Fatherland, was the opening of the 
window as soon as the breath had left the body, so that the 
soul conld take its flight heavenward unhindered and unob- 
structed. Upon the night of the funeral, as the body was 
carried out of the Berghouse, a bucket of water was poured 
upon the door-sill and swept outward, after which the door 
was immediately closed. This was done to prevent the 

352 TIic (}(rman Sectarians of Pe7insylvaiiia. 

spirit of the departed from returning to its old habitation. 
With the same purpose in view three crosses were marked 
upon the door-jamb with red earth or clay. 

Brother Martin, who in the Ephrata register is called " a 
peculiar spiritual person," was buried in the meadow, be- 
tween where the Saal and the Brotherhouse now stand. 
The interment took place by torchlight during the mid- 
night hour, with the full mystic ritual of the order. Not 
a vestige of his tomb remains at the present day. An old 
manuscript before me records as follows : 

"At the beginning of the year 1738, on the third or fourth 
day, did Brother Martin Bremmer gently and quietly pass 
from time into eternity. He left a goodly testimon}', and 
remained true unto his profession and brotherhood even 
unto death. He was an earnest, zealous warrior who for 
almost nine years abided with the Community." 

Among the important events of the year 1738 was the 
formation of the Zionitic Brotherhood and the erection of 
a large building for the uses of this mystic society, the 
organization of which was completed at this time, its origin 
and aims will now be explained. As before stated, members 
continued to flock to the settlement from all parts of this 
and other provinces ; thus the secular congregation at 
Ephrata soon became the largest Sabbatarian settlement 
in the Province. Among the more notable accesions to 
the Community at this time were Brothers Sander,'"^ Hocker 
and Rismann ; they arrived a few days after the funeral of 
Brother Martin. Brother Jonathan Hocker was the first to 
be consecrated with a monastic ritual. Shortly afterward, 
another character of some importance, of whom unfortu- 
nately little or nothing is known, came to the settlement. 
This was Ludwig Blum, a musician, who virtually intro- 
duced the system of music peculiar to the Ephrata Kloster, 
specimens of which will be presented in a future chapter. 

' Alexander Mack, Jr. 

A New Convent. 353 

In April of this year Jacob Hohnly [Ephraim ] arrived, 
followed in September by Christian Eckstein [Gideon] . On 
September 20th the number was increased by Valentine 
Mack, who was accompanied by his wife and his father-in- 
law, Johannes Hildebrand, whose acquaintance we have 
made in previous chapters. They were joined in No- 
vember by the erratic Gottfried Haberecht, who for a time 
poses as Brother Gottlieb. 

Apart from the arrivals mentioned, the brethren of the 
Berghouse found their habitat becoming the rallying-point 
for all the mystics in the Province ; and as their number 
increased they clamored for better accommodations, similar 
to those of the sisters' house, Kedar. The matter, however, 
seems to have been held in abeyance on account of a lack 
of necessary funds. These were eventually supplied by 
one of their number. Brother Benedict (Benedict Jiichly), 
a young Swiss, from Kilchery-turnen, a scion of a rich 
family in the district of Berne, who had joined the Com- 
munity some time previous to the adoption of the monastic 
feature. The Chronicon states that : 

" Inflamed by the love of God he resolved to devote his 
fortune to the erection of a convent ; which was accepted 
as coming by divine direction, and his proposition granted. 
There was in the settlement a pleasant elevation from which 
one had a beautiful view of the fertile valley and the moun- 
tains lying opposite ; of this height the brethren in the hill- 
house at that time held possession. When now it came to 
the selection of a site, the most held that the valley along 
Cocalico creek was the most desirable on account of the 
water; the Superintendent, however, went up the hill 
until he came within the limits of the property of the 
hill-house, and there was the site chosen. By this the 
spirit of wonders indicated at the very beginning that the 
Brotherhood would at first build its structure on the heights 
of reason, and thus soar aloft until at length by a great storm 

354 '^^'C (^reruia)i Srctariatis of Pciiusylvania. 

they would be cast down into the valley ; all of which was 
afterwards fulfilled in the minutest detail." 

^EFORE describing this building it will be well 
to state that these brethren in the Berghaus 
passed their time in speculations as foreign to 
the pure and simple Sabbatarian teachings as 
they were to the Rosicrucian tenets ; the rites 
which they practised were similar to what are now known 
as the "strict observance," or the Egyptian cult of mystic 
Freemasonry. It is not known that Beissel or Wohlfarth 
or Miller, were either in sympathy with or took part in the 
movement ; the leading spirits among these votaries were 
the brothers Eckerling, one of whom, Israel, held the patent 
for the 239 acres of land occupied by the Lager. The four 
brothers of this name — Israel, Samuel, Gabriel and Emanuel 
— of whom we shall have more to .say later on — were all 
prominent among the members of mystic tendency of the 
community. In direct contrast to Beissel and Miller, who 
were both religious and retiring men. They were, to say 
the least, ambitious and overbearing, and this difference in 
character led, after the introduction of the monastic system, 
to more or less friction between the leaders, and eventually 
resulted in the expulsion of the Eckerlings from the com- 
munity. The speculations and mystic teachings of Beissel 
and Miller were nothing else than the Rosicrucian doctrine 
pure and undefiled, while the Zionitische Briiderschaft or 
" Brotherhood of Zion," of whom Gabriel Eckerling was 
the first " Perfect Master" or prior, was an institution with 
an entirely different tendency and constitution, in fact, it 
was one of the numerous rites of mystic Freemasonry prac- 
ticed during the last century. The professed object and 
aim of the members of the Zionitic Brotherhood was to 
obtain physical and moral regeneration. To accomplish 
this object it was deemed essential that " Zion" be built in 
accordance with plans duly set forth in the teachings of the 
ancient rite. 

Freemasonry in Lancaster. 355 

There was always more or less distrust and suspicion felt 
by the adherents of Beissel toward the four brethren, the 
charge even being made that they were Roman Catholics 
and were in fact still in accord and secret communication 
with the authorities of that church, to which, however, 
they were wrongly accused of holding fealty. However, 
at this time, notwithstanding the opposition of Beissel, 
they had adherents enough, with the aid of Juchly's funds, 
to build the house and organize a chapter of the " Brother- 
hood of Zion." 

That the love for mysticism in Lancaster county was not 
confined to the German religious enthusiasts in the Cones- 
toga valley is made manifest by the fact that during the 
earliest days of Lancaster's history a Masonic lodge was 
organized among the wealthier English residents. This 
was undoubtedly the first Masonic lodge organized in the 
Province outside of Philadelphia, and was one of the lodges 
alluded to by Franklin in his note in the Pennsylvania 
Gazette, No. 108, Dec. 3 to Dec. 8, 1730, where he states: 

"As there are several Lodges of Free-Masons erected in 
"this Province [Pennsylvania], and People have lately 
" been much amus'd with Conjectures concerning them ; 
"we think the following Account of Free-Masonry from 
" London, will not be unacceptable to our readers," etc. 

All regular records of this lodge appear to have been lost. 
Now, however, from the Journal and Ledger of Benjamin 
Franklin, lately discovered by the writer in the archives 
of the American Philosophical Society, confirmatory evi- 
dence is assured, as Franklin in his account with the 
parent or Grand Lodge of Philadelphia makes the follow- 
ing charges : 

Lodge of Masons at B. Hubards. 
1734 August 31, For three Constitutions by John Catherwood, 
Lancaster County o. 7. 6. 

August 15, For 6 by Rennells to Lancaster o. 14. o 

356 The GeDi/ai! Scc/irn'ii/is of Poinsylvanin. 

It will be recollected that in this year, 1734, Franklin 
printed by special order of the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge ; 

The I Consti'/iittons | 0/ the | Free Masons, | Containitig 
the I History, Charges, Regulations, &c. \ of that most 
Ancient and Right | Worshipful Fraternity, \ For the Use 
of the Lodges, Tendon Printed ; Anno J/^J. | Re-printed 
in Philadelphia by special Order, for the Use | of the 
Brethreti in North America. \ In the year of Masonry 
^7J4- Anno Domini 17 J4. 

As these Constitutions were charged to the Grand Lodge 
of Philadelphia and were sent to Lancaster and elsewhere, 
the inference would certainly be that there was a lodge at 
Lancaster, as none of these books were furnished by the 
Philadelphia lodge to individual members. We have here 
another fact of which Franklin's Ledger offers ample proof. 
Again subsequent charges in the above account show that 
the lodge paid for seventy copies sent to Boston and twenty- 
five copies sent to the Carolinas (Charleston, S. C), where 
Masonic lodges had been set up. In connection with this 
subject, it may be well to state that both John Catherwood 
and (John) Rennells were well-known Lancaster residents. 
Then again the above entries in Franklin's Ledger go far 
to substantiate the statement made in a letter written No- 
vember 17, 1754, to Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, wherein it is 
stated " That the writer, Dr. Henry Bell, of Lancaster, was 
instrumental in organizing, in the fall of the year 1730, at 
the Tun Tavern in Water street, the first regular Masonic 
lodge in America."" 

Nothing, however, appears to show any connection be- 
tween the regular English Freemasons and the German 
mystics on the Cocalico. 

To return to the affairs of the Zionitic Brotherhood : 

""See Franklin's account with the "Lodge of Masons," 1731-1737. 
Proceedings of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge F. and A. M. of Penn- 
sylvania, December 27, 189S. 

Zionitic Chapter-house. 357 

preparations were once begun to erect a building for the 
brotherhood, this work went on so rapidly that in May, 
1738, the timbers were all framed, and the building was 
raised '" with much ceremony of ritual and prayer ; five 
months later it was ready for occupation, although it was 
not entirely finished until five years afterward. This 
unique structure was erected on an elevation or hill within 
the bounds of the Lager, which became known to the 
brethren as " Mount Sinai," while the Chapter-house itself 
was called " Zion." This curious house was three stories 
in height, the lower floor consisted of one large room, 
known as the refectory, connected with which were three 
small ante-chambers [kabhtettchen), two of which served 
as pantries for storing the provisions and necessaries for 
use during the forty days' seclusion, and the remaining 
chamber constituted the receptacle for such paraphernalia 
as was used by the brethren in their ceremonial. The 
second floor was arranged so as to form a circular chamber, 
without any window or means of admitting external light. 
In the center of this chamber there was a small table or 
pedestal, on which was placed a lighted lamp, which, dur- 
ing the practice of the rite, was kept burning contiuuall)-. 
Around this pedestal were arranged thirteen cots or 
pallets, like the radiating spokes of a wheel. This cham- 
ber was used by the secluded votaries as their sleeping- 
room, and was known as "Ararat," typifying that heavenly 
rest which is vouchsafed by the Almighty exclusively to 
his chosen few, visibly instanced when the Ark of Noah 
settled down on the mount of that name, there to rest for- 
ever. The third or upper story was the mystical chamber 
where the arcana of the rite were unfolded to the secluded. 
It was a plaih room measuring exactly eighteen feet square, 

•" The operation or work of setting up the frame of a building, a full 
account of a Pennsylvania "raising," will be found in a subsequent 
chapter, "Bethania." 

358 Tlic German Scclarians of Pcnnsvlvania. 

with a small oval window in each side, opening to the four 
cardinal points of the compass ; access to the chamber was 
obtained through a trap-door in the floor. It was in here 
that the ceremonies of the rite was performed by the thir- 
teen brethren who were striving for their moral regenera- 
tion and seeking communication with the spirit world. 

Thirteen adepts who had passed through the physical 
regeneration were neces.sary for this latter ceremony, which 
lasted forty days. 

The structure was no sooner advanced far enough for 
occupation than the necessary provisions and paraphernalia 
were obtained, and preparations were made b)- the thir- 
teen votaries to undergo the ordeal, viz. : 

1. Gabriel Eckerling, Perfect Master or Prior, known as 

Bro. Jotham.'" 

2. Jacob Thoma Bro. . 

3. Benedict Juchly Bro. Benedict. 

4. . Bro. Jemini. 

5. David Lassie Bro. Isai. 

6. . Bro. Benno. 

7. Peter Bucher Bro. Joel. 

8. Peter Gehr Bro. . 

9. Jacob Honhnly Bro. Ephraim. 

10. Nathaniel Eicher Bro. Nathaniel. 

11. Christian Eicher Bro. Eleazer. 
12. . Bro. Just. 

13. Emanuel Eckerling Bro. Elimlech. 

At the conclusion of certain religious services, among 
which was the saying of the 48th Psalm, a procession was 
formed, and the thirteen elect were escorted up the hill to 
the portals of the building, which, as soon as the adepts 
had entered, were securely locked to prevent any intrusion 
or interruption during the forty days of their retirement 

"^ The elder brother, Onesimii.s, who was iiittiulefl for this office at that 
time yet held back, Chr. Eph., chapter xviii, also chapter xxvi. 

Ordeals of the Neophyte. 359 

from the outside world. These days were spent as follows : 
six hours of each day in silent reflec- 
tion ; three hours in public or common 
.prayer, in which each votary offered 
his body and soul as a living sacrifice, 
or offering to the glory and honor of 
God ; nine hours were devoted to the 
study and practice of the esoteric prob- 
lems of the ritual ; lastly, six hours 
were spent in communion among them- 
selves looking toward the regaining of the lost or ineffable 

The ritual further states that at the end of the thirty- 
third day of seclusion a visible intercourse commenced 
between the brethren and the seven archangels, viz.: Anael, 
Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Zobiachiel and Anachiel ; 
this visible communion lasted until the end of the fortieth 
day, when the labor was finished, and each of the adepts 
received from the senior archangel a parchment or scroll, 
on which was the seal, or the sacred pentagon, containing 
the ineffable name. The attainment of this great treasure 
completed the " moral regeneration," or, as it was known 
among the Briiderscha/t, the " state of primitive innocence" 
{unschuld). The fortunate adept who had thus successfully 
completed the ordeal, with physical bod)- as clean and pure 
as that of a new-born child, his spirit filled with divine 
light, with vision without limit, and with mental powers 
unbounded, would henceforth have no other ambition than 
to enjoy that complete rest while waiting for immortality, 
when he should finally be able to say to himself, — 


The ordeal which the neophyte underwent for the physi- 
cal regeneration, prior to the moral regeneration as above 

'" The name of God — as declared unto Moses from the burning bush on 
Mount Horeb, Exodus, iii, 14 — according to the Rosicrucian theosophy 
" The power which eminated in the beginning from the eternal centre." 

360 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

described, was as follows : the candidates for the state of 
perfection {vervollkomnng)^ accompanied by a single atten- 
dant, is to retire to a hut or cave in the forest, on the night 
of the full moon in the month of May, and for the follow- 
ing forty days is to live secluded, according to the strictest 
and most austere rules of the order, mortifying the flesh 
and passing his time in fasting and prayer, his meals con- 
sisting merely of broths deprived of fatty substances, com- 
prised mainly of laxative and sanative herbs, and no other 
drink being used than rain-water which had fallen during 
the month of May. A piece of hard ship-biscuit or dry 
bread-crust was allowed, but the repast invariably com- 
menced with a liquid. On the seventeeth day of this abste- 
mious life, the recluse, in order to further reduce to subjec- 
tion the physical nature, had several ounces of blood taken 
from him, after which certain white drops were adminis- 
tered ; six drops of this elixir were taken at night and six 
in the morning, increasing the dose by two drops a day 
until the thirty-second day. The composition and prepara- 
tion of this elixir was a secret known only to such adepts 
as were admitted to the highest mysteries, and so securely 
was this secret guarded that the component parts were 
never even revealed to the votaries on the Cocalico. On 
the thirty-second day, as the first rays of the rising sun 
gilded the horizon, a further quantity of blood was drawn 
from the brother who was undergoing the ordeal, who was 
then to retire to his couch and there remain until the end 
of the quarantine. At sunrise on the thirty-third day the 
first grain of materia prima "* was to be taken. 

This materia prima is the same substance which God 
created to confer immortality upon man when he was first 
made in paradise, but which, by reason of man's wicked- 
ness, was lost to the race, and at the present time was only 
to be obtained through or by the favor of such adepts as 

^^* Materia prima (primordial matter), A' Wasa : A universal and in- 
visible principle, the basic substance of which all things are formed. 

Physical Regeneration. 361 

were within the highest circle of the Rosicrucian Brother- 

The effect of this grain of elixir was that the moment it 
was taken the neophyte lost his speech and power of reco- 
lection ; three hours later convulsions and heavy transuda- 
tion set in ; after these had subsided, his bed was changed 
by his attendant or serving brother, and a broth made from 
lean beef and sundry herbs was given. On the next day 
the second grain of the materia prima was taken in a cup 
of this broth ; the effect of this dose was that, in addition 
to the above-described symptons, a delirious fever set in 
wh'ch ended with a complete loss or shedding of the skin, 
hair and teeth of the subject. On the thirty-fifth day a 
bath of a certain described temperature was taken. The 
following day the third and last grain of the materia prima 
was taken in a goblet of precious wine, the effect of which 
was a gentle and undisturbed sleep, during which a new 
skin appeared, the hair and teeth, which had been shed two 
days before, were also miraculously renewed. On the 
awakening of the subject he was placed in an aromatic 
herb bath. On the thirty-eighth day of the ordeal an 
ordinary water bath in which saltpeter had been dissolved 
was taken, after which the votary resumed his habit and 
exercised his limbs. The next (thirty-ninth) day ten drops 
of the elixir of life, also known as the " grand-master's 
elixir " or balsam, were administered to him in two large 
spoonfulls of red wine. 

With the end of the fortieth day, which ended the period 
of perfection, the votary completely rejuvernated and re- 
stored to the state of innocence of which mankind had been 
deprived by reason of original sin, now leaves his cell with 
the power to lengthen his earthly existence to the limit of 
5557 years, and live in a state of health and contentment 
until it should please the almighty Ruler of the Universe to 
call the perfect adept to the grand chapter above the skies. 

This process of physical regeneration had to be repeated 

362 The Germati Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

every forty years, as before stated, during the full moon of 

Little authentic information has come down to us from 
the Zionitic Brotherhood itself, as for obvious reasons the 
chronicler as well as other writers are silent as to the ritual. 
A little insight, however, is gleaned from the MSS. of 
Johann Frantz Regnier, who was one of the first to attempt 
to gain physical and spiritual regeneration at Ephrata ac- 
cording to the mystic ritual of the Zionitische Briiderschaft. 
This was published by Fresenius, Frankfurt a. M., 1747. To 
other actions of this erratic, if not insane enthusiast, we 
have already referred in another place."'' In his written 
account he states : 

"In July, 1734, I came to the Beisselianer, on the Coca- 
lico, and spoke to them [about the way to grace]. They 
answered that by a strict life and bodily denial one may 
grow and increase in sanctification, and the Eckerlings 
offered to practice therein with me, and described the rite 
and observance as we would have to pass through it, if I 
concluded to enter into the matter. They thought that I 
would not submit myself to the severe ceremonial. As for 
myself I had now found food for my taste and scattered 
senses, and answered ' Yes ' to all their demands, and asked 
leave to commence that very day. They marveled at my 
willingness, but postponed the commencement from one 
day to another, in the hope that I should lose my desire. 

" However, as I had the countersign that belongs to the 
brotherhood, I was at last acknowledged by all as a true 
brother, without anyone even asking me if I considered 
myself converted, nor did they ever examine me to see if I 
was in fact or not. It was not long ere I was counted 
among the most important brethren, and they were willing 
that I .should keep the Sacrament with them, Conrad Beis- 
sel and the Eckerlings even extended the offer to me 
several times before they had an opportunity to baptize me, 

"' Pp. 192-5, supra. 

Regnier'^s Experience. 363 

But all this could not satisfy me ; I asked daily, ' When 
shall we commence to live as you have taught me ? ' At 
last I found that they were not in earnest to undertake the 
ritual, and that they only sought to throw dust in my eyes. 
I said to them, I will now commence the observance of the 
ritual even if I have to carry it throiigh alone. I, however, 
depended upon their promise to help me to erect a cabin or 
hut wherein to obtain physical regeneration ; all that I 
asked was for them to keep this part of their promises. 

" When they saw that I intended to undertake the 
matter in earnest, they were very unwilling [for me to do 
so], and attempted to dissuade me. I asked if they would 
acknowledge that it was not right [?'. ^., the ritual or pro- 
cess as communicated by him]. The reply was that it was 
correct, and one should live a just life if they wish to be 
sanctified, but that no one could endure the trial [/. g., the 
rigorous requirements of the ritual]. They themselves had 
tried it. I answered that they had been unfaithful, be- 
cause, as they acknowledged the correctness of the ritual, 
they should have endured it even at the expense of their 
body and life. I told them I shall endure it if I can thereby 
gain sanctification.' I then commenced to build myself a 
hermit hut or cabin, in which several aided me, to redeem 
their promise, only unwillingly, however, and with dis- 
pleasure. We then broke off all intercourse. I subjected 
myself in my cabin to all the rules and requirements of the 
ritual, even more strictly than they had been commimicated 
to me. This went on without my attaining anything of 
that which I sought ; until I at last lost my reason and 
became delirious. When I was completely mad, and with- 
out reason, they took me from the hut, demolished it, and 
confined me in a cell (kammer) guarding me day and 
night, "^ but as they could not accomplish anything they 
removed me to a dark cell, and beat and lashed me so that 

' This must have been in the Berghaus. 

364 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

I might recover my reason. As all proved for naught and 
I only became worse, they removed me to another place ; "' 
then again to another where I had more liberty, after which 
I again became sane — however, not without many relapses. 
Although my reason had been entirely gone, everything 
remained in my memory, and I can readily recall all, so 
long as nothing else crosses my mind. Thus I recovered 
and came gradually to my sound senses, but whenever my 
will was opposed, the turba [frenzy] and confusion again 
appeared. After I eventually recovered my intellect I en- 
deavored on three or four occasions to return to my brethren ; 
but I was not received, because I would not acknowledge 
that I had done wrong, in so far that I did not permit them 
to lead me step by step. When they rejected me the third 
time, I left them, and on July 15, 1735, started for Georgia in 
the hope of meeting Count Zinzendorf and through him 
learning the way to perfection and sanctification." 

Thus the Brotherhood of Zion, with its peculiar teach- 
ings and ceremonies, had become an established fact on the 
hill-side overlooking the settlement on the Cocalico. The 
austere religious ascetics were looked upon with awe and 
veneration by the secular members, and it was not long before 
the ambitious prior attempted to use his position to under- 
mine the power and usurp the authority of the / 'orstelicr. 

Beissel and Wohlfarth from the beginning were not in 
accord with the Eckerlings and their followers in establish- 
ing this peculiar feature within the settlement ; but as a 
matter of fact neither the Vorsteher nor the foremost men 
of the secular membership offered any serious objection to 
the undertaking, and during the building of Zion, when-all 
indications pointed to success, Beissel brought out an en- 
larged hymn-book known as the Weyrauchs Hiigel for the 
use of the Brotherhood as well as for general circulation 
among the Germans in the Province. 

Probably to one of the individual cabins. 


UDGING from the records, the 
year 1738 was a most eventful 
one in the life of the Mystics 
of Ephrata. The organization 
of the Brotherhood of Zion and 
' the influence of the Eckerling 
brothers built up in the infant 
community a force which for a 
time threatened to overturn the 
whole policy of the settlement, 
and to successfully oppose which 
took all the power of Beissel, 
Wohlfarth, Miller and such others as represented the 
conservative element. 

That Beissel was not always far-sighted enough for his 
shrewd rivals will appear from various incidents occurring 
during the next five years, the end of which period marked 
the time of their final overthrow. 

The first radical innovation was a proposition to have 
one's self baptized for the dead. This scheme originated 
in the fertile brain of Emanuel Eckerling, who managed 
to convince Alexander Mack that his father, the patriarch, 
had never been properly baptized. This efi'ected, the two 
men went to Beissel and requested him to baptize them for 
their deceased relatives. 

Beissel, after some hesitation, acquiesced, having been 
won over by Elimelech's subtle arguments. This decision 
of the superintendent quickly spread throughout the settle- 

366 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

No efforts were spared by the Zionitic Brotherhood to 
make the ceremony an impressive one. Upon the day set 
a procession was formed of the Zionitic Brotherhood, the 
Spiritual Virgins and the secular congregation. They 
wended their way down the hill past the various buildings, 
across the meadow, to a pool in the Cocalico, about oppo- 
site to where the Brother House now stands. Special 
hymns were sung and fervent invocations ascended when 
the banks of the stream were reached. 

Beissel was the administrator, and the first subject, 
Emanuel Eckerling, who presented himself to be immersed 
for his deceased mother. He was followed by Alexander 
Mack, the younger, who was baptized for his deceased 
father, the sainted patriarch of the Dunker Church. Both 
of these parents had been baptized in Germany. An at- 
tempt was made to justify this questionable proceeding by 
the supposition, deduced from the words of Paul, that the 
first Christians did the same. 

The idea of thus securing immunity for deceased or 
absent kinsfolk and friends struck the popular fancy, and 
notwithstanding the contention of so clear headed a theo- 
logian as Peter Miller, the custom obtained a firm foothold 
and was practiced for many years. This movement was not 
confined to the Ephrata Community, as there were many 
cases where even members of other faiths had themselves 
baptised by proxy for relatives and friends. Indeed, this 
peculiar custom actually outlived the Community, and 
there are traditions of children having become substitutes 
in baptism for parents, or ince versa, as late as the fourth 
decade of the present century. 

Another interesting incident of the year was the confer- 
ring of the title of ]^ater (Father) upon Beissel ; heretofore 
he had been plain Brother Conrad. This change of title 
was an innovation which only became an accomplished 
fact after much controversy and rancor among the mem- 
bers, the subject not being finally settled until three years 

'■'■ Father^^ Friedsam. 367 

later. This matter came about as follows : with the in- 
crease of the congregation and the establishment of the two 
celibate orders, the name Brother Conrad appeared too 
commonplace for the position of the Vorsteher. So he 
expressed his wish to several house-fathers who went to 
great trouble to find a name for him that would harmonize 
with his present surroundings ; but none of all the titles 
suggested seemed fitly to express the actual relationship. 
He therefore suggested " Brother Friedsam " (peaceful), 
this met with their approval, and it was at once adopted by 
the congregation. 

A few days after this approval, Brother Onesimus (Israel 
Eckerling) felt concern that it was not meet and right 
for the solitary brethren to call the VorsteJier simply 
" brother," " since to many of them he had been, next to 
God, the cause of their salvation. Therefore they con- 
cluded to call him " Father." A council of the Zionitic 
Brotherhood was called to deliberate upon the question, at 
which it was resolved to call him Vater ; of this action 
they notified him through two deputies. According to the 
Chronicon, " He accepted without contradiction ; for he 
was so instructed from above that he would not readily 
have refused the good intentions of anyone, even though 
he might therefor reap the greatest reproach." 

When this new departure became known among the con- 
gregation it caused much unfavorable comment. It was 
not, however, until the next regular love-feast that official 
notice of the change was given. To make this announce-' 
ment fell to Brother Agonius (Michael Wohlfarth), who 
stated to the worshipers that " It would be too common- 
place to designate Brother Friedsam merely as ' Brother.' 
Methinks it were well to resolve upon how we should 
address him, namely, ' Fater Friedsam.' " This proposition 
occasioned various conferences, resulting in the decision 
that the Solitary should call him " Father," while those of 

368 The German Sectariatis of Pennsylva7na. 

the secular congregation should call him "Brother." Thus 
the matter rested until the year 1741. 

X December of the year under consideration 
(1738) a second pilgrimage was organized, 
having as its objective point the Dunker set» 
tlement at Amwell in New Jersey. This com- 
munity centered around a "cross roads" now 
known as Baptisttown or, in older records, as Dunkertown. 
It is in Delaware township, Hunterdon county, about a 
mile northeast of the Washington Headqiiarters. '" The 
congregation in Amwell was then under the leadership of 
Jeremiah Naas, and was supposed to be in full accord with 
the Becker party in Germantown, the elder was seconded 
by Johann Naas, Anthony Deerdorf, Jacob Mohr, Rudolph 
Harley and Johann Peter Laushe, all resident settlers of 
Amwell. This was not the first attempt made to introduce 
mystical theology and Sabbath-keeping in the Baptist com- 
munity beyond the Delaware. It will be recalled that two 
years previously a similar effort was made, in which Conrad 
Weiser was a prominent actor. The visit in 1736 had 
opened up more or less intercourse, both social and com- 
mercial, between the Germans in Lancaster county and 
New Jersey, and had resulted in several members moving 
from Ephrata to Amwell, among whom was Heinrich 
Landis, who in 1737 married Elizabeth, daughter of Elder 
Jeremiah Naas. 

With this intermingling of the SaVjbatarians and regular 
Dunkers the same partisan feeling arose in Amwell as in 
Germantown, and resulted in frequent visits to Ephrata by 
such of the Jersey brethren as adhered to the teachings of 
Beissel. These visits, seconded by reports from the resi- 

"* At first the meetings were held in the different houses. It was not 
until about 1750 that a church, a plain frame structure, was erected, 
which served its purpose for more than a century ; it was replaced in 
1S56 by the present house of worship, which is known as the German 
Baptist church. 

Revival at Ain-icell. 369 

dent Sabbatarians, had induced Beissel to organize the 
present movement, his companions for the visitation were 
chosen from among the most anstere of the Zionitic 

Upon its arrival in New Jersey, the second pilgrimage at 
once gave evidences of material results. Revival meetings 
were held, and an outpouring of the Spirit took place at 
which even one of their local preachers, Bechtelsheimer, felt 
constrained to approve Beissel's course. So favorable an 
impression was made by the Solitary, that resolutions were 
passed by the German Baptists of Arawell looking more 
distinctly than before toward the establishment of similar 
orders and discipline to those flourishing at Ephrata. 

This induced Beissel upon his return home to convene a 
church council, at which Brother Elimelech (Emanuel 
Eckerling), who already held the degree of Melchisedek in 
the Zionitic Brotherhood, was selected as the teacher at 
Amwell, and ordered to be publicly consecrated to the secu- 
lar priesthood. This took place upon the appointed day, 
in the large Saal, both orders of Solitary and the congrega- 
tion at large being present. The event excited much atten- 
tion among the people, and the ceremonial was administered 
under the personal direction of Beissel, who, after repeating 
several solemn charges and admonitions, consecrated 
Emanuel Eckerling to his office by the laying on of hands, 
after which a Bible and a large key were handed to the 
new incumbent, and he was publicly proclaimed Elder of 
the Amwell congregation. 

At the close of this ceremony a large blank book was 
produced, and all present — celibates, householders and 
visitors — were asked to pledge themselves by signing their 
names, thus recognizing Elimelech as head of the Amwell 
church. This many refused to do, and to others the propo- 
sition gave so much ofEence that they left the congregation 
for a time. 

Beissel now handed a missive to Elimelech. This, as 

370 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the records state, was full of priestly unction, cautioning 
him to " Continue steadfast in prayer and with watchful- 
ness of spirit for the flock of Christ, that thou mayest 
rightly divide the Word of Truth which hath been sown 
in you." A cotemporar}' copy of this curious missive has 
fortunately come into the possession of the writer, and as it 
offers us an insight into the spirit which animated Beissel 
and his followers in their efforts at evangelization among 
the early Germans, as wejl as having an interest from the 
fact of its being the rule for guidance given to the elder 
upon his departure for his new field of labor, a translation 
is here given : 

"beloved brother in the lord. 

" The dew of God, begotten out of the Celestial and di\ane 
Sun, spread itself out over you, and the fire of the most refined 
Love of God excite a holy desire within j'ou, that yoxvc whole 
house be filled therewith, and the flames bursting out into a 
blaze, may ascend before God in a holy flame of Love, such as 
neither water can quench nor streams extinguish. 

' ' Let the true sanctifying and saving grace be your guide in 
all matters, and that wisdom, which is the master of all things, 
enlighten }'ou, and be j'our light upon your course ; and ma}- 
the word of Life spread itself within you to divine fructuosity. 

' ' Let nothing separate you from God and his love, so that 
you may become qualified as a holy example and guide for the 
believers, o\'er whom you are placed as an eye, by which the 
whole body is ruled and kept in order, so as accurately to go in 
its way. 

" Preser\'e carefully what is intrusted to you, in sacred and 
divine supervision, and in all matters have a penetrating love 
toward the chief Overseer of all things, whose fulness will be 
proffered unto you, suflScient to a devout leadership and course 
of Ufe. 

"Keep on in pra^-er and in in .spirit for the 
flock of Christ, which is intrusted to you by loj-al hands, so 
that you may justly impart the word of Truth which is sown 
in you. 

BeissePs Charge to Eliniclcch. 371 

' ' Have coustautly before your eyes the great redemption 
work and Mediator's office of Jesus Christ ; thereby gauge all 
j'our work, that in the end and departure the same may be 
obtained. Accept nothing that befalls j^ou and others, if }'0U 
cannot reconcile it at the end and departure with the spirit of 
the New Covenant and the grace which is in the sacriiice of 
atonement. For the eye of our Chief Overseer hath no other 
design upon death and hell than that eventually they may be 
dis.solved, appeased, assuaged and subjugated. 

' ' In this spirit you will at all times find divine instruction, 
and know how to approach ever}' one for his own betterment, 
and 3'ou will to many prove an incentive to their own Salvation. 
To some be a closed garden ; but unto others an open fountain, 
hy grace and love, for the Salvation of their souls. — Be sober 
and lowly, and keep watch over j^ourself. Beware of the in 
and out goings of your heart, not only toward those who 
esteem you in an inordinate manner, but to such as wrongfully 
hate you as well ; thus you will secure God's favor and the 
esteem of man. 

" Love, suffer, endure, hope, in equal paces, for where there 
is much love, there is suffering, and where there is much 
patience, there hope establishes itself. Patience and hope 
must endure until the end. 

" Lead a life without fear, and you will have a clean heart 
and conscience. Lead a life undaunted before God, and he 
will make a holy abiding-place within you, for such a life 
weakens sin and causes it to flee, seeing that fear, anguish, and 
pain come out of darkness, and consequently are a sustenance 
of sin. Therefore be bold and fearless in all your actions, and 
you will not do wrong, but always that which is right, and you 
will have joy upon the day of judgment, when He will come. 

" Lastly, in all things let the hope of an everlasting life be 
your only purpose, object, and anchor. You will then have 
much peace, and your hope of future felicity will make you an 
heir in the new world, and you will receive the life without end. 

" The Lord continue to bless you and your walk, and make 
you acceptable to Him in everything that you purpose or exe- 
cute. May nothing separated )'ou from God and his love; 
thus you will be blessed in time and eternity." 

372 TIw German Sectarians of PeuHsyli'ania. 

This epistle was handed to the new elder as his rule and 
guide. He took it with him to Ainwell and there pre- 
sented it to the congregation as his credentials. 

Elimelech was well received b}- the Amwell brethren. A 
log cabin was built for him on the grounds of John Peter 
Laushe, and he at once assumed charge of the evangelistic 
services. So successful was he at the outset that seven 
candidates, male and female, were baptized shortly after his 
arrival. His popularity, however, was of short duration. 
Whenever he began to preach, he kept on and never knew 
when to stop. This habit he carried to such an extreme 
that his hearers were eventually tired out by the length of 
his discourses. The present writer has seen the manuscript 
of one sermon preached by Elder Elimelech which took no 
less than five hours to deliver. 

The climax was reached when the elder proposed holding 
midnight watches, such as had been introduced on the 
Cocalico. Here he met with much opposition, and when 
finally he ordered all members, male and female, to appear 
at these midnight services, the matter culminated in the 
austere elder receiving his passport to return whence he 
came. The old record states that the Amwell brethren 
feared that offences might arise from these midnight meet- 
ings, and therefore dismissed him ; whereupon he returned 
to the settlement on the Cocalico in disgrace. 

The dismissal of the elder, however, failed to allay the 
strained feeling among the congregation, which only 
ended when a number of the influential members of 
the Amwell church, who were deeply convinced of the 
truth of the Sabbatarian doctrine, shortly afterward deter- 
mined to follow the discarded teacher to the Cocalico. 
Prominent among these settlers who migrated from Amwell 
to Lancaster county were Dietrich Fahnestock, Conrad 
Boldhausen, Johannes Mohr, Bernhard Gitter and several 
others, all being married men accompanied by their house- 
holds. The first-named upon his arrival in Lancaster 

Tkc Virgin as a Patroness. 373 

county lived with his family for some time in or near the 
Kloster confines. But shortly afterward he obtained 329 
acres of land by patent from the proprietors, at a cost of one 
hundred and forty dollars. The land was located on a 
branch of the Cocalico, about two miles distant from the 
Community grounds, and one mile south of what is now 
known as Lincoln. Here he lived a consistent Sabbath- 
keeper until 1775 ; his death occurring October 10 of that 
year. In his family were two sisters, who accompanied 
him from Germany and thence to Lancaster county, where 
they both joined the sisterhood at Ephrata. One, however, 
relented and married into the Laushe family ;"' the other 
remained steadfast, and lived and died in the Kloster as 
Sister Annella. 

Among the Solitary who accompanied Beissel on the Am- 
well pilgrimage were Prior 
Onesimus and Brother Tinio- 
theus. These two men, who 
appeared to be drawn so close- 
ly together, notwithstanding 
that they were so diiferent in 
disposition, had freqttent con- 
versations with the Vorsteher 
as to their spiritual course, and 
bewailed the fact that there 
was still something wanting 
to complete their consecra- 
tion. They were satisfied that they were properly baptized, 
also that they had taken the vow of celibacy, yet there was 
nothing to prevent them from re-entering the world and 
marrying, so they concluded upon a new covenant, with the 
Virgin Mary as the patroness of their order. 

This was at first kept very quiet, but as it became 
noised abroad it raised such a storm of indignation that a 

' They settled in what is now Annville, Lebanon county. 

374 ^'''^ German Sectarians of Peunsylvania. 

three-hour reproof was administered to the offending prior 
and brother in public meeting. This admonition, however, 
failed to have any effect upon the two enthusiasts. So 
shortly after the return from New Jersey, Onesimus and 
Timotheus (according to another account it was Eleazer 
and Timotheus), went to the Vorsteher and asked him to 
renew their vow of perpetual chastity, and in token thereof 
to cut the tonsure, as a visible sign of their betrothal to the 
Virgin ; so that "the world might know that they had de- 
voted themselves to God in the priestly office." The Vor- 
steher, who always counseled chasity and celibacy, entered 
into the spirit of the movement and complied with their 
demand. This was no sooner done than the prior con- 
vened the Brotherhood in the Chapter, and after the meet- 
ing was opened he ordered everj' brother in turn to kneel 
down, repeat his pledge, and, after renewing his vows, have 
his hair cut and his crown shorn. 

After this ceremony in the Chapel on Mt. Zion, the 
Vorsteher, not to be outdone by the prior, convened the 
Spiritual Virgins in their Saal. When they had assembled 
Beissel entered, presumably with the brother shearer, and 
after re-consecrating the assembled sisters he proceeded to 
have their hair cut "after the manner of the primitive 
Christian Church ; " after which he ordered their crowns 
likewise shorn. When this piece of idiotic vandalism was 
completed the Vorsteher gathered up the shorn tresses and 
carried them to the Chapter of Zion, where he laid them 
upon the Altar, with the wish that he might live until their 
(the sisters') heads were gray. It was further resolved and 
ordered that the tonsure should be renewed every three 
months, and in the meantime no one was to put shears to 
their heads. 

The prior from this time forth continued to exalt himself 
in his priesthood. He caused the sisters to make for him a 
robe or costume, such as is described in the Bible as having 

Fears of the Scotch-Irish. 375 

been worn by the high-priest in the Temple. This regalia, 
of which more hereafter, he was wont to assume when he 
presided at the agapes and baptisms. 

Night watches or vigils, and processions were also in- 
troduced by Onesimiis ; and it was not long before the 
Vorsteher, Conrad Beissel, was virtually superseded by the 
cunning prior. However, when these actions, so foreign 
to the simple Sabbatarian precepts originally promulgated 
by Beissel and Wohlfarth, became known to the Community 
at large, they brought additional ridicule upon the religious 
enthusiasts. Among their German neighbors of other de- 
nominations they thenceforward became known by such 
opprobrious appela'tions as Glatzkopfe., Vollmonde^ Bettel- 
Monche, Pfaffenmucker, etc.^^" 

Another effect of this aping of the monastic customs of 
the Roman Church during the Middle Ages was to arouse 
the ire and increase the antogonism of the Scotch-Irish, a 
sturdy race of unyielding Presbyterians who had settled in 
Chester and Lancaster counties between the Octoraro and 
the Susquehanna. These settlers from the start looked 
upon the Mystic Community and its peculiar practices 
with suspicion ; and when finally the tonsure was adopted 
and the Solitary appeared in public with the shaven crowns, 
the worst fears of the Scotch-Irish seemed to be realized, 
and the charges that the settlement on the Cocalico was 
merely a nest of Jesuit emissaries appeared to be substanti- 
ated beyond any doubt. 

Nothing that could be said or written to the contrary 
could change these sturdy Covenanters in their opinion ; 

"° These opprobrious epithets were common Schimp/worle, used in 
Germany in derision more against the friars than the regular clergy. 
Rendered into English, the two first would be bald pates, shaven crowns, 
full moons, these have reference to the tonsure — a round bare spot on the 
crown. The two latter terms, "medicant friars," "Popish double-dealers," 
were applied to all such members of monastic institutions as mingled with 
the Community. 

376 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

consequently, the " croppies," as they called them, were 
decried from the pulpit, as well as held up to scorn by 
the individual members wherever the opportunity offered. 
The result of the sectional agitation thus engendered was 
widespread and far-reaching, and in course of time, on 
account of the fancied similarity of their institutions, the 
opposition extended to the Moravians, who were then 
making a successful effort to Christianize the Indians 
within the Province. This feeling eventuall}' was respon- 
sible for the massacre of the Christian Indians at Cones- 
toga and in the jail at Lancaster, whither they had fled 
for refuge. 

The belief that at least the Eckerlings and their follow- 
ers were Popish emissaries was not confined to the Scotch- 
Irish, but was shared by many of the Germans in Philadel- 
phia and the surrounding counties, who declared that the 
prior and his brothers had originally been brought up in 
the Romish faith in their native city of Strassburg.'"' Even 
in official circles it became the accepted belief that the 
Community was governed by Popish laws and principles, if 
not directly subject to the dictation of the Church authori- 
ties of France or Rome. When the situation of the Prov- 
ince became serious during the French and Indian trou- 
bles, these insinuations and suspicions against the Commu- 
nity, together with the refusal of the whole congregation 
of Sabbatarians to bear arms against the common foe, in- 
duced the Government to appoint a special commission to 
visit the settlement and investigate the common charges. 
Beissel and Peter Miller, who were then the leaders of the 
Community, easily convinced the committee that they were 
a Christian institution, founded upon the Word of Life and 
the Gospel in its truth and simplicity, although maintain- 
ing a monastic order. 

"' The Eckerlings were of Reformed parentage, as will be shown in the 
course of this narrative. 


UITE a number of import- 
ant accessions marked 
the advent of the year 
1739. Early in March, 
Brother Simeon Jacobs 
came to the settlement 
with his wife. They 
immediately separated ; 
he joined the Zionitic 
Brotherhood and the 
wife entered Kedar as a 
spiritual sister. Toward 
the end of the month 
Stephen Koch arrived 
from the Wissahickon and entered Zion as Brother Agabns. 
On the 6th of April the Community ejected from his cabin 
one Lrudwig Benter, who, to the great mortification of the 
Brotherhood, had renounced his vow of celibacy and taken 
a wife unto himself. Upon the following day this cabin 
was turned over to Ludwig Hocker with his family, of 
whom, as Brother Obed, we shall have more to say in the 
course of this narrative. About this time Brother Johannes 
Hofiiy and his family also came from Coventry on the 
Schuylkill and settled at Ephrata ; other prominent acces- 
sions during the spring and summer months were the 
Kalckloser (Kalckglaser) family from Germantown, and 
the return, after an estrangement of ten years, of Johannes 
Hildebrand with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Valen- 
tine Mack, a son of the patriarch. 

378 Tlic German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

As was stated in a previous chapter there was no provi- 
sion or room for congregational gatherings in the house 
built for the Zionitic Brotherhood. Consequently the 
assemblages and love-feasts were all held in the " House 
of Prayer" adjoining the Sister House, " Kedar." This not 
only caused more or less inconvenience to the Zionitic 
Brotherhood, who had to traverse the intervening distance 
in all kinds of inclement weather ; but the nocturnal pro- 
cessions wending their way toward the habitation of the 
Spiritual Virgins called forth all sorts of unfavorable com- 
ment from outsiders, who did not hesitate even to question 
the integrity of the brethren or their adherence to their 

^^^^ ^'MONG the neophytes at this time were 
/^^^^^^^■| two young men, Rudolph Nagle and 
^^^ ^^B ^H Samuel Funk. They were the sons of 
^B ^H ^H two of the house-fathers, as the heads 
' ^V ^H of the secular congregation were called. 
JK ^^k These two men were received into the 
^^ ^^k Brotherhood of Zion in October, 1739, 
.^^^^ ^H and after their period of probation was 
^B^^,^'^^^ over they were invested with the dress 
^^ ^r of the Order, the first one receiving the 
name of Zephaniah, the other that of 
Obadiah. Upon the investiture of these two brethren, their 
fathers, to put an end to the rumors of scandal caused by 
the nocturnal processions to the prayer-house, offered, in the 
name of their two sons, to build a prayer- and school-house. 
This chapel was to adjoin Zion and be large enough to accom- 
modate the secular congregation of the Sabbatarians, as well 
as all of the recluse and enthusiasts within the bounds of 
Ephrata. This proposition of the two house-fathers was 
received with great favor, and permission for the work was 
given without objection. Active preparations were com- 
menced without delay ; trees were felled, timber was squared. 

Dr. Witt's Clock. 379 

stone was quarried, sand was hauled, and lime was burned. 
In the midst of this activity, a new tower clock and bell 
arrived from Europe, a present from the father of Brother 
Jaebez (Peter Miller). 

This it appears was the second clock and bell acquired 
by the Community. The first one was made for them by 
no less a person than Dr. Christopher Witt, of German- 
town, as early as 1735. It was rather a small and crude 
affair as compared with some of a later date. It showed 
two dials upon opposite sides, with an hour hand only ; 
there was no minute hand. The hour was struck upon a 
bell in the cupola above the clock. 

[This curious clock, bearing the legend " C. W., 1735," 
may still be seen in the cupola surmounting the old 
academy facing the turnpike. It is said that when in 
running order the clock keeps excellent time. This is, 
without any doubt, the first tower clock made in America 
of which we have any knowledge. The works now, after 
the lapse of over a century and a half, are still in fair con- 
dition, and if they were put in order and received proper 
attention there is no reason why they should not mark the 
passing hours for many years yet to come. The original 
bell has latterly been replaced by a large modern one. 
After the demolition of the houses upon Zion hill subse- 
quent to the Revolution, this clock and bell were removed 
to one of the smaller houses or cabins in the meadow near 
the Saal, where it remained in use imtil the school-house 
or Seventh-day Baptist Academy was built in 1837, when 
it was placed in its present position, since which time it 
has done duty for both the academy and township school. 
At the present writing the clock movement is sadly out of 
repair ; an effort, however, is now on foot looking to its 
repair and preservation. ] 

So rapidly did matters progress in the gathering and 
preparation of building material, that by October, 1739, 

380 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

A Piece of Vandaltsm. 381 

the ground was broken for the new Saal of Zion. The 
two brethren who are named as the originators of the project 
were both men of family ; they furnished all of the build- 
ing materials, while the Brotherhood performed the manual 
labor. It is said that the mason work was done in six 
weeks, during which time not a drop of rain nor flake of 
snow fell to retard the brethren. 

The work was no sooner well under way than an order 
was issued by the Vorsteher (Beissel) to demolish the 
" House of Prayer" adjoining the Sister House, Kedar, 
which had been erected but a little over three years before 
and the completion of which had been effected only after 
much toil and privation upon the part of the Community. 
After the first surprise, evoked by this unaccountable order 
had passed, the brethren in blind obedience to their Superior 
set to work, and in a short time the beautiful and ornate 
building, with its double galleries, was razed to the ground. 
The ChronicoHy commenting on this episode, states : 

"The cause for which [the destruction of the building] 
" can scarcely be comprehended by human reason ; the 
" standard is too limited. ... It is probable that a hidden 
" Hand made use of him, in this wise symbolically to rep- 
" resent the wonders of Eternity, after which the veil was 
" again drawn over the affair ; for there is a likeness in its 
" history to that of the Temple at Jerusalem, which after 
" it was scarcely finished was plundered by the King of 
" Egypt." 

Most of the traditions which have come down to us in 
relation to this curious episode place the blame for this 
piece of vandalism, which caused so much dissatisfaction 
among all of the members, wholly on Beissel, but probably 
the parties who were really the instigators of the scheme 
were none other than the Eckerling brothers, who for some 
sinister purposes of their own influenced the Vorsteher to 
issue the edict which caused so much comment. This ex- 

382 TJie German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

planation is further strengthened when the fact is taken 
into consideration that but a few months prior to this, on 
August 13, 1739, they had caused a deed or conveyance to 
be made by Jan Meyle and Barbara his wife to them for 
180 acres of land, which covered the whole settlement of 
Ephrata, with all of the buildings, improvements, water 
rights, etc., the consideration being £2"]. \%s. [about $75], 
this purchase was made without the knowledge or consent 
of either Beissel or the Community. The deed was in fee- 
simple to Samuel Eckerling, Israel Eckerling, Emanuel 
Eckerling and Jacob Gasz ; the subscribing witnesses were 
Gabriel Eckerling, Johann Grippel and Conrad Weiser. 
The acknowledgment was taken before Zacheus Davis, 
Esq., justice of the peace. Not a single -word or sentence 
appears in the document to indicate any trust or trusteeship 
for the Community. 

It may be further noticed that all parties to the convey- 
ance, either as principals or witnesses, were antagonistic to 
the Vorsteher. This transaction was carefully guarded 
from the knowledge of Beissel ; even the very existence of 
the deed did not become known until many years afterward, 
nor was it placed upon record until June 16, 1764. 

, HE strangest part of this transaction was that 
Meyle and his wife did not own the ground. 
One hundred and twenty-five acres of the land 
on which the settlement of Ephrata stands was 
originally warranted to one Ulrich Carpenter, 
January 10, 1733, while the adjoining tract of one hundred 
and fourteen and three-quarter acres was surveyed to George 
Masters, November 10, 1737. After the surveys were com- 
pleted. Carpenter and Masters both declined to comply with 
the conditions and pay for the land, for the reason that it was 
already settled upon and they did not wish to dispossess or 
distress the Community. 

This fact by some means came to the knowledge of Israel 

Patent for the Kloster Grounds. 383 

Eckerling, when he at once petitioned Governor John 
Penn individually, — it will be noticed that this was two 
years after the date of the Meyle deed, — to grant him 
the said lands, under the same metes and bounds, for the 
same consideration money. This petition is still on file 
in the Land Office of the Commonwealth. 

In response to this petition Governor Penn issued a war- 
rant under the lesser seal of the Province to Israel Eckerling 
for the said 23934^ acres of land, which also grants the 
property to Eckerling in fee-simple, viz. : 

By the Propriktaries. 
Pennsylvania. .?i : 

Whereas by virtue of a Warrant under our lesser seal bear- 
ing date the tenth Day of January, Anno Domini 1733, a Sur- 
vey of one hundred and twenty-five acres of land situate on a 
branch of Cocalico Creek in the Co. of lyancaster was made 
unto Ulrich Carpenter of the same County. And whereas by 
virtue of one other Warrant under our lesser seal bearing date 
the tenth day of November Anno Dom : 1737 one other survey 
of One hundred and fourteen acres and three quarters of an 
acre of Land Adjoining the tract aforesaid was made unto 
George Masters, of the said County, which said warrants 
being granted under certain Conditions, that have not been 
complied with by the said Ulrich Carpenter and George 
Masters, nor either of them, the same together with the 
Surveys made in persuance thereof, are become utterly void. 
AND Israel Eckerley having requested that WE would be 
pleased to grant him the said Land. Under the same Metes 
and Bounds and agreed to pay to our use the Consideration 
Money, which ought to have been paid by the said Ulrich 
Carpenter and George Masters for the same, 

THESE are therefore to authorize and require Thee to accept 
and receive the said Surveys. And make return thereof for 
the Use and Behoof of the said Israel Eckerly into our Secre- 
tary's office in order for further Confirmation and in so doing 
this shall be thy Sufficient Warrant. Given under my Hand 

384 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

and the Seal of our Land office at PHILADELPHIA. This 
sixteenth Day of Maj' in the Year of our Lord 1741. 

John PE>fN. 
To Benj. Eastburn, Surv'r Gen'i,. 

May 16 Israel Eckerly 2395^3. 

Ret. 16 May 1741. 

Wm. Brigdale. 

The Vorsteher, being in total ignorance of the secret 
actions of the scheming Eckerlings, did not swerve from 
his course, but kept on in the even tenor of his way, not- 
withstanding the fact that many of the secular members 
of the congregation openly charged Beissel with making 
fools of his people. 

There was at this time, without doubt, much local jeal- 
ousy between the Zionitic Brotherhood and the Order of 
Spiritual Virgins, which worked to the detriment of the 
Sabbatarian congregation at large. The brotherhood, to 
further injure the sisterhood and undermine Beissel, as 
soon as the chapel, or House of Prayer, adjoining Kedar 
had been demolished, erected in its place a small house or 
cabin for the use of the Vorsteher, in which they caused 
him to take up his abode, after which for a time he de- 
voted himself wholly to the sisterhood. 

All of the buildings erected up to this time had been 
built without any definite plans for the future, but were 
merely designed and erected imder the spur of whatever 
motive influenced the projectors at the time being, without 
concern as to what might be the eventual relation of one 
building to the others. 

Fortunately for the brotherhood the winter of 1739-40 
proved to be an exceedingly mild one, no severe storms or 
frosts appearing until the loth of January' ; consequently 
the work upon the new chapel went on without intermis- 
sion or hindrance. Everything, even the elements, seemed 




The Great Zionitic Saal. 385 

to favor the brotherhood iu their undertaking, and by Christ- 
mas-day, 1739, the mason work was completed, and the frame 
of the great structure was raised and pinned in place. The 
brotherhood naturally felt themselves specially favored by 
Providence, and likened their undertaking to the restoration 
of the Temple at Jerusalem in the days of old. 

This building, " Zion's Saal," was projected upon an 
extensive scale ; it was three stories in height, and when 
finished was a large and siglitly structure. The lower 
story was a large hall, designed to accommodate the whole 
congregation, secular as well as mystic or recluse, when 
assembled for public worship. The walls were adorned 
with texts in ornamental script, such as are still to be seen 
in the Saal, and with which this book is illustrated. At 
one end of the hall [most likely in the east] a platform 
and choir with a gallery were built, the lower part for the 
Zionitic Brotherhood and the gallery for the sisterhood. In 
front of this choir or chancel the Vorsteher had his seat and 
desk or table, while the entire body of the hall was furnished 
with chairs and benches for the secular congregation. In 
the second story was a large hall, or Saal, arranged and 
furnished with all conveniences and appliances for holding 
the agapes, or love-feasts, as well as performing the service 
of the "pedelavium" or washing of feet. The third story 
was divided into a number of cells or klmiseii for the Soli- 
tary brethren of the Zionitic rite. 

On the Sabbath, July 5, 174c, the last joint divine ser- 
vices were held in Kedar, after which the building for the 
time being fell to the uses exclusively of the sisterhood or 
Order of Spiritual Virgins. On Wednesday, July 16, 1740, 
the new Prayer-house of Zion was dedicated to its pious 
uses with great religious and mystic ceremonies. To the 
former all Sabbatarians from far and near were invited, not 
excepting the Welsh and English brethren of the faith in 
Nantmill and Newtown, in Chester county ; invitations 

386 TIic German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

were also scattered broadcast among the Germans beyond 
the Schuylkill. The hospitalities of the Community were 
extended to all who came ; love-feasts were held and pledges 
of faith renewed. The expenses attendant on this dedica- 
tion were borne by one Henry Miller, a wealthy secular 
member of the Lancaster congregation. 

Of the mystic rites and occult ritual with which the 
Zionitic Brotherhood dedicated their Temple, in the 
ghostly hour after midnight, we have nothing but faint 
traditions which tell of processions, incantations, prayers, 
and mystic ceremonies, said to date back to the ages of the 

From this time forward the congregation as well as the 
orders held their devotions in the new building. The 
Ck7'onicon, commenting on the house, states that " In this 
house many wonders of God were manifested forth, so that 
its future fate was much lamented." [It was this building 
that was converted into a military hospital for the sick and 
wounded during the Revolutionary war shortly after the 
battle of Brandywine. ] 

After the dedication, the next noteworthy ceremony of 
which we have any record that took place within the new 
chapel was during the following Atigust, when Beissel, by 
virtue of his office, as Vorsteher of the whole settlement, 
in the presence of the whole congregation solemnly conse- 
crated Brothers Onesimus (Israel Eckerling), Jaebez (Peter 
Miller) and Enoch (Conrad Weiser) to the priesthood, by 
the laying on of hands ; after which they were admitted 
to the ancient Order of Melchizedek by having the degree 
conferred on them in ancient form. 

After the ceremony the Vorsteher, assuming the role of 
Grand Master of the Zionitic Brotherhood, deposed Prior 
Jotham and appointed in his place the newly-ordained 
Brother Onesimus as prior or perfect master of the Zion- 
itic Brotherhood. This act called forth an energetic pro- 

Rigorous Discipline. 387 

test from the deposed prior, seconded as he was by a number 
of the brethren present. The kmeute was, however, of but 
short duration, and ere the Chapter closed Beissel's author- 
ity was acknowledged by all present. This action of the 
Vorsteher was the result of differences which had arisen in 
the congregation incident to the controversy with Chris- 
topher Sauer over the hymns in the Wcyrauchs Hiigel. 

In these internal troubles Beissel and the other heads of 
the congregation did not interfere, as Peter Miller states, 
"as long as the Prior stood to him (Beissel) in subordina- 
tion." The new prior, however, was even more ambitious 
than his predecessor, and further he applied the discipline 
so severely as to be almost unbearable ; Peter Miller writes 
that " Now was between the poor devotees of Ephrata and 
" the wool-headed African Sclaves (sic) no other difference 
"than that they were white and free Sclaves." 

Unfortunately for the Sabbatarians throughout Lancas- 
ter county, the completion of this large and elaborate house 
of worship did not stop the bickerings between the two 
orders of the Solitary, or equalize the interests of the 
secular members with the peculiar ideas and actions of the 
mystics. Two months had hardly passed since the solemn 
dedication and love-feasts, when the differences between the 
two mystic orders became so great that a separation took 
place, and each held their religious services independently 
of the other. It was on the 21st of September, 1740, that 
the Brotherhood held their first midnight prayer-meeting 
in the new chapel. The secular congregation now regu- 
lated their services independently of the others, and at such 
times as suited themselves without any reference to either 
of the recluse orders. 

Just prior to this division (seventh month, 1739), the 
Zionitic Brotherhood obtained permission to place in a 
steeple over the roof of the Saal the new clock and bells 
which were donated to the Community by the father of 

388 The (Jrrniaii Src/ariaiis of Pennsylvania. 

Peter Miller. This clock contained an attachment for 
chiming the bells and rung them at different times during 
the day and night, calling the devotees to their religious 
exercises. This was an innovation which was not received 
with much favor by the settlers at large outside of the Sab- 
batarian congregation. In regard to the latter the Chronicoji 
states : 

" When this was rung at midnight, not only did all the 
" settlement arise, but as one could hear it for four 
" miles around the settlement, all the families also arose and 
" held their home worship at the same time ; for in those 
" days the fires of the first love still burned everywhere. The 
"brethren attended their services clothed in the garb of 
" the Order, wearing in addition also a mantle with a hood 
"like that of the Capuchins." 

That these innovations, together with the rites and cere- 
monies of the two orders, interfered still more with the 
worship of the secular congregation was not to be won- 
dered at, and before another month had passed several 
prominent members commenced a vigorous protest against 
their exclusion, or the curtailment of their rights and privi- 
leges. This matter culminated at a general meeting, when 
the Vorsteher declared — 

" That it was not yet a settled thing for the congregation 
" to hold its meetings in this house, and it would be to its 
" disadvantage if this should continue for any length of 
" time. The congregation must build itself an own house 
" of prayer ; thus is it ordained in the divine order of the 
"work, and I will render aid thereto in the spirit." 

A heated discussion now followed, and ended by a number 
of prominent members of the congregation withdrawing 
from the Community, among whom were Johannes Mergel, 
Heinrich Gut and Abraham Paul. The Vorsteher, how- 
ever, equal to the emergency, consoled the congregation 
regarding this loss with the statement that " Thus God 

A Netv Project. 389 

" ever purged the fold of such persons as loved their own 
" life better than the leading of God." 

The Zionitic Brotherhood, now seeing that their scheme 
for obtaining the new chapel for their own uses showed 
promise of success, at once set to work to prepare the frame 
and timbers for another prayer-house, this time nominally 
for the exclusive uses of the secular congregation. 

It is stated that the timber for the proposed structure 
was donated by Benedict Juchly, who had bought a tract 
of land in the "swamp" between seven and eight miles 
north by east of Ephrata.'^- All of the timbers used in 
this new meeting-house were cut and squared on the ground, 
and after the winter had set in were sledded to the settle- 
ment, a labor in which the brethren were assisted by such 
of the secular congregation as were not disaffected. The 
site for the new building was staked out within the grave- 
yard in the meadow, some distance from the other struc- 
tures, which were all upon the higher ground on the hill- 
side. In size the new prayer-house was to be forty feet 
square and forty feet high, thus symbolizing the number 
of perfection.'^ As a matter of fact, however, whilst 
actual measurement proves the length to be correct, the 
width is two feet narrower than the perfect number calls 
for, and in height to the top of the extreme gable it meas- 
ures some feet in excess of that number. The good fortune 
attending the Brotherhood during the building of the Saal 
upon Zion hill failed them in the present instance, as they 

"' It was a few rods west of Reinhold station on the R. & C. railroad. 
During the XVIII century and this there were two principal roads lead- 
ing to Reading ; commencing at the Kimmel House south of Ephrata — 
one leads by Erbs (Old Miller Hotel), Elaelt Horse, Vera Cruz [Sclimotz 
Gasse). The other by Eptirala (Cross' Corner), Reamstowii (Zoar), 
Muddy Creeti, Adamstoum. 

Black Horse is % mile from Reinhold's Station and is the old land- 

'"^ Vide, Germaji Pietists, pp. 39, et seq. 

390 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

were doomed to experience much disappointment and many 
delays during the performance of the task. 

It appeared as if all the elements were against the com- 
pletion of the work. The weather during the fall season 
of 1740-41 was of exceptional severity, and the winter 
proved phenomenal for its severe storms and extreme cold. 
During the first week in January-, the thermometer fell 
lower in Lancaster county than was thus far recorded in the 
Province. In the Conestoga valley the snow was over three 
feet deep on the level. To this difficulty must be added 
that of the extreme cold and biting winds. The severity of 
this winter was so great that many cattle died from want of 
fodder ; even deer were found dead in the woods, and fre- 
quently they came to the runs about the settlers' houses, 
and in some cases came tamely to the plantations and fed 
on hay with the domestic cattle. The inhabitants in re- 
moter districts suffered much from want of bread, and many 
families of new settlers had little else to subsist upon but 
carcasses of deer they found dead or dying in the swamps 
about their cabins. Even the Indians suffered on account 
of the lack of the game upon which they were wont to 
subsist. Notwithstanding these drawbacks our religious 
enthusiasts were not to be deterred from their undertaking ; 
neither the severity of the season nor the sufTerings inci- 
dent to the extreme cold hindered them in completing 
the preparations for a "raising" as soon as the weather 
permitted a resumption of outside labor. When the spring 
once more opened, the Brotherhood, being now joined in 
their undertaking by the congregation at large, prepara- 
tions went on rapidlj'. 

Before a month had elapsed, however, they received 
another severe check. This was the death of Michael 
Wohlfarth, the faithful assistant and unyielding supporter 
of Conrad Beissel. 

Michael Wohlfarth. 391 


Brother Agrippa, in editing the diary of the Community, 
adds a special foot-note in reference to this bold evangelist, 
wherein he says : 

" This remarkable man, otherwise called Michael Wohl- 
farth, was born at the fortress of Memel, on the Baltic sea. 
How he first became acquainted with the Superintendent, 
when the latter yet lived in solitude, has already been 
recounted. All his life he was a faithful assistant of the 
Superintendent ; and not only was he his companion on all 
his travels when he declared to the people in Pennsylvania 
the counsels of God concerning their salvation, but he also 
sat by his side at all meetings and followed him in speak- 
ing. Otherwise, according to the manner of the time, he 
was in pretty close agreement with the Inspirationists, and 
at Philadelphia spoke prophetically both in the market- 
place and at the Quaker meetings, so also at other places, 
though he never received therefor more than a prophet's 
reward. In the difficulty between the Superintendent and 
the Baptists he incautiously proceeded too far in judgment 
with those people, which rose up against him on his death- 
bed. This was expressed by the Superintendent as follows 
in the last verse of his funeral hymn : 

" This in time my error was, 
Wherefore it must be the cause 
Why so sore my strife must be, 
Ere by death I was set free. 

"His great merit," continues Agrippa, "which stood by 
him in every temptation, was this, that he was a man after 
God's own heart, like David, who knew how to humble 
himself when brought into judgment. For, especially in 
the beginning, he often stood in the way of the Superinten- 
dent's spiritual work, and because a hidden hand always 
protected the Superintendent the good brother was often 
thereby brought into severe condemnation, when he might. 

392 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

o i 


Q I 

Biographical Sketch. 393 

like others did, have parted from him in anger ; but as he 
walked in David's footsteps he humbled himself, and ac- 
cepted the judgment, even as his hymns bear witness. 
When, contrary to his and others' supposition, the large 
houses were built in the settlement, he was sore con- 
founded, especially when he saw that great churches with 
bells were being procured, abuses against which he and 
others had so earnestly striven. This tempted him not a 
little to mistrust whether the Superintendent had not per- 
haps forsaken his post. And although he never broke the 
bond of brotherly love between them, these temptations yet 
brought him so far that he again became a hermit, though 
without withdrawing from fellowship. To this end the 
brethren built a solitary dwelling in the mountains of Zoar, 
some five miles from the settlement. Finally, however, he 
was especially strengthened in the faith that God's hand 
was in the work, by considering that there were already 
seventy persons, of both sexes, and mostly young people, 
dwelling together in the settlement, who had renounced all 
their earthly happiness for the sake of the kingdom of God. 
Wherefore he again renounced his seclusion and removed 
to the convent of Zion, where he led a very edifying life 
until its close, being subject to all the rules of the Order. 
His decease was greatly deplored, because, as has already 
been mentioned, he brought about great changes." 

The death of Brother Agonius at this time proved a 
serious loss not only to the recluse on the Cocalico, but to 
the Sabbath-keepers, German and English, throughout the 
Province. Bold and aggressive, fearless and sincere, as he 
was, Michael Wohlfarth may well be called an apostle of 
Sabbatarianism. Believing it to be his duty to preach the 
keeping of the seventh day, he, as has been shown in the 
course of this narrative, was wont to travel on foot from 
place to place, staff in hand, dressed in pilgrim's garb ; and 
no matter where he was, on the roadside or in the market- 

394 i 1^^' Gcnnan Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

place, in meeting-house or church, in town or country, he 
boldly and fearlessly proclaimed his doctrine and admon- 
ished his hearers ; being oblivious to taunts or persecution, 
wherever he could find an audience there was his voice 
heard admonishing to penance and obedience to God's 
command as to the Sabbath-day. 

^OHLFARTH, or Welfare as he was known 
among the English, was one of the earliest 
religious leaders among the Germans in 
Pennsylvania to employ the printing-press 
to reach the populace both of German and 
English nationality, versions of his works being published 
in both languages. One of his earliest pamphlets, printed 
by Bradford, referred to in a previous chapter, is being now 
first brought to the notice of bibliographers and students 
through the efforts of the present writer. 

His dealings with Benjamin Franklin have already been 
noted upon these pages in the course of our story. Frank- 
lin in his autobiography, pp. 272-273, makes following 
mention of the Ephrata pilgrim, after eulogizing the Sabba- 
tarian Dunkers, he goeS on to mention : 

' ' I was acquainted with one of its founders, Michael Wel- 
fare soon after it appeared. He complain' d to me that they 
were grievously calumiuated by the Zealots of other persua- 
sions, and charg'd with abominable principles and practices, to 
which they were utter strangers. I told him this had always 
been the case with new .sects, and that, to put a stop to such 
abuse, I imagin'd it might be well to publish the articles of 
their belief, and the rules of their discipline. He .said it had 
been propos'd among them, but not agreed to, for this reason : 
' When we were finst drawn together as a society,' said he, ' it 
had pleased God to enlighten our minds so far as to see that 
some doctrines, which we once esteemed truths, were errors; and 
that others, which we had esteemed errors, were real truths. 
From time to time He has been pleased to afford us further 
light, and our principles have been improving, and our errors 

Franklin's Comments on Wohlfarth. 395 

diminishing. Now we are not sure that we are arrived at the 
end of this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual or 
theological knowledge ; and we fear that, if we should once 
print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves, as if 
bound and confin'd by it, and perhaps be unwilling to receive 
farther improvement, and our successors still more so, as con- 
ceiving what we, their elders and founders, had done to be 
something sacred, — never to be departed from.' " 

So much for Brother Agonius' explanation why no con- 
fession of faith was ever promulgated or published by the 
Ephrata Sabbatarians. 

Franklin, in his comments upon Wohlfarth's statement, 
says : 

' ' This modesty in a sect [the Sabbatarian Dunkers of Eph- 
rata]'" is perhaps a singular instance in the history of man- 
kind, every other sect, supposing itself in possession of all 
truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong ; like 
a man travelling in fogg}' weather, those at some distance 
before him on the road he sees wrapped up in a fog, as well as 
those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each 
side, but near him all appears clear, the' in truth he is as 
much in the fog as any of them." 

According to the Chronicon^ Brother Agonius' departure 
into eternity was as follows : 

" This important change was made known to him some 
time before, though he did not think it was so near. Though 
a weakness overcame him a short time before, he yet recov- 
ered so far that on the Sabbath before his death (May 16, 
1 741) he was at meeting, and the following evening at the 
brethren's table, so that there were good hopes of his entire 
recovery. But his malady returned with such violence that 
when the brethren came from their midnight devotions they 

'" The creed or confession of faith of the regular (first-day) Dunkers 
or Baptists was published by Hochman as early as 1702. It was reprinted 
in America by Christopher Sauer in 1743. 

396 Tlic German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

found him in such a condition that they saw that now his 
eager desire to depart would soon be fulfilled." 

His illness was brief and very severe, lasting only four 
days, in which " God's hand lay heavily upon him, and 
fulfilled the remainder of his sufferings until his sacrifice 
on the cross was complete, wherefore also he said that he 
did not know whether any saint had ever endured such 
martyrdom." On the following second day (Monday) at 
night, just as the brethren were at their service and about 
singing the hymn, " The time is not yet come," etc.,"" their 
intercessions were asked for that God might open to him 
his prison door. 

As Agonius' sufferings increased and his condition became 
critical, he asked that certain psalms and parts of Tauler's 
Last Hours be repeatedly read to him, and when he felt 
his end approaching he asked to be anointed according to 
the usage of the first Christians. This request was com- 
plied with, Beissel personally applying the chrism. Thus 
he lingered in great pain until the close of the ninth hour 
of the fourth day of his illness (Wednesday, May 20), when 
his soul took its flight to the realms beyond to reap, let us 
trust, the full reward due to the faithful pilgrim. 

The circumstances surrounding his final departure are as 
follows : 

" It appears as if it had been revealed to him that his 
end would come at the ninth hour of the day ; therefore 
he looked keenly toward the hour-glass, whether the eighth 
hour was not soon to pass. As soon as it struck nine he 
had himself set upright and thus he expired, but when 
again let down, he once more revived and asked whether 
he had not yet died. After that he expired at the end of 
the ninth hour." 

On the following day, Thursday, May 21st, his mortal 

•'* Zionititcher Weyrauchs Hugel, hymn No. 322. 

Illness and Death. 397 

remains were interred in the " God's acre" adjoining the 
settlement,'^* as the Chronicon states, " in a cofSn neatly 
prepared for the occasion." The last rites were not alone 
attended by the Sabbath-keepers but by settlers of all de- 
nominations for miles around, who came out of respect for 
the deceased exhorter. The services were performed with 
much ceremony. As his body was lowered into its last 
resting-place the Sabbatarians sung a special funeral hymn, 
composed for the occasion by his friend the Vorsteher, of 
which the following is a stanza : 

See all the anguish, trouble and pain 

I sufiFered before death in vain, 

Until the oil of grace so mild, 

Refreshing my soul. 

Was poured upon my head. 

Oh, comfort rich which I enjoyed ! 

The brother-balm, it entered me 

And caused my heart at rest to be. 

The funeral was closed with the mystic rites of the Zion- 
itic Brotherhood. 

"* The old graveyard of the Community, dating from about 1737, was 
situated in this meadow, and the intention, no doubt, was that the prayer- 
house or church of the congregation should be in the centre of the grave- 
yard as was the custom both in Europe and America. This, however, 
was not the first place of burial of the Community. When Sigmund 
Landert's wife died in 1728 she was interred in the corner of a field on 
her husband's plantation. In the following year the old widow Ecker- 
ling, the mother of the four brothers who played so important a part in 
the early days of the settlement, also found her resting-place there, 
together with her daughter-in-law, Catherine, the wife of Samuel (Brother 
Jephune). This place was used as the regular burial-place by the Con- 
estoga congregation until about 1737, when a part of the meadow was 
selected for the purpose ; this in turn was used until about 1750, or per- 
haps a few years later when the present graveyard on the turnpike was 
laid out. So far as the writer has been able to discover no mark or 
vestige of either of the two former places of sepulchre remains at the 
present day. This is the more strange when we consider the number of 
interments there must have been in the meadow around Peniel prior to 
its abandonment. 

39^ The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

By the direction of Beissel a tombstone'^' was placed o\'er 
the grave. It is said to have been in the meadow a little to 
the eastward of where Beissel's cabin still is. It bore the 
following inscription written by Conrad Beissel : 

' ' Hier ruhet der gottselige Kampfer 


starb Auno 1741. 

Seines Alters 54 Jahr, 4 Monat, 28 Tage. 

Der Sieg bringt die Kron, 
U. der Glaubens -Kampf den Gnaden- lohn 
So Krouet der segen den seligen kampfer, 
Der allhier ein Siinden- und Belials- 

Im Frieden gefahren zu seiner Ruh-kammer, 
Allwo er befreyet von Schmertzen und 

Jammer." (Chron. Eph. pp. 121.) 

Translation : 

Here Reposes the Godlj' Warrior 


Died Anno 1741. 

Aged 54 years, 4 months, 28 days. 

victory brings the Crown 
In the fight for faith, grace and renown. 
Thus blessings crown tlie warrior true 
Who bravely Sin and Belial slew. 
Peaceful he passed to his chamber of rest, 
Where now he is free of all pain and distress. 

•'' A careful search as late as the fall of 1898 failed to reveal any trace 
of this tomb. 








WING to the many draw- 
backs which the Commu- 
nity experienced during 
this building operation, it 
was not until September 
that the new structure was 
enclosed. A curious fea- 
ture of the building is the 
extreme pitch of the roof. 
This was occasioned by 
the fact that the winter 
of 1740-41, as has already 
been stated, was a pheno- 
menal one, with an extraordinary snowfall. This induced 
the brethren to raise the angle of the frame so as to shed 
the snow the more readily in case the succeeding winters 
should prove as severe. 

It was only by hard work and persistent effort that the 
new structure was made tenantable for the congregation by 
the following December (1741), when it was consecrated to 
its pious uses with a general meeting and love-feast, upon 
which occasion the Vorsteher named the new building 
" Peniel," for, according to the Ckronicoii, "upon this spot 
had he wrestled in the spirit and prayed, and had a vision." 
As a matter of fact, it was the name which Jacob gave 
to the place in which he had wrestled with God (Gen., 
xxxii, 30). 

After the dedication, Brother Elimelech (Emanuel Eck- 
erling) was inducted as Intendant or Vorsteher of the new 

400 The German Sectarians of Pen?isyh>a>iia. 

house of prayer, after which divine services were held under 
his direction at stated intervals for the congregation at large. 

The arrangement of the Saal at first was entirely different 
from what it is at the present time. As originally designed 
and built, it was double the height of the present room ; it 
was light and airy, with two broad galleries running north 
and south, supported by a single post in the centre. The 
high ceiling was supported by two heavy beams set at right 
angles, thus forming four panels. They in turn were sup- 
ported by a massive chamfered pillar ; this is still in place. 
The general entrance for the Brotherhood and congregation 
at large was by the door in the west. This has the same 
peculiarity as have all the doors leading into the prayer- 
halls of the Community, in being very narrow, so as to 
carry out the scriptural injunction, that " narrow is the 
road that leads to God." '^ In the east, directly opposite the 
door and upon a slightly raised platform, stood the preacher's 
bench and table. 

The two galleries, or por-kirche as they were called, were 
screened with lattice work, and were for the use of the women 
of the settlement, the north gallery being reserved for the 
sisterhood of Spiritual Virgins. In this arrangement they 
also followed the custom observed in the Holland and Ger- 
man synagogues, wherein the women were relegated to the 
screened galleries. The entrance to these galleries or por- 
kirche was by a door which opened upon a narrow staircase 
in the northeast corner of the building, which in turn led 
to a corridor running the length of the building at the 
eastern end. A narrow door, twenty by sixty inches, gave 
access to the north and south galleries. By this arrange- 
ment the sisters and the women of the congregation could 
enter and depart from the services without coming into 
contact with the male worshipers. Each of these galleries 

'-' straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, 
Matt., vii, 14. See also Luke, xiii, 24. 

Iro7t the Symbol of Darkness. 401 

was lit by three windows, while the west wall was pierced 
for four windows. The plan of the Saal as here described 
was continued until after the adjoining convent became the 
home of the sisterhood. 

PECULIARITY about these unique 
Ephrata buildings is the almost total 
absence of iron in their construction. 
Wooden pins were used in place of 
spikes or nails wherever it was possi- 
ble to do so. Even the split oak laths 
which hold the plaster in place are fastened without the 
use of nails. A channel or groove was plowed in the 
upright timbers, and the laths were cut to proper length, 
the ends pointed, and then slid down in grooves in the 
posts, after which the grout or plaster was filled in on both 
sides of the laths ; thus a solid wall was built up impervious 
to either vermin or weather, and to the present day these 
houses are cool in summer and warm in winter.''" Even 
the chimney flues were built of plank lined inside with a 
thick coating of a mixture of clay and fine chopped grass 
or straw (liecksel^ hdckerling). The absence of iron is ex- 
plained by the fact that in the Cabalistic as well as in 
Rosicrucian theosophy and Biblical teachings, iron was the 
metal which represents and was symbolical of night or 
darkness."" It was the antithesis of gold, the symbol of 
purity and light. Iron was held to be the product of the 
powers of darkness, and to be the medium by which all 
physical and moral evil was brought into the world. That 
this belief existed far back in the dim ages of the past may 
be seen by reference to Exodus, xx, 25, where the Lord 
says to Moses, " If thou wilt make me an altar of stone, 
thou shalt not build it of hewn stone, for if thou lift up 

'^^ The same construction was applied to the floor of the Dunker church 
in Germantown in 1770, the split oak lath and mortar are still visible from 
the basement under the floor of the church. 

i** Zoar, ii, 24, a and b. 

402 Thr German Srctarians of Poinsylvania. 

thy tool upon it thou hast polluted it. An altar of whole 
stones, over which no man hath lifted ujj any iron." ''" 

Another prototype of the Ephrata theosophists was the 
Temple of Solomon, into the construction of which great 
edifice no iron whatever entered,'^' the scriptural injunction 
given by Moses''* being literally obeyed, "Thou shalt not 
lift up any iron tool upon them." 

By reference to the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's 
dream'*^ it will be seen that even in Babylon iron was 
known as the symbol of destruction. Coming down to 
later years, it was taught by the Rosicrucians that the so- 
called Iron Age or the dark Medieval period was the epoch 
during which the destroyer reached his greatest power, 
when vice, ignorance, superstition and priestcraft had full 
sway and reigned supreme."^ It was in obedience to these 
Biblical commands, reinforced by the teachings and tradi- 
tions of the Order, that little or none of the proscribed metal 
was used in the construction of the buildings intended for 
sacred purposes ; the furniture of the Saal was put together 
entirely with wooden pins, while the boards which formed 
the altar were carefully scoiired with fine sand to eradicate 
every sign of a tool mark before they were put together for 
the pious uses in the east. 

They even went farther and eschewed the metal utensils 
at their love-feasts ; their plates or platters were made of 
poplar wood, as were the candlesticks used in the religious 
meetings ; their knives and forks were made of the harder 
hickory. The sacred vessels, the paten and chalice used in 
the administration of the holy communion were also of 
wood, made by the brethren, it is said, without the use of 

'" Joshua viii, 31. 

"'^ Kings, vi, 7. 

133 Deutrononiy, xxvii, 5. 

"* Daniel, ii, 40. 

"^ MoHtor Philo. d. Hisl., Illn 3S9. 

Radical Changes. 403 

iron tools ; '^ and, strange as it may seem, the snow white 
altar-cloth, or linen cloth used to cover the table, even to 
the present day, after being washed is smoothed or ironed 
with square wooden blocks which are used in place of the 
ordinary flat or sad irons, so that none of the proscribed or 
unholy metal may touch the altar or its belongings.'^' 

In the interior arrangements, however, there have been 
some radical changes. The most important one was made 
some years after the adjoining convent was handed over to 
the sisterhood, and the large Saal adjoining the Brother 
House (Bethania) was built. It was the division of the 
large Saal into two separate rooms. For this purpose the 
centre pillar was morticed and two beams were introduced 
to carry joists between the two galleries, these were then 
floored over, thus closing the open space. The effect of 
this change was to make the Saal the low dingy room that 
we now see it. 

In the upper part the lattice work was removed from the 
former galleries, and these, with the intervening space now 
floored over, formed a large light room of corresponding size 
to the one below (about thirty-six by twenty-seven feet). 
This room was broken by a single obstruction only, viz., 
the large central pillar. Entrance was gained to the halls 
upon both floors from the adjoining Sister House by narrow 
doorways (twent}' by sixty inches) in the extreme north- 
west angle of the room. 

After this radical change was consummated, the lower 
room was continued in its original uses for public worship 
and occasional love-feasts. The upper room, however, 
became the private chapel (if the term be permissible) or 
prayer-room (bet-saal) of the Sisterhood of Saron. 

"* A local tradition states that the goblets were turned with a hardened 
bronze chisel or tool. 

™ Two of these wooden sad irons, if the term is permissible, are still in 
use at Ephrata at the present time, where they were shown to and ex- 
amined by the writer. 

404 The German Sectarians of Peiinsy/i'ania. 

The public entrance to the lower Saal is by a hooded 
door in the west front ; this door is flanked by a small 
window upon either side with nine panes of glass. The pri- 
vate entrance from the adjoining convent or Sister House, 
Saron, is, as above stated, by way of a narrow door at the 
northwest corner of the room. This door with its wooden 
latch and hinges is low and narrow, a peculiarity which is 
further accounted for, beside the scriptural injunction 
already mentioned, by the fact that all of the celibates 
were supposed to be thin and spare, a physcial condition 
brought about by the mode of living and the mortification 
of the flesh as practiced within the Kloster. Any one who 
preferred feasting to fasting, or physical comforts to a life 
of absolute self-denial had no place within the Communit}-. 
Then, again, the entrance was made low, so that the wor- 
shipers were forced to bow the head or bend the knee as 
they entered the house of prayer. 

As we step into this venerable sanctuary the visitor is at 
once struck with the extreme plainness of the room and its 
furnishings. The walls are wainscoted about half way up 
the sides with unpainted boards, above which they are as 
white as lime can make them, and for purity in color vie 
with the linen cloth spread upon the communion table. 
No decorations or ornaments greet the eye, except the old 
scriptural texts and allegorical compositions in ornamental 
penmanship {frachir-sclirifff) hanging against the walls, 
and which were placed there over a century and a half 
ago. There are still to be seen within the Saal twelve of 
these large illustrations of ornamental Kloster penmanship. 
Once upon a time they were choice specimens of the sister's 
writing-room, examples of patient toil and artistic handi- 
work, unsurpassed in the delicate tracery of flourish and 
detail, but now yellow and discolored, — the paper disinte- 
grating and crumbling, with ink brown and faded, while 
some of the wording is hardly decipherable. Yet they are 

The Saal at the Present Day. 405 

priceless mementoes of the past, showing the present gener- 
ations to how great an extent education and culture flour- 
ished among the early German settlers in this valley. 

Light is admitted to the Saal by six windows in addition 
to the two in the west wall ; three of these are in the north 
and south walls respectively. To keep out the sun these 
are shaded with a piece of plain white linen, having a hem 
at the top, through which a cord is drawn and fastened at 
either side of the casement. The furniture of the Saal 
consists of four long tables in the body of the hall, flanked 
by wooden benches devoid of backs upon either side of the 
table. Along the sides of the room are ranged regular 
benches with backs, while against the south and west walls 
a shelf is fastened, high up near the ceiling, for the hats 
and wraps of the worshipers. 

In the east end, upon a small raised platfonu, is the 
preacher's bench and the communion table ; this is a plain 
unpainted wooden affair covered with a fair linen cloth, 
upon which usually is placed the Bible, hymn-book and 
an old hour-glass, whereby in olden times the length of the 
preacher's sermon was regulated. This was a common 
custom with some of the German congregations in Lan- 
caster county, and was one that acted in the interest of 
both the clergyman and his hearers. In the former case 
the minister knew that he was not unduly lengthening his 
discourse with his "thirdly's" and "lastly's." Upon the 
other hand, as the hour-glass {sandtihr') was always turned 
at the beginning of the sermon, the worshipers were assured 
that they were receiving the full quantity of religious dis- 
course to which they were entitled. 

There is still in existence a petition from a congregation 
in Lancaster county to Synod, wherein complaint is made 
to that body that the minister's discourse was not long 
enough, and did not last until all of the sand had run 
down. The result of this action was that another " quarter 

4o6 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

hour of sand" was put into the kufizel nhr^ and pastoral 
relations were not severed. 

A door to the left of the preacher's platform leads into 
the kitchen offices, this department consisting of a long 
narrow room extending the whole length of the house. In 
this room are still to be seen the appliances for preparing 
the viands and baking the imleavened bread used in the 
love-feasts. Here is still the old dough-trough in which 
the flour was mixed, and the plain oaken table upon which 
the dough was worked until it was ready to shove into the 
large brick oven, the door of which opened directly into 
the room. Here is still to be seen the reiser^ an ingenious 
tool with which the loaves were scored before baking so 
that the bread would break evenly. Access to this depart- 
ment was also gained by the door, which opened to the 
private staircase already described, whereby the sisters in 
charge of the kitchen could enter and depart without being 
seen by the other worshipers. 

Returning to the Saal of to-day, we find the girders or 
beams of the ceiling supported by two heavy posts in ad- 
dition to the morticed pillar ; these posts are directly below 
the beams which formerly supported the galleries. The 
ceiling between the heavy timbers is made of yellow poplar 
boards, with narrow laths covering the joints, and, similarly 
to all other woodwork in the Saal, is unpainted and kept 
as scrupulously clean as when the Sisters of Saron here 
reigned supreme. 

The portion of this ceiling beneath the old gallery is said 
to be in its original condition. If the visitor to the old 
sanctuary will cast his eyes aloft toward the northwest 
corner of the room, directly under the old north gallery, 
and look carefully at the boards forming the ceiling, he 
will plainly see at regular intervals the impression of the 
naked human foot upon the boards, marks that have re- 
mained here during all these lapse of years, notwithstand- 

Mysterious Footprints. 407 

ing repeated attempts to eradicate them with soap and 
sand and an application of muscle such as only a Pennsyl- 
vania-German matron is capable of. 

Several explanations of these mysterious footprints have 
been given to me in the course of the years covering my 
investigations of these people. The first story, by an old 
inmate of the Kloster, was as follows : Far back in the 
days when yet the Eckerlings were the ruling spirits, and 
the Brotherhood of Zion practiced their mystic teachings 
and occult rites, some question was raised at one of the mid- 
night meetings as to the truth of the claims made for the 
esoteric and mystical rites and practices of the Zionitic 
Brotherhood. There was a great outpouring of the spirit 
upon that occasion, and the discussion finally grew into a 
challenge to the mystic brotherhood to produce some proof 
of their supernatural or occult power. With that the 
seventh hour pealed forth from the tower of Zion hill ; this 
hour corresponds with our midnight. Hardly had the sound 
died away when two of the Zionitic brethren accepted the 
challenge. Throwing off their long robes and taking the 
sandals from off their feet, they mounted one of the long 
tables, and supporting themselves for a few seconds by 
their hands, raised their feet to the ceiling, and thus 
walked in this reverse order among the brethren. One of 
these men was the prior, and wherever his feet touched the 
ceiling they left their impression upon the unpainted wood. 
Thus was manifested a double miracle. Such is the legend 
as told to me many years ago. In later years, the venerable 
Sara Bauman told me a similar tale, and further said that 
she had repeatedly tried to scrub the marks off the ceiling. 
These traditions appear to be further strengthened by re- 
ferences to be found in both Chronicon and contemporary 
manuscripts, wherein it states that in the prayer-houses of 
the celibates "were manifested forth many wonders of 

4o8 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Another explanation of the mystery, as given by persons 
who deny any mystical origin of the footprints, declares 
that while the boards were being sawed down at the 
Kloster sdg-miihle, and it being customary to work bare- 
footed in summer one of the brothers became sore in his 
feet, greased the soles during the day and in the course 
of his duties walked over the freshly sawed yellow poplar 
boards, thus leaving the imprint of his naked feet upon the 
fresh lumber. The advocates of this theory, however, fail 
to state how it was that the subsequent planing failed to 
remove the marks. However, be this as it may, the foot- 
prints upon the ceiling of the Ephrata Saal will always 
remain an interesting mystery. 

In the centre of the room stands a relic in the shape of 
an old cannon stove, such as were made early in the cen- 
tury and intended to consume anthracite coal ; specimens 
of this kind are now seldom met with. 

Thus we find the old Saal of Ephrata upon the verge of 
the twentieth century. It forms a span or link with the 
past, when yet the red man roamed over our fair domain 
and we owed allegiance to the Hanoverian Georges, who 
were then upon the throne of England. The great march 
of improvement, modern methods and the longing for ease 
and luxury during the hours of worship and for ornate 
services have found no foothold within this venerable 
sanctuary. The room, as well as the services held therein, 
is still as in the days of yore, — in appearance as plain and 
unadorned as were the first Quaker meeting-houses, — with 
services as fervent as when led by the austere Prior Jaebez. 
Long may the old Saal be preserved and remain in its 
primitive simplicity as a reminder of the religious pio- 
neers who settled here and kept alive the fires of mystic 
theosophy in these western wilds ! 

Mention was made of the large specimens of Kloster 



Fracttir-Schrift in the Saal. 409 

penmanship hanging against the walls of the Saal. These 
examples of early caligraphic art are worthy of an extended 
description. Our wonder and admiration for them increases 
when we consider that the same hands that executed such 
exquisite penmanship wrought the finest kind of embroid- 
ery and needlework and even wove fine laces, at the same 
time during a part of the day performed laborious farm 
work in both field and stable, besides attending to the 
menial duties of house and kitchen. 

|AVING to greatly reduce our chapter initials they 
give but a faint idea of the beauty of the origi- 
nal drawings, which fortunately still exist. The 
specimens upon the walls of the Saal are now 
fast going to decay ; the paper is discolored and 
stained by age, and where covered with ink is 
disintegrating and crumbling into dust. This 
is the case with all of the Ephrata manuscripts. 
The explanation given is that the ink was a 
decoction of gall-apples and copperas and that 
the irretrievable damage which they have sus- 
tained is due to the latter ingredient. Photo- 
graphs and faithful copies of these placards have 
been made by the writer and are reproduced in 
this history. 

We will now walk around the Saal and examine these 
curious tablets with their strange inscriptions. Commenc- 
ing with the one over the door leading into the Sister 
House. This consists of six lines : 

Die Tiir zum eingang zu das Haus 

Wo die vereinte seelen wohnen 

I,ast keines mehr von da hinaus 

Weil Gott tut selber unter ihnen frohnen 

Ihr Gliick bliith in Vereinten Libes-Flammen 

Weil sie aus Gott und seiner I<ib herstammen. 

4IO The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Which I translate : 

The door for entering into this house 

Where the united souls reside 

Lets none from hence depart, 

As God himself among them doth abide 

Their fortune blooms in united flames of love 

As they from God and his love descend. 

Upon the west wall, almost joining the narrow door, is a 
tablet of five lines, two of which are in large capitals, while 
the three lower lines are in lower case and capitals : 



dieser Schaar tuth sie als Schafflein 

weiden, drum gehen sie bey Paar u Paar 

Und riihmen Gott mit Freuden 

Translated : 



Of this flock doth them as Lambs 

Attend, thus they go pair by pair 

and glorify God with joy. 

The tablet on the north wall, to the right of the narrow 
entrance, consists of eight lines : 

So lebt denn die reine Schaar 

Im inneren Tempel hier beysammen, 

Entrissen aller Weltgefahr 

In heiss verlibten Libesflammen 

Und lebet dann in Hoffnung hin 

Nach der begUickten Freiheit die dort oben 

Da sie nach dem verlibten Sinn 

Ihn ohne Zeit und End wird loben. 

Translated : 

Thus lives the pure company 
In the inner sanctuary here together, 

Rescued from all worldly harm 
In burning flames of love enamored 

Inscriptions upon the Walls. 411 

And living now on in hope 

toward that happy freedom, which there beyond 

They according to the enamored sense 

Him without time and end will praise. 

Upon the east wall, over the door leading into the kitchen 
offices, we find a tablet of four lines : 

Die Lib ist unser Kron und heller Tugend Spiegel, 

Die Weisheit uusere Lust und reines Gottes-Siegel 

Dass Lamm ist unser Schatz, dem wir uns anvertrauen 

Und folgen seinen Gang als reinste Jungfrauen. 

Translated : 

The [divine] Love is our Crown and bright mirror of Virtue, 

The [divine] Wisdom is our joy and pure signet of God, 

The Lamb is our Bridegroom, to whom we trust ourselves 

And follow in his lead as the purest vestal virgins. 

To the left of this, in the northeast corner of the room, 
is another inscription consisting of nine lines, three of 
which are in capital letters : 



Werden uns in Triibsals Tagen-Durch viel Leiden zubereit 

Da muss unsre Hoffnung bliihen-und der Glaube wachsen auf 

Wenn sich die Welt und Fleisch bemiihen uns zu schwachen 

in den Lauf 

O Wohl dann, weil wir gezahlet. In der reinen Lammer Heerd 

Die dem keuschen Lamm vermahlet. Und erkaufPet von der Erd 

Bleibet schon all hier verborgen. Unser Ehren Schmuk und 


Wird uns doch jenem Morgen, Kronen Jesus, Gottes Sohn. 

Translated : 



Were for us in Afflictions days, in great sorrow prepared. 

Here our hope must bloom and our Faith grow on high 

When the world and the Flesh endeavor to weaken us in our 


412 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Oh, what joy ! for we are numbered among the flock of pure 

Who by the immaculate Lamb espoused, are redeemed from 

the world, 
Although here are hidden our sacred jewels and crowns, 
Yet upon yonder morn will crown us JESUS, the Son of GOD. 

Directly over the preacher's bench is a tablet of five 
lines, the two upper ones in large capitals : 



Lamm muss stetig in uns wallen 

Und uns in Ewigkeit nicht lassen mehr 


Translated : 



Lamb must continuallj' within us abide, 

Nor must He forever let our 


Narrow and Crooked Way. 413 

Immediately to the right of the tablet is one of mystical 
and allegorical import. This is about three feet square, but 
is so discolored that it is almost undecipherable. It repre- 
sents the " Narrow and Crooked Way," and is a most 
curious and ingenious composition. The chief feature is 
a labyrinthine path, filled up with texts of Scripture, ad- 
monishing the disciples of their duties and obligations 
which their profession impose upon them. This specimen 
of Kloster art is rapidly crumbling into dust. 

Upon the south wall another allegorical subject attracts 
the eye ; unfortunately this is also in a dilapidated condi- 
tion, even more so than the last one described. 

This tablet ixpon the south wall represents the "Triple 
Heaven" and is divided into three unequal sections ; all 
are filled with innumerable figures and Bible quotations 

In the first section, Christ the Shepherd is represented 
gathering his flock together. In the second, over three 
hundred figures in the habit of the Order are represented 
with harps in their hands, singing praises to the Saviour. 
In the third is seen the throne of the Almighty Ruler of 
the Universe surrounded by over two hundred angels and 
archangels, the whole being divided by almost innumerable 
Spruche or Bible quotations. 

In the southwest angle of the room there are two large 
tablets, almost filling the space between the wainscoting 
and ceiling. The tablet upon the south wall consists of 
five lines, two of which are in large ornate capital letters : 



Seinem Geist, und tuht in I<ibe wallen 

Dass jedes seine Wunder preisst ohn einiges 


414 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Translated : 

His Spirit, and then in Love abide, 
That each his wonders praise, without any 
Zeal abating. 

The tablet upon the west wall contains a quotation from 
the Apocalypse xxi, 23 : 


Keiner Sonnen noch des Mondes dass 

Sie ihr scheinen ; den die Herrlicheit Gottes 

Erleuchtet Sein Ihre Leuchte ist dass Lam. Off. 21, 23. 

Translation : 

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, 
to shine in it ; or the glorj^ of God did lighten it, and the Lamb 
is the light thereof. 

Another upon the south wall contains a quotation from 
the Apocalypse xxi, 24, 25. 

Lastly we have one of two lines. 

Wo Filadelfia bliiht als a ein griines Feld 
Da sihet man aufgehen die Frucht der neuen Welt. 

Translated : 

Where Philadelphia "' blooms as a verdant field 
There one sees arise the fruits of the New World. 

The historic Saal now serves as a meeting-house for the 
local German Seventh-day Baptist congregation, who since 
1 81 3 are the legitimate successors to the old Community. 
Religious services are held upon the seventh day whenever 
a preacher can be obtained, as they divide their time be- 
tween the congregations of Ephrata, Snowhill, Salemville 
and Morrison's Cove. 

' Used in the sense of brotherly love. 

Restoration of the Saal. 


For some years past the upper portion of Peniel was 
divided off into rooms and used as tenements. Now, how- 
ever (1899), under the guidance of the present intelligent 
board of trustees, the dififerent tenants have been dispo- 
sessed, and the building is being restored to the same con- 
dition as when occupied by the old sisterhood, and at the 
same time is being put into complete repair, so that it may 
withstand the ravages of time, and together with the two 
other houses it will remain, we trust, for many years to 
come a prominent landmark and reminder of the German 
Sectarians in Lancaster county. 


ITHIN a few weeks after 
the dedication of Peniel a 
celestial phenomenon ap- 
peared in the shape of a 
beantifnl comet. The com- 
ing of this erratic visitor, 
unheralded or announced, 
wrought great consterna- 
tion among the German 
settlers throughout the 
Province. The memory 
of the fiery comets that 
appeared in the sky prior 
to the French invasions and devastation of the Palatinate was 
yet fresh in the minds of the older people, and so firmly 
rooted was the belief that comets were the precursors of war, 
famine and pestilence that fears were expressed by even 
those of sober thought that the flaming star foretold similar 
scenes of bloodshed in the New World. The beautiful visi- 
tant in the sky especially affected the superstitious residents 
of Germantown, to make no mention of the remaining her- 
mits on the Wissahickon, who looked at it as a possible 
harbinger of the celestial Bridegroom whose coming they 
so long and earnestly expected. To the mystic enthusiasts 
on Mount Zion at Ephrata the flaming tail typified a bunch 
of switches,"' with which the divine forces were about 
to punish the unrepentant and unregenerate of mankind. 
According to the old tradition, it was on Monday, February 

' Feuertge Ruthen. 

A Fiery Comet. 417 

22, 1741-42, as the midnight bell was being tolled as usual, 
just as its sharp tone ceased to reverberate among the 
wooded hills and valleys of the Cocalico, that the Brother- 
hood of Zion in response to the summons, cloaked and 
cowled, slowly filed out of their narrow corridor and kain- 
mers and silently took up their march toward the hall of 
prayer on Mount Zion, as was their custom to keep their 
vigils {tiacht-metten) during the ghostly hour of midnight 
i^geister-stiinde). The night was moonless, cold and clear 
the air frosty, the stars sparkled in their settings of deep 
azure ; not a leafless twig stirred, all were silent ; Kedar 
and Zion loomed up darkly on the hillside, while in the 
meadow below the sharp angles of Peniel nestling amidst 
the silent graves were outlined dimly against the horizon ; 
the only sound heard after the notes of the monastery bell 
had died away was the creaking of the brethren's wooden 
sabots on the icy ground. Half the distance to the '■'■Bet- 
haiis^'' had hardly been traversed by the drowsy brethren 
when suddenly a bright light was seen, and to their great 
surprise the brethren saw in the eastern heavens a blazing 
star, with a bright fiery tail, which had suddenly flashed 
upon the sky. That the mystics were struck dumb with 
fear and amazement may be surmised. Prior Onesimus 
at once fell upon his knees on the frosty ground and com- 
menced to pray for mercy, and that the great calamities 
portended by the fiery messenger in the heavens might be 
averted and that the Deity would hear their prayers and 
penance. After the first surprise was over, the Vorsteher, 
who was sent for, ordered the bell rung to alarm the Com- 
munity, with orders to assemble in Peniel for religious 
services, which were held under his personal direction. 

The sudden appearance of this erratic celestial visitant 
naturally had a marked effect upon the peculiar tempera- 
ment and superstitious minds of these Germans, wrapt as 
they were in their religious enthusiasm and speculations. 

41 8 The Gertuan Sectarians of PeiDisylvania. 

With them the comet for the nonce engrossed all their time 
and attention, as it was supposed to be the forerunner 
of war, pestilence and other dire calamities ; some even 
thought that it augured the end of the world ; and that the 
long-looked for millenium, which had been so earnestly 
prophesied by Brother Agonius before his death, was near 
at hand. 

After the first surprise had subsided, the prior ordered 
the reciting of the special prayers or liturgy for such occa- 
sions, as set forth in the Cabalistic ritual of the Zionitic 
Brotherhood. Brothers were also detailed to read the 
prayer at the services of the sisterhood and the congrega- 
tions of the households at Peniel. This special liturgical 
services consisted of the reading of the IV Psalm, closing 
with the invocation : 

"O great and mightj' Lord, whose ineffable Name is con- 
tained within this Psalm, Thou that hearest the supplications 
of those who repeat this Psalm, have mercy upon us, and heed 
our supplications on this the third day of the week, whose 
heavenly signs are the Ram and the Scorpion, its Angel 
' Samjneal ' and servant ' Moadim ' (Mars). Amen." 

The signs, guardian angel and planets were varied each 
day, according to the table provided by the secret ritual of 
the Zionitic rite, viz. : 









According to Brother Jephune, who was the astrono- 
mer of the Community, the comet was supposed to be near 
the equinoctial of the heavens. On the next night he 





















Be/ssePs Mystical Disquisition. 419 

observed the celestial portent to be in the tail of the 
Eagle ; on the following nights the heavens were obscured 
by heavy clouds, and when it was again seen on Saturday 
night it stood near of Lyra, having taken a northward 
course ; on the next night it was seen in the tip of the 
Swan's wing. So rapid was its flight that it had traversed 
five degrees northward within twenty-four hours. The 
night following it was just entering the head of the Dragon, 
after which it vanished again into space. It was a long 
time before the fear inspired by this celestial visitant was 
forgotten. From this period date a number of hymns, 
which were afterward incorporated in the collection known 
as the Paradisches Wunderspiel. These hymns were full 
of prophecy, and, as the Chronicon states, belong to the 
" Evening of the sixth time-period, that is, the holy Ante- 
Sabbath." These hymns represented the mysteries of the 
last times so impressively that it seemed to the religious 
enthusiasts as though the kingdom of heaven was already 
dawning. These were followed by the Wunderschrift, a 
mystical disquisition by Beissel upon the fall of man. It 
was delivered and then written in German. 

Mystische Abhandhtng \ iiher die \ Schbpfimg \ ti7id von 
des I Menschen Fall und Wiederbringtmg \ diti-ch des \ 
Weibes Samen | von einem | Friedsamen \ Nach der stillen 
Ewigkeit wallenden \ Pilger | Ephrata : Typis Societatis^ 
Anno MDCCXLV}'" 

This essay, which is perhaps the most remarkable of 
Beissel's many productions, was one of the first pamphlets 
to be printed on the Ephrata press. For some reason this 
work is one of the scarcest of the Ephrata imprints. The 
only known copy is in the library of the writer, and this 
tmfortunately lacks the printed title-page. A fac-simile of 
the first page of this curious work is shown upon page 420. 
According to the Chronicon it was at once translated into 

'*" Title from a MS. copy of the Wimderschrift. 

420 The Germati Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 


'*3ne titfi SJiiflcfcgmfifit mfiiicd ©nflc« ^nt tiTlt Ur« 
f»i(t5? (^rgcl'fn fcicfcajtmrcr^gcbrtfftaufaureoeii: u» 

rtt^: ©lirtt; wcfdic uiit«cfcfnf U)iici'c tiiidcleflicni^ircti 
i4) Dai on aefouinici). bin- UnD cb ftd) fctcu Dic^dti^ 

iiQxxiti, cttva^ tmmcrctnt/ um.efmn Sin^ang 3Ufr 6(U 
ct)( 311 mfl(Dcn. 

3rf) ()abe gwnr fn (en ^aijdi nictncr ^(tttd&eu SvA^ntiL 
gdnciii^t; C($ e&)Uc ttitr tiirtt ftOIcU/ tvatmi<f) \\\i<b mxll 
auf tsu^ fiiutH-iUc iivm tmt tiicuim SBantd im.^. SDe^ 

{!(^t fo Hick Mc unb f(()n'ac ®rc\cnfptikt)e ertrccttti Da§ 
niicf) Dft ®ur((}mttnD (Braujetr nnfiiin: tvinDoH 1(^ t^ 
nebenindn i0. Sl^cttirbrffrmi icrtfcOtC/. fn l^er S^cfnttttd (^ 
tm ^irg 3ti gen^tnom. dlTcitt/ fcnicto 5fei^ i(& (mtoantti 

uiicO frcDiicb fc gcfibct unD P((?c^(t^ tag efmta{ Me ^t(tne« 
ti'mn (te ^ttcn cine (SuipfutMicVtcU ^tWst, tnit mic ^ 
U\\ fd)rcn(n nn'tncnrfotitcintt tvtil (er ^xtk $tdg tinb Die 
(iHcttcinrte ^nmfr ret (ieDe aDcjcit Da^ S^ifet a(f<:(^iit( gtr 
eincm ticmn StUatiu. (1) Sicfe^ 6at ntitp ftm^ ^ 6^ 
§t ti^fr^ 

(0 S!<r ^«m ttcftrOtcM) iff fffgcnlicrrStntitu^ ttflr «n» lAf[(R Jwff 
^i:k c^mtit^m f(i)tt; t<fl« tn(f)r trirb ^atf U(5cl <p ti(t# ngc S^ <i 


The Fall of Man. 421 


Differtation on 


Trandated from the H^Ii-Geniun Ori|^tal. 

feinted: £Pfla^^ Anno MDCCLXV- 

old at Plu^lphia by M^nrs CflRifiToeiS 

Marshal and Williakc Ditmlap' 


Original in Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

422 The German Seclarians of Pennsylvania. 

English, and printed, "on acconnt of its excellence," with 
the following title : 

A I Dissertation on \ Mans Fall, \ Translated frotn 
the High-German Original. \ Printed: Ephrata Anno 
MDCCLXV. 1 Sold at Philadelphia by Messieurs Christoph 
I Marshal and William Dunlap. 

According to Peter Miller the English version was origi- 
nally printed in the Edinburgh Magazine, a statement which 
the writer has not been able to verify. An English edition 
of one thousand copies was reprinted at Ephrata in 1765, 
but even this extraordinary edition was soon exhausted, as 
appears by a letter written in 1790 by Prior Jaebez (Rev. 
Peter Miller), the successor to Beissel as leader of the Com- 
munity, wherein he states that he has not even a single 
copy left for himself. A curious circumstance in connec- 
tion with this book is that toward the close of the Revolu- 
tionary war a copy was sent by Peter Miller to Italy, with 
the request to translate it into Italian and publish the work 
in that country, dedicating the volume to " His Holiness 
the Pope." The Ephrata records tell us that while Beissel 
was compiling this work, " Because he thereby disregarded 
nature too much, he contracted a severe illness." Brother 
Agrippa further says : " Unless the reader is versed in the 
spirit of the Virgin-estate, it is somewhat unclear in its ex- 
pressions. In it, however, he had opened up a far outlook 
into eternity, and has gone further than even the holy 
Apostles in their revelations, bringing glorious things to 
light concerning the Mother church, and how the Father 
finally shall deliver his office to the Mother ; similarly con- 
cerning the Sabbatic Church in the time of the bound 
dragon ; what God's purposes are with this Church ; and 
why he permitted her to be so severely tried by Gog and 


ENTION was made in a 
previous chapter of the 
Wiegner homestead as 
the headquarters of the 
Moravian pioneers who 
paid a visit to the Province 
and the Ephrata Commu- 
nity in 1736. This house 
was in northeastern ex- 
tremity of Philadelphia 
(now Montgomery) coun- 
ty. The place is still 
known as the Wiegner farm, and lies two miles south of 
Kulpsville, a post-town a short distance west of Lansdale 
on the North Penn railroad. The old stone house which 
sheltered the first Moravian missionaries has long since 
been demolished. 

Christopher Wiegner, who was a religious enthusiast 
from the Fatherland, and who came over with the Schwenk- 
felders, held devotional services at his house whenever 
opportunity offered ; and his home was always open to all 
comers who soiight spiritual advice or comfort, and thus it 
was that his place became somewhat of a hospice. It was 
not long before a number of German settlers gathered 
around him and met regularly at his house for the worship 
of God and religious edification. Most of these men had 
become Separatists at home, and having severed their rela- 
tions with the orthodox faiths came to this country to 
escape religious persecution. 

424 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

These gatherings resulted in the organization of a religi- 
ous society irrespective of any denominational creed, under 
the name of Vereinigte Skippack Bruder (Associated 
Brethren of Skippack). The leading members of this new 
sect, the acquaintance of some of whom we have already 
made, were Heinrich Frey, Johann Kooken, Georg Merkel, 
Christian Weber, Johann Bonn, Jacob Wenzen, Jost Schmidt, 
Wilhelm Bossen and Jost Becker, of Skippack; Henry Antes, 
Wilhelm Frey, George Stiefel, Heinrich Holstein and An- 
drew Frey, of Frederick township ; Matthias Gemaehle and 
Abraham Wagner, of Matetsche; Jean Bertolet, Franz Ritter 
and Wilhelm Pott, of Oley ; Johann Bechtel, Johann Adam 
Gruber, Blasius Mackinet and Georg Benzel, of German- 

Nearly all of the above brethren eventually ended their 
days within the Moravian fold, — some, however, only after 
gravitating between Ephrata and Bethlehem. 

Of the tenets or mode of worship of the Skippack Breth- 
ren there is little or nothing known ; the organization 
appears to have been a non-sectarian one, whose members 
strove to impart religious instruction to all settlers irre- 
spective of creed ; and when Count Zinzendorf arrived in 
1742 they were among his most earnest supporters in his 
early efforts to bring about an evangelical union by means 
of what are known as the Pennsylvania Synods or Confer- 

It has been claimed by some investigators that the services 
at Wiegner's were Moravian, pure and simple, and that from 
the start he organized his rieighbors into a Moravian con- 
gregation, — a claim which appears to be without any foun- 
dation in fact. However, be this as it may, the humble 
farm house became a rallying point not only for the Mora- 
vian missionaries, but for all other separatists and evange- 
lists as well. 

Thus it was that the celebrated Whitefield held a service 

Whitefield' s Services. 425 

at Wiegner's on the afternoon or evening of May 5, 1740. 
He states that he preached there to about three thousand 
people ; as he notes in his journal, "at a Dutchman's plan- 
" tation, who seemed to have drank deeply into the conso- 
" lations of the Holy Spirit, we spent the evening in a 
" most agreeable manner. I never saw more simplicity ; 
"surely that house was a Bethel." "' 

The curious part of this incident is that but few of the 
people present were conversant with the English tongue ; 
so after Whitefield had finished, Peter Bohler, the leader of 
the advance party of Moravians who came from Savannah to 
Philadelphia, April, 1740, preached in German, or, at least, 
was supposed to render Whitefield's sermon into German. 

The occasion of Whitefield's visit to this part of the Prov- 
ince was the building of a house he designed to erect on 
his land (Nazareth) as a school for negroes. He came to 
Wiegner's with the purpose of making a proposal to Peter 
Bohler and to engage the brethren who had accompanied 
him from Georgia to do the carpenter work for him. A 
contract was entered into between the two parties and two 
houses were commenced upon the land where Nazareth now 
stands. One, a small wooden house, known as the " First 
House," the other the fine stone mansion known as the 
" Whitefield House." 

During the following winter Whitefield and Bohler had 
a controversy about some pecuniary matters, which ended 
by the former discharging the brethren, the large stone 
house being no farther advanced than the foimdations. 
Eventually, however, the whole property came into the 
possession of the Moravians, who finished the large house 
and there established the Nazareth economy. 

The Moravian party in the Province were reinforced 
December 15, 1740, by the arrival of Bishop David Nitsch- 

'*' Whitefield's Journal, London, 1761. Evidently one of the so-called 
forest sermons. 

426 Ttie German Scclarians of Pennsylvania, 

Anna Nitschman'' s Visit. 427 

man, his uncle of the same name, also Christian Frohlich, 
and two sisters, Johanna S. Molther and Anna Nitschman. 
The headquarters of this party was established at Wiegner's, 
and the Moravian diaries note many meetings held there at 
that time. When the Brethren at Ephrata learned of the 
Nitschman party, three of the Solitary brethren were at once 
sent to Wiegner's to welcome and greet them, as the Chroni- 
con states, "because at that time the fire of first love was 
still burning." 

Early in March of the next year (1741) a larger party 
of Solitary made a visit to Nazareth, and, as the diary notes, 
" expressed admiration at the industry and contentment of 
"the former in their indigent circumstances." 

A few months later, a return visit was projected by the 
Moravians to the Ephrata settlement. This was planned 
with two objects in view, — one relating to a possible union 
of the two evangelical movements ; the other, to thoroughly 
investigate the monastic feature of the Ephrata settlement. 
For the latter purpose Anna Nitschman and David Zeis- 
berger the elder, set out for the Cocalico on the 12th of 
July, and arrived there two days later. Anna Nitschman 
at once quartered herself with the sisterhood, while Brother 
Zeisberger took up his abode in Zion. 

Among the brethren who greeted the two evangelists 
upon their arrival at the Kloster was Brother Gottlieb 
(Gottfried Haberecht), one of the Zionitic Brotherhood. 
Haberecht, originally a Moravian, was one of the party 
who came over with Spangenberg to Savannah in 1735. 
He was a native of Piela, Silesia. He left Georgia in 1737 
and came to Germantown, but after a short sojourn in soli- 
tude on the Ridge, he drifted to Ephrata, was baptized by 
Beissel and entered the convent of Zion. 

Sister Nitschman spent several days among the sisterhood, 
"during which time she enjoyed much love." Upon one 
point, however, she differed from her entertainers, viz., on 

428 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

the question of justification and the marriage state. This 
led to considerable argument between the visitor and her 
hosts, and caused the prioress to detail a sister to be always 
about her visitor so as to give her no chance to interview 
any sister privately. Notwithstanding this precaution, 
Sister Nitschman afterward stated that " most of the sisters 
in the settlement would like to throw off the yoke if they 
but knew of another retreat." 

This report led to some correspondence between tlie 
parties, and letters were even received from other persons 
asking for information. Thereupon one of the sisters, who 
was detailed to keep a watch upon the visitor while at the 
Kloster, wrote a detailed account of Anna Nitschman's visit, 
wherein she stated that she had always been about the person 
mentioned, but she never heard any of the sisters say the 
like of it to her. This interesting missive was published ; 
no original copy, however, is known to the writer. It was 
reprinted at Frankfurt (Germany), a copy of which is in 
possession of the writer. It will be noticed that in this 
reprint the name of the Coimtess Benigna was substituted 
for that of Anna Nitschman, or else the latter represented 
herself as the Count's daughter during her visit to Ephrata, 
viz. : 

Brief einer Sieben-Tdgeriji an eine ihrer Verwattdten, 
betreffend den Besuch^ welcheti des Herrn Grafen von Zin- 
sendorf Comptesse Techier bey ikneti abgelegt, und den 
Eingang^ den sie unter diesen Siebot-Tager-nonnen gehabt 
haben soil. Frankfoirt u. Leipzig^ MCCLXVIII. 

Translation : 

Letter of a Seven-dayer to a relative, concerning the visit 
paid to them by Count Zinzendorf's noble daiighter, and 
the entrance she claims to have had among the Seven- 
dayer nuns : 

The Seven-day er' s Account. 429 

" What Ziuzendorf's daughter is reported to have said about 
us, and as you desire to have a true report of our behaviour 
toward her, I will now from love to you, according to your de- 
sire, write you in as few words as possible, how she demeaned 
herself towards us, and what the connection -was from the very 
beginning. — That (we) to them are as poison, and that they 
carry in their hearts a great enmity toward our Communit}', is 
not unknown to you, neither is it to us. — But as we in all our 
actions strive to emulate our teacher Jesus Christ, who at all 
times loved His enemies, and who blessed such as cursed Him, 
yea. He even gave unto Judas a kiss, after he had betrayed 
Him. Accordingly we received this person with due honor. 

"She arrived toward evening, and went to Kalcklbser's 
house, and at the command of her p-ather sent word to the 
Prioress or Mother, to come and call for her there : But as she 
was just away from the house (convent) it happened that I 
and another Sister called for her, and brought her unto the 
chamber, wherein I live, and the same evening took her to 
table before the whole sisterhood. — Upon the second day we 
showed to her our whole habitation, and went with her into all 
the rooms of the Sisterhouse. Towards evening the Mother 
(prioress) returned, who she desired to meet, and was therefor 
received by her, in the same manner as we had, as if we were 
an innocent child, who knows neither good nor evil ; and out 
of discretion was merely spoken to about ordinary subjects after 
her own liking ; as it is not our habit to speak to such persons, 
about our private life, or about divine matters, as our con- 
science does not permit us to misuse the word of God, nor to 
cast our pearls at the feet of such as would crush them. We 
rather approach such persons heartily with our outward good- 
ness, in such a manner not to offend the good God. — And now 
to continue my story. It so happened, that on the same night 
we kept a Love feast, and permitted her to look on, thereafter 
on the third morning [of her visit] according to our custom, 
we took her with us as we went to keep our hour of prayer, at 
which meeting she said a parting word to all sisters, which was 
quickly done. When we took her again to the Brother's house 
whence we had found her. 

430 The German Sectan'atts of Pennsylvania. 

" So I can tell you truthfully, that she did not speak confi- 
dentially or privately with any sister in such manner as she 
claims, as I was with her continually, and spoke more ■w'ith 
her than anj' one else. — Consequently she cannot say, that it 
was specially I, who would like to have gone with her — which 
was furthest from my thoughts. — I trust that I may forever be 
preser\-ed from such seductive teachings, and not take upon 
mj-self a worse state, than I was in prior to my conversion. 
So much I can give you in a concise and circumstantial ac- 
count of our demeanor toward the Count's daughter. 

"And now again, shortly afterwards another of their sisters 
came to us, — intending to visit us in the same waj-, and per- 
haps thought that we sat there, waiting for one of our doors 
to open. — But she found it different : as we at once closed our 
portals, as they came running one after another. They must 
have been out on a tour of speculation or spying, so they were 
plainly told that we had enough of them, and that our com- 
munitj^ was entirely distinct from theirs, and that in the future 
our hearts and habitations would be closed against them, and 
all intercourse would be interdicted. 

"In this manner we disposed of them, and believe that 
henceforth they will not bother about us : as it is meet and 
right. Further I will now close. " 


pHEN the visit of the two Moravian evange- 
lists to Ephrata drew to an end, they jour- 
neyed to the house of Johannes Zimmermanu 
in the Conestoga valley, a short distance from 
Ephrata. He was the high priest of another religi- 
gious sect which had of late grown spontaneously upon 
the fertile soil of Lancaster county. This sect was known 
as the " New Mooners " {Neutnotidler), as they only held 
their meetings for religious worship during the growing or 
increase of the moon. 

The chief day for worship and prayer was the first day 

The Neil' Moo iters. 431 

of the new moon. It was based upon the divine command 
given to Moses as recorded in Numbers xxviii, 11. One 
of the curious features of their worship was the use of 
trombones upon that day, so as to comply with the scrip- 
tural injunction in Numbers x, 10. Other passages upon 
which they founded their faith and ceremonies are recorded 
in 2 Kings iv, 23 ; Samuel xx, 5, 6 ; and Amos viii, 5. 

Among the claims set forth by these people was one that 
all prayers and supplications made during the early phases 
of the lunar orb increased and magnified as they were 
wafted towards heaven ; while such as were offered during 
the declining quarters of the satalite were apt to remain 
within the terrestial atmosphere, and fail to ascend to the 
celestial throne. Therefore the regular services and cele- 
brations were always held during the first quarter. It was 
from this peculiarity that the sect became known as " New 

Another of their peculiar teachings was the disposition 
of the soul after death. It was taught that the spirits of 
the departed were wafted into space and there separated, 
i. e., the good from the bad. These souls were disposed of 
four times every month. In the growing moon when the 
horns were up, forming a boat as it were, the souls of the 
good went aboard and were thus carried into the realms 
of everlasting bliss. Upon the two last of the monthly 
trips, when the moon was in its third and last quarter, the 
souls of the wicked were gathered upon the now convex 
side, and the spirits not being able to maintain any foot- 
hold would slide off" into space and thus fall into the bot- 
tomless pit, where there was the rattling of dry bones and 
the gnashing of teeth. 

This was really a survival of an ancient belief, which 
was founded upon an old heathen saga and had its incep- 
tion in pagan times, long prior to the introduction of 
Christianity into Germany. It was an old folk-tale which 

432 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

had obtained a hold on the popular fancy and may well be 
classed among the many similar varieties of Aberglaube 
brought to our shores by the early settlers. 

From the Bethlehem diaries we glean a few additional 
items in relation to this curious sect of Pennsylvania 
Christians. An entry, dated January 4, 1748, states that 
the Moravian party on their way from Muddy creek to Mill 
creek visited the house of Hans Zimmermann — " The New 
Mooners have their meeting with him. They meet the 
first Sunday after the new moon, and De Benneville 
preaches to them." This De Benneville was Dr. George 
De Benneville, an eccentric character who claimed to have 
visited, while in a trance, the realms of bliss and departed 
spirits. He was a close friend to Brother Ezekiel (Hein- 
rich Sangmeister), the disgruntled member of the Ephrata 
Communit}', who wrote out an account of De Benneville's 
wonderful trance, which was found among his papers after 
his death. Bishop Spangenberg, under date of March nth 
of the same year, writes : that he left Muddy creek for 
Hans Zimmermanu's, where he preached to an audience of 
" bearded men " — Mennonites, Dunkers and seceeders from 
the Mennonites. Zimmermann himself was glad and help- 
ful to Spangenberg. " He is as he was ten years ago, no 
better and no worse." 

The New Mooners never gained much strength in the 
outside community, and even before the death of their 
high priest, Johannes Zimmermann, the sect ceased to be a 
distinctive body. The members were rapidly absorbed 
by other faiths, and the New Mooners soon passed into 

Brother Zeisberger and Anna Nitschman returned from 
their Ephrata trip to Nazareth, July 21 [1741]. One of 
the effects of this visit to the Cocalico was that while at 
Ephrata, Anna Nitschman had an interview with Gottfried 

Gottfried Haherechi. 433 

Habereclit and tried to prevail on him to return to his old 
communion. He refused, however, to entertain the sugges- 
tion ; but as time passed and the abstemious mode of life 
bore hard upon him, he longed over again to meet his old 
friends, and in the following September he jotirneyed to 
the Forks (Bethlehem). Here he remained, and at the end 
of a month concluded to withdraw from the Zionitic Brother- 
hood. Bishop Nitschman wrote them respecting his deci- 
sion, and dispatched Johann Bohner to Ephrata with the 
following letter.^" (Translation :) 

"Gottfried Haberecht, who in a mental confusion, was re- 
ceived and instructed bj' you with great patience, now humbly 
and repentantly knowledges before you, that he withdrew 
both untimely and irregularly ; mainly in so far as he arbi- 
trarily demanded to visit his Brethren, and thereby set a bad 
example for others. I thank you that you have thus far sus- 
tained me, and according to j'our ability have laboured for mj^ 
soul. This has not been without blessing for me. Now I 
should have returned unto you, according to the wish and ex- 
pression of my Brethren ; '" but as 3'ou to me per,soually and 
at the two public religious conferences granted me a dismissal, 
with a forgiveness of all previous happenings, so I now thank 
you therefor and wish heartly that the Brethren may again 
receive me. ' ' 

The Bethlehem diaries contain the following entries on 
the Haberecht episode : 

"September 13th, 1741. On the road we met Gottfried 
Haberecht, who had joined the Baptists at Ephrata. Habe- 
recht appeared depressed, and was desirous of seeing the 

"September 26th. Gottfried Haberecht and Augustine 
Neis.ser arrived. The former had met with ill treatment at 
Ephrata and came here for refuge. 

"Sept. 29th. Gottfried Haberecht remained at the Forks. 

'« Moravian MS. 

'•^ By the term Brethren, Haberecht here means the Moravian Brethren. 

434 ^f^^ German Srctarians of Pennsylvania. 

"October 12th. As Gottfried Haberecht had withdrawn 
from the Baptists at Ephrata, and had concluded to remain in 
the Forks [Bethlehem], David Nitchman, Episc. , wrote them 
respecting his decision, and dispatched John Bbhner to Ephrata 
with the letter. ' ' 

This case of Haberecht's caused much bad feeling be- 
tween the two communities, the Ephrata people openly 
charging that Anna Nitschman was the real cause of 
Brother " Gottlieb " leaving the Brotherhood. 

The Chronicon openly blames Anna Nitschman for his 
defection, who, it states : " when she visited the settlement, 
drew him back to her communion." Henceforth the career 
of Haberecht was cast with the Unitas Fratrum. 

Gottfried Haberecht,'" came with Spangenberg, Anton 
Seyffert and other, to Savannah, Georgia, on the "Two 
Brothers," Capt. Thompson, March 22, 1735. He was 
born in May, 1700, at Schoenheide, Lower Silesia, of 
Lutheran parents. He was reared a tailor, and came to 
Herrnhut in 1732. He was married, and lost his wife in 
Georgia. In 1736 he came to Pennsylvania, and for three 
years was an inmate of the Kloster at Ephrata. He returned 
to Bethlehem in 1741, and accompanied Count Zinzendorf 
on his return to Europe in January, 1743. In 1747 went 
to Algiers to aid Carl Notbeck in his labors of love among 
the Christian slaves, was there ten months. In 1749 went 
to London, and between 1 754-1 759 assisted Brother Caries 
in Jamaica, thence he retttrned to Bethlehem, and died 
February 28, 1767, at Christian Spring, whence he had 
gone to superintend the weaving shop of the economy. 

Upon the arrival of Count Zinzendorf in America, Decem- 
ber, 1 741, and the establishment of the Moravian settlement 
at the Forks of the Delaware (Bethlehem), the congregation 
of the Skippack Briider gradually declined, as most of the 

1" Extracts from Moravian diaries kindly furnished by John W. Jordan, 

Brotlier T/teodoriis. 435 

members affiliated with the Moravians, a course which by 
no means ended their usefulness, as the names of a number 
of these same Skippack Brethren will be found among the 
most active evangelists in the Province. Wiegner's house 
remained a preaching station for some time after the 
founding of Bethlehem ; the meetings, however, soon lost 
their individuality, and the members were absorbed by the 
more active movements of the Unitas Fratrum."* 

It is not to be wondered at that after the establishment 
of the Moravians at Bethlehem and Nazareth, both of these 
somewhat similar Communities should have become the 
objective point for the various crack-brained religious en- 
thusiasts and adventurers who had come to the colony to 
ventilate their dogmas, and at the same time better their 
fortunes. Where some of these enthusiasts were successful 
in imposing upon the succeptible Germans, others at once 
came to the Ephrata or Bethlehem communities, but, find- 
ing that a strict discipline was maintained, soon left the 
one to go to the other, finally to leave both, and again 
enter into the whirlpool of sin in the outer world. There 
were exceptions, however, where after changing from one 
to the other, they returned to their first choice and remained 
steadfast unto the end, — even if they did not remain in the 
" single " houses of their respective communities. Of these 
cases, that of Brother Theodoras is of special interest. 

This brother was an Englishman of gentle if not noble 
birth, who, when he came to Ephrata, gave the name of 
Thomas Hardie and asked to be received into the Brother- 
hood. He was well educated in both the languages and the 
law. Of his lineage and family he revealed little or nothing, 
except that his father had lived in London and his mother 
was a lady from Normandy, further that his grandfather had 
been English Ambassador in Spain. 

^^'^ May 2j, 1747. " Old widow Born, of Skippack, has sold her planta- 
tion, & with her two sons John & Herman, has come to Bethlehem." 
(Bethlehem diaries). 

436 The German Sectan'atis of Peunsylvauia. 

While yet at home he became interested in some of the 
mystical religious societies of his native country, and there- 
upon expressed an intention of going to Pennsylvania, as he 
had heard that the mystical theories were there carried into 
practice. This his father attempted to prevent. The young 
theosophist, however, disguised as a sailor embarked on a 
vessel leaving for America, and while at sea destroyed every- 
thing that might lead to the identification of himself or 
family, the last thing to be consigned to the deep was his 
emblazoned seal ring. 

Upon his arrival in Philadelphia, the captain, as was 
usual with the unscrupulous mariners of that day when 
they had a friendless passenger, offered him for sale for a 
term of years, ostensibly to reimburse him for passage 
money claimed to be still due. Rather than disclose his 
identity the young man permitted himself to be sold as a 
redemption servant. His purchaser was a German from 
Maxatawny, named Siegfried, who wanted an English 
teacher for his children. Siegfried realized considerable 
profit from his servant, as the latter beside teaching school 
acted as conveyancer and legal adviser of the neighborhood. 
So well pleased was the German with his bargain, that he 
made him an offer of his daughter and 100 acres of land. 
The Eirglishman refused the seductive offer, and upon the 
expiration of his term of bondage he wandered about among 
the Germans, as he stated, "in order to find agreement to 
his holy calling." 

Hardie first went to Bethlehem, but soon found the strict 
discipline under which he was placed there was irksome. 
Then his ideas of mystic theology were confronted with the 
sound gospel doctrine of the Moravian Brethren. This led 
to many disputes and finally unsettled his reason. After 
his recovery he came to Ephrata, and " as soon as he got 
sight of the person of the Superintendent, the celestial 
Venus in him became so eager to embrace the heavenly 

An Old Legend. 437 

Virgin, that he soon after entered into the Achim of be- 
trothal in the water of baptism." '^^ 

After his iminersion he joined the Zionitic Brotherhood 
and entered the convent, when he was given the name of 
Theodonis. He was at once installed as translator from 
German into English. However, after a sojourn of about 
six months, the confined life affected his health to so great 
an extent that he was obliged to leave the settlement. 
Thereupon he was sent by the Brotherhood to various 
parts of the back settlements of the Province in the capa- 
city of a schoolmaster, to give instruction to the neglected 
children of the settlers, no matter whether they be German 
or English. He led an humble life and loved poverty, he 
frequently preached and held religious services. His life 
was often so austere that it had to be forbidden him by his 
superiors at Ephrata.'" 

This pious evangelist lived until 1784 when his death was 
marked by the following curious incident, which is also re- 
corded in the Chronicon : When taking leave from his friends 
in Pittsburg, intending to visit his brethren in the settlement, 
one of his friends told him that he had seen in a dream that 
he would die there ; he, therefore, delayed his journey for 
another week ; but a hidden hand moved him to take up 
the project again, for it was decreed that his body should 
be again delivered to his brethren as a pledge. As soon as 
he arrived at the settlement he was seized with sickness, 
and recollecting what had been prophesied of him, he pre- 
pared for his decease and departed after a short illness. So 
much for the old legend. Thomas Hardie was buried among 
the brethren in the old God's acre by the roadside, where he 
rests in an unmarked grave. 

The following interesting letter written by him to Conrad 
Beissel has been preserved. 

•** Chronicon Ephretense, chapter xxiii. 
"' Ibid. 

438 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Translation : 

Father Friedsam : 

I thank thee for all the acts of love done to me, for all thy 
innocent suffering on my account, for all thy faithfulness. My 
friend, my Brother, how beautiful thou art in priestly adorn- 
ment when thou enterest the sanctuary with the golden censer, 
on the days of atonement, with man}' priests, when the bride 
Sophia, in a column of clouds, with many thousand saints, fills 
thy hand with incense. Praised be thy God, who elected thee. 
May he bless thee with everlasting comfort, from his loving 
heart, and be this the reward for all the affability thou didst 
show to the children of man. Now, my good heart, soul 
living in God, I wish thee inexpressibly much good, my dear 
prophet, thou servant of God, pray incessantly for me to thy 
and v^y God, and the God of us all. High priest of God, in 
whom dwelleth his parental love, to whom he delivered the 
kingdom in order that he might keep me from evil ! 

Now, my dear one, receive from me, in spirit, a hearty, 
mutual, lo\'ing kiss, and enter the sanctuary in peace. Love 
the Lord in his holiness, praise the work of his hands, for his 
grace abideth for ever and ever. Theodorus. 

P. S. Now I depart from thj' presence with a weeping heart, 
the heart tells more than the pen. I shall greet thee above in 
the garden of him who has loved thee and me. 


Ilia (.lu\s line' i Hiea , '' 

!l!ii!lilllilllll!i!':llil!illl!'illlllllllllllllllll!lli;i:i![ili l!?^illl!ll !llilllll!lillllllllllllM 



INZENDORF, the noble 
missionary and evange- 
list, mystic and theolo- 
gian, who came to our 
shores with the avowed 
purpose of spreading the 
Gospel among all human 
creatures, irrespective of 
race or color, looms up 
before us at this period 
as one of the most heroic 
characters in our history. 
Nikolaus Ludwig, Count 
of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf, — in America, Brother Lud- 
wig or Ludwig von Thiirnstein, — was a descendent of a 
noble family of Austria, born in Dresden, Saxony, May 26, 
1700, and was grand commander of the theosophical frater- 
nity, known as Der orden des Leidens Jesu (the Order of 
the Passion of Jesus), and also the founder of the order of 
the Mustard Seed, as well as of the revived sect of the 
Unitas Fratrtim or Moravians. He landed at New York 
on the second day of December, 1741. Eight days later 
he arrived at Philadelphia ; the nineteenth and twentieth 
he spent at Wiegner's on the Skippack, and four days later 
he held the festival of Christmas Eve in the settlement at 
the Forks of the Delaware. It was upon this occasion that 
the Brethren's settlement received the name of Bethlehem. 
The following day, Christmas, the Count and his fol- 

440 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

lowers set out for the Couestoga valley by way of Oley. 
One of the chief objects of Count Zinzendorf, in undertak- 
ing this journey in the inclement season, was to interest 
the Ephrata Community in his proposed union of all de- 
nominations. The strong hold which the Sabbatarian doc- 
trine had obtained upon the German populace in Pennsyl- 
\ania was an unexpected surprise to the noble evangelist, 
and more so, when he found that the question of the true 
Sabbath had even been raised previous to his arrival 
amongst his followers, the scattered brethren at Bethlehem, 
who, for the double purpose of conciliating the Sabbath- 
keepers and conforming strictly to the Holy Writ, for a 
time had also kept the seventh day as well as the first.'** 
This action was officially approved at the council held at 
Bethlehem on June 24, 1742, at which Zinzendorf was 
present when this important resolution was passed : 

" To observe as a day of rest not only Sunday, the day 
of the Lord, but also Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath." 

This was partly in order to avoid giving offense to the 
Seventh-day Baptists at Ephrata, and partly on account of 
the Indians and missionary laborers among them, as not a 
few at that time supposed that the Indians might be de- 
scendants of the ten tribes of Israel, which had been led 
into the Assyrian captivity. 

The above resolution in a manner decided the character 
of this congregation for a number of years.'*^ 

For some unknown reason Count Zinzendorf appears not 
to have extended his visit to the Ephrata settlement at this 
time. The Chronicon mentions that " he undertook a 
journey up the country, even before the conference, but 
visited only the door-sill of the Ephrata House." From 
the Bethlehem diaries it appears that on Christmas Day he 

"* Bethlehem Diaries. 

»9 Rev. Levin Theodore Reichel : Zinzendorf al Bethlehem. Nazareth, 

The Settlement at the Forks. 


442 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

preached in the house of Jean Bertolet at Oley, and five days 
later (December 30th), we find him in Germantown where 
he issued a call for a synod or religious conference, irrespec- 
tive of denomination, to convene, on the twelfth of January 
next, at the house of Theobald Endt, at Germantown. 

Zinzendorf's object in calling this conference was not 
with the view of uniting all denominations with the Mo- 
ravian church, as has been repeatedly stated. As a matter 
of fact, there was none in America at that time.'™ The 
Count's idea was for all to agree in essentials, and thus 
form '■'■one congregation of God in the Spirit,'''' though out- 
wardly divided into different denominations and communi- 
ties. The magnitude of the task which he imposed upon 
himself may be comprehended when we glance over his 
list of the different sects flourishing in the Province at the 
time of his visit. He there states : "All shades of Sectar- 
ians exist here down to open infidelity." Besides the Eng- 
lish, Swedish and German Lutherans, and the Scotch, 
Dutch and German Reformed, there were Armenians, Bap- 
tists, Vereinigte Vlaaminger en Watcrlander, Mennonites 
from Danzig, Arians, Socinians, Schwenckfelders, German 
Old Tunkers, New Tunkers, New Lights, Inspired, Sabba- 
tarians or Seventh-Day Baptists, Hermits, Independents 
and Free Thinkers. Spangenberg adds still one more 
class to this number, where he says : " Many thousands of 
these people cared so little for religion that it became a 
common saying in reference to such, who cared neither for 
God nor His word, that they had the Pennsylvania religion.''' 

'^^ It will be noted that the preliminary steps toward organizing a Mo- 
ravian congregation were taken but a week before this call for the first 
conference was issued. Among the Moravians present at the council we 
find, besides Zinzendorf, John Jacob Miiller, Bishop David Nitschman, 
Andrew Eschenbach, Pyrlaeus, Biittner and Rauch. The solemn organi- 
zation of the Congregation was not complete until June 25, 1742. See 
also Reichcl's Early History of the Church of the United Brethren. 
(Nazareth, 1S8S, p. 109.) 

Call of the Synod. 443 

!9lein tteier fi^teunb unb ^rubcr, ctr. 

2)ietoeil in bev ^irc^e Sf^rifti ein cntfe^Iidicr ©cfiabe gefd)te^et 
unter benen jum Sainme gcrufenen ©eeten, unb ba^ meifet au§ cinem 
3Jtt|trauen unb StrgiDofju einer gcgen ben anbcrn, unb baji uiclmal o^nc 
©runb, tiioburd^ ber '^\oi$. ju eticaS ©utem allcmal abgcfd)nittcn iuirb; 
unb ift un§ boc^ bie £ic6e gcboten : So ift man fdion luol;! i\X!<:\) SJa^r^ 
ober mct)r bamit umgangen, ob ni(f)t5 moglic^ ludre einc atlgcmcine 
3SevfammIung anjufleHen, nicfjt ber 33?e^nung mit einanber ju janfcn, 
fonbem in ber Siebe ju f)anbeln, Hon ben tnicfjtigftcn @Iaubcn§=3lrtifeln, 
urn JU fe^en, loie nal^e man einanber im ©runbe toerbcn tonnte, unb im 
iibrigcn in 5!JJet)nung bie ben ©runb ber ©eligfeit nic^t ftiirjcn, einanber 
in ber Siebe ju tragen, bamit atleS Siic^ten unb Urtfjeilen unter benen 
obmelbeten Seelen modt^te geminbert unb aufget;oben hjerben, Icobutd) 
man fief) bod) ber 2Belt fo blof^ ftettet, unb Urfad) gibt ju fagen : 3)ie 
ben j^rieben unb bie S3efet)rung ^jrebigen finb felbft toibrig gcfinnt,; ©0 
^at man biefe fo wic^tigc '^<xi^t nun tcieber mit bielcn 93riibern unb 
©ottfucbenben ©eelen in Sebenfen gencmmen, unb bor bem §errn ge= 
Jjriifet, unb befc£)Ioffen ben fiinftigen 9}euia^r§=2;ag in Germantown 
jufammen ju fommen; ©0 toirft bu auct) f)er3lid) gebeten, mit nod^ 
etlid)en beiner !:8riiber bie ©runb ^aben unb geben tonnen bon if;rem 
©lauben, mit be^utuotjnen, tco e^o euc^ ber §err juldffet: ©5 ift aucf) 
mei|t aHen anbern buret) eben foId)e Sriefe bcfannt gcmad)t. ©§ luirb 
Dermutf)Iic!^ eine gro^e Serfammlung icerben, aber \<x% bid) ba« nidit 
ab^alten, eS toirb atleS o^ne gro^en SRumor Deranftaltet Uierben. jDer 
§err ^efuS berlei^e unS feinen Segen baju. 

Son beinem armen unb geringen bocf) f)*-i'5''<^ gcfinnten greunb unb 

griebcrtcfiS loionf^ip in ^^tlabelptjia ®e. 
ben 15. Sejcmber 1741. 


444 ^'''^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

When the circulars of the proposed convention were re- 
ceived at the Ephrata settlement a general church council 
was at once called, wherein it was resolved that one Zion- 
itic Brother, together with several fathers, should attend it. 
Prior Onesimus demanded that, by virtue of his office, he 
should represent the Zionitic Brotherhood and take charge 
of the delegation. This was granted, and upon the ap- 
pointed day, January 12, 1742, the Ephrata deputation, con- 
sisting of Prior Onesimus, Johannes Hildebrand, Heinrich 
Kalckloser and another brother, appeared at the first Penn- 
sylvania synod, presented their credentials, and took their 
place in the conference. 

This meeting was held at the house of Theobald Endt, 
which stood on the west side of Germantown avenue, near 
the corner of what is now Queen lane. It was a stone 
house, of two stories, with a quaint penthouse overhanging 
the door and windows of the lower floor. The heavy sash, 
set with small lights, and the solidity of the inside wood- 
work, showed that it was built at an early day. 

Among the men who attended this meeting, all kinds of 
opinions were represented. Beside the four mystics from 
Ephrata, there were several apostates of the settlement, 
also Dunkers, Mennonites and Pietists, with a few Lutheran 
and Reformed. Prominent among these present were the 
Rev. Samuel Gulden, George Steifel "' and a few other old 
Separatists. Then there was Conrad Weiser, the only Ger- 
man justice within the Province, and who but a short time 
before, as Brother Enoch, was one of the most influential 
members of the Ephrata Community. Conrad Matthai, 
now living as a hermit on the Ridge ; Schirwagen, an In- 
spired from Germany, and Blasius Daniel Mackinet, with 
another Quaker who was conversant with the German lan- 
guage, completed the list. Of all this assemblage, the 
Ephrata delegation was accorded the place of honor, and it 

■'1 See ReicheVs Moravian History, p. 49. 

Beissel to Antes. 445 

appears that Count Zinzendorf took special pains to ingra- 
tiate himself with Prior Onesimus. 

He spoke a good deal with the Prior about the economy 
of the Solitary in the settlement, and foretold that he 
would be the Superintendent's successor in office, which 
was an easy prophecy, for Tacitus says : Cupido dominandi 
ainctis affectibns flagrantior est. " The lust to govern sur- 
passes all passions." ''' 

Owing to the result of this intimacy between Prior Onesi- 
mus and Count Zinzendorf, it was resolved to issue a call 
for another synod to be held at Ephrata two weeks later. 

When the Prior and his companions returned home and 
reported what had been done, great opposition was at once 
aroused against the holding of the proposed conference at 
the settlement and the arbitrary conduct of the Prior. 
Beissel wrote forthwith to Henry Antes, asking him to 
revoke the decision upon holding the conference at Eph- 
rata, as under no circumstances would it be permitted. 

Enclosed in this letter was a theosophic epistle, bearing 
the following title : 

Von der himmlischen Weiblichezt, nnd der Vergestalttmg 
unserer in derselben Bild durch die in der Paradisischen 
Libes-Flanime entziidete u. von dem Treiben des Fener- 
mdnnlichen Selbst-Willens gereinigte Magia misers Geistes. 
Nicht weniger von einer ziveyfachen Seligkcif des Gesetzes 
und Evangelii. 

The epistle closed with this allusion to the Moravian 
Brethren : " Regarding the matter with which we together 
have been concerned, through the management of several 
brethren of our Community, I shall remain your devoted 
patron and well-wisher. But in regard to the matter itself 
I stand still, and will neither further nor oppose it, but seek 
with my people and God to maintain the peace of Christ 
Jesus, together with all who are children of the same peace. 

^^^ Chronicmi., chapter xxiii. 

44^ Tlie German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Salute for me, in addition all salvation — bringing souls 
whom you know to be such. Fare you well, my beloved, 
and be unto God and His love truly commended." (Trans- 

As a result, the second conference was not held at Ephrata 
but assembled at Falkner Swamp. According to the Beth- 
lehem diaries it was at George Hiibner's on January 25, 
1741-42. But by the Ephrata accounts it was at the house 
of Henry Antes on January 29th. It does not appear just 
who represented the mystic community on this occasion. 
The following item, taken from the printed proceedings, is 
interesting :"^ 

" Query XXH. Is it true that the Moravian Brethren 
make too much of the matrimonial state and those of Eph- 
rata too little ? 

"Answer. It has seemed as if the congregation at Ephrata 
and the Brethren at the Forks, in the matter of matrimony, 
were in direct contradiction. But when the Brethren pub- 
licly stated their position, the latter said they had nothing 
against this. We have here upon the one side acknowledged 
that the suspicion of a carnal necessity, for the sake of which 
matrimony is exalted, is unfounded, until the contrary is 
found and acknowledged. Upon the other side we declare 
the congregation at Ephrata in the future to be innocent 

"^^ Die XXII Frage. — Ist's wahr, dass die Mahrischen Briider zu viel, 
und die von Ephrata nichts auf der Ehe halten ? 

AnTworT. — Es hat geschienen als wenn die Gemeinde zu Ephrata und 
die Briider in den Forks, in dem artikel der Ehe einander direct wieder- 
sprachen als aber die briider ihrem grund offentlich darlegten, so sagten 
jene dawieder hatten sie nichts. Wir haben also hierniit den argwohn von 
einer fleischlichen noth, um deren willen die Ehe erhaben werde auf der 
einen seite vor unbegriindet erkaut, bis man das gegentheil siehet und 
findet, und auf der andern seite sprechen wir die Gemeinde zu Ephrata, in 
zukunft von dem verdacht der lehre des Teufel frey ; und niemand der 
zu uns gehort soil sie ihnen schuld geben, und wer in kiinftig etwas der- 
gleichen horet, soil die person nennen, die es gesagt hat, und nicht die 
Gemeinde beschuldigen. 

The Third Synod. 447 

from any suspicion of spreading the teachings of the Devil. 
And no one belonging to us is to accuse them thereof ; and 
whoever in the future hears similar tales is to name the 
person who said it, and not accuse the congregation." 

The third Pennsylvania Synod was called at the house 
of John de Turck at Oley, February 21, 1741-42. Here 
the Zionitic Brotherhood were represented and gave their 
testimony against the Beast, the Whore and False Prophets, 
after which a considerable discussion was indulged in re- 
garding the matrimonial state, infant baptism and the 
Eucharist. The arguments eventually ran so high that the 
Sabbatarians withdrew before the close of the meeting.''^* 

In the printed report of the third Synod the following 
note was introduced, thereby making it appear as if their 
departure was upon religious grounds : '■'^' 

" Whereas, the Brethren from Ephrata can neither reach 
their own nor any other suitable place before the Sabbath, 
and it is the wish of our entire gathering that this respect- 
able submission of the church before the law appear not to 
be transgressed by us, although we have not yet received 
any Divine admonition looking toward the universal intro- 
duction of this doctrine : therefore we have given their 
matters precedence over all others, and devoted thereto the 
first day of the conference, and willingly permitted the afore- 
said Brethren to depart upon the evening of the second day 
thereof." (Translation.) 

154 presenius : Ainericanische Nachrichten, Band iii, p. 159. 

loj XV Wiel die briider von Ephrata weder ihren noch sonst einen 
bekanten ort vor Sabbats halteii erreichen konnen ; unzer ganzen ver- 
satnulung aber darau gelegen ist, das diese respectable praxis der kirch 
vor dem Gesetz von uns nicht iibertreten zu werden scheine ob wir gleich 
zu deren algemeine einfiihrung noch nicht keinen Gottlichen wink 
sehen ; so haben wir nicht nur ihre sache dis mahl alien den iibrichen 
vorgezogen, und den ersten Conferenz tag dazu ganz angewendet sondern 
auch willig geschehen lassen, dass die vorgemeldete briider am zweiten 
tage der Conferenz gegen abend wieder abgereist. 

448 Thr German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Iinuiediately after the adjournment of the Synod, Count 
Zinzendorf, with several companions, among whom was 
Rev. Jacob Lischy, set out for Ephrata by way of Tulpe- 
hocken, and arrived upon the same day at the settlement 
on the Cocalico, where he was hospitably received by Prior 
Onesimus and lodged in the convent Zion. The following 
morning Count Zinzendorf presented himself to the Prior 
and told of his intention of having an official interview 
with the Vorsteher, further, that he was going to use the 
lot to advise him whether to present himself before Beissel 
or summon the latter to appear before him. Onesimus 
advised against this, and announced him ofl&cially to the 

The latter, however, who regarded himself as of a higher 
rank in the theosophical fraternity, considered it against his 
dignity to call on Zinzendorf, and issued an edict for the 
Count to come to him and in open Chapter acknowledge 
his superior authority. This the Count naturally refused 
to do, probably being more or less influenced in his action 
by his entertainers, — the Eckerlings. So he, too, stood 
on his dignity, and eventually left the Community without 
meeting Conrad Beissel. 

The Chroiiicon in commenting upon this episode, says : 
" Thus did two great lights of the Church meet as on the 
threshold, and yet neither ever saw the other in his life." 

What effect the union of these two forces would have 
had upon the German population of this and the adjoining 
counties, had the two leaders met and agreed to work in 
unison, is hard at the present day even to surmise. The 
similarity of some of their ideas is apparent from the fact 
that the Moravians, as well as the Ephrata Community, 
erected and maintained separate brother and sister houses. 
Moreover, after the Moravians came into possession of the 
Whitefield house, now Nazareth, they for a long time used 
the name first given to the projected institution, Ephrata, 

Beissel to Zinzcndorf. 449 

while the Brethren themselves were known as " the Com- 
munity of St. John" (^Johajinische Gemeinde). 

Upon Zinzendorf's return to Germantown he wrote a 
letter to Beissel to the purport that he should descend from 
his spirtual height, that others might sit alongside of him 
without danger to their lives, of which the Vorsteher 
remarked : 

"If I were as great as he supposes, he would not have 
been afraid of me." 

Beissel subsequently answered the Count's letter by the 
following missive : 

"Abundant salvation and blessing from God and His rich 
Spirit, together with the communion of the holy Divine 
power, and in all that furthers the holy and internal growth 
of the secret life of Grace hidden in God. 

" I hardly know what power induces me to issue this mite 
unto you, without perceiving some inner deep and very 
secret draughts of love, which urge and challenge me. 
Should it strike in the Spirit, it would be well, if in future 
the heavens would make truth and justice drop down from 
above, and honesty grow upon the earth, and the children 
of man be taught the truth. Then there would be some 
hope of recovery. Alas ! wither shall we turn, that the 
universal evil and corruption be constrained ? Is it not 
the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ the Son of God, who 
came down from heaven, whom the Father gave all author- 
ity in heaven and earth, and made Him Heir and Lord over 
all ? So necessarily now our only salvation, and the treas- 
ures of His wisdom, lie in Him and concealed in His coun- 
sels, in and out of which all fulness of grace is derived. 

" It would certainly mean an entire new church reforma- 
tion, and indeed, primarily, one with an entire outwardly 
healthy natural morality ; in which certainly the teachings, 
which the Son of God brought down from heaven, would be 
kept back and behind a mountain : for instance, when one 

450 Tlic German Scctariaiis of Pennsylvania. 

deals with the mysteries of the love which Jesus entertained 
toward His disciples, and refused to trust to the world. 

" In this sense, can much good be in truth accomplished 
in our times, that is, so long as the Gospel remains free. 
It is also acknowledged by most true theologians that there 
is no more dangerous matter than when a man without 
proper knowledge touches upon the meaning and intent of 
the Gospel. 

" N. B. — The object of the Gospel is not the punishment, 
but the remission, of Sin. So if we avow the Gospel with- 
out an internal conversion of the heart (where first an out- 
ward conversion must take place by works of righteous- 
ness) it is of no service to man. 

" Then, even as there are two Testaments, so there is 
also a two-fold application of the same. And each hath its 
own manner and time, in the Divine worship, with the 
appointed time of the Father, etc. So there are also in 
these two Testaments two kinds of births : one, that in 
servitude ; the other, which is born in freedom, etc. 

" It is therefore perceived in a strong degree of light that 
almost all outward Divine worship, as the same appears 
outwardly, aud even what Christ suffered outwardly, was 
of the Old Testament, and born in the servitude. 

" Even for this 'reason there are so few essential Christians. 
As the Jew with his righteousness is not sufficient, and 
consequently needs a conversion, so the lawless heathen 
places himself in the Gospel, wherefrom such a lawless 
anti-Christianity is born as we now have at the present 

" In this sense I can, in a certain measure, stake not a 
little : when to wit, give us one still better, as in this our 
time much can be wrought and accomplished among us, 
provided, however, God be the cause, albeit not necessarily 
present. For ray own part, I have never felt the presence 
of God so near in sacrifice or in worship as in the mortal 

End of the Synods. 451 

life of Jesus, or when I must hang with hini upon the 
cross between two malefactors. 

" Even in the same manner have I, in Him, lost my fair 
features, so that they are now less comely than those of 
others. This sun of tribulation has already burned into me 
so strong that its fire can hardly ever be extinguished 
within me until the day of eternity, when God will wipe 
away all tears from our eyes." 

Ephrata, the 9th of 
Eleventh month, 1741. 

This trifle from me, Friedsam, Fr. , otherwise 

called Conrad Beissel, at present a stranger and 

pilgrim in this world. 

P. S. — This little missive is an outcome of a ver3' .secret and 

intimate epitome of the Spirit. Pray proceed in this so far 

as practicable, according to the utmost rules of love. 

The fourth Synod was again scheduled to be held at 
Ephrata (March 21, 1741), but the episode and resulting 
correspondence just related made a change in Zinzendorf's 
plans desirable, and the meeting was called at Germantown, 
to meet in the house of John Ashmead, near the market 
house, and almost opposite the German Reformed church. 
Nothing of note occurred relative to the Sabbatarians at 
this gathering. 

April 1 8th. The Synod met for the fifth time, and in 
the Reformed church in Germantown. This meeting was 
chiefly conspicuous for the quarrel between Count Zinzen- 
dorf and Christopher Saner. 

The sixth Synod assembled on May i6th at the house of 
Lorentz Schmelzer, also at Germantown. 

June 13, 1741. The seventh and last of the Pennsylva- 
nia Synods met at the house of Edward Evans, on the 
north side of Race street, above Second street, in Phila- 

452 TJir German Sfctariaiis of Pfunsylvania. 

But little was accomplished by the various conferences 
toward bringing about an evangelical union of all the 
Germans in the Province, irrespective of creed or denomi- 
nation. The chief result was a flood of vituperative litera- 
ture, much of which, fortunately, was not printed. Saner, 
in a letter to Germany, dated March 26, 1742, writes : 

" I have had no time yet to print for them '°° except 
" when he ^''^ arrived here, a little hymn book of six sheets 
"for beginners, which I judged to be harmless. Since 
" then I have cut off his correspondence. If I had printed 
"all that was offered pro and coji, it woiild have been a 
" comedy ; for here the people are mostly children of Adam 
"and know naught of the count." 

This hymn-book, a duodecimo of 95 pages, printed by 
Christopher Sauer, was entitled : 

Hirten Lieder | von \ Bethlehem^ \ ziim Gebrajich \ vor 
alles was arm ist, \ was kleiti und gering ist. 

It was prepared for publication by Count Zinzendorf 
within six days after his arrival in the Province, and con- 
tained a small selection of old and new hymns suitable for 
the use of all denominations. This was the first literary 
outcome of the Moravian missionary movement in America. 
This book is so scarce that even the Pennsylvania Histori- 
cal Society does not own a copy.''^* The fac-simile of the 
title-page and advertisement upon its reverse is from the 
copy in the collection of Hon. Samuel W. Pennypacker. 

Among the earliest issues of the Ephrata Brotherhood 
was a printed broadside written by Onesimus. It is not 
known to a certainty whether this sheet was printed upon 
the first press of the Community or that of Christopher 
Sauer. It gave a short account of the reasons why the 
Ephrata Community refused to affiliate with the Moravian 

'^ The Moravians. 

'*' Count Zinzendorf. 

'^ Proceedings of the Pennsylvania-German Society, vol. vi, p. 9, et seq. 

Zinzendorf^ s Hymn-book. 







c- cfe 

^crt-» j^ S 2 
"^^ ^ 2 '-^<' =? s IJ 

'^ ^ o '5 S S3 
*^ 53 — » _ v«-3*. tl^ »-•- ir* 

5 ^ « 

f ^ ^ 

I i 1 

s ^ 

I 9? § 

1 ? 1 

5 ? 

454 ^'''^ German Sectarians of Pennsylvajtia. 

Brethren. Both German and English versions were printed 
for distribution. In these we find a new and interesting 
account of the visits and reception of Zinzendorf and some 
of his followers at Ephrata. 

From this account it would appear that Count Zinzendorf 
made two visits to the Kloster, followed by one from his 
daughter Benigna, and still later another from a Moravian 
Elder and his wife : 

" Now it so happened that the Count came to us a second 
time, and we felt it our duty to receive him in the most 
cordial manner, especially as they had already passed their 
judgment upon us in the most hostile way, as at all times 
enviers of God's truth have done. It would, therefore, not 
be meet for us to retaliate in the same manner, but rather 
to the contrary. For that was our watchword, whereby 
we gained the complete separation in our hand, so that we 
may now with our holdings stand apart from them. Con- 
sequently we are entirely free and liberated. Upon our 
side, as we in a modest manner can demonstrate, notwith- 
standing that they had attempted to prove the contrary. 

" But as they, to all appearances, were entirely ignorant 
about us, they attempted to find further entrance among 
us, and if possible, to incite a longing after a foul doctrine. 
Therefore shortly afterwards they made another visit to us, 
to wit, the Count's daughter''^" with her Vorsteher and his 
wife came to us. We received them in the same manner, 
as we held it unnecessary to say a single detrimental word 
either in their presence or absence. 

" We took special pains to meet them upon every occa- 
sion with all discreetness, and without showing the least 
intention of entering into any intimacy with them, as they 
had already placed the full proof in our hands, wherefrom 
we easily perceived that they did not wish to reach the good 
in our Community. 

"' See page 428 supra. 

Onesinms' Broadside. 455 

" Furthermore, we felt complete freedom, as honorable 
persons, to extend all courtesy to them. Notwithstanding 
all this, the matter did not end here, as they could not desist 
from spying into our affairs and troiibling themselves further 
about us. It seems as if they did not know us rightly, or 
they would have saved themselves this trouble. 

" It is to be added that shortly afterwards, another visit 
was made to us. This was from two persons, a woman and 
a man, who was said to be one of their teachers, and who 
came to us in Zion Convent, felt in duty bound to receive 
him as our guest, and after the evening meal-time several 
of our brethren came together to welcome him, and show 
him our good will ; when all at once certain words were 
spoken, which caused a very bad feeling within us. As he 
soon let us know what his intentions were ; he also told us 
of the woman who went to the Sister House, and how she 
was inclined to remain there for some time. But as the 
matter continued more unclean to us, and caused consider- 
able pressure, so we made cause to speak further with them, 
especially about their strange work, whereby they sought to 
draw so many young people unto them ; and when they 
had them in their hands, they made men and women out 
of them. 

" We told them that to us this appeared very strange and 
absurd, as we did not know of a single instance of a saint 
in the new dispensation from whom it could be shown that, 
by such a carnal increase of the Church of God, it would 
profit. On the contrary, we see it as clear as sunshine that 
Christ and his apostles built the Church of God upon an 
entirely different foundation, and continued it by other 
means," '^" etc. 

160 11 jjjjj kurtzer Bericht von den Ursachen, waruni die Gemeinscliaft in 
Epliratasich mitdem Grafen Zinzendorf uud seinen Leuten eingelasssen. 
Und wie sich eine so grosse Ungleichheit im Ausgang der Sachen auf 
beyden seiten befunden." No original copy is known, as what was left 

456 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Several efforts were subsequently made by Zinzendorf to 
induce the secular brethren of the Ephrata Community to 
leave the fold of the Sabbatarians and unite with the Mo- 
ravians ; but the scheme was always foiled by the influence 
of Beissel, or the actions of his deputies who attended the 
conference. The explanation given in reference to this 
non-agreement of the two leaders is in an old German MSS., 
seen by the writer some years ago, and probably offers the 
correct solution : " They were both hard unyielding stones, 
and two hard burrs grind no grain." 

of these broadsides were burned together with the Eckerling papers by 
order of Beissel at the time of their expulsion from the settlement, Chroni- 
con Ephratense, chap. xxv. 

The translation is made from the reprint in Fresenius Nachrichten , III, 
pp. 462-474. 

— r-r''&^-'Kagjw^8ftf|saa«aBg 



JEEN and eager to carry 
the Gospel to all people, 
Count Zinzendorf exten- 
ded his excursions into 
the Indian country beyond 
the Blue Ridge and per- 
sonally supervised a plan 
for its civilization. 

The decade between 
1740 and 1750 presents a 
period of religious awak- 
ening, excitement and en- 
thusiasm, — call it what 
what you will, — unpar- 
alleled in the history of the Province. Within this period 
is embraced the establishment of the monastic feature of 
the Ephrata Community ; the advent of the Moravian 
Brethren; the thorough organization of the German Dunker 
Church ; the visit of Whitefield and its attendant excite- 
ment ; the bitter feud and schism among the Presbyterians ; 
the advent of Miihlenberg and his efforts to firmly estab- 
lish the Lutheran Church in this country ; the coming of 
regular clergy of the Reformed faith ; and the numerous 
revivals in the Baptist Church ; together with the decline 
of the Society of Friends, both politically and religiously ; 
all of which falls within this short period of time. 

Thus far but little attention has been given by writers 
on Pennsylvania history to the influences exercised by the 
various mystical, theosophical and cabbalistic societies and 

458 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

fraternities of Europe in the evangelization of this Prov- 
ince, and in reclaiming the German settlers from the 
rationalism with which they were threatened by their con- 
tact with the English Quakers. 

Labadie's teachings ; Boehme's visions ; the true Rosi- 
crucianism of the original Kelpius party ; the Philadel- 
phian Society, whose chief apostle was Jane Leade ; the 
fraternity that taught the Restitution of all things ; the 
mystical fraternity, led by Dr. Johan Wilhelm Petersen 
and his wife Elenora von Merlau — both members of the 
Frankfort company — all found a foothold upon the soil of 
Penn's colony, and exercised a much larger share in the 
development of this country than is accorded to them. It 
has even been claimed by some superficial writers and his- 
torians of the day that there was no strain of mysticism 
whatever in the Ephrata Community, or, in fact, connected 
with any of the early German movements in Pennsylvania. 
Such a view is refuted by the writings of Kelpius, Beissel, 
Miller and many others, who then lived, sought the Celes- 
tial Bridegroom, and awaited the millennium which they 
earnestly believed to be near. 

With the advent of the Moravian Brethren in Pennsyl- 
vania, the number of these mystical orders was increased 
by the introduction of two others, viz., the Order of the 
Passion of Jesus {^Der Ordcn dcs Leidens Jesii) of which 
Count Zinzendorf was grand commander, and the Order of 
the Mustard Seed {Der Senfkorn Ordcn). 

These two fraternities differed' somewhat from those just 
enumerated, as there was a missionary feature connected 
with them. The object of the members was not confined 
to seeking the inner light ; to attaining spiritual or physi- 
cal regeneration and perfection; to studying mystical 
speculations on the divine essence, to revelling in the em- 
braces of the celestial Sophia ; or to gazing anxiously at 
the skies for the appearance of the expected harbinger who 

Slaves of Virhie. 459 

would announce the millennium. Their chief aim was a 
far more practical one, for, in addition to theosophical 
belief, it was incumbent upon every member of both fra- 
ternities to go willingly to any part of the globe to spread 
the Gospel of Christ. 

The relation of these two orders to each other was some- 
what similar to that of the Blue Lodges of Free Masonry 
to the Grand Lodge. The Order of the Mustard Seed was 
the lower body, while the Order of the Passion of Jesus 
was formed of such of the bishops and clergy of the 
Unitas Fratrum as had passed through the various degrees 
of the lower order. To the latter organization the laity of 
both sexes were eligible for membership, but not for ad- 
vancement to the higher body, as the elective offices were 
almost always restricted to the clerical members. 

The history of these orders dates back 
to the early 3'ears of the eighteenth cen- 
tury ; they owe their inception to Count 
Zinzendorf, when he was attending the 
Padagogium at Halle, being then four- 
teen years of age. Here five lads banded 
themselves together, under certain princi- 
ples, based upon the teachings of Jesus, 
looking toward extending the Kingdom of God upon earth. 
The little band of embryo missionaries called themselves 
" Slaves of Virtue " {^Die Titgend Sclaveii). 

The insignia of the order, when first constitiited, was a 
medal with an " Ecce Homo," '" surrounded by the 
inscription Nostra Medala. The interest and enthusiasm 
of these few was not permitted to flag, and by the activity 
of Zinzendorf rapidly increased. After an existence of 
several years some changes were made in the ritual, 
when the fraternity became known as " The Society 


161 "Behold the man": a picture which represents the Saviour as 
given up to the people by Pilate. 

460 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

of the Professors of Jesus Christ" {Die Gesellschaft der 
Bekenner Jesu Ckristi). The influence of the fraternity 
was now extended to aristocratic circles, and in the 
year 1724 was again reconstructed, and regular rules and 
statutes of the Order were issued under the name of " The 
Order of the Mustard Seed " Den Orden vom Scnfkorn). 
This had reference to the parable of the Mustard Seed 
(Mark iv, 30-32). 

In the reconstruction of the Order these original rules, 
formulated in 17 14, were adopted for the government of 
the fraternity. 

The Articles of the Order of the Mustard Seed, 
FROM A Translation (about 1744) from the 
Latin Original of 1714. 
The view with which the members of our Society from its 

beginning till the year last past have bound themselves, may 

be seen from what follows ; 

I. — The members of our Society will love the whole human 

II. — They will seek to further the welfare of the same by all 
ways aud means. 

III. — They will seek to unite souls to their Creator, and 
also to their Redeemer, as soon as they know any thing of Him. 

IV. — They will act uprightly, and though circumspectly and 
guardedly, yet always without dissimulation. 

V. — They will not hurry anything, but after due considera- 
tion first had, proceed in it with certainty-. 

VI. — They will not long consider about entering in at yn 
doors, which the providence of God .shall from time to time 
open for the furtherance of his work, and which is for them to 
do therein, cheerfully and undauntedly to do it : But they will 
take the utmost care ; that in the Prosecution of this, no pass 
already open may be caused to be shut. 

VII. — Shoiild any one have an Adversary, who oppresses 
him, and who is hurtfull to him in his person. But the work 
of our Common Lord prospers in his Hand : He shall not hin- 

Rules of Ordc}- of the Mustard Seed. 461 

der him, but shall afford him all imaginable Assistance. That 
his work may succeed, and great profit accrue therefrom. 

VIII. — To the casting off of some good Things, altho' they 
may not be agreeable to us, yet no one shall lay a hand to it, 
without the Strictest and Exactcst Examination made, but 
much rather assist the Re-establishing of ye same. 

IX. — We will all avoid that exceeding pernicious (but in our 
Times grown a quite natural) principle, of introducing Innova- 
tions in Doctrine, Moral, or Ceremony, but much rather Strive 
and help to restore the old, w''' has of all preeminence, where 
it can be done without the suspicion of a Renovation, and 
what is once introduced, rather Sanctif}^ than cast off. 

X. — We will according to our Saviours advise, not mix new 
Regulations with the y'= old and superannuated Ones, that the 
Breach be not made worse. 

XI.— The works of the Lord w"'' have of long Time been 
cover'' over with, but thro Divine Marvelous Grace 
preserv'd and restor'd to their former Brightness. We will be 
studious to maintain, and keep in their Lustre. 

XII. — If any one acts Uprightly, and has a good Intention, 
such a one we will with all our power, Assist, Admonish and 
Help forward, & if he has an uncertain, or as yet an unsolved 
plan, we will not therefore him, but help him into it, 
that our common Lord may be served with united powers. 

XIII. — When these and such like things are happily com- 
pleated according to the Lord's good pleasure, Then we will 
lay us down to Sleep, We shall have dcserv'd nothing, we will 
tho' lay us cheerfullj' down to Sleep, when we have done the 
Lord's Will here in Time, pray for Mercy, Hope in the Grace 
which the Cross of Christ has Purchased. 

After Labouring, Rest is Sweet. 

It will be noticed that in neither the ritual of the Zion- 
itic Brotherhood, nor that of the Order of the Mustard 
Seed, does there appear any penal oath or affirmation ; the 
obligation must have been a moral one. As a matter of 
fact, nearly all the Pennsylvania Sectarians objected to 
taking an oath, judicial or extrajudicial, under any con- 
sideration or in any form. 

462 The German Sectaria^is of Peinisylvajiia. 

We have here an interesting problem for the students 
and members of the oath-boiind secret societies of the 
present day ; as in no case, so far as known to the writer, 
were the secrets or esoteric rituals of these societies ever 
exposed or communicated to the outer world. 

The reconstructed society now rapidly increased in mem- 
bership. Among the patrons of the Order were Christian 
VI of Denmark ; John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury ; 
Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man ; the Cardinal 
of Noailles ; General Oglethorpe, Governor of Georgia; and 
numerous other notables of the time. 

One of the peculiar features of this fraternity of the 
Mustard Seed was the arrangement by which members 
were often kept unknown to each other, and their connec- 
tion with the Order carefully concealed from all. This 
feature was but similar to the ritual of the Rosicrucian 
fraternity, where the candidate never knew the /rater who 
received him at his profession. 

Shortly before Zinzendorf's journey to America the Order 
was extended into England and Holland, and a proposition 
was made to publish the names of the patrons and mem- 
bers of the society. This called forth a reply, which later 
appeared in the Biidmgiscke Sammlung. This sets forth 
" that the Order was one which also admitted private persons 
of civilian condition as an incentive to virtue and advance- 
ment of righteous knowledge. It was established during 
the early years of the present [XVIII] century, and flour- 
ished in laudable quiet and secrecy, so that many a worthy 
member of the same has already passed away from this world 
without being known to all his fellow-members. As from 
that time until now persons of such quality and conditions 
have been connected therewith, it has not been found ad- 
visable to incorporate their names upon our registers, nor 
would it be policy to publish them at the present time, as a 
number of the Seniors of our Society have neither call nor 

Insignia of the Order. 463 

inclination to cut any figure in the material world. Then 
again there are persons who would count it a great indiscre- 
tion if, by our fault, what to them is held as a great secret 
should become a matter of speculation to the general 
public," etc. 

The grand insignia of the reconstructed Order of the Mus- 
tard Seed was a gold cross'"' with green enameled edges. 
A large oval in the centre of the cross was enameled blue, 
upon which a mustard tree (?) was painted in the natural 
colors, surrounded by the inscription in gold: Quot fiiit 
ante Jtihil. In the angles of the cross were represented 
sprouting grains of mustard, in which three seeds were 
seen. The remaining space between the arms of the cross 
was filled in with golden rays. These insignia were worn 
by the grand commander, suspended around his neck by a 
golden chain, the links of which typified sprouting mustard 
seeds and were symbolical of the Order. For the oflScers 
of secular grade the insignia were suspended from a piece 
of sea-green {AIeer-griten~) silk ribbon in the place of a gold 
chain. The clerical brethren used a white silk ribbon with 
sea-green edges. 

All persons upon their initiation into the Order received 
a gold ring,"^ which, during the ceremony, was placed on 
the third finger of the left hand. This ring was to be worn 
at all times. It was enameled white with green edges, and 
the inscription was in Greek characters : Ou(5ei? rnxmv ^aurwqf^ 
(Rom. xiv, 6). 

A number of this confraternity were among the early 
Moravians as well as a few in the Ephrata Community ; '"^ 
but who they were, or how many, is a matter which is lost 
in oblivion. Neither the numbered breast-stones nor the 

'*■ The original was about double the size of the engraving. A single 
specimen only of this decoration is known to be in existence. 
163 Five of these rings are known. 
"* Gottlieb Haberecht is an example of the latter. 

464 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania, 


Tlie Order of the Passion of Jesus. 


burial records of either community, so far as known to the 
writer, makes any mention of the Order. How many of 
these rings there may be in the numbered graves of Beth- 
lehem, Nazareth, lyititz, Philadelphia, or the other God's 
acres of the Moravian and Sabbatarian Brethren through- 
out the Province will perhaps never be known. 

The third insignia of the Order, the Mantel-Cross {Das 
Mantelkreit(z), was a large cross worn over the heart upon 
the left side of the purple cloak which formed a part of the 
regalia, after the manner of the Knights Templar and St. 
John. The shape was that of a Latin cross, and was formed 
of silver braid. In the centre was fastened a single grain 
of mustard, encircled by the embroidered monogram : 
c • I 
This denoted Crescit Christo in immensum^ doubtless in 
allusion to Ephesians iv, 13. The members of this fra- 
ternity, irrespective of sex, willingly went to any part of 
the globe, wherever sent by the superiors, to enlighten the 
benighted or the heathen with 
the glorious truths of the Gospel 
of Christ. 

The insignia of the higher fra- 
ternity consisted of a gold medal, 
in the centre of which was the 
manifestation of Christ with two 
kneeling figures upon each side, 
the whole surrounded by the in- 
scription in Latin type : Wir 
Halten Uber der Bekenntnis vom 
Leiden lesn. 

The grand cross was a Latin cross of gold. Upon the 
upper limb was a full length figure of Christ in relief, 
representing his manifestation. Upon the arms of the cross 



466 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

were portrayed a number of prostrated figures, also in 
relief, adoring the risen Christ. Upon the lower limb 
appeared a chalice, surmounted by a passion cross. This 
jewel was worn upon the breast, suspended by a ribbon 
around the neck, and is shown upon the portrait of Bishop 
John Nitschman. 

The first practical results of the teachings of the Order 
of the Mustard Seed in America culminated on February 
22, 1742, during the last session of the second Pennsylva- 
nia Synod, when three Indians, from Shecomoco, as the 
Diary states, were "baptized into the death of Jesus." The 
scene was an impressive one, even though it was not cele- 
brated in a vaulted cathedral, with organ, trombone and 
kettledrum, accompanied by the voices of trained choristers, 
and all the churchly surroundings of medieval pomp. The 
ceremony which marked the commencement of the Mo- 
ravian missionary work in America was held upon the 
plain humble barn-floor of John de Turck at Oley, to which 
the attendants of the synod adjourned, because it was larger 
than any room in his house, where the synod was held. 

The Indian converts had come by appointment from 
Schecomoco to be admitted into the Christian church. For 
this purpose the barn was improvised for a meeting-house, 
and a large tub of water was placed upon the floor. After 
prayer and invocation, the three Indians knelt around the 
tub, and leaning over the edge, were solemnly baptized by 
missionary Christian Ranch, in the presence of the assembled 
synod and of Bishops David Nitschman and Zinzendorf ; 
the former Bishop wearing the Rosy Cross ; the latter, the 
Crux Aurca of the Order of the Passion of Jesus, promi- 
nently displayed upon the front of their snow-white and 
crimson-girdled surplices. 

Thus were the first three Indian converts of the Mora- 
vian Church ushered into the Christian faith in the pres- 
ence of two grand commanders of our Mystic Brotherhood. 


BORN, 1703; DIED, 1772. 


An Indian Order. 


The names given to these converts were Abraham to 
Shabash^ Isaac to Seini and Jacob to Kiop. In the course 
of time, as the number of Indian converts increased, they 
were divided into classes or degress, somewhat similar to 
the Sen/korn Orden ; viz., apprentices, candidates, bap- 
tized and communicants ; and an effort was made to incite 
a love for theosophic mysticism among them, thus to estab- 
lish an aboriginal American branch of the Order of the 
Mustard Seed — a scheme which, however, soon had to be 
abandoned, owing to the character of the material from 
which it was proposed to recruit. 



chaptp:r XXXI. 


ROM the facts presented in 
the preceding chapters it 
will be seen that the theo- 
sophical enthusiasts, both 
male and female, were by 
no means allowed to idle 
away any of their time, 
for, when not at their 
devotions or taking the 
rest necessary to maintain 
their strength, they were 
kept employed in the vari- 
ous departments of the 
Ephrata economy under the able management of the Ecker- 
lings ; and when, finally, the communal life was formally 
instituted, all private ownership of property was, as the 
Chronicon states, declared an "Ananias sin." This, how- 
ever, only referred to the Solitary. The Sabbatarian con- 
gregation at large, or "domestic households," acciimulated 
property as best they could, but were supposed to make 
daily offerings in the shape of tithes, such as vegetables or 
other produce suitable for the sustenance of the Solitary 

Owing to the success of their plans, the Eckerlings now 
conceived a scheme for inducing such members of the 
secular congregation as occupied land adjoining the settle- 

■'^ This chapter, as well as that of Saron and Bethania are grouped 
together somewhat out of their chronological order for the purpose of 
bringing the description of all of the various Kloster buildings into this 

A Cunning Scheme. 469 

merit to bring themselves to a still higher spiritual condi- 
tion. The plan was to erect a large building to be divided 
into two parts, one for the fathers the other for the mothers ; 
and upon their entering this establishment their farms and 
landed estates were to be handed over to the Brotherhood, 
thus becoming convent property. This cunningly devised 
scheme to possess themselves of the settlers' lands and im- 
provements was presented to the Vorsteher, with arguments 
based upon the fact that several couples had of late followed 
the example set by Jephune in the autumn of 1730, and 
Simeon in 1739, who separated from their wives, the men 
entering Ziou the women Kedar, the most prominent among 
these late divorcees being Rudolph Nagele (Jehoiada) and 
Sigmund Landert (Shealtiel). Further, they represented 
that there were many others prepared to take the same 
course. Beissel's consent to the scheme was thus secured. 
It was several years, however, before the Eckerlings 
could perfect their plans, consequently it was not until the 
spring of 1744 that they were warranted in building a 
house for this express purpose. This new structure was 
built at right angles with Peniel, and was called Hebron.'^* 
The name was selected for this structure, as according to 
the mystical theosophy it signified the common tomb of 
the Patriarchs. In Ephrata it symbolized the end of con- 
jugal life. The mystical speculations regarding Hebron 
date back to the earliest ages ; they are probably a relic of 
the Moloch fire cult. Hebron, the place or city of fire (f/ro, 
to burn up), was under the rule of Ephron the son of Zohar 
(Gen. xxiii, 8), and was selected by Abraham as a burying 
place, and so became the sepulcher of the Patriarchs, and 
it was believed that the place at the end of time would be 
consumed with celestial fire together with all of the remains 
interred there."'' 

"■" Also called Das Haus der Gemeinschaft. 
"' Zohar, Geu. f. 124, Amsterdam edition. 

470 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Dedication of Hebron. 471 

By Christmas, 1743, the new house was ready for occu- 
pation. Its dimensions were seventy by thirty feet. It 
was divided into two parts, one of which was to be occu- 
pied by the men, with an entrance on the north side. The 
other part was for the matrons, their entrance being from 
the south side. It was so designed that each division was 
a counterpart of the other. In addition there were rooms, 
chambers and a hall for love-feasts, similar to those in Zion 
and Kedar, and in order to fully introduce the monastic 
discipline, several of the Zionitic Brotherhood moved 
into the house and took charge of the services. Johann 
Sensemann was installed as Briider Schaffner or general 

Upon the day set for the dedication, January 12, 1744, 
the whole community assembled at Peniel. After impres- 
sive services a procession was formed, and wended its way 
toward the stream amidst the pealing of the Kloster bells 
and the chanting of hymns. When the pool was reached 
those of the brethren and sisters who were to enter Hebron 
were re-baptized in the icy flood of the Cocalico. At the 
close of the ceremony the party again wended its way 
toward the prayer-saal. After dry clothing was assumed, 
religious services were resumed in Peniel, during which 
the letters of divorce, that had been prepared by Onesi- 
mus and which had been previously signed by the interested 
parties, were handed to the house-fathers and matrons who 
had voluntarily divorced themselves with the intention of 
improving their spiritual condition by living separate lives 
in Hebron. 

The Chronicon, in describing this peculiar arrangement, 
states : 

" This new institution was for some time richly blessed 
" by God, for these good people were not only very simple- 
" minded, but bore a great love toward God ; they also were 
" very benevolent, and harbored many poor widows whom 

472 The German Seclariatis of Peiiiisylvaina. 

" they maintained out of their own uieans, so that their 
"household resembled a hospital more than a convent." 

That a condition of affairs so foreign to a sound public 
policy could not succeed in the new Province might have 
been foreseen. Even the promoters of the scheme found 
that although a number entered the convent and nominally 
divorced themselves, they still held on to their landed 
property. This was just what the Eckerlings did not 
intend them to do. Then, as many of these couples had 
left their children in charge of their farms, or in the care 
of other members of the congregation, parental feelings 
gradually commenced to assert themselves, and it soon 
became evident that the scheme was destined to end in 

Another danger which threatened the new institution 
was the action of the civil authorities, who took steps to 
investigate these extra judicial divorces, proceedings which 
according to one account, were first instituted by Conrad 
Weiser, who it will be recalled was for a time an active 
inmate of the Ephrata institution, but as his ambition for 
worldly honors was greater than his religious fervor, he 
made use of the Community for his personal advancement,'"* 
and finally accepted a commission as justice of the peace, 
which at that time was equal to a Common Pleas judge. 
As soon as this became known he was sharply reprimanded 
by Beissel, which naturally led to a rupture between the 
two men, and caused much feeling between the new justice 
and his former brethren. Another force that influenced 
Weiser at that time was the intimacy which had sprung 
up between him and Rev. Miihlenberg, and resulted in the 
latter marr>-ing Weiser's daughter, Anna Maria. Miihlen- 
berg, as in duty bound, did his best to bring his prospective 
father-in-law and his family back into the Lutheran faith, 

'^ Conrad Weiser's letter of resignation from the Ephrata Community 
will appear in the next volume. 

Legal Complications. 473 

and at the same time used all of his persuasive powers 
against the Ephrata Community and their peculiar rites 
and observances. 

So even before the new Communit)' in Hebron was fairly 
settled in its habitation legal processes were issued against 
the leading members of the Zionitic Brotherhood, a proceed- 
ing for which Weiser was held responsible by the Kloster 
authorities. It is stated in an old manuscript that Conrad 
Weiser claimed, in his own defence, that the information 
against the Community was not instigated by him, but was 
lodged by one Abraham Paul and one Merkel ; further, that 
he thereupon wrote to Beissel in reference to the matter. 
Beissel's letter-book, however, is said to contain nothing 
in reference to this correspondence. 

Subsequently Onesimus and Jaebez went to Weiser and 
induced him to discontinue the suit. This he promised to 
do, but it seems that notwithstanding this promise the case 
was reported to Governor Thomas and a process issued. At 
the hearing, however, the two prosecutors failed to appear 
and the case against the Community fell. The problem 
was now left to work out its own solution. For this they 
had not long to wait. The first trouble arose among the 
house-mothers, who naturally longed for their children who 
had been left at home in charge of the farms, and were 
subject to all the allurements and temptations of the world. 
Others, again, suffered from neglect and the want of ma- 
ternal care, — facts that were not slow in reaching the ears 
of the matrons in Hebron ; so it was not long before one 
after the other demanded that her husband should again 
rejoin her and return to their old home. When this feel- 
ing was brought to the notice of Beissel, he without hesita- 
tion advised every house-father to again receive his helpmate 
and return to his former condition, — advice which was acted 
upon and resulted happily in every case. 

After the last couple to renounce their solitary state had 

474 Ty/c German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

reunited, a special convocation was called of all the orders. 
An altar was erected in the angle formed by Peniel and 
Hebron, upon which, after an impressive divine service, 
the divorces or articles of separation were solemnly cre- 
mated. Thus ended this remarkable episode in the history' 
of the Ephrata Community. Hebron, now vacant, was 
handed over for the use of the widows and poor of the 
settlement, which had been sheltered by the Hebron Com- 
munity, and were now supported by the labor of the Zion- 
itic Brotherhood. 

A new complication, however, arose shortly after the final 
reunion of the households. Some of the late inmates, who 
had contributed largely toward the erection of the building, 
under the impression that it was to be their permanent home, 
now demanded the return of their contributions. The largest 
of these creditors, Heinrich Miller, who had given his whole 
property to the fund, was reimbursed with one hundred acres 
of Community land. To pacify the others Zion Prayer-Saal 
was handed over to them for the uses of the secular congre- 
gation. By these measures all claims against Peniel and 
Hebron were released. 



FTER the failure of what 
may be designated as the 
Hebron project, a propo- 
sition was made to hand 
over to the uses of the 
Sisterhood the two build- 
ings in the meadow. This 
suggestion meeting with 
the approval of Beissel 
and other leaders, steps 
were taken forthwith to 
carry it into effect. 

The proposition was 
that the Order of Spiritual Virgins should be reorganized 
into an order similar to the Zionitic Brotherhood, and that 
thenceforward the female celibates should be known as the 
" Roses of Saron." This designation was based upon the 
mystical interpretation of the second chapter of the Song 
of Solomon. Hebron was to become Saron, and Peniel the 
" Schwester-Saal," and these two names, Saron and Saal, 
have remained until the present day. Kedar was to be 
handed over to the uses of the widows who had been tem- 
porarily quartered in Hebron. 

Efforts were immediately begun to prepare the two 
houses for the purposes of the reorganized Sisterhood ; it 
was not, however, until the first week in July, 1745, that 
the necessary repairs, alterations and renovation were com- 

The dedication took place July 13, 1745, and as usual 

476 Tlie German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

was made an occasion of more or less ceremonial. Not the 
least interesting of the inaugural solemnities was a midnight 
procession of both orders from Mount Zion to Peniel, or 
the Schwester-Saal as it was henceforth called, where the 
sisters with an elaborate ritual dedicated themselves afresh 
to the heavenly Bridegroom. They also took the vow of 
allegiance and obedience to their spiritual mother and 
superintendent, " Mutter Maria " (Maria Eicher). It was 
upon this occasion that Beissel composed a special dedica- 
tion hymn, which contained a prophecy respecting Ephrata, 
a prophecy which has been verified. This hymn, in elegant 
terms, invoked steadfastness of purpose among the brethren 
and sisters of the Kloster, and prophetically laments the 
downfall, contingent upon declension therefrom, in most 
affecting strains. Following is a stanza from this hymn of 
the Vorsteher : 

Auch Ephrata, wird hier so lange stehen, 
Als Jungfrauen darinn am Reihen gehen ; 
Wann aber dieser Adel wird aufhoren, 
So wird die Rache dieses Ort verstoren. 

Translation : 

Even Ephrata will here endure, so long 
As virgins therein in order stand ; 
But when this nobility shall decline. 
Then shall vengeance this spot destroy. 

Thenceforth the Sisterhood became a separate order, 
entirely independent of the Brotherhood ; Father Friedsam 
Gottrecht (Beissel), however, was acknowledged as the 
spiritual director and leader. 

The celibates were now divided into seven classes, each 
class having its own special duties. The arrangement of 
Saron was such that several cells or kammern opened out 
upon a common room containing a fireplace and other con- 
veniences. Each of these common rooms was used by the 
respective class for their own special economy, — thus there 
was one for spinning, another for writing, and so for sing- 

Bernice. 477 

ing, for basket weaving, for quilting, sewing and embroid- 
ery, etc. Each class was under a sub-inspectoress, who 
was alone responsible to the Mother Superior."^" 

A separate house-diary or Schivester-chronic was com- 
menced. This curious manuscript was still in existence a 
decade ago, and was then copied by the present writer. 

The first of the Sisterhood to leave this transitory life 
and go forth to join the celestial Bridegroom beyond the 
skies, was Bernice, who died of consumption, while the Sis- 
terhood were yet in Kedar, November 30, 1743, in the 
thirty-second year of her age. She was Leonard Heidt's 
daughter, a beautiful girl, who lived with her parents at 
Oley, and after a visit from the Solitary Brethren to her 
father's house was so enraptured with the thought of a 
spiritual life that she followed them to the settlement and 
became one of the founders of the Sisterhood. 

During her illness she suffered great pain ; longing for 
release, she, while in despair, would ask to be struck in the 
head with an axe, and thus be relieved from this world's 

After death had come to her relief, her burial was made 
the means of an imposing ceremony, at midnight by torch- 
light. The corpse was carried upon a bier by six cowled 
monks from Zion, followed by the Sisterhood and brethren, 
carrying rushlights and chanting a dirge composed for the 
occasion. Weird and ghostly was the procession as it 
wended its way slowly over the frozen groimd from Mount 
Zion to the new God's acre by the roadside.''" The footfalls 
upon the hard ground ; the sighing of the winter winds ; 
the mournful tolling of the convent bells ; the doleful 
chant of the two orders ; with the darkness of the night 

'^^ The various changes made in Peniel, upon being handed over to the 
Sisterhood, have already been described in a previous chapter. 

"" There is a tradition that sister Bernice was the first interment iu the 
God's acre by the roadside. 

478 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvama. 

broken only by the flickering torches, — all added to the 
solemnity of the occasion, and formed a scene fit for por- 
trayal by the pencil of a master artist or the pen of a poet. 

The body was consigned to the earth with the full ritual 
of the Zionitic Brotherhood. The room which Bernice had 
occupied in Kedar was now closed for a time, and the fol- 
lowing segenspruch was placed upon the walls of the kam- 
mer to her memory. It was composed by Beissel and exe- 
cuted b}' the sisters in ornamental fractw-schrift : 

'■'■Bernice, Frene dich in ihrem gang Jtnter der Schaaf- 
weide, iind sey freiindlich u. hiildrcich tinter den Lieb- 

Translation : 

" Bernice, enjoy yourself in your sojourn among the 
sheep-pastures, and be affable and gracious among the 



HE Eckerlings, while yet 
in the zenith of their 
power, conceived a plan 
for building a large addi- 
tion or wing to the Zion 
Convent. This house was 
to contain no less than 
one hundred kammern or 
cells for that number of 
male celibates, together 
with the necessary com- 
munity rooms and offices 
requisite for their com- 
fort. The plan of this house in many respects was formed 
after that of the old monasteries in the Fatherland, and if 
it had been erected as originally designed would, together 
with the other houses on Zion hill, have formed a most 
unique group of buildings, and offered ample accommoda- 
tion for the anticipated arrivals of novices that were ex- 
pected to come from both at home and abroad. 

Most extensive preparations were made for the early 
completion of this new monastery. The foundations of the 
new structure were laid, the timbers were prepared, and the 
needed boards were seasoning in piles down by the saw-mill. 
In the midst of this activity, however, an event occurred 
which not only changed the plan for building this house, 
but affected the general policy of the Community as "well. 
This was no less than the expulsion or dethronement of 
the Eckerlings, — an episode which will be fully described 
elsewhere in this work. 

480 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

After the departure of the Eckerling party, all work 
upon the new building ceased. It was then proposed that 
the Community erect a brother house in the meadow near 
to the Sister House, Saron, and thus utilize the building 
material which had been prepared for the monastery. This 
proposition, which came from Brother Jaebez, who in the 
meantime (viz., on March 23, 1746) was appointed as Prior, 
met with general favor. A week later (March 31, 1746) 
the building of the new Brother House in the meadow was 
commenced under the direction of Brother Shealtiel, an ex- 
perienced carpenter, and so energetically was the work 
pushed that the framing was completed within thirty-five 
days. The raising of the frame was commenced May nth, 
and it took three days to raise and key the large and heavy 
timbers in place. This work, as the Diary states, was ac- 
complished without accident, the record saying, " at which 
dangerous task Providence took care of the work, so that 
nobody was hurt." 

This as well as the former " raisings " within the settle- 
ment were occasions to which were invited the sturdy 
neighbors for miles around, and partook somewhat of a 
social gathering. A raising was one of the customs of the 
day, when house, barn, or mill was to be built. Help was 
scarce and labor-saving machinery as yet unknown, so it 
was necessary to place the heavy timbers in place by main 
strength. On such occasions, great and sometimes hercu- 
lean feats of strength, in lifting heavy timbers, were dis- 
played by the men, among whom rivalry prevailed ; and 
sometimes wagers of nominal value were laid as to who 
should prove the stronger. 

Invitations to a raising were generally accepted, not only 
by the men, but the women and young folk, boys and girls, 
would gather to have a good time, the women folk taking 
care of the culinary department. 

At the Ephrata raisings, while the men wrought at the 

An Ephrata Raising. 481 

heavy timbers, the Sisterhood aided by the visiting women 
prepared meals for the Community, as well as for their 
guests both male and female. It is needless to say that 
after the heavy labor of the day the appetite of the men 
was extremely good, and full justice was done to the out- 
come of the sisters' kitchen. 

Another peculiarity about these Ephrata raisings, a feat- 
ure wherein they differed from all other barn-raisings, log- 
rollings, husking-bees and harvest-homes, was that there 
was no strong drink furnished to the participants, as the 
Ephrata Community was strictly a temperance organiza- 
tion, it being the first regularly organized community in 
America wherein the use of spirituous and malt liquors was 
strictly prohibited. 

Toward the end of September, after the large posts, 
beams and joists were up and in place and the building was 
under roof and enclosed, it was found that there was enough 
heavy hewn timber and other material left over to build an 
even larger house than the one just being completed. It 
was then proposed to utilize this material by building a 
chapel or saal adjoining the new Brother House, The 
frame of this Brother-Saal was raised in November, all of 
the timbers being prepared and put into place within five 
weeks. This was the most stately building thus far erected 
by the Community. As a diarist writes, "its equal was not 
to be found in North America." 

We now come to one of the strangest episodes in the his- 
tory of the Mystic Community which has come down to 
us ; this is the curious controversy relative to the lineal 
dimensions that should be adopted for the projected Brother- 
Saal. Bishop Cammerhoff, who was in the vicinity of 
Ephrata at the time, has left us an account of the dispute, 
of which the substance is given in the following paragraphs : 

Bishop Cammerhoff says: "That in the spring of 1747 
he visited Ephrata and was kindly received by Brother 

The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

Illl'i'J^II II 


BrotAerSrz^// et^/u:^ Sc^ioo^y /loom' 



Cabalistic Spenilations. 483 

Jaebez ; further, that some time before his visit the largest 
of the three houses had been finished, and that a disagree- 
ment about its size or dimensions led to a withdrawal of 
some of the fraternity. There were some of the Brother- 
hood who suggested 66 feet, some 99 feet and 100 feet as 
the length for the new Saal. The contention ran high, and 
it was feared that the building of the much-needed structure 
might be postponed indefinitely. 

"The solution of the difficulty was effected by those who 
insisted upon 99 feet, they having one night received a 
divine token that there was a cabalistic meaning attached 
to the component parts or elements of figures ; and the next 
night they were instructed, too, in the mystery of the occult 
science. It was after this fashion, said Brother Jaebez, that 
the cabalists argued. 

" Those who proposed 99 feet said they were right, in so 
far as O (zero) signifies God and the downstroke man 

1 M TT I ' '^^'^^^ ^^ sixty-six feet was adopted it would 

place God under man < pi >, and if 100 feet it 

would place man before God. Hence 99 feet was adopted : 
God was above man. 

" Cammerhoff says that upon arriving at the Kloster his 
party were welcomed in an extremely cordial manner, as 
they had come from Bethlehem. Peter Miller was very 
complaisant. ' He stands,' continues Cammerhoff, second 
only to Conrad Beissel. They said they had not kept any 
meetings for six months. Back in Zion live the old worn- 
out or fossil widows and widowers ; lower down, in the 
large house, live the single sisters. In front of this they 
have erected one of three stories. In it are eight rooms, 
and in each room eight chambers, besides a kitchen and 
refectory. Their kitchen they would not exhibit. On 
asking them whether they had many accessions, they 
made no answer." 

484 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

If we are to receive the above account of the interior 
arrangement of the Brother House literally, the original 
arrangement must have been similar to Saron. It is, how- 
ever, very improbable that any such radical changes were 
ever made in the old monastery as this account would seem 
to indicate. In writing out his story, the good bishop evi- 
dently confounded the Brother House with the Sister 
House, Saron. 

The new chapel was placed at right angles with the 
Brother House, the north gable end commencing about in 
the center of the ea.5tern end of the Brother House, and, ac- 
cording to the evidence here presented, must have extended 
southward for a distance of ninety-nine feet. The main 
entrance to the Brother-Saal was by a door in the west 
front. The Brotherhood of Bethania, however, had a pri- 
vate entrance upon each floor. These doors were at the end 
of the corridors which divided the monastery, and opened 
into the extreme northwest corner of the Saal. It will be 
noticed that the salient features of the Sister House and 
adjoining chapel were reproduced in this instance. 

Traces of the position of the old Brother-Saal and the 
doors opening into the monastery can still be seen by a 
close inspection of the east end of the old building ; they 
also show plainly in the photographs illustrating this 
paper. There are still some persons living who remem- 
ber the old Brother-Saal, and whose parents attended the 
academy held in the second floor. For, in the course of 
years, the Brother-Saal underwent a similar change to Pen- 
iel, in so far that the porkirche was turned into a hall on the 
second floor, and this large room was utilized by the breth- 
ren as an academy or classical school. 

It is the third floor of the old Brother-Saal, however, that 
is of more than ordinary interest to us, as here was set up, 
after its completion, the enlarged printing establishment of 
the Ephrata Society. Here the type was set, the levers of 



Ephrata Printing Establishment. 485 

the presses pulled, the sheets printed and hung up on long 
poles to dry, of the Ephrata imprints, some of which, on 
account of their scarceness, have since become almost 
priceless. Here also the sheets were folded, glued and 
stored until the demand warranted the binding. 

An interesting story is told of one of the methods of 
punishment as applied by Brother Obed to some of the 
unruly boys who attended the academy. This was to lock 
them up for a certain time in one of the huge fireplaces. 
The chimney flues in this building were also of generous 
dimensions, formed of planks covered upon the inside with 
a thick coating of clay and hexel. The fireplaces were 
merely hearths for burning large pieces of wood, and were 
closed with doors during the season when not in use. One 
of these fireplaces was utilized by Brother Obed as a place 
of punishment wherein he was wont to confine his obstrep- 
erous scholars when all other means of discipline failed. 
Upon this occasion, when his pupils were more unruly 
than usual, he relegated four of them to the chimney and 
barred the door. When the hour of release was at hand, 
as no sign or word of complaint had come from the 
improvised cell. Brother Obed went to the door to release 
the culprits, intending, as was his custom, to first exact a 
promise of good behavior in the future. 

As he opened the door, what was his surprise to find the 
apartment empty. The birds had flown. All that greeted 
the surprised schoolmaster was an e.xtra amount of soot 
upon the hearth. A look up the wide chimney flue also 
failed to disclose the missing boys. As the door had not 
been opened since their incarceration, their absence could 
only be accounted for by a possible escape up the flue on 
to the roof, from whence there could be no escape. Three 
of the boys were sent down to look and see if the missing 
ones were upon the steep roof ; but they returned in a few 
minutes without having seen any sign of the absent ones. 

486 The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania. 

The mystery was finally solved when the fonr students, 
as sooty as chimney-sweeps, were led into the school-room 
by two of the brethren, by way of the door from the 
Brother House. They had found the footholds in the chim- 
ney used by the sweeps during their annual visits, and 
thus clambered up the flue. Once upon the roof, they, by 
some means, performed the dangerous feat of swinging 
themselves on to the adjoining Brother House, and then 
coming down through the trap-door, when they were dis- 
covered by some of the brethren, who led them back with- 
out ceremony. 

The Brother-Saal was used for school purposes for many 
years after the decline of the Community, until, finally, 
for some unexplained reason, it was demolished about the 
year 1837. No picture of this old sanctuary is known. 

We will now take a look at the old Brother House as it is 
at the present day. Time has dealt kindly with the old 
landmark, and when the writer first visited it about twenty 
years ago, bxit few changes had been made in its interior 

One of the peculiarities of this building is the recession 
of the third floor. Just why this is has never been ex- 
plained ; nor is it known just how the timbers were framed. 
There is also a slight projection between the first and sec- 
ond stories. There have been many changes in the win- 
dow openings of the old monastery, and they now present 
an irregular appearance, as but a few of the original frames 

As we step into the old house by way of the south door, 
the visitor is attracted by the narrow and steep staircase, 
with a rope afBxed to the one side, by the aid of which 
the mystic ascended the steep and narrow flight of 
steps. Just how the lower floor was originally arranged 
is difficult to surmise, in view of the changes made in late 
years, since the rooms were used for tenement purposes. 

Wooden Chimney Flues. 487 

Originally, the lower floor was undoubtedly used as a refec- 
tory and for culinary purposes. 

On the second floor one yet sees the long corridors upon 
which open the small cells or kammern of the religious 
votaries. The doors are but twenty inches wide, and even 
the passage-way emphasizes the scriptural path to heaven. 
According to one of Bishop Cammerhofl's letters, the 
brethren cast lots for the cells after the monastery was 

The loft or garret of this old building is well worthy 
of a visit, as here may be seen intact the original wooden 
chimney flues, a photograph of which feature is presented. 

Some years ago several of the interior partitions were 
removed and the rooms utilized as tenements. Of late, 
however, steps have been taken to make all necessary 
repairs, to ensure the preservation of what remains of the 
old Kloster, Bethania, which, like its companion, the Sister 
House Saron, across the meadow, forms a unique setting 
within the old Kloster confine. 

fcbcit- Km&rrrt X>it 2{ugc« f <tafb4^ (le 
fd^ttb tv^;r^cn/ mt& Icritcw : Ktit vm\> 
iiitbcflecFc &urcfo &tc VOcIt bin&urcb 
lt><ut^cIft/ ^rt^t^t 2>cttt 2><ii3C<> b4U> 
6fffttb<tr werl»c/ \x\yXi 2)ctit tt?jf!li,<g'. 
gi'(d>c^c wit ivn ^immcl/ 4l|b «uct) «iif 
<trO«/ 2tmfii ! 




Abel, Bro., 307. 

Ahgenoihigter Bericht, title, 329. 

Abigail, Schw., 309. 

Ackerling (Ackerly). See Ecker- 
ling, Samuel. 

Acorns a substitute for grain, 193 ; 
whiskey, 194. 

Aeder, baptism in, 90. 

Agabus, Bro. (Koch, Stephen), 307. 

Agonius, Bro.(Wohlfarth, Michael), 
307; sketch of, 391; funeral hymn, 
lb.; retires to Zoar, 393; apostle of 
the Sabbatarians, 393 ; employs 
printing press, 394 ; Franklin's 
tribute, 394, 395 ; last hours, 397 ; 
epitaph, 39S. 

Agrippa (Miller, Rev. Peter, 307), 
Bro., 44. 

Akron, 17. 

Albina, Schw., 309. 

Alburtus, Bro., 99, 307. 

Amalia, Schw., 309. 

Amaziah, Bro. (Mayer, Hansly),307. 

Amos, Bro. (Meyle, Jan), 307. 

Amsterdam Synod, reports to, 241. 

Amwell, N. J., 261 ; pilgrimage to, 
263 ; revival, 369. 

Anabaptists, history of, 87. 

Andreas, Bro., 307. 

Andrews, Rev., Jedediah, account 
of, 229. 

Anguas, Mary, 311. 

Anna, Schw., 309. 

Antes, Henry, 424 ; call for Synod, 

443. 446- 
Antiphonal singing introduced, 12S. 
Anton, Bro. (Hollenthal, Anton), 


Arbeite u. HofTe, 256 ; symbol, 257. 

Archangels, 359. 

Arians, 442. 

Armella, Schw., 309, 373. 

Arms, Manheim, 36 : Palatinate, 34; 

Royal English, 26. 
Arndts' True Christianity, title, 

243 ; Paradis Cartlein, 244. 
Ashmead, John, 451. 
Auto-da-fe in Pennsylvania, 242. 
Axe's burying-ground, 221. 

Baculares, 87. (See Brethren.) 

Bakers' Guild, arms of, 40. 

Baltimore, Lord, grants land, 59. 

Baptism by proxy, 366 ; in Eder, 
90 ; in Schuylkill, 128 ; most note- 
worthy, 104 ; on Wissahickon, 98. 

Baptistery on Cocalico, 19. 

Baptisttown, N. J., 36S. 

Barbara, Schw., 309. 

Barclay, Robert, visits Labadists, 

Basilla, Schw., 309. 

Bauman, Daniel, 10. 

Baunian, Johannes, loi. 

Bauman, Matthias, 73 ; visits Beis- 
sel, ib. ; sketch of 74 ; doctrine 
of, 75 ; attempt to walk across 
the Delaware, ib. ; refuses to 
take oath, 76 ; pamphlet, 206 ; 
title, 209. 

Bauman, Maria, 310. 

Bauman, Sally, 10. 

Bauman, Sara, 407. 

Baumanites. (See Newborn.) 

Bans, Christopher, 290. 

Bayard, Petrus, 60. 



Bayer, Philip, funeral of, 77. 

Bear, Martin, 132. 

Beards, growing of, 297. 

Bebber, Henrich van, 42, 55. 

Bebberstown (Beggarstown, Bet- 
telhausen), 90, 93-218. 

Bechtel, Joliann, 424. 

Bechtelsheimer, Rev., 369. 

Becker, Jost, 424. 

Becker, Peter, 47 ; sketch of, 49, 
5O1 52i 79 ; holds weekly services 
at Germantown, 79, 83 : holds 
weekly service, 84 ; holds revi- 
vals, 91; constituted Elder, 93, 98; 
organizes pilgrimage, 99 ; forms 
congregation, 100, loi, 102 ; bap- 
tism of Beissel, 102, 103, 104, 105, 
III, 12S ; becomes sick, 134; op- 
poses Beissel, 138, 177, 220, 278, 
279, 280, 282. 

Beggarstown (Bettelhausen), 21S. 

Beglitly, Jacob, 132. 

Beissel, Conrad, 28, 33 , birth and 
childhood, 34 ; apprentice, 36 ; 
journeyman, 37 ; calls Mistress, 
Jezebel, 37 ; a Rosicrusian, 39 ; 
initiation, 40 ; starts for America, 
ib. ; apprentices himself, 47 ; joins 
family, 50, leaves Germantown, 
53 ; settles on Mill creek, 54, 55 ; 
keeps first free school in Lan- 
caster county, 56; visits Labadist 
Community, 57, 59, 71 ; visits 
Sabbatarians in Chester county, 
72 ; arouses revival spirit, 73 ; a 
power among Separatists and 
Mennonites, 78, 79 ; left home- 
less, 82 ; goes to Swedes' Spring, 
ib., 90 ; baptizes himself, 102 ; by 
Elder Becker, 103 ; forms Cones- 
toga Congregation, 105 ; as an 
orator, 112; proclaimed "Man 
elect," ib.; officiates at foot wash- 
ifS. t'3; encourages Jewish cus- 
toms, lb. ; visits Coventry and 
Germantown, 114; leavesSwedes' 

spring, 120; introduces mysticism, 
121, 122 ; baptizes Maria Christina 
Sauer, 127 ; officiates at first Con- 
ference, 128 ; introduces antipho- 
nal music, ib. ; adherers to Sab- 
bath, 133 ; preaches against 
Becker, 134 ; baptizes Sauer, 
Gass and Eckerling, 135 ; re- 
nounces Becker's baptism, 13S ; 
rebaptized, 139; baptizes Peter 
Beller's daughter, 140, 141 ; Das 
Buchlcin vom Sabbath, 142 ; 
3/ysiyrion Anomias, 143 ; title, 
144 ; description of, 145 ; preface, 
146 ; exhorts populace in Phila- 
delphia, 154 ; Ninety-7iine Mysti- 
cal Proverbs, 159 ; title, 160 ; 
hymn-book of 1730, 164, 165 ; 
title, 166; Ehebuchlein, 167; re- 
sides with Rudolph Niigele, 170, 
172 ; scandal, 174 ; arrest and 
acquital, 175 ; publishes book on 
matrimony, 175 ; controversy 
with Mack, 176, 177, 17S, 179, 
181 ; resigns his office, 182 ; goes 
to the Cocalico, 183, 184; Vor- 
spicl der Neiien Welt, 185; title, 
186; returns to Conestoga, 188; 
Grnber's account of, 204 ; visits 
Schwenkf elders, 215 ; at Mack's 
funeral, 220; Paradisische Nachts 
Tropffe7i, 223 ; Tulpehocken, 227; 
wonderful power of, 22S; Weiser's 
visit, 239 ; visits Tulpehocken, 
240, 246, 248; exciting experience, 
253, 254 ; institutes lectiones, 261; 
pilgrimage to Amwell, 263; tax- 
ation, 267 ; revival at Tulpe- 
hocken, 271 ; composes hymns, 
293, 295 ; designs habits, 298 ; en- 
courages Sauer, 312; friends in 
Europe, 313 ; dispute with Sauer, 
328 ; Chronii'on account, 331-333; 
letter of Sauer to, 333 ; Brother 
Conrad, 307 ; Friedsam Gott- 
recht, 307 ; Sauer's argument 



against, 337 ; reply to Sauer, 338 ; 
Sauer's comment on, 341 ; beast 
of the Apocalypse, 343 ; distrust 
for Eckerlings, 355, 364; pro- 
posals for baptism by proxy, 365; 
rebaptizes Mack and Eckerling, 
366 ; entitled Father Friedsam, 
367 ; pilgrimage to Amwell, 369 ; 
missive to Amwell Dunkers, 370; 
cuts tonsure for sisters, 374 ; de- 
molishes Saal of Kedar, 381 ; 
consecrates Enoch, Onesimus 
and Jaebez, 3S6 ; names Peniel, 
399 ; Wunderschrift, 419 ; speci- 
men page, 420 ; English title, 
421 ; letter from Theodorus, 43S ; 
missive to Antes, 445 ; refuses to 
see Zinzendorf, 448 ; missive to 
Zinzendorf, 449-441 ; spiritual 
director of sisterhood, 476. 

Beissel, Peter, 309. 

Beissel, Sister, 310,311. 

Beisselianer, 134, 148, 172, 223, 23S. 

Beller, Peter, 139 ; daughter bap- 
tized, 139. 

Benedict, Brc, 307, 353, 358. 

Benigna, Countess, 429 ; visits 
Kloster, 454. 

Benjamin, Bro., 307. 

Benno, Bro., iSo, 307, 358. 

Bensel, Georg, 424. 

Benter, Ludwig, expelled, 377. 

Berghaus, picture of, 257, 249, 354. 

Bernice, Schw,, 309 ; death of, 477. 

Bertolet, jean, 424, 

Bethania Reformed Congregation, 

Bethania, Brother House, ground 
plan, 4S2; Cabalistic speculations, 
483 ; at the present, 4S6, 487. 

Bettelhausen (Beggarstown), 218, 

Bird-in-Hand Station, 54. 

Blandina, Schw., 309. 

Blum, Ludwig, introduces music, 

Boehm, Rev. J. P., reports, 117, 
157 ; initial by, 167 ; autograph, 
168 ; reports to Amsterdam, ib. ; 
208, 232 ; doubt's Miller's ortho- 
doxy, 232 ; organizes Cocalico 
Church, 233 ; reports. Miller's 
defection, 241 ; charges against 
Peter Miller, 242. 
Bohemia Manor, 23, 57, 58 ; Barony 
of, 59 ; the great house, 62 ; visit 
of Samuel Bownas, 63 ; location 
of 65. 
Bohler, Catharina, 310. 
Bohler, Peter, preaches at VVeig- 

ner's, 425. 
Bohner, Johan, takes letter to Eph- 

rata, 433, 434. 
Bohnish, George, 290. 
Boldhausen, Conrad, 372. 
Bone, Andreas, 88, 90, 281. 
Bonn, Johann, 424. 
Bossen, Wilhelm, 424. 
Boston, emigrants arrive at, 33. 
Bowman, Johannes, 132. 
Bownas, Samuel, visits Labadists, 
63 ; description of, 64. 

Briimin, Sister, 310. 

Brandy wine, battle of, 12. ; Pax- 
tang road, I, 4. 
Bread breaking, service of, 109. 
Bread from acorns, 184. 
Bremer, Martin, hymns by, 187 ; 
joins Beissel, 489 ; arrest of, 267 ; 
designs habits, 29S, 308, 350 ; 
death of, 351 ; burial, 352. 
Brethren, Baptist, 86 ; movement in 
Germany, 86 ; Saxony, 87 ; Cov- 
entry, 93; influence young people, 
97 ; in America, congregation of, 
95 ; first conference, 128. 
Brother and Sister woods, :5. 
Brother Saal, 484 ; school-room in, 
485 ; anecdote, 486 ; printing es- 
tablishment, in 485. 
Buchannan, Pres. James, visits 
Springs, 6. 



Bucher, Peter, 170, 308, 35S. 
Bucherthal, church at, 233. 
Buttons eschewed by Brethren, 87. 
Biihler, family arms of, 117 ; sketch 

of, iiS, 119. 
Biittner, Rev., 442. 
Burgholtzer, Hans, 132. 

Cabins on Muhlbach, dimensions, 

170 ; how built, 171. 
Cadwalader, Dr. Thomas, 356. 
Caesar and his tribute, 267. 
Cammerhoff, Bishop, account, 481 ; 
speculations, 483 ; description, ib. 
Carl, Dr., 40. 
Carpenter, Ulrich, 382. 
Catharina, Schw., 310. 
Catharina II, Schw., 310. 
Catherwood, John, 355, 356. 
Catholic, Roman, missionaries, 212, 

Celestial intelligences, 54. 
Charles V suppresses brethren, 87. 
Choral singing introduced, 12S. 
Childs, John, 126. 
Christian of Denmark, 462. 
Christians, primitive, 113. 
Christiana, Schw., 105, 310. 
Chronik of Sisterhood, 306. 
Chrysostomus, Brother, 28S. (See 

Joseph Gorgas, 307.) 
Church, Mennonite, 198 ; view of, 

Clanucalarii, 87. (See Brethren.) 
Clock and bell presented, 379 ; Dr. 

Witt's clock, 379 ; description, 

ib. ; placed in Zion steeple, 387 ; 

account of, 388. 
Clemer, Velte, 132. 
Cocalico, the, 7. 
Cocalico, beyond the, 8 ; ford over, 

18; Lutheran and Reformed 

Church of, 233 ; Church Register, 

236; baptisms, 237; "Jaibetz," 


Coffee from acorns, 194. 

Comet appears, 417 ; prayers 

against, 418. 
Community, remains of, 31 ; oldest 

picture of it. 
Conerads (Conrads), John, 132. 
Conestoga, 23; congregation, 120; 

division of 134 ; New Dunkers, 

Constantia, Schw., 310. 
Conrad, Bro., 307. 
Corn, primitive method of grind- 
ing, 28. 
Costumes, distinctive, 191. 
Coventry, pilgrimage to, 99 ; Urner 

family settle in, 99, 100 ; Brethren 

Church organized, 100. 
Coventry, conference at, 128. 
Coventry Brethren, 93, 100. 
Conestoga Congregation formed, 

Croese, Gerard, Quakcriana, 67 ; 

title page, 68. 
Cunrads, John, 279, 2S3. 


Dankiirts, Jasper, sent to America, 
59 ; returns to Holland, 60. 

Daniel, Bro., 307. 

Darius, Bro., 307. 

David, Lewis, 122 ; William, ib. 

Davis, Philip, 124. 

Davis, Zacheus, 382. 

Deborah, Schw., 310. 

Deerdorf, Anthony, 36S. 

Denlinger, Elam H., 82. 

Diffenderffer, Frank R., 100. 

Dilsheim, 49. 

Divorce, letters of, 471. 

Downings, i. 

Downingtown, 4, 9 ; Ephrata and 
Harrisburg turnpike, 4. 

Dougiasville, 99. 

Drusiana, Schw., 310. 

Du Bois (Duboy), Abraham, 49, 



Dunkers, 23, 27 ; severance of, 28, 
47 ; at Germantovvn, 86 ; visit 
Ephrata, 271 ; parsonage, 274 ; 
new, on Conestoga, 112. 

Diinkertown, 8. 

Dunkertown, N. J., 37S. 

Dutch Dunkers, 20. 


Eagle Inn at Gross' Corner, 3. 

Earls, the three, 100 ; township, 100. 

Eberbach, 34. 

Eckerling Brothers arrive, 122 ; 
arrest of, 267, 354 ; faith of, 376 ; 
buy Kloster land, 382 ; entertain 
Zinzendorf, 44S ; new scheme of, 

Eckerling, Catharina, 1S9. 

Eckerling, Emanuel (Bro. Elime- 
lich), lives as hermit, 1S3, 184 ; 
Elder at Tulpehocken, 248, 307, 
354, 358 ; scheme for rebaptism, 
365 ; rebaptized, 366 ; Elder at 
Amwell, 369 ; reception at, 370. 

Eckerling, Gabriel (Bro. Jotham), 
173 ; at Cocalico, 191 ; moves into 
Berghaus, 252, 354 ; prior, 358. 

Eckerling, Israel (Bro. Onesimus), 
arrival of, 135 ; hires with Sauer, 
ib.; baptized, /i.,- joins Jan Meyle, 
170, 172 ; at Cocalico, 191 ; moves 
into Berghaus, 252, 354 ; petitions 
John Penn, 383, 384. 

Eckerhng, Michael, 37, 50. 

Eckerling, Samuel (Bro. Jephune), 
arrested, iSo; dealings with 
Franklin, 187, 188; joins Beissel, 
189; at Wissahickdn, 280, 312; 
supervises Sauer, 328, 335, 354. 

Eckerling, widow, 173 ; dies, 174. 

Eckstein, Christian (Bro. Gideon), 
2S1, 307, 353. 

Eckstein, Elizabeth, 281, 310. 

Edwards, Richard, 14. 

Effigenia, Schw., 310. 

Egyptian cult, 354. 

Eichel Kost (acorn diet), 193. 

Eicher, Anna, 123 ; settle on Mill 
creek, 127; arrest of 174; ac- 
quittal, 175; at Cocalico, 1S9; 


Eicher, Christian, 358. 

Eicher, Daniel, 100, 124, 13S, 174. 

Eicher, Jacob, pilgrim, 216, 307. 

Eicher, Maria, 123 ; settles on Mill 
creek, 127; arrest of, 174; ac- 
quittal, 175 ; at Cocalico, 189, 310. 

Eicher, Nathan (Bro. Nathaniel), 
308, 358. 

Eicher, Sister, 311. 

Einfaltige Gemiiths Bewegung, 225. 

Einsamen, Orden der, 30. 

Eleazer, Bro., 307, 358, 374. 

Elimelich, Bro., 307. (See also 
Emanuel Eckerling.) Vorsteher 
of Peniel, 399. 

Elixer of life, 361. 

Elizabeth and Hannah, sloop, 42. 

Elizabeth, Schw., 105, 310. 

Elkanah, Bro., 307. 

Ellerian heresy, 246. 

Endt, Theobald, 444. 

Enoch, Bro. (Conrad Weiser), 307. 

Enthusiasts, arrival of, 22. 

Ephrata, town of, i ; social func- 
tions at, 4 ; incorporated, 5 ; the 
historic, 7 ; visits to, 20 ; name, 
258, 259 ; first use of, 324 ; acad- 
emy, 14 ; view of, 15 ; monument 
association, 16 ; projected monu- 
ment, 17 ; mountain springs, 5 ; 
picture of, 6 ; Presidents at, 6. 

Ephrata News, mention of, 5. 

Ephrata Reporter, mention of, 5. 

Ephrata Review, mention of, 5. 

Ephraim, Bro., 307, 35S. 

Erb's Corner, 15. 

Erlewein, Andreas, 307. 

Eschenbach, Andrew, 442. 

Estaugh, John, 124. 

Esther, Schw., 310. 

Eugenia, Schw., 310. 



Eunicke, Schw., 310. 

Euphemia, Schw., 310. 

Euphrasia, Schw., 310. 

Euphrosina, Schw, 310. 

Eusebia, Schw., 310. 

Eusebia II, Schw., 310. 

Evans, Rev. David, Help for Par- 
ents, 201 ; publishes Catechism, 

Evans, Edward, 451. 

Evans tract, the, !S2. 

Ezechiel, Bro., 307. 


Fahnestock, Andrew, changes or- 
der of love feast, 1 10. 

Fahnestock, Armella, 373. 

Fahnestock, Dietrich, 14; tribe of, 
ib., 372 ; buys land, 373. 

Fahnestock, Peter, 309. 

Falkner, Daniel, 198 ; Justus, 43, 
141 ; Justus missive, 40 ; fac- 
simile of title, 51 ; Justus, quoted, 


Falkner Swamp, first Lutheran 
Church, 198 ; Lutheran congre- 
gation at, 52 ; revival at, 226 ; 
services at, 226. 

False prophets, Sabbatarians testi- 
mony against, 447. 

Fatherland, persecutions in, 23. 

Felsenschlugt, 40 ; on Wissahickon, 

Fiedler, Godfrey, auto-da-fe, 244. 

First Fruits, 93, 99, 

First German newspaper, notice 
of, 317- 

Flavia, Schw., 310. 

Flour, stone pressed, 18. 

Foeben (Phcebe), Schw., 310. 

Foltz, Catharina, 310. 

Foot-prints, mysterious, 407, 40S. 

Foot washing, service of, 108. 

Fox, George, quoted, 75. 

Franconia, Brethren in, 87. 

Francke, Rev. G. A., letters to, 318. 

Frankenhausen, defeat at, 87. 

Frankfort Company, 47. 

Franklin, Benjamin, hears Beissel, 
154 ; prints hymn-book, 164 ; mys- 
tical proverbs, 159 ; dealings with 
Eckerling, 187, iSS; autograph, 
1S7 ; publishes Catechism, 201 ; 
accounts with Rev. Evans, 202 ; 
shorter Catechism, 203 ; account 
of Wohlfarth, 216; imprint, 265, 
316 ; publishes first German 
paper, 317; controls paper, 319; 
accounts with Weiser, 326, 327 ; 
accounts of Freemasonry, 355 ; 
publishes Constitution, 356 ; trib- 
ute to Wohlfarth, 394 ; to Sab- 
batarians, 395. 

Franklin, James, 203. 

Franzina, Schw., 105, 310. 

Freemasonry, Egyptian, 354 ; in 
Pennsylvania, 355 ; in Lancaster 
county, 356. 

Free School, first in Lancaster 
county, 56. 

Free Thinkers, sect, 442. 

French Creek, settlement on, 28 ; 
Sabbath keepers at 169 ; services 
at, 291 ; visits, 293. 

Frey. Andreas, baptized, 134 ; ap- 
pointed Elder, 135, 172, 424. 

Frey, Henry 324. 

Frey, Wilhelm, 424. 

Freygeisterey, 211. 

Friedrich, Hans, 170. 

Friedrich, Isaac, meeting at, 104. 

Friedrichs, Veronica, lor; baptized, 
102, 103 105. 

Friedsam, Father (see Beissel, John 
Conrad), cabin of, 11 ; grave of, 
24, 30- 

Friends, Society of, 23. 

Funck, Christiana, 309. 

Funck, Jacob, 30S. 

Funck, Martin, 30S. 

Funck, Samuel, 30S, 378. 

Funck, Sister, 310. 



Funck, Veronica, 410. 
Funeral customs, early, 219, 220, 
221, 222, 351, 


Gaedtschalk, (Gottschalk), ]., 132. 

Gartner, Catharina, 310. 

Galliond, Stephen, loi. 

Gantz, George, Balser, 79, 91, 50. 

Gass, Jacob, 319, 382. 

Gansz, Johanna, 93. 

Garseed's lane, 93. 

Garten-briider, 87. (See Brethren.) 

Gass [Jacob], baptized, 145 ; joins 
Jan Meyle, ib., 308. 

Gehr, Peter, 35S. 

Gehr, Sister, 311. 

Geistliche Fama, title, 204. 

Geissler, Daniel, 221. 

Gemahle, David, 177. 

Gemaehle, Matthias, 424. 

Genoveva, Schw., 310. 

George, of England, assists Pala- 
tines, 33. 

Germann, Bro., 307. 

German settlers at Oley, 52 ; Per- 
kiomen, 53 ; trials of, 22 ; take 
oath, 27 ; in North Carolina, 80. 

German Seventh-day Congrega- 
tion, II ; Baptist, 104. 

Germantown, battle of, 12 : sketch 
of, 44 ; seal of, ib. ; borough, 45 ; 
houses in, ib. ; settlement of, ib. ; 
fine linens made at, 47 ; wool 
carded, ib. ; religious condition, 
52 ; Van Bebbers settle at, 57 ; 
revival at, 79 ; weekly services at, 
ib., 84; Dunker gatherings, 85 ; 
church at, 197 ; Dunkers join 
Community, 249. 

Germany, reports to, 97. 

Gibbons, James, 81. 

Gibbons, Miss Marianna, 54, home- 
stead, 55. 

Gichtel, 39. 

Gideon, Bro., 307. 

Gitter, Bernhard, 372. 

Gitter, Catharina,, 310. 

Glatzkopfe, 375. 

God's Acre, old, 12 ; entrance, 13. 

Gomory. (See Gumre.) 

Goose, an unclean bird, 115 ; pro- 
ducts of, ib. 

Gordon, Gov. Patrick, 25 ; message 
against Germans, 136, 137. 

Gorgas, Benjamin, 307. 

Gorgas, Joliannis, buys land, 98, 
132 ; autograph, 283, 284. 

Gorgas, Joseph, 2S2 ; builds mill, 
2S4, 285, 2S6 ; Brother Chrysos- 
tomus, 2S8, 307. 

Gorgas lane, 93. 

Gorgas, Miriam, 281. 

Gorgas, Sister, 310, 311 ; 

widow, 281. 

Gottlieb, Bro., 307, 353. 

Graff, Johannes, 100, loi, 124. 

Grafif's run, 100 

Graff, • Sister, 311. 

Grange, Arnoldus de la, 60. 

Granary built, 192. 

Great Valley Baptist Church, se- 
ceeders from, 28. 

Grebi, George, 88. 

Griffiths. Griffith (Grifty), 124. 

Grippel, Johann, 382. 

Gross' Corner (Hollow), 2 ; old inn 
at, 3, 18. 

Gruber, Elizabeth, 317. 

Gruber, John Adam, missive, 204 ; 
account of religious condition in 
Pennsylvania, 206; title page, 207; 
rents land toSauer, 315, 316, 424. 

Guldin, Rev. Samuel, 161, 162 ; 
lives in Kulpius' cabin, ib., 444. ; 

Gumre, Anna, 93, 279. 

Gumre, Catharina, 279. 

Gumre, Johannes, 79. ; 91 love- 
feast, 95 ; land of, 273 ; death, 
279; funeral, ib., 283. 

Gumre, Johannes, Jr., land of, 277, 
279 ; sells land, 98, 2S3. 



Gumre, Sarah, 283. 
Gurney, Henry, 146. 
Gut, Heinrich, 3S8, 
Guth, Rosina, 311. 
Guth, Salome, 311. 


Haberecht, Gottfried, 307, 353, 427, 
433 ; to Bethlehem, 434. 

Habits of orders, 295 ; peculiar 
features, 296 ; designed by Bram- 
mer, 298 ; description, 300, 301 ; 
sketch of, 302, 303, 304. 

Hagemann, Sister, 310. 

Hageman, Catharina, 310. 

Haggai, Bro., 307. 

Haller (a theophist), 39. 

Hallische MachricMev, quoted, 76, 

Hannah Schw., 310. 

Hannah II, Schw., 310. 

Hanselman, Maria, 175 ; widow, 

Hardie, Thomas, 435 ; sold as ser- 
vant, 436 ; at Ephrata, 437 ; letter 
to Beissel, 43S, 309. 

Harley, Rudolph, 36S. 

Harris, Thomas Lake, 22S. 

Hartman, Susanna, 311. 

Hazan, a, in Penna., iiS, 

Hebron, 191 ; name, 469 ; ground 
plan, 470 ; dedication, 471 ; hand- 
ed over to Sisters, 495. 

Heidelberg, 36, 37 ; view of, 38. 

Hear, Christian, 132. 

Heftier, 87. (See Brethren.) 

Heidt, Leonard, 477. 

Heidt, Maria, 255. 

Help for Parents, Rev. Evans', 201. 

Hendricks, Tobias, releases Breth- 
ren, 268. 

Henkel, Rev. Gerhard, 198. 

Hermits on the Ridge, 43, 94 ; light 
mystic fires, 96. 

Herrman, Augustine. 59 ; conveys 

land to Labadists, 60 ; portrait 
and autograph, 61 ; memorial of, 
65 ; letter from Penn, 67. 

Herrman, Ephriam, 60 ; a Laba- 
dist, 62. 

Heydt, Leonard, revival at, 216. 

Heydt, Maria, 216. 

Hildebrand, Johannes, 91 ; buys 
land, 126, 127; exhorts, 12S; 
holds First-day Service, 133 ; ac- 
knowleged Elder, 134 ; becomes 
aggressive, 138, 281, 353 ; return 
to Ephrata, 377, 444. 

Hildebrand, Maria, 93, 255, 277, 
281, 309. 

Hildebrand, Schw., 310. 

Hinke, Rev. W. J., 156, 157. 

Hinkeltown pike, 10 

Hirchi, Benedict, 132. 

Hochenau, Hochman v., publishes 
creed, 72. 

Hodge, Henry, disposesses squat- 
ters, iSi. 

Hocker, Heinrich, 277, 278, 281. 

Hocker, Jonathan, 30S, 352. 

Hocker, Ludwig (Bro. Obed), 27S, 
2S1, 308 ; settles at Ephrata, 377. 

Hocker, Maria, 278, 2S1, 311. 

Hocker, Margretha, 281, 309. 

Hoffly Johannes, 309, 377. 

HofHy, Peter, 100. 

HofHy, Sister, 310. 

Hohn, Heinrich, loi ; love-feast at, 
104, 105 ; revival at, 133, 138. 

Hohnly, Jacob, 307, 353, 358. 

Hollenthal, Anton, 307. 

Holstein, Heinrich, 424. 

Holzappel, Heinrich, 91. 

Hookers, 87. (See Brethren.) 

Horseshoe pike, 4. 

Hortularii, 87. (See Brethren.) 

Hoseas, Bro., 307. 

House of Prayer built, 256, 377. 

Hiibner, George, 446. 

Hungary, invasion of, 37. 




Iddings (Hiddings), 121. 

Iph^geniii, Schw., 310. 

Indian converts, 467; fraternity, ib. ; 

traders, Jewisli, 116. 
Industries, infant, 47. 
InefTable word, 359. 
Iron, symbol of darkness, 400 ; not 

used in buildings, 401 ; Biblical 

commands, 403. 
Isaiah, Bro., 308, 35S. 
Isaac, Jacob, 58. 

Jaebez, (see Rev. Peter Miller), 

grave of, 14 ; inscription on Zion 

Hill, 16. 
Jacob, Bro., 308. 
Jacob, Simeon, 309. 
Jacobs, Isaac, 58. 
Jacob's Kainpf ti. Ritter-platz, 260; 

printed, 264; title, 265, 317. 
Jacobs, Matthias, 58. 
Jael, Schw., 71, 310. 
James, William, 124. 
Jansen, Claes, 132. 
Javado, Bro., 208. 
Jealousies, local, 22, 
Jehoida, Bro., 308. 
Jemini, Bro., 250, 308, 358. 
Jephune, Bro. (See Eckerling, 

Samuel), 308 ; describes comet, 

Jethro, Bro., 308, 319. 
Jewish customs introduced, 114, 

115; circumcision practiced, 116; 

influences among settlers, iiS; in 

Pennsylvania, ib. ; at Oley, 120; 

cemetery, oldest in State, 119; 

Indian traders in Pennsylvania, 

Joel, Bro., 30S, 35S. 
Johannes, Bro., 308. 
Johannische, Gemeinde, 449. 
Johnson, William, 279. 

Jonadab, Bro., 105, 190,308. 

Jonathan, Bro., 30S. 

Jones, Samuel, 174. 

Jotham, Bro. (See Eckerling, Ga- 
briel), 308 ; deposed as Prior, 386. 

Joseba, Schw., 310. 

Joseph, Bro, 30S. 

Jiichtly, Benedict, 307; gives timber, 
389, 353; builds convent, ib., 355; 
joins Zion, 358. 

Judaism, revival of in Pennsylvania, 
115 ; in Germany, iiS ; Lancaster 
county, 1 17. 

Julianna, Schw., 288, 310. 

Jung, Sister, 311. 

Junkerrott, Joh. Jac, 40. 

Just, Bro., 255, 308, 358. 


Kadesh, 191. 

Kalb, Henry, 132. 

Kalb, Martin, 132. 

Kalckgliiser (Kalckloser), family 
goes to Germantown, 377 ; Joh. 
Heinrich, 49, 220, 223; moves into 
Berghaus, 252, 2S0 ; arrives, 172, 

Kampfer, Johanus, 91. 

Kantebecker, 37. 

Karl, Philip Elector, 33. 

Kedar, 252, 378 ; built, 249 : Saal, 
demolished, 381 ; last joint ser- 
vices at, 385 ; dedication, 253 ; as 
Sister House, 255 ; changes at, 
257 ; used as hospital, 257, 258. 

Keith, Governor, 23 ; proclamation 
by, 24. 

Keith, George, visits Labadists, 69. 

Keithian Quakers, mention of, 84 ; 
meeting house, 85. 

Kelpius, Johann, 23, 42, 43, 198, 
141, 278. 

Kemper, Johannes, in. 

Kenan, Bro., 308. 

Ketura, Schw., 310. 

Kimmel, Esther, 19. 



Kimmel, Jacob, 19. 

Kinsing, Martha, 2S1. 

Kippinger, Johanna, S8. 

Kipping, Johannes, 88. 

Kitchen's lane, 93, 94. 

Kirchmeir, ]oh. Christian, 39. 

Kling, Anna Margretha, 222. 

Klopf, Peter, 249, 250. 

Klopf, Sister, 311. 

Kloster bell, pealing of, 350, 351. 

Kloster cemetery, mention of, 7. 

Kloster Miihle, 9. 

Kloster on Wissahickon, built, 277; 
revivals at, 280 ; built, 284 ; de- 
scription of, 285; changes, 286. 

Kloster-press, 11. 

Kloster, the, 11, 17. 

Kloster-type, specimen of, 294. 

Knopfler, 87. (See Hookers.) 

Kneipp cure, 297. 

Knipperdolling, 87. 

Koch, Jacob, 91. 

Koch, Stephen, 49, 91, 133 ; vision, 
275, 276 ; exhorts, 277, 278, 279, 
292 ; enters Zion, 377. 

Koch, Stephen (see Agabus), 309. 

Konig, Simon, 104; buys land, 124. 

Koenig, Simon, 42. 

Konigmacher, Adam, 308. 

Konigmacher, Jos, 6; portrait of, 7. 

Kooken, Johann, 424. 

Koster, H. B., 43, 122, 198; men- 
tion of, 141. 

Kriebel family arrive, 172. 

Kiimmelbrod, 46. 

Labadie, Jean, title, 58, 59 ; sketch 
of, 65 ; portrait, 66. 

Labadists, 23 ; same as Quakers, 
65 ; Croese's account, 67; versus 
Quaker, 69 ; book against Quak- 
ers, 70. 

Lassie, Christiana, 310. 

Lassie, David, 35S. 

Lassie, Sister, 311. 

Lager der Einsamen, 8. 

Lamech, Bro,, 120, 308; quoted, 
258, 271. 

Land agents, designing, 23. 

Lancaster, Reformed Church, 238 ; 
turnpike, 4. 

Landert, Maria (Sister Rahel), 258. 

Landert, Sigmund, 104, 105, 309; ap- 
pointed Elder, 182 ; builds house 
of prayer, 255, 258 ; enters Heb- 
ron, 469 ; builds Bethania, 480. 

Landert, Simon, services at, in, 

Landert, Sister, 311. 

Landes, Hans, 138. 

Landes, Heinrich, 93, 124 ; joins 
Coventry Brethren, 100, 368. 

Landes, Johannes, revival at, 119. 

Lang, Friedrich, 93. 

Langenecker, Daniel, 132. 

Laushe, Johann Peter, 36S ; builds 
cabin for Elinielech, 372, 373. 

Lectiones, 261 ; specimen of, 262. 

Legal persecutions, 179. 

Leib (Libe), Christian, 49. 

Leslie, Valentine, 177. 

Lessly, Peter, 191. 

Lippard, George, 283. 

Lischy, Rev. Jacob, visits Eph- 
rata, 448. 

Lititz, 17. 

London coffee house, 392 ; com- 
pany, 124. 

Longacre, Owen, 100. 

Louisa, Schw., 310. 

Love feast, definition of, 107 ; order 
of, loS ; how observed by Seven 
dayers, no. 

Lucia, Schw., 310. 

Ludovie, Bro., 308. 

Luther, Martin, denounces Juda- 
ism, 119. 

Lutheran Congregation at Falkner 
Swamp, 52. 

Lutheran Church, 39 ; first Ger- 
man, 198. 



Luy, 122. 

Lydius, Rev. John, prints first Dutch 
Reformed book in America, 156. 


Macarius, Bro., 308. 

Mack, Ale.xander (Sr.), comes to 
America, 97 ; 88, 90, 169 ; hymn 
by, 95 ; arrives, 172 ; seal of, 173; 
Chronicon on, ib. meeting with 
Beissel, 175 ; disturbs meeting, 
176; publishes account of contro- 
versy, 177, 206; death of, 217; 
house built for him, ib. ; grave- 
stone, 218, 219 ; funeral, 220-223, 

Mack, Alexander, Jr. (see also un- 
der Bro. Timotheus ; Theophilus 
and Sander), autograph, 276 ; in 
Pettikol!er house, 277, 278, 281, 
282 ; joins Ephrata, 352, 365 ; re- 
baptized, 366 ; renews vow of 
celibacy, 373 ; receives tonsure, 
374 ; preserves records, 88, 222, 

249. 309- 

Mack, Anna Margretha, 88 ; Eliza- 
beth, 222, 249 ; Johannes, 222 ; 
autograph, 2S1 ; Margretha, auto- 
graph, 280 ; Maria, 222 ; Sister, 
310 ; Valentine, 222, 249, 277, 2S0, 
28 r, 353 ; returns to Ephrata, 377. 

Mackinet, Blasius,'424; Blasius Dan- 
iel, 444. 

Maecha, Schw., 310. 

Magdalena, Schw., 310. 

Manheim, Arms of, 36, 37. 

Manoah, Bro., 308. 

Manasseh, Bro., 308. 

Marcella, Subprioress, 310. 

Margaretha, Schw., 311. 

Maria, Magdalena, Schw., 311. 

Maria, Prioress, 310. 

Maria, Schw., 105, 310, 

Marienborn District, 49. 

Martha, Schw., 311. 

Martin, Bro., 308. 

Maryland Historical Society, 65. 

Massa, 191. 

Massachusetts Bay, 42. 

Materia Prima, 360. 

Matrimony discouraged by Bau- 
man, 74. 

Matthai, Conrad, 43, 47, 55, 79 : 
asks for contribution, 80 ; salutes 
brethren, 96, 135, 221, 444. 

Mayer, Hans, proclaims Beissel 
"Man Elect," 112; (Bro. Ama- 
ziah), 307. 

Mayer, Johann, loi. 

Melchizedek, Order of, 34. 

Melchy, Bro., 308. 

Melonia, Schw., 310. 

Mennonites, 22, 23, 24, 27, 50; build 
church, 46 ; awakening among, 
72 ; activity among, 129 ; Christ- 
ian confession, 130; appendi.x, 131; 
preface to, 132 ; early settlers, 
197 ; build meeting house, 198. 

Menno, Simon, 88. 

Mercury, Weekly, quoted, 42. 

Meredith, Hugh, reply to Beissel 
and Welfare, 153. 

Meredith, Simon, 122. 

Mergel, Johannes, 38S. 

Merkel, 473. 

Merkel, Georg, 424. 

Meyer, Barbara, scholar at Miihl- 
bach, 71, 254, 255, 310. 

Meyle, Barbara, 382. 

Meyle, Hans (Johannes), 119 ; 105, 
124; gives daughter to Bessel, 254. 

Meyle, Jan. (Bro. Amos), 93 ; re- 
nounces baptism, 138; rebaptized, 
139. i7o> 172, 173, 178; enters 
Kedar, 255, 307 ; conveys land, 

Michael, Bro., 308. 

Mieg, Prof. L. Christian, 39. 

Migtonia, Schw., 105, 310. 

Mile-stone, old, 9. 

Mill, Kloster, 9; five mills, 17; flour 
and grist, 18. 



Millennium, 87, 

Miller, Heinrich, 15 ; given Kloster 
land, 474. 

Milner's lane, 93. 

Miller, Maria, 311. 

Miller, Hans Michael, 249. 

Miller, Sister, 310. 

Miller, Rev. John Peter (see also 
Bro. Jaebez and Agrippa), 20S, 
228 ; matriculated, 229 ; comes to 
America, 229 ; his church "Try- 
als," 231; ordination, 232; de- 
scription of, 232, 233 ; autograph 
ib. earliest parochial acts, 237 ; 
minieters to Reformed congrega- 
tions, 238 ; attracts Beissel's at- 
tention ib. Chronicon. 239 ; ac- 
count of conversion, 240 ; aban- 
dons charges, 241 ; Boehm's 
charges against, 242 ; burning re- 
ligious books, 243 ; rejects elder- 
ship, 246 ; returns to Mill Run. 
247 ; Peter the hermit, ib. account 
of, 248 ; enters Ephrata commu- 
nity, 249 ; Christian spirit of, 250; 
moves into the Bergliaus, 251 ; 
argument against taxation, 267 ; 
arrest of, 267 ; argument before 
court, 268; acquittal, 269 ; ret, n 
to Ephrata, 270 ; revivals at VVis- 
sahickon, 280 ; monastic life, 296, 
312 ; corrects proof for Sauer, 
328 ; advice to Sauer, 334 ; Bro. 
Agrippa, 307 ; Bro. Jaebez, 308, 
365 ; opposes re-baptism, 366 ; re- 
ceives clock and bell from Ger- 
many, 379 ; con.secrated, 386 ; dis- 
cipline, 387 ; comments on Wuii- 
der Schrift, 422 ; sends copy to 
Pope, ib. intercedes with Weiser, 
473; proposes Brother House,48o. 
Miller, Susana Margar, 15. 
Miriam, Schvv., 311. 
Miranda, Isaac, 117. 
Mithraic cult, 96. 
Mohr, Jacob, 368. 

Mohr, Johannes, 372. 

Moll, John, 5o. 

Moloch fire cult, 469. 

Monastery on the VVissahickon, 272, 
273 ; uses of, 283 ; title to, 2S3 ; 
when built, 284 ; description of, 
285 ; changes in, 286 ; traditions 
and hymns, 287 ; bought by Park 
Commission, 288. 

Moravians observe Sabbath, 440. 

Morgan's lane, 93. 

Mossbach, 34. 

Muddy creek church register, 236 ; 
baptism, 237, 238 ; tumult at, 241 ; 
Boehm resumes charge of, 241. 

Miihlbach, Lebanon county, 247. 

Miihlbach (Mill creek), Beissel set- 
tles on, 53. 

Miihlen, Senior, missive to, 50, 51. 

Muhlenberg, Rev. H. H., describes 
Neugeborne, 76, 77, 78. 

Miiller, John Jacob, 442. 

Miinzer, Thomas, 87. 

Music, Ephrata, 226 ; introduced, 

Mustard Seed, Order of, 45S, 459, 

460 ; rules and articles, 460, 461 ; 

members of, 462 ; extension cf 

Order, 462 ; Insignia, 463, 464 ; 

practical results, 466 ; branch 

among Indians, 467. 
Naaman, Bro., 30S. 
Nass, Elizabeth, 36S. 
Naas, Johann, 49, 368. 
Naas, Jeremias, 271, 368 ; opposes 

Seventh Day, 280. 
Niigele, Hans Rudolph, loi, 119, 

120, 170, 308, 309, 37S; enters 

Hebron, 469. 
Nantmill, settlement at, 28. 
Naomi, Schw., 311. 
Natal days, celebrations on, 96. 
Nathan, Bro., 30S. 
Nathaniel, Bro., 30S, 258. 
Neckar, 34. 
Nehemiah, Bro., 308. 



Neisser, Augustine, 433. 
Neophyte, ordeals of, 359. 
Neugeborene, a sect., 73 ; doctrine 

of, 76; disturb funeral services, 77. 

loi ; Weiss' arraignment of, 157, 

158, 159. 2"- 
Newborn (a sect), see Neugeborene. 
New Lights, a sect, 442. 
New Tunkers, a sect, 442. 
New Mooners, a sect, iiS, 430-432. 
Nice, Elizabeth, 222. 
Nitschman, Anna, visits Ephrata, 

427, 42S ; letter against, 429, 432. 
Nitschman, Bp. David, 290, 425, 

433, 434, 442, 466. 
Noble, Abel, visits French creek, 

122, 135 ; exhorts populace in 

Phila., 154. 
Nothigerin, Johanna, 88. 


Obadiah, Bro., 308, 378. 

Oglethrope, General, 462. 

Obed, Bro., 308; anecdote of, 485. 

Old Tunkers, a sect, 442. 

Oley, 99. 

Onesimus, Bro. (see also Ecker- 
ling, Israel), 332, 35S ; Broadside 
against Moravians, 452 ; Kurtzer 
Bericht, 455 ; autograph, ib., 308; 
heads delegation, 444 ; prepares 
letters of divorce, 471 ; intercedes 
with Weiser, 473 ; renews vow of 
celibacy, 373 ; receives tonsure, 
374 ; consecrated, 3S6 ; prior, 3S7. 

Orden der Einsamen, der, 22, 28. 

Orden des leiden Jesu, 429. 

Order of the Solitary, 22. 


Pachomius, legend of, 189. 

Palatinate, map of, 32. 

Palatines, 21 ; arrival of, 400, 25 ; 
opposition to, 136 ; proclamation 
against, 137 ; type and costume 
of, 123. 

FaradisGdrtlein, Arndt's, title, 244; 

miraculous preservation, 245 ; 
printed by Saner, ib. 

Paradisische Naclifs Troffen, 223 ; 
note, 223 ; appendix, 224. 

Passion of Jesus, Order of, 458, 459; 
insignia, 465 ; grand cross, 466. 

Pastorius, Francis D., 44, 196 ; mis- 
sive to Germany, 197. 

Pastorius, Heinrich, 197, 220. 

Pastorius, Johann Samuel, 197. 

Pastors, Lutheran and Reformed, 
arrive, 200, 

Patriot's Day celebrations, 17. 

Paul, Abraham, 38S, 473. 

Paul, Apostle, denounced, 116. 

Paulina, Schw., 311. 

Pequea, 23 ; creek, 103. 

Pen flourish from Kloster MSS., 7. 

Pelagia, Schw., 311. 

Peniel, dedicated, 399 ; description 
of, 400 ; unique construction, 401; 
radical changes, 463 ; interior, 
405 ; foot prints on ceiling, 40S ; 
inscriptions on walls, 410, 415 ; 
fac-simile, 412. 

Penn, Gov. John, grants patent, 
3S3, 384- 

Penn, Thomas, confirms title, 81. 

Penn, William, autograph, 23; friend 
of Labadie, 65 ; letter to Herr- 
nian, 67 ; visits Labadists, 70. 

Pennsylvania-Dutch, 9. 

Pennsylvania religion, 442. 

Pennypacker, Hon. S. W., referred 
to, 156. 

Pensilvanien, Instil. 33. 

Pen work, specimen of, 20, 56. 

Perpetua, Schw., 311. 

Persida, Schw., 311. 

Peter, Bro., 309. 

Peter the hermit (see Peter Miller). 

Petronella, Schw., 311. 

Pettikoflfer, Anna Elizabeth, auto- 
graph, 281. 

I-'ettikoflfer, Johannes, arrives, 172, 
217 ; autograph, sells house, 281. 



Philadelphia. Jacob, 315. 
Philemon, Bro., 309. 
Phoebe, Schw. (see Foeben), 311. 
Pilgrim, a Conestoga, 190; arrive at 

Germantown, 42 ; German, 33 ; 

return to Germantown, 105. 
Pilgrimage to Amwell, 263. 
Piersoll (Piercell), Jeremiah, 122 ; 

John, ib.; Richard, ib. 
Pietist, conventicle, 39, 42 ; arrival 

of, 22, 23. 
Politics and Religion, 113. 
Pork rejected as food. 114. 
Pott, Wilhelm, 424. 
Prayer-robes adopted, 299. 
Preisz, Jacob, 93 ; Johannes, 91. 
Primitive Christians, 113. 
Printing press at Ephrata, 31. 
Priscam, Schw., 311. 
Professors of Christ, Order of, 460. 
Province, seal of, 25. 
Provincial Council, Order of, 26. 
Pseudo imprints, 205, 208. 
Pumpernickel (Westphalia rye 

bread), 46, 192. 
Pyrlaeus, Rev., 442. 

Quaker garb adopted by Bap- 
tists, S7 ; meeting house, Phila- 
delphia, 149. 

Quaker valley, 33. 

Quakerthal, 33. 


Rahel, Schw., 311. 

Raising of Bethania, 480 ; descrip- 
tion, 481. 

Rauch, Rev. Christian, 442, 466. 

Reamstown, iS. 

Reb, Christian, 309. 

Rebaptism, introduced, 366. 

Rebecca, Schw., 311. 

Reading road, old, 16 ; forks of, 18. 

Regeneration, Zionitic, 359 ; spirit- 
ual, 360 ; physical, 361. 

R^gnier, Jean Francois, 192; eccen- 
tricities of, 193 ; scriptural diet, 
ib.\ expelled, 195; experience in 
Zionitic Brotherhood, 362-4. 

Reichel, \V. C, quoted, 167. 

Reissmann, Johann Conrad, 278, 
281, 309. 

Rennels, John. 355, 356. 

Reports, Luth., 117 ; Reformed ib. 

Revivals at Falkner Swamp and 
Tulpehocken, 226; at Oley, etc., 
79 ; on Miihlbach, 127 ; Cones- 
toga, J33. 

Reward card, Ephrata, 289. 

Rismann, 352. 

Ritter, Daniel, 91. 

Ritter, Franz, 424. 

Rittinghausen (Rittenhouse), Glaes, 

Rittighausen, Wilhelm, 198. 

Roberts, Hugh, 279, 283. 

Roberts, Owen, 121. 

Rock, Joh. Fr. , 40. 

Roger (Rodgers), Philip, 122. 

Rolande, Hans, 138. 

Roman Catholic Missionaries, 212, 


Ronsdorffer, a sect, 246. 

Rosa, Schw., 311. 

Roses of Saron, 47,5. 

Rosina, Schw., 311. 

Rosicrucian lore, 195. 

Rosy Cross, fraternity of, 39 ; meet 
in Felsenschlugt, 40. 

Roster of Celibates, 305 ; Brother- 
hood, 307 ; Sisterhood, 309. 

Roxboro Baptist Church, 96. 

Rufinus, Bro., 250, 309. 

Ruthe, Aarons, title, 324-25. 

Rutter, Thomas, 122, 135 


Saal and out buildings, 19. 
Saal (see Peniel). 

Sabbath-keepers, English, 27 ; at 
Conestoga, 28 ; settle at French 



creek, 121 ; accession from Val- 
ley Church, 124. 

Sabbath-question, 133. 

Sabbatarian congregation, 14 ; in 
Chester county, 72. 

Salomon (Les Clavicules de Rab- 
bi), 54- 

Sander, Bro. (Alexander Mack, 
Jr.), 352. 

Sangmeister, Heinrich, 307. 

Sarah, Schw., 311. 

Sauer, Christopher, plan of farm, 
125; German autograph, 126; set- 
tles in Miihlbach valley, ib,; hires 
Eckerling, 135, 175, 220; prints 
Paradis G'artlein, 245 ; Christo- 
pher (2), bookbinder, 316; lauded, 

312 ; friend of Beissel in Europe, 

313 ; occupation, 313 ; returns to 
Germantown, 313 ; settles, 315 ; 
Christopher Sauer Uhn>iachcr, 
ib.; deed to, 316; writes to Zi- 
genhagen, 317; Francke, 318; 
obtains press and type, 318, 319 ; 
experience in printing, 32S; dissa- 
greement with Beissel, 328 , pub- 
lishes his account, 329 ; explana- 
tion, 330 ; account in Chronicon, 
331-33 ; argument with Miller, 
334; against Beissel, 335-38; com- 
ment on, 340, "666 "-343; first 
issue of his press, 344 ; title, 345 ; 
his newspaper, 346 ; heading, 347; 
almanac, 34S ; specimen sheet 
and price list, 348, 451 ; missive, 
452 ; prints Hirten-Heden, ib. ; 
title, 453. 

Sauer, Maria Christian baptized, 

127. 175. 310. 
Schaffer, Joseph, loi, 105. 
Schaefferstown, synagogue at, 117 ; 

Jewish Cemetery, 119. 

Schenk, Sister, 311. 

Schleyer and Kappen, 303. 
Schierwagen, 444. 
Schmelzer, Lorentz, 451. 

Schmidt, Jost, 424. 
Schwartzbrod, 46. 
Schwarzenau, Tunkers at, 40 ; prin- 
ciples of, 49 ; gathering at, SS ; 

baptism at, 90; congregation, 97. 
Schwedenquelle (Swedes' spring), 

82, loi, 120, 133. 
Schwenkfeldt, Caspar, portrait, 214. 
Schwenkfelders arrive, 215. 
Schivcster-chroiiic, 477. 

Schuck, , 311. 

Scotch-Irish, opposition of, 375. 
Scriptural Sabbath, observance of, 

72 ; kept on the Miihlbach, ib. 
Sealthiel, Bro., 309. 
Selig, Joh. Gottfried, 43, 58, 96, 

141, 221. 
Sell, Andrew, 100. 
Senseman, Johann, 176; steward 

of Hebron, 471. 
Seraphia, Schw., 311. 
Services, weekly, Germantown, 84. 
Sevoram, Schw., 311. 
Shabia, Bro., 309. 
Shoemaker, Benjamin, buys Gumre 

tract, 283. 
Shoemaker, Margaret, auto., 218. 
Shoemaker, Peter, 217. 
Shontz, Bro., 309. 
Shophar blown, 117. 
Shunk, Gov. Francis, lays corner 

stone of monument, 17. 

Siegfried, 436. 

Simeon, Bro., 309. 
Sincletica, Schw., 311. 
Single Men's Tax, 266. 
Sisterhood, roster of, 309. 
Sister House, 11. 
Skippack Brethren, 424, 424, 434. 
Slaves of Virtue, Order of, 459. 
Sluyter, Peter, sent to America, 

59 ; returns to Holland, 60. 
Social functions, 4. 
Socinians, 442. 
Solitary, settlement of, 8 ; Order 

of, 22, 30. 



Sophia, Schw., 311. 
Sophia II, Schw., 311. 
Spangenberg, Rev. Joseph, 290 ; 

visits Ephrata, 291 ; visits New 

Mooners, 432. 
Spiritual Virgins, Order of, 254 ; 

founded, 255, 25S. 
Sprogel, Joh. Heinrich, 44. 
Squatters, legal notice against, iSi. 
St. John's Day, 96. 
Stabler, S7 (see Brethren). 
Stadt Buch, Biirgerlichs, 306. 
States General assists Palatines, 33. 
Stattler, Maria, 255, 311. 
Stattler, Susanna, 311. 
Stephanas, Bro., 309. 
Stiefel, George, 40 ; joins Beissel, 

71 ; leaves Miihlbach, So ; sketch 

of, 81 ; joins Skippack Brethren, 

424. 444- 

Stille im Lande (see Neugeborene). 

Sloever, J. Gasp., 20S ; title to regis- 
ter, 210; activity, 211, 212; Muddy 
creek register, 236; facsimile en- 
tries, 237. 

Storch, Nicholas, 87. 

Strassburg, 36 ; Beissel at, 37. 

Strumpfwirker (frame-work knit- 
ter), 47. 

Stubner, Marcus, 87. 

Stumpf, Johannes, S3, 120; visit to, 
133 ; causes trouble, 134. 

Stuntz, Jacob, 42, 53 ; settles on 
Mill creek, 54; sells cabin, Si. 

Superstitions (unlucky days), 17S. 

Surinam, Labadist colony at, 59. 

Susanna, Schw., 311. 

Switzerland, Brethren in, 87. 

Synagogue, first in America, 117. 


Tabea, Schw., 311. 
Tau/gesiiitc, English, 28. 
Theckla, Schw., 250, 311. 
Theobald, Bro., 309. 

Theodorus, Bro., 309. (See Thomas 
Hardie, 435.) 

Theonis, Bro., 309; enters Kedar, 

Theosophy, page of, 29. 

Theophilus, Bro. (See Timotheus, 
Alexander Mack, Jr., and Bro- 
Sander), 88, 90, 309. 

Theresia, Schw., 311. 

Thoma, Anna, 260, 261. 

Thonia, Catharina, 260, 310. 

Thoma family arrive, 260. 

Thoma, Hans Jacob, 260. 

Thoma, Jacob, 35S. 

Thoma, Margaretha, 311. 

Thonia, Martin, 260. 

Thoma, Theodore (Durst), 260. 

Thomas, Gov., visit of, 251, 270; 
issues process, 473. 

Thuringia, Brethren in, 87. 

Timothee, Louis, 203, 317. 

Timotheus, Bro., 88, 90, 222, 309. 
(See Theophilus.) 

Tonsure introduced, 374. 

Traut, Balser, 49, 91. 

Traut brothers, 79. 

Traut, Jeremiah, 49, 91. 

Traut, Henrich, 233 ; death, 275. 

Traut, Joh. Heinrich, 49, 91, 101. 

Traut, Magdalena, 91. 

Traut, Sister, 310. 

TruUinger's lane, 93. 

Tulpehocken, revival at, 226; awak- 
ening, 227 ; Rev. Miller officiates 
at, 238^ reports of, reach Ger- 
many, 246; VVohlfarth as Elder, 
246, 248; succeeded by Eckerling, 

Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, 356. 

Turck, John de. Synod at, 447; In- 
dian baptism at, 466. 


Unclean food rejected, 114. 
Unlucky days, 17S. 
Urgesundheit, 296. 



Unitas Fratrum, 290, 291. 

Uri Canton, arms of, 94. 

Urner, Catharina, 93, 95, 100. 

Urner, Isaac N., 91; quoted, 94, 99. 

Urner, Martin, meeting at, 12S; at- 
tends Mack's funeral, 221, 93 ; 
baptism of, 94; family, ib., 95, 99; 
meeting at, 100. 

Van Bebber, Heinrich, 57 ; Isaac, 
57 ; leaves the Miihlbach, 81 ; 
Jacob Isaac, 57; a Mennonite, 58 ; 
Matthias, 57 ; removes to Bohe- 
mia Manor, 58. 

Veronica, Schw., 211. 

Vetter, Lucas, 88. 

Virgin Mary as patroness, 373. 

Vlaaminger, a sect, 442. 

Vorspiel des Neuen Welt, 185; title, 


Wagner, Abraham, 424. 

Waltahouse, Labadist Congrega- 
tion at, 59. 

Walter, Caspar, 170, 217. 

Wanderbuch (German), 40 ; fac- 
simile, 48. 

Wanderschaft of Beissel, 36. 

Wartnaby, Elizabeth, 54, 81. 

Waterlander, a sect, 442. 

Watkins, Captain, 203. 

Weber, Christian, 424 ; Jacob, 100. 

Weberstown, 100. 

Wiegner, Christopher, 290, 423 ; 
visits to, 424 ; services at, 425. 

Weiser, Conrad, autograph, 22S ; 
Chronicon, 239 ; visits Beissel, 
ib. ; seceedes from Reformed 
Church, 241 ; chief familiar, 242 ; 
books burned, 243 ; assumes 
priestly r61e, 248; joins Commu- 
nity at Ephrata, 219 ; anecdote 
of, 250, 251 ; pilgrimage to Am- 
well, 261 ; intones hymn, 270 ; 
offered public office, 271, 312 ; 

secures paper for Weyrauchs 
Hiigel, 320 ; accounts with 
Franklin, 326, 327 ; Bro. Enoch, 
307 ; at Amwell, 368 ; witness to 
deed, 3S2 ; consecrated, 386, 444; 
commences legal proceedings, 

472, 473- 

Weiser, Philip, 309. 

Weiss, George Michael, 27 ; prints 
first German Reformed book in 
America, 155; title, 145, 20S, 232. 

Weiss, Jacob, 177. 

Welsh, 135. 

Wenzen, Jacob, 424. 

Weyrauch, explanation of, 323, 335. 

Weyrauchs Hiigel, 312 ; paper for, 
320 ; title, 320, 321, 322 ; explana- 
tion of, 323 ; appendix, 324 ; 
Sauer's conmients on, 335. 

Whitefield, Rev., 424 ; preaches at 
Wiegner's, 425. 

Whitemarsh, Thomas, 202. 

White Oak Reformed Church, 238. 

Wiar, Captain Elias, 42. 

Wilhelmus, Bro., 309. 

Williams, John, 122 ; Lewis, 124. 

Wisdom of God (Wohlfarth), 217. 

Wissahickon, Pietists on, 23. 

Wister, Caspar, 326. 

Witt, Christopher, ministers to Van 
Bebber, 81 ; attends Mack's fu- 
neral, 221 ; instructs Sauer, 313 ; 
diploma granted by, 314 ; notes 
on, 315 ; makes a clock, 379. 

Witt, Wilhelm, 309. 

Wittgenstein (Westphalia), 49. 

Woman in the Wilderness, 23, 42. 

Wohlfarth, Michael (Bro. Agonius), 
visits Beissel, 80; joins Beissel at 
Swedes' spring, 83, 104; baptized, 
119, 120, 122 ; exhorts at Cov- 
entry, 128; adheres to Sabbath, 
133; at Falkner Swamp, 134, 135, 
141, 142; translates Beissel's Sab- 
bath book, 145; publishes book on 
the Sabbath, 148 ; exhorts Quak- 



ers, 150; testimony, 151 ; Naked 
Truth, title, 152 ; Meredith's re- 
Pb'i 153. 154 ; lives with Caspar 
Walter, 170, 172 ; argues with 
Mack, 176, 177, 178, 179; hymns 
by, 187 ; pilgrimage to Philadel- 
phia, 216; Franklin's description 
of, 216 ; at Mack's funeral, 220 ; 
appointed Elder at Tolpehocken, 
246 ; not acceptable, 248 ; enters 
Kedar, 255 ; pilgrimage to Am- 
well, 263 ; at Wissahickon, 280 ; 
Wisdom of God, 292 ; German 
version, 293, 307 ; supervises 
printing, 328, 364, 365; calls Beis- 
sel Father, 367; death of, 390. 

Wooden goblets, 403 ; smoothing 
blocks, ib. 

Wunderschrift, 419 ; title, 420 ; 
English title, 421 ; copy sent to 
the Pope, 422. 

Wiister (Wister), Johannes, 261. 


Youth, educated by Brethren, 97. 
Yvon, Bishop, 59, 62. 


Zadock, Brc, 309. 

Zeisberger, David, visit to Ephrata, 

427, 432- 
Zenna, Bro., 309. 
Zenobia, Schw., 311. 
Zephania, Bro., 309, 378. 

Ziegler, Michael, 132. 

Zigenhagen, Rev. Frederich M., 
letter to, 317, 318. 

Zimmerman, Johannes (Hans), 430, 

Zinn, Herman, 256, 308. 

Zinn, Jacob, 308. 

Zinn, Sister, 311. 

Zinzendorf, Count Louis, arrival, 
290, 424-434, 439 ; Bethlehem, 
440 ; calls synod, list of Sectar- 
ians, presides at synod, 444 ; inti- 
macy with Onesimus, 445 ; visits 
Ephrata, 448 ; Germantown, 449 ; 
missive to, 450 ; quarrel with 
Sauer, 451 ; publishes hymn-book, 
452 ; title, 453 ; Ephrata account 
of visit, 454 ; visits Indians 457 ; 
officiates at Indian baptism, 466. 

Zion (Sinai), Mount, 9, 11 ; hos- 
pital on, IS, 17, 357, 380; chapter 
house on, ib. 

Zion Saal, 385 ; dedication, 386. 

Zionitic, Brotherhood, 12, 16, 350 ; 
build convent, 352 ;■ speculation 
of, 354. 356 ; chapter house, 357 ; 
initiation, ib., 358; first mem- 
bers, 358 ; ordeals of neophyte, 
35S; materia prima, 360; physical 
regeneration, 361 ; schemes of, 

Zoar (Reamstown), 191. 

Zwickau Prophets, 87.