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HORACE A. SCOTT
2208 N. Ross Street
Santa Ana, Cat if.
' Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
J. B. LIPPING OTT CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
THE leading article in this collection was writ-
ten about four years ago, and appeared in the
Atlantic Monthly for 1869.
In publishing it now, I make a few alterations
and add notes.
After this was written, I became better
acquainted with our plain German sects, and
wrote the other essays that describe them, and
which are graver, and more strictly historical,
than the first. G.
" PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH" (PROPERLY GERMAN) . . 9
History of the Sect 20
Farming ........ 35
Farmers' Wives 39
Public Schools . 53
Manners and Customs 56
AN AMISH MEETING 60
Swiss EXILES . . ' 73
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST 109
EPHRATA . . . . . . ... .139
A FRIEND . . . . * 178
COUSIN JEMIMA 198
I HAVE lived for twenty years in the county of
Lancaster, where my neighbors on all sides are
" Pennsylvania Dutch." In this article, I shall
try to give, from my own observation and famil-
iar acquaintance, some account of the life of a
people who are almost unknown outside of the
rural neighborhoods of their own State, who have
much that is peculiar in their language, customs,
and beliefs, and whom I have learned heartily to
'esteem for their native good sense, friendly feel-
ing, and religious character.
The tongue which these people speak is a dia-
lect of the German, but they generally call it
and themselves " Dutch."
For the native German who works with them
on the farm they entertain some contempt, and
10 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
the title " Yankee" is with them a synonym for
cheat.* ^A.s must always be the case where the
great majority do not read the tongue which they
speak, and live in contact with those w r ho speak
another, the language has become mixed and cor-
rupt. Seeing a young neighbor cleaning a buggy,
I tried to talk with him bv speaking German.
" Willst du reiten ?" said I (not remembering
that reiten is to ride on horseback). " Willst du
reiten ?" All my efforts were vain. I was going
for cider to the house of a neighboring farmer,
and there I asked his daughter what she would
say, under the circumstances, for "Are you going
to ride ?"
" Widdu fawry? Buggy fawry?" was the an-
swer. (Willst du fahren?) Such expressions are
heard as " Koockamulto'," for " Guck einmal
da," or " Just look at that !" and " Haltybissel"
for " Halt ein biszchen," or "Wait a little bit."
" Gutenobit" is used for " Guten Abend." Apple-
butter is " Lodwaerrick," from the German
"Latwerge," an electuary, or an electuary of
* An acquaintance explains the prejudice against Yankees,
by telling how, some forty to sixty years ago, the tin-peddlers
traveled among the innocent Dutch people, cheating the
farmers and troubling the daughters. They were (says he)
tricky, smart, and good-looking. They could tell a good yarn,
and were very amusing, and the goodly hospitable farmers
would take them into their houses and entertain them, and
receive a little tin-ware in payment.
prunes. Our "Dutch" is much mixed with
English. I once asked a woman what pie-crust
is in Dutch. " Pj-kroosht," she answered.
Those who speak English use uncommon ex-
pressions, as, " That's a werry lasty basket"
(meaning durable); "I seen him yet a'ready;"
" I knew a woman that had a good baby wunst ;"
" The bread is all" (all gone). I have heard the
carpenter call his plane she, and a housekeeper
apply the same pronoun to her home-made soap.
A rich landed proprietor is sometimes called
king. An old " Dutchman" who was absent from
home thus narrated the cause of his journey : " I
must go and see old Yoke (Jacob) Beidelman.
Te people calls me te kink ov te Manor (town-
ship), and tay calls him te kink ov te Octorara.
Now, dese kinks must come togeder once." (Ac-
cent together, and pass quickly over once.}*
* The most elegant specimens of Pennsylvania German with
which I have met, are the poems of the late Kev. Henry Har-
baugh ; but, as the English words introduced by Mr. H. have
since been in general substituted by German, the poems are
not a perfect specimen of the spoken language.
Mr. Harbaugh says, in his poem of Homesickness, or
" Wie gleich ich selle Babble-Beem !
Sie schtehn wie Brieder dar;
Un uf 'in Gippel g'wiss ich leb !
Hockt alleweil 'n Schtaar !
'S Gippel biegt sich guk, wie's gaunscht,
'R hebt sich awer fescht;
12 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
I called recently on my friend and neighbor,
Jacob S., who is a thrifty farmer, of a good mind,
Ich seh sei rothe Fliegle plehn
Wann er sei Feddere wescht;
Will wette, dass sei Fraale hot
Uf sellem Baam'n Nescht."
How well I love those poplar-trees,
That stand like brothers therej
And on the top, as sure's I live,
A blackbird perches now.
The top is bending, how it swings!
But still the bird holds fast.
How plain I saw his scarlet wings
When he his feathers dressed !
I'll bet you on that very tree
His wifie has a nest.
Miss Rachel Bahn, of York County, has written some verses
in the dialect. She says :
"Well, anyhow, wann's Frueyohr kummt,
Bin ich geplcased first-rate;
Die luffs so fair un agenehm,
Die rose so lieblich webt.
Nau gehe mei gedanke nuf
Wu's iinmer Frueyohr is,
Wu's keh feren 'ring gewe duth,
Wu's herrlich is gewiss."
Well, anyhow, when springtime comes,
Then am I pleased first-rate ;
So fair and soft the breezes blow,
So lovely is the rose.
'Tis then my thoughts are raised on high,
Where Spring forever blooms,
Where change can never more be felt,
But glory shines around.
and a member of the old Mennist or Mennonite
Society. I once accompanied him and his pleas-
Mr. E. H. Rauch, of Lancaster, has written some humorous
letters under the title of Pit (Pete) Schwefflebrenner.
He accommodates himself to the great numbers of our
" Dutch" people, who do not read German, by writing the
dialect phonetically. He says :
" Der klea meant mer awer, sei net recht g'sund, for er
kreisht ols so greisel-heftict orrick (arg) in der nacht. De
olt Lawbucksy behawpt er is was mer aw gewocksa heast, un
meant mer set braucha derfore. Se sawya es waer an olty
fraw drivva im Lodwaerrickshteddle de kennt's aw wocksa
ferdreiv mit warta, un aw so a g'schmeer . . was se
mocht mit gensfet De fraw sawya se waer a
sivvaty shweshter un a dochter fun earn daer sei dawdy nee
net g'sea hut un sell gebt eara yetzt de gewalt so
warta braucha fors aw wocksa tsu ferdrieva."
" The little one seems to me not to be quite well, for he
cries so dreadfully in the night. Old Mrs. Lawbucks main-
tains that he is what we call grown (enlargement of the liver),
and thinks that I should do something for it. She says that
there was an old woman in Applebutter-town who knew how
to drive away the growth with words, and who has, too, an
ointment that she makes with goose-fat. . . The woman
says that she was a seventh sister, and the daughter of one who
never saw his father . . . and that gives her now the
power to use words to drive away the growth."
Professor Haldeman, of the University of Pennsylvania,
says that Pennsylvania German is a fusion of the South Ger-
man dialects, brought from the region of the upper Rhine, in-
cluding Switzerland, with an infusion of English.
He adds that the perfect is used for the imperfect tense, as
in Swiss ; so that for " ich sagto'' (I said), we have " ich hab
14 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
ant wife to their religious meeting. The meet-
ing-house is a low brick building, with neat
surroundings, and resembles a Friends' meeting-
house. The Mennists in many outward circum-
stances very much resemble the Society of F riends,
but do not, like some of the latter, hold that the
object of extreme veneration is the teaching of
the Holy Spirit in the secret stillness of the soul.
In the interior of the Mennist meeting a
Quaker-like plainness prevails. The men, with
broad-brimmed hats and simple dress, sit on
benches on one side of the house, and the
women, in plain caps and black sun-bonnets, are
ranged on tlje other. The services are almost
always conducted in "Dutch," and consist of ex-
hortation and prayer, and singing by the congre-
gation. The singing is without previous training,
and is not musical. A pause of about five min-
utes is allowed for private prayer.
The preachers are not paid, and are chosen in
the following manner. When a vacancy occurs,
and a new appointment is required, several men
go into a small room, appointed for the pur-
pose ; and to them waiting, enter singly the
men and women, as many as choose, who tell
them the name of the person whom each prefers
ksaat," for "ich hatte" (I had), we have "ich hab kat."
From the Transactions of the American Philological Associa-
should till the vacancy. After this, an opportu-
nity is given to any candidate to excuse himself
from the service. Those who are not excused,
if, for instance, six in number, are brought before
six books. Each candidate takes up a book, and
the one within whose book a lot is found, is the
I asked my friends, who gave me some of these
details, whether it was claimed or believed that
there is any especial guidance of the Divine
Spirit in thus choosing a minister. From the
reply, I did not learn that any such guidance is
claimed, though they spoke of a man who was
led to pass his hand over all the other books, and
who selected the. last one, but he did not get the
lot after all. He was thought to be ambitious of
a place in the ministry.
The three prominent sects of Mennonites all
claim to be non-resistants, orwehrlos. The oWMen-
nists, who are the most numerous and least rigid,
vote at elections, and are allowed to hold such
public offices as school director and road super-
visor, but not to be members of the legislature.
The ministers are expected not to vote. The
members of this society cannot bring suit against
any one ; they can hold mortgages, but not judg-
ment bonds. Like Quakers, they were not al-
lowed to hold slaves, and they do not take oaths,
nor deal in spirituous liquors.
My neighbor Jacob and I were once talking of
16 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
the general use of the word "Yankee" to denote
one who is rather unfair in his dealings. They
sometimes speak of a " Dutch Yankee ;" and
Jacob asked me whether, if going to sell a horse,
I should tell the buyer every fault that I knew
of the horse's having, as, he maintained, was the
proper course. His brother-in-law, who was at
times a horse-dealer, did not agree with him.
Titles do not abound among these plain neigh-
bors of ours. Jacob's little son used to call him
"Jake," as he heard the hired men do. Never-
theless, one of our New Mennist acquaintances
was quite courtly in his address. This last-men-
tioned sect branched oft' some forty years ago,
and claim to be reformirt, or to have returned to
an older and more excellent standard. They do
not vote at all. Their most striking peculiarity
is this: if one of the members is disowned by
the church, the other members of his own family
who are members of the meeting are not allowed
to eat at the same table with him, and his wife
withdraws from him. A woman who worked in
such a family told me how unpleasant it was to
her to see that the father did not take his seat at
the table, to which she was invited.
In support of this practice, they refer to the
eleventh verse of the fifth chapter of First Co-
rinthians: " But now I have written unto you not
to keep company, if any man that is called a
brother be a foruicator, or covetous, or an idola-
ter, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner ;
with such an one no not to eat.'" We have yet an-
other sect among us, called Amish (pronounced
Ommish). In former times these Mennists were
sometimes known as " beard j men," but of late
years the beartl is not a distinguishing trait. It
is said that a person once asked an Amish man
the difference between themselves and another
Mennist sect. " Vy, dey vears puttons, and ve
vearsh hooks oont eyes ;" and this is, in fact,
a prime difference. All the Mennist sects retain
the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper,
but most also practice feet-washing, and some
sectarians " greet one another with a holy kiss."
On a Sunday morning Amish wagons, covered
with yellow oil-cloth, may be seen moving toward
the house of that member whose turn it is to have
the meeting. Great have been the preparations
there beforehand, the whitewashing, the* scrub-
bing, the polishing of tin and brass. Wooden
benches and other seats are provided for the
" meeting-folks," and the services resemble those
already described. Of course, young mothers
do not stay at home, but bring their infants with
them. When the meeting is over, the congrega-
tion remain to dinner. Bean soup was formerly
the principal dish on this occasion, but, with the
progress of luxury, the farmers of a fat soil no
longer confine themselves to so simple a diet.
Imagine what a time of social intercourse this
18 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
must be, transcending those hospitable gather-
ings, the quarterly meetings of Friends.
The Amish dress is peculiar; and the children
are diminutive men and women. The women
wear sun-bonnets and closely-fitting dresses, but
often their figures look very trim, in brown, with
green or other bright handkerchiefs meeting over
I saw a group of Amish at the railroad station
the other day, men, women, and a little boy.
One of the young women wore a pasteboard sun-
bonnet covered with black, and tied with narrow
blue ribbon, among which showed the thick white
strings of her Amish cap ; a gray shawl, without
fringe ; a brown stuff dress, and a purple apron.
One middle-aged man, inclined to corpulence,
had coarse, brown, woolen clothes, and his panta-
loons, without suspenders (in the Amish fashion),
were unwilling to meet his waistcoat, and showed
one or two inches of white shirt. No buttons
were on his coat behind, but down the front were
hooks and eyes. One young girl wore a bright-
brown sun-bonnet, a green dress, and a light blue
apron. The choicest figure, however, was the
six-year-old, in a jacket, and with pantaloons
plentifully plaited into the waistband behind;
hair cut straight over the forehead, and hanging
to the shoulders; and a round-crowned black
wool hat, with an astoundingly wide brim. The
little girls, down to two years old, wear the plain
cap, and the handkerchief crossed upon the
In Amish houses, the love of ornament ap-
pears in brightly scoured utensils, how the
brass ladles are made to shine ! and in embroid-
ered towels, one end of the towel showing a
quantity of work in colored cottons. When steel
or elliptic springs were introduced, so great a
novelty was not at first patronized by members
of the meeting; but an infirm brother, desiring
to visit his friends, directed the blacksmith to
put a spring inside his wagon, under the seat,
and since that time steel springs have become
common. I have even seen a youth with flow-
ing hair (as is common among the Mennists), and
two trim-bodied damsels, riding in a very plain,
A. Z. rode in a common buggy ; but he be-
came a great backslider, poor man !
. It was an Amish man, not well versed in the
English language, from whom I bought poultry,
who sent me a bill for " chighans."
In mentioning some ludicrous circumstances,
far be it from me to ignore the virtues of these
20 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
HISTORY OF THE SECT.
The Mennonites are named from Simon
Menno, a reformer, who died in 1561, though it
is doubtful whether Men no founded the. sect.
" The prevailing opinion among church histo-
rians, especially those of Holland, is that the
origin of the Dutch Baptists may be traced to
the Waldenses, and that Menno merely organ-
ized the concealed and scattered congregations
as a denomination."*
The freedom of religious opinion which was
allowed in Pennsylvania may have had the effect
of drawing hither the Continental Europeans,
who established themselves in the fertile lands
of the western part of the county of Chester,
now Lancaster. It was not until the revolution
of 1848 that the different German states granted
full civil rights to the Mennonites. In some
cases this freedom has since been withdrawn.*
Hanover, in 1858, annulled the election of a rep-
resentative to the second chamber, because he
was a Mennonite. Much of this opposition prob-
ably is caused by the sect's refusing to take
* New American Cyclopaedia. I have not yet found (1872)
any distinct historical connection between the Waldenses and
Mennonites, or Anabaptists. The Martyr-book (" Martyr's
Mirror") endeavors to prove identity of doctrine, in opposi-
tion to infant baptism, to war, and to oaths.
HISTORY OF THE SECT. 1
Under those opposing circumstances in the Old
"World, it is not remarkable that the number of
Mennouites in the United States is reported to
exceed that in all the rest of the world put to-
gether. The Amish are named from Jacob Amen,
a Swiss Mennonite preacher of the seventeenth
As I understand the Mennonites, they endeavor
in church government literally to carry out the
injunction of Jesus, " Moreover, if thy brother
shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his
fault between thee and hi'm alone ; if he shall
hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if
he will not hear thee, then take with thee one
or two more, that in the mouth of two or three
witnesses every word may be established. And
if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the
church; but if he neglect to hear the church,
let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a
Besides these sectaries, we have among us
Dunkers (German twiken, to dip), from whom
sprang the Seventh-Day Baptists of Ephratah,
with their Brother and Sister houses of Celi-
Also at Litiz we have the Moravian Church
and Gottesacker (or churchyard), and a Mora-
vian Church at Lancaster. Here, according to
custom, a love-feast was held recently, when a
22 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
cup of coffee and a rusk (sweet biscuit) were
handed to each person present.*
As our county was represented in Congress
by Thaddeus Stevens, you have some idea of
what our politics are. We have returned about
five or six thousand majority for the Whig, Anti-
Masonic, and Republican ticket, and the adjoin-
ing very " Dutch" county of Berks invariably as
great a majority for the Democratic. So striking
a difference has furnished much ground for specu-
lation. The Hon. Mr. S. says that Berks is
Democratic because so many Hessians settled
there after the Revolution. "No," says the
Hon. Mr. B., "I attribute it to the fact that the
people are not taught by unpaid ministers, as
* Hupp estimated (1844) that there were seven Lutheran
ministers living in the county, and that there were twenty-
seven Lutheran places for public worship. He says, " The
German Keformed have twenty places of public worship."
We have a number of " Dutch Methodists," or " Albrechts-
leute" (Albrechts people), to whom is given the name " Evan-
A young Lutheran minister has estimated that there are
over thirty religious divisions in this county, but some of them
are very small.
Kupp, who gives about twenty-two divisions (1844), says
that there is no spot upon earth, with so limited a population,
and the same confined territory, that counts more denomina-
tions than Lancaster County.
with us, but are Lutherans and German Re-
formed, and can be led by their preachers."
"Why is Berks Democratic?" I asked our
Democratic postmaster. "I do not know," said
he; " but the people here are ignorant ; they do
not read a paper on the other side." A former
postmaster tells me that he has heard that the
people of Berks were greatly in favor of liberty
in the time of the elder Adams ; that they put
up liberty-poles, and Adams sent soldiers among
them and had the liberty-poles cut down ; and
" ever since they have been opposed to that po-
litical part} 7 , under its different names."*
* Since the above was written, a gentleman of Heading has
told me that he heard James Buchanan express, in the latter
part of his life, a similar opinion to one given above. Mr.
Buchanan said, in effect, that while peace sects prevailed in
Lancaster County, in Berks were found many Lutherans and
German Keformed, who were more liberal.
The Hon. Mr. S. cited above is John Strohm. The troubles
alluded to in Berks seem to have been principally on account
of a direct tax, called " The House-tax," imposed during the
administration of John Adams.
" The assessors were resisted, and chased from township to
township. To quell the insurrection, troops were raised in
Lancaster County, who inarched to Heading and took down
liberty-poles that had been erected by certain persons.
" Returning afterwards from Northampton County, they en-
tered the office of the German ' Adler,' or ' Eagle,' and took
the editor before their commanding officer, who ordered that
he should receive twenty-five lashes, in the market-house, on
account of certain offensive articles that had appeared in his
24 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
The greatest festive occasion, or the one which
calls the greatest number of persons to eat and
drink together, is the funeral.
My friends Jacob and Susanna E. have that
active benevolence and correct principle which
prompt to care for the sick and dying, and kind
offices toward the mourner. Nor are they alone
in this. "When a death occurs, our "Dutch"
neighbors enter the house, and, taking posses-
sion, relieve the family as far as possible from the
labors and cares of a funeral. Some " redd up"
the house, making that which was neglected
during the sad trials of a fatal disease, again in
order for the reception of company. Others visit
the kitchen, and help to bake great store of bread,
pies, and rusks for the expected gathering. Two
young men and two young women generally sit
up together overnight to watch in a room ad-
joining that of the dead.
At funerals occurring on Sunday, three hun-
dred carriages have been seen in attendance;
and so great at all times is the concourse of
paper. As these were being inflicted, certain gentlemen in-
terposed and prevented the carrying out of the sentence.
"Some of the insurrectionists were tried, and some con-
demned to death, but this sentence was not executed."
This account is taken from Rupp's History of Berks and
people of all stations and all shades of belief,
and so many partake of the entertainment lib-
erally provided, that I may be excused for call-
ing funerals the great festivals of the "Dutch."
(Weddings are also highly festive occasions, but
they are confined to the "Freundschaft," and
to much smaller numbers.)
The services at funerals are generally con-
ducted in the German language.
An invitation is extended to the persons present
to return to eat after the funeral, or the meal is
provided before leaving for the graveyard. Hos-
pitality, in all rural districts, where the guests
come from afar, seems to require this. The
tables are sometimes set in a barn, or large
wagon-house, and relays of guests succeed one
another, until all are done. The neighbors wait
upon the table. The entertainment generally
consists of meat, frequently cold ; bread and
butter; pickles or sauces, such as apple-butter;
pies and rusks ; sometimes stewed chickens,
rnashed potatoes, cbeese, etc., and coft'ee invaria-
bly. All depart after the dish-washing, and the
family is left in quiet again.
I have said that persons of all shades of belief
attend funerals; but our New Mennists are not
permitted to listen to the sermons of other de-
nominations. Memorial stones over the dead
are more conspicuous than among Friends. But
they are still quite plain, with simple inscrip-
26 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
tions. Occasionally family graveyards are seen.
Qne on a farm adjoining ours seems cut out of
the side of a field. It stands back from the high-
road, and access to it is on foot. To those who
are anxious to preserve the remains of their rel-
atives, these graveyards are objectionable, as they
will probably be obliterated after the property
has passed into another family.
Our farmer had a daughter married lately, and
I was invited to see the bride leave home. The
groom, in accordance witli the early habits of the
" Dutch" folks, reached the bride's house about
six A.M., having previously breakfasted and rid-
den four miles. As he probably fed and har-
nessed his horse, besides attiring himself for the
grand occasion, he must have been up betimes
of an October morning.
The bride wore purple mousseline-de-laine and
a blue bonnet. As some of the "wedding-
folks" were dilatory, the bride and groom did not
get oft' before seven. The bridegroom was a
mechanic. The whole party was composed of
four couples, who rode to Lancaster in buggies,
where two pairs were married by a minister. In
the afternoon, the newly-married couples went
down to Philadelphia for a few days; and on the
evening that they were expected at home, we
F ESTIVA LS WEDDINGS. 27
had a reception, or home-coming. Supper con-
sisted of roast turkeys, beef, and stewed chick-
ens, cakes, pies, and coffee of course. We had
raisin-pie, which is a great treat in "Dutchland"
on festive or solemn occasions. "Nine couples" of
the bridal party sat down to supper, and then the
remaining spare seats were occupied by the land-
lord's wife, the bride's uncle, etc. We had a
fiddler in the evening. He and the dancing
would not have been there, had the household
"belonged to meeting;" and, as it was, some
young Methodist girls did not dance.
One of my " English" acquaintances was sit-
ting alone on a Sunday evening, when she heard
a rap at the door, and a young " Dutchman," a
stranger, walked .in and sat down, " and there he
sot, and sot, and sot." Mrs. G. waited to hear
his errand, politely making conversation ; and
finally he asked whether her daughter was at
home. "Which one?" He did not know. But
that did not make much difference, as neither
was at home. Mrs. G. afterwards mentioned
this circumstance to a worthy " Dutch" neigh-
bor, expressing surprise that a young man should
call who had not been introduced. " How then
would they get acquainted?" said he. She sug-
gested that she did not think that her daughter
knew the young man. " She would not tell you,
perhaps, if she did." The daughter, however,
when asked, seemed entirely ignorant, and did
28 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
not know that she had ever seen the young man.
He had probably seen her at the railroad station,
and had found out her name and residence. It
would seem to indicate much confidence on the
part of parents, if, when acquaintances are formed
in such a manner, the father and mother retire
at nine o'clock, and leave their young daughter
thus to "keep company," until midnight or later.
It is no wonder that one of our German sects
has declared against the popular manner of
I recently attended a N"ew Meimist wedding,
which took place in the frame meeting-house.
"We entered through an adjoining brick dwelling,
one room of which served as an ante-room, where
the " sisters" left their bonnets and shawls. I
was late, for the services had begun about nine,
on a bitter Sunday morning of December. The
meeting-house was crowded, and in front on the
left was a plain of book-muslin caps on the heads
of the sisters. On shelves and pegs, along the
other side, were placed the hats and overcoats
of the brethren. The building was extremely sim-
ple, whitewashed without, entirely unpaiuted
within, with whitewashed walls. The preacher
stood at a small, unpainted desk, and before it
was a table, convenient for the old men " to
sit at and lay their books on." Two stoves,
a half-dozen hanging tin candlesticks, and the
benches, completed the furniture. The preacher
FEST1 VALS WEDDINGS. 29
was speaking extemporaneously in English, for
in this meeting-house the services are often per-
formed in this tongue; and he spoke readily and
well, though his speech was not free from such
expressions as, "It would be wishful for men to
do their duty ;" " Man cannot separate them to-
gether;" and " This, Christ done for us."
He spoke at length upon divorce, which, he
said, could not take place between Christians.
The preacher spoke especially upon the duty of
the wife to submit to the husband, whenever
differences of sentiment arose; of the duty- of
the husband to love the wife, and to show his
love by his readiness to assist her. He alluded
to Paul's saying that it is better to be unmarried
than married, and he did not scruple to use plain
language touching adultery. His discourse ended,
he called upon the pair proposing marriage to
come forward ; whereupon the man and woman
rose from the body of the congregation on either
side, and, coming out to the middle aisle, stood
together before the minister. They had both
passed their early youth, but had very good faces.
The bride wore a mode-colored alpaca, and a
black apron ; also a clear-starched cap without a
border, after the fashion of the sect. The groom
wore a dark-green coat, cut " shad-bellied," after
the manner of the brethren.
This was probably the manner of their ac-
quaintance: If, in spite of Paul's encourage-
30 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
ment to a single life, a brother sees a sister whom
lie wishes to marry, he mentions the fact to a
minister, who tells it to the sister. If she agrees
in sentiment, the acquaintance continues for a
year, during which private interviews can be
had, if desired; but this sect entirely discour-
ages courting as usually practiced among the
The year having in this case elapsed, and the
pair having now met before the preacher, he pro-
pounded to them three questions :
1. I ask of this brother, as the bridegroom, do
you believe that this sister in the faith is allotted
to you by God as your helpmeet and spouse?
Arid I ask of you, as the bride, do you believe
that this your brother is allotted to you by God
as your husband and head ?
2. Are you free in your affections from all
others, and have you them centred alone upon
this your brother or sister?
3. Do you receive this person as your lawfully
wedded husband [wife], do you promise to be
faithful to him [her], to reverence him [to love
her], and that nothing but death shall separate
you ; that, by the help of God, you will, to the
best of your ability, fulfill all the duties which
God has enjoined on believing husbands and
In answering this last question,! observed the
bride to lift her eyes to the preacher's face, as if
FESTIVALS WED DINGS. 31
in fearless trust. Then the preacher, directing
them to join hands, pronounced them man and
wife, and invoked a blessing upon them. This
was followed by a short prayer, after which the
wedded pair separated, each again taking a place
among the congregation. The occasion was
solemn. On resuming his place in the desk, the
preacher's eyes were seen to be suffused, and
pocket-handkerchiefs were visible on either side
(the sisters' white, those of the brethren of col-
ored silk). The audience then knelt, while the
preacher prayed, and I heard responses like those
of the Methodists, but more subdued. The
preacher made a few remarks, to the effect that,
although it would be grievous to break the bond
now uniting ^these two, it would be infinitely
more grievous to break the tie which unites us
to Christ ; and then a quaint hymn was sung to
a familiar tune. The " Church" does not allow
wedding-parties, but a few friends may gather at
the house after meeting.
The marriage ceremony among the Amish is
performed, it is said, in meeting.
One of my neighbors has told me that the
Amish " have great fun at weddings ;" that they
have a table set all night, and that when the
weather is pleasant, they play in the barn.
"Our Peter went once," she continued, "with
a lot of the public-school scholars. They let
them go in and look on. They twisted a
32 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
towel for the bloom-sock, and they did hit each
(Bloom-sock, Plump-sack, a twisted kerchief,
a clumsy fellow.)
" The bloom-sock" (oo short), as one of my
acquaintances described it, " is a handkerchief
twisted long, from the two opposite corners.
"When it is twisted, you double it, and tie the
ends with a knot. One in front hunts the hand-
kerchief, and those on the bench are passing it
behind them.' If they get a chance, they'll hit
him with it, and if he sees it, he tears it away.
Then he goes into the row, and the other goes
out to hunt it."
" The English folks have a game like that,"
said I. " We call it ' Hunt the Slipper.' "
It has also been said that at Amish wedding-
parties they do what they call Gliicklrinke, of
Some wedding-parties are called Infares. Thus,
a neighbor spoke of " Siegfried's wedding, where
they had such an lufare."
It must not be supposed from these descrip-
tions that we have no " fashionable" persons
among us, of the old German stock. When they
have become fashionable, however, they do not
desire to be called " Dutch."
FESTIVALS qUILTINGS. 33
Some ten years ago there came to our neigh-
borhood a pleasant, industrious "Aunt Sally,"
a " yellow woman ;" and the other day she had a
quilting, for she had long wished to re-cover two
quilts. The first who arrived at Aunt Sally's
was our neighbor from over the " creek," or
mill-stream, Polly M., in her black silk Mennist
bonnet, formed like a sun-bonnet; and at ten
came my dear friend Susanna E., who is tall and
fat, and very pleasant ;
" Whose heart has a look southward, and is open
To the great noon of nature."
Aunt Sally had her quilt up in her landlord's
east room, for her own house was too small.
However, at about eleven she called us over to
dinner; for people who have breakfasted at five
or six have an appetite at eleven.
We found on the table beefsteaks, boiled pork,
sweet potatoes, kohl-slaw,* pickled tomatoes, cu-
cumbers, and red beets (thus the " Dutch" accent
lies), apple-butter and preserved peaches, pump-
kin and apple pie, sponge-cake and coffee.
* Kohl-slaw (i.e. Kohl-salat or Cabbage-salad?) is shredded
cabbage, dressed with vinegar, etc. A rich dressing is some-
times made of milk or cream, egg, vinegar, etc. . It may be
eaten either as warm slaw or cold slaw.
34 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
After dinner came our next neighbors, " the
maids," Susy and Katy Groff, who live in single
blessedness and great neatness. They wore
pretty, clear-starched Mennist caps, very plain.
Katy is a sweet-looking woman ; and, although
she is more than sixty years old, her forehead is
almost nnwrinkled, and her fine fair hair is still
brown. It was late when the farmer's wife came,
three o'clock ; for she had been to Lancaster.
She wore hoops, and was of the " world's people."
These women all spoke " Dutch ;" for " the
maids," whose ancestor came here probably one
hundred and fifty years ago, do not speak Eng-
lish with fluency yet.
The first subject of conversation was the fall
house-cleaning; and I heard mention of "die
carpett hinaus an der fence," and " die fenshter
und die porch ;" and the exclamation, " My good-
ness, es war schlimm." I quilted faster than
Katy Groff', who showed me her hands, and said,
" You have not been corn-husking, as I have."
So we quilted and rolled, talked and laughed,
got one quilt done, and put in another. The
work was not fine; we laid it out by chalking
around a small plate. Aunt Sally's desire was
rather to get her quilting finished upon this
great occasion, than for us to put in a quantity
About five o'clock we were called to supper.
I need not tell you all the particulars of this
plentiful meal. But the stewed chicken was
tender, and we had coffee again.
Polly M.'s husband now came over the creek
in the boat, to take her home, and he warned her
against the evening dampness. The rest of us
quilted awhile by candle and lamp, and got the
second quilt done at about seven.
At this quilting there was little gossip, and
less scandal. I displayed my new alpaca, and
my dyed merino, and the Philadelphia bonnet
which exposes the back of my head to the wintry
blast. Polly, for her part, preferred a black silk
sun-bonnet; and sa we parted, with mutual
invitations to visit.
In this fertile limestone district, farming is
very laborious, being entirely by tillage. Our
regular routine is once in five years to plow the
sod ground for corn. In the next ensuing year
the same ground ia sowed with oats ; and when
the oats come off in August, the industrious
" Dutchmen" immediately manure the stubble-
land for wheat. I have seen them laying the
dark-brown heaps upon the yellow stubble when,
in August, I have ridden some twelve or four-
teen miles down to the hill-country for black-
After the ground is carefully prepared, wheat
36 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH"
and timothy (grass) seed are put in with a drill,
and in the ensuing spring clover is sowed upon
the same ground. By July, when the wheat is
taken off the ground, the clover and timothy are
growing, and will be ready to mow in the next,
or fourth summer. In the fifth, the same grass
constitutes a grazing-ground, and then the sod
is ready to be broken up again for Indian corn.
Potatoes are seldom planted here in great quan-
tities ; a part of one of the oat-fields or corn-fields
can be put into potatoes, and the ground will be
ready by fall to be put into wheat, if it is desired.
A successful farmer put more than half of his
forty acres into wheat; this being considered the
best crop. The average crop of wheat is about
twenty bushels, of Indian corn about forty.
I have heard of one hundred bushels of corn
in the Pequea valley, but this is very rare. When
the wheat and oats are in the barn or stack,
enormous eight-horse threshers,* whose owners
go about the neighborhood from farm to farm,
thresh the crop in two or three days ; and thus
what was once a great job for winter may all be
finished by the 1st of October.
Jacob E. is a model farmer. His buildings and
fences are in good order, and his cattle well kept.
lie is a little past the prime of life ; his beautiful
head of black hair being touched with silver.
* Steam-engines are now in use for threshing (1872).
His wife is dimpled and smiling, and her two
hundred and twenty pounds do not prevent
her being active, energetic, forehanded, and
"through-going." During the winter months
the two sons go to the public school, the older
one with reluctance ; there they learn to read
and write and " cipher," and possibly study
geography; they speak English at school, and
"Dutch" at home. Much education the " Dutch"
farmer fears, as productive of laziness; and lazi-
ness is a mortal sin here. The E.'s rarely buy a
book.* The winter is employed partly in pre-
paring material to fertilize the wheat-land during
the coming summer. Great droves of cattle and
sheep come down our road from the West, and
our farmers buy from these, and fatten stock
during the winter months for the Philadelphia
A proper dare of his stock will occupy some
portion of the farmer's tirne.f Then he has
generally a great " Freundschaft," or family con-
nection, both his aird his wife's; and the paying
* I suggested to one of my farming neighbors that he might
advantageously have given a certain son a chance at books.
" Don't want no books !" was the answer. " There's enough
goes to books ! Get so lazy after awhile, they won't farm/'
.f A young farmer's son told me also of cutting wood and
quarrying stone in the winter, and added, " if a person
wouldn't work in the winter, they'd be behindhand in the
38 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
visits within a range of twenty or thirty miles,
and receiving visits in return, help to pass away
the time. Then Jacob and Susanna are actively
benevolent; they are liable to be called upon,
summer and winter, to wait on the sick and to
help bury the dead. Susanna was formerly re-
nowned as a baker at funerals, where her services
were freely given.
This rich level land of ours is highly prized by
the "Dutch" for farming purposes, and the great
demand has enhanced the price. The farms, too,
are small, seventy acres being a fair size. When
Seth R., the rich preacher, bought his last farm
from an "Englishman," William G. said to him,
" Well, Seth, it seems as if you Dutch folks had
determined to root us English out; but thee had
to pay pretty dear for thy root this time."
There are some superstitious ideas that still
hold sway here, regarding the growth of plants.
A young girl coming to us for cabbage-plants
said that it was a good time to set them, out, for
"'it was in the Wirgin." It is very doubtful
whether she knew what was in Virgo, but I sup-
pose that it was the moon. So our farmer's wife
tells me that the Virgin will do very well for cab-
bages, but not for any flowering plant like beans,
for, though they will bloom well, they will not
mature the fruit. Grain should be sowed in the
increase of the moon ; meat butchered in the
decrease will shrink in the pot.
FARMERS' WIVES. 39
One of my Dutch neighbors, Avho, from a
shoemaker, became the owner of two farms,
said to me, "The woman is more than half;"
and his own very laborious wife (with her por-
tion) had indeed been so.
The woman (in popular parlance, "the old
woman") milks, raises the poultry, has charge of
.the garden, sometimes digging the ground her-
self, and planting and hoeing, with the assistance
of her daughters and the " maid," when she has
one. (German, magd.} To be sure, she does not
go extensively into vegetable-raising, nor has she
a large quantity of strawberries and other small
fruits ; neither does she plant a great many peas
and beans, that are laborious to " stick." She
has a quantity of cabbages and of " red beets,"
of onions and of early potatoes, in her garden, a
plenty of cucumbers for winter pickles, and store
of string-beans and tomatoes, with some sweet
Peter R. told me that in one year, off of their
small farm, they sold " two hundred dollars'
worth of wedgable things, not counting the
butter." As in that year the clothing for each
member of the family probably cost from ten to
fifteen dollars, the two hundred dollars' worth of
vegetable things was of great importance.
40 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH.' 1
Our "Dutch" never make store-cheese. At a
county fair, only one cheese was exhibited, and
that was from Chester County. The farmer's
wife boards all the farm-hands, and the me-
chanics, the carpenter, mason, etc., who put up
the new buildings, and the fence-makers. At
times she allows the daughters to go out and husk
corn. It was a pretty sight which I saw one fall
day, an Amish man with four sons and daugh-
ters, husking in the field.* "We do it all our-
selves," said he.
In the winter mornings perhaps the farmer's
wife goes out to milk in the stable with a lantern,
while her daughters get breakfast; has her house
" redd up" about eight o'clock, and is prepared
for several hours' sewing before dinner, laying by
great piles of shirts for summer. We no longer
make linen ; but I have heard of one Dutch girl
who had a good supply of domestic linen made
into shirts and trousers for the future spouse
whose " fair proportions" she had not yet seen.
There are, of course, many garments to make
in a large family, but there is not much work put
* Said a neighbor, " A man told me once that he was at an
Amish husking, a husking-match in the kitchen. He said
he never saw as much sport in all his life. There they had
the bloom-sock. There was one old man, quite gray-headed,
and gray-bearded : he laughed till he shook." Said another,
" There's not many huskings going on now. The most play
now goes on at the Infares."
FARMERS' WIVES. 41
upon them. We do not jet patronize the sewing-
machine* very extensively, but a seamstress or
tailoress is sometimes called in. At the spring
cleaning, the labors of the women folk are in-
creased by whitewashing the picket-fences.
In March we make soap, before the labors of
the garden are great. The forests are being
obliterated from this fertile tract, and many use
what some call " consecrated" lye ; formerly, the
ash-hopper was filled, and a good lot of. egg-
bearing lye ran oft' to begin the soap with, while
the w r eaker filled the soft-soap kettle, after the
soap had " come." The chemical operation of
soap-making often proved difficult, and, of course,
much was said about luck. " We had bad luck,
making soap." A sassafras stick was preferred
for stirring, and the soap was stirred always in
one direction. In regard to this, and that other
chemical operation, making and keeping vinegar,
there are certain ideas about the temporary in-
capacity of some persons, ideas only to be al-
luded to here. If the farmer's wife never "has
luck" in making soap, she employs some skillful
woman to come in and help her. It is not a
long operation, for the " Dutcb" rush this work
speedily. If the lye is well run oft', two tubs of
hard soap and a barrel of soft can be made in a
* Sewing-machines have become common since this aiticle
42 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
day. A smart housekeeper can make a barrel
of soap in the morning, and go visiting in the
Great are the household labors in harvest; but
the cooking and baking in the hot weather are
cheerfully done for the men folks, who 'are toil-
ing in hot suns and stifling barns. Four meals
are common at this season, for " a piece" is sent
out at nine o'clock. I heard of one Dutch girl's
making some fifty pies a week in harvest ; for if
you have four meals a day, and pie at each, many
are required. We have great faith in pie.
I have been told of an inexperienced Quaker
housewife in the neighboring county of York,
who was left in charge of the farm, and, during
harvest, these important labors were performed
by John Stein, John Stump, and John Stinger.
She also had guests, welcome perhaps as " rain
in harvest." To conciliate the Johns was very
important, and she waited on them first. "What
will thee have, John Stein?" "What shall I
give thee, John Stump?" "And thee, John
Stinger?" On one memorable occasion there
was mutiny in the field, for John Stein declared
that he never worked where there were not
" kickelin" cakes in harvest, nor would he now.
Kuchldn proved to be cakes fried in fat; and
the housewife was ready to appease " Achilles'
wrath," as soon as she made this discovery.
We used to make quantities of apple-butter in
FARMERS' WIVES. 43
the fall, but of late years apples have been more
scarce. We made in one season six barrels of
cider into apple-butter, three at a time. Two
large copper kettles were hung under the beech-
trees, down between the spring-house and smoke-
house, and the cider was boiled down the evening
before, great stumps of trees being in demand.
One hand watched the cider, and the rest of the
family gathered in the kitchen and labored dili-
gently in preparing the cut apples, so that in the
morning the " schnitz" might be ready to go in.
(Schneiden, to cut, geschnitten.)
Two bushels and a half of cut apples will be
enough for a barrel of cider. In a few hours the
apples will all be in, and then you will stir, and
stir, and stir, for you do not want to have the apple-
butter burn at the bottom, and be obliged to dip it
out into tubs and scour the kettle. Some time in
the afternoon, you will take out a little on a dish,
and when you find that the cider no longer
"weeps out" round the edges, but all forms a
simple heap, you will dip it up into earthen
vessels, and when cold take it " on" to the garret
to keep company with the hard soap and the bags
of dried apples and cherries, perhaps with the
hams and shoulders. Soap and apple-butter are
usually made in an open fireplace, where hangs
the kettle. At one time (about the year 1828)
I have heard that there was apple-butter in the
Lancaster Museum which dated from Ilevolu-
44 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
tionary times; for we do not expect it to ferment
in the summer. It dries away ; but water is stirred
in to prepare it for the table. Sometimes peach-
butter is made, with cider, molasses, or sugar,
and, in the present scarcity of apples, cut pump-
kin is often put into the apple-butter.*
Soon after apple-butter-making comes butcher-
ing, for we like an early pig in the fall, when the
store of smoked meat has run out. Pork is the
staple, and we smoke the flitches, not preserv-
*Evening " Snitzcn" parties and apple-butter-boilings have
been festive occasions. A young mechanic was telling me of
the games that he had joined in after the apples were cut, etc.,
and added, "How I have enjoyed myself 1"
Mr. E. H. Ranch, who has lived also in Berks County, thus
describes an apple-butter party :
" Then Bevvy (Barbara) came and sat down in the very
chair that Sally had left opposite, saying, 'I'll sit here. I
am not afraid of Pete, and I guess that he is not afraid of
me.' She was thought to be a very smart girl, and earned
good wages, and she was quite pretty too, and nice-looking.
As we were paring apples, once in awhile she handed me
over a piece, which did not offend me, and she looked and
talked so pleasant, that I began to think a good deal of her.
"When the apple-paring was done, then we must stir the apple-
butter. Commonly, a boy and girl both take hold of the long
handle of the stirrer, and stir together with a sort of see-saw
motion, so that I have been ready to go to sleep with the stirrer
in my hand.
" In the course of the evening, Bevvy and I stirred together
three different times, and got very well acquainted. Then I
took her home, and there was no cross old thing to come and
say, ' It is time to go,' as Sally Bensamacher's father did one
time." Letters of Pete Schwefflebrenner.
FARMERS' WIVES. 45
ing them in brine like the Yankees. "We our-
selves use much beef, and do not like smoked
flitch, but I speak for the majority. Sausage is
a great dish with us, as in Germany. My sister
and I went once on a few days.' trip through the
county in the summer, and were treated alter-
nately to ham and mackerel, until, at the last
house, we had both.
Butchering is one of the many occasions for
the display of friendly feeling, when brother or
father steps in to help hang the hogs, or a sister
to assist in rendering lard, or in preparing the
plentiful meal. An active farmer will have two
or three porkers killed, scalded, and hung up by
sunrise, and by night the whole operation of
sausage and "scrapple" making, and lard ren-
dering, will be finished, and the house set in
order. The friends who have assisted receive a
portion of the sausage, etc., which portion is
called the " Metzel-sup."* The metzel-sup is also
sent to poor widows, and others.
We make scrapple from the skin, a part of the
livers, and heads, with the addition of corn-meal ;
but, instead, our "Dutch" neighbors make liver-
wurst " woorsht"), or meat pudding, omitting the
meal, and this compound, stuffed into the larger
entrails, is very popular in Lancaster market.
Some make pawn-haus from the liquor in which
* Pronounce sup, soop, with the oo short.
46 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
the pudding-meat was boiled, adding thereto
corn-meal. These three dishes are fried before
eating. I have never seen hog's-head cheese in
"Dutch" houses. If the boiling-pieces of beef are
kept over summer, they are smoked, instead of
being preserved in brine. We eat much smear-
case (Schmier-kase), or cottage cheese, in these
regions. Children, and some grown people too,
fancy it upon bread with molasses ; which may
be considered as an offset to the Yankee pork
"We have also Dutch cheese, which may be
made by crumbling the dry smear-case, working
in butter, salt, and chopped sage, forming it into
pats, and setting them away to ripen. The sieger-
kdse is made from sweet milk boiled, with sour
milk added and beaten eggs, and then set to
drain off the whey. (Ziegen-kase is German for
goat's milk cheese.)
" Schnitz and knep" is said to be made of dried
apples, fat pork, and dough-dumplings cooked
In the fall our " Dutch" make sauer kraut. I
happened into the house of my friend Susanna
when her husband and son were going to take an
hour at noon to help her with the kraut. Two
white tubs stood upon the back porch, one with
the fair round heads, and the other to receive the
cabbage when cut by a knife set in a board (a very
convenient thing for cutting kohl-slaw and cucum-
FARMERS' WIVES. 47
bers). "When cat, the cabbage is packed into a
" stand" with a sauer-kraut staff, resembling the
pounder with which New-Englanders beat clothes
in a barrel. Salt is added during the packing.
When the cabbage ferments, it becomes acid.
The kraut-stand remains in the cellar ; the con-
tents not being unpalatable when boiled with
potatoes and the chines or ribs of pork. But the
smell of the boiling kraut is very strong, and
that stomach is probably strong which readily
digests the meal.*
Our "Dutch" make soup in variety, and pro-
nounce the word short, between soup and sup.
Thus there is Dutch sup, potato sup, and
" noodle" (Nudel) sup", which last is a treat.
Nudels may be called domestic macaroni; and
I have seen a dish called schmelkiy-nudels, in which
bits of fried bread were laid upon the piled-
up nudels, to me unpalatable from the large
quantity of eggs in the nudels.
We almost always find good bread at our farrn-
* One of the heavy labors of the fall is the fruit-drying.
Afterward your hostess invites you to partake, thus : " Mary,
will you have pie? This is snits, and this is elder" (or dried
apples, and dried elderberries).
Dried peaches are peach snits.
A laboring woman once, speaking to me of a neighbor, said,
" She hain't got many dried apples. If her girl would snitz
in the evening, as I did ! but she'd rather keep company and
run around than to snitz."
48 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
houses. In traveling through Pennsylvania to
Ohio, and returning through New York, I con-
cluded that Pennsylvania furnished good bread-
makers, New York good butter-makers, and that
the two best bread-makers that I saw in Ohio
were from Lancaster County. "We make the pot
of " sots" (New England " emptins") overnight,
with boiled mashed potatoes, scalded flour, and
sometimes hops. Friday is baking-day; but in
the middle of summer, when mold abounds, we
bake twice a week. The "Dutch" housewife is'
very fond of baking in the brick oven, but the
scarcity of wood must gradually accustom us to
the great cooking-stove.
We keep one fire in winter. This is in the
kitchen, which with nice housekeepers is the
abode of neatness, with its rag carpet and
brightly polished stove. An adjoining room or
building is the wash-house, where butchering,
soap-making, etc. are done by the help of a great
kettle hung in the fireplace, not set in brick-
Adjoining the kitchen, on another side, is a
state apartment, also rag-carpeted, and called
"the room." The stove-pipe "from the kitchen
sometimes passes through the ceiling, and tem-
pers the sleeping-room of the parents. These
arrangements are not very favorable to bathing
in cold weather; indeed, to wash the whole per-
son is not very common, in summer or winter.
In the latter season, it is almost never done in
town or country, by the "Dutch."*
"Will you go up-stairs in a neat Dutch farm-
house ? Here are rag carpets again. Gay quilts
are on the best beds, where green and red calico,
perhaps in the form of a basket, are displayed on
a white ground ; or the beds bear brilliant cov-
erlets of red, white, and blue, as if to " make the
rash gazer wipe his eye." The common pillow-
cases are sometimes of blue check, or of calico.
In winter, people often sleep under feather-covers,
not so heavy as a feather-bed. In the spring there
is a great washing of bedclothes, and then the
blankets are washed, which, during winter, sup-
plied the place of sheets.
I was sitting alone, one Christmas time, when
the door opened and there entered some half-
dozen youths or men, who frightened me aothat
I slipped out at the door. They, being thus
alone, and not intending further harm, at once
left. These, I suppose, were Christmas mummers,
though I heard them called "Bell-schnickel."
At another time, as I was sitting with my little
boy, Aunt Sally came in smiling and mysterious,
and took her place by the stove. Immediately
* Is it done very often by our English farming population ?
50 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
after, there entered a man in disguise, who very
much alarmed my little Dan.
The stranger threw down nuts and cakes, and,
when some one offered to pick them up, struck
at him with a rod. This was the real Bell-
schnickel, personated by the farmer. I presume
that he ought to throw down his store of nice
things for the good children, and strike the bad
ones with his whip. Pelznickel is the bearded
Nicholas, who punishes bad ones; whereas Kriss-
kringle is the Christkindlein, who rewards good
On Christmas morning we cry, " Christmas-
gift !" and not, as elsewhere, " A merry Christ-
mas !" Christmas is a day when people do not
work, but go to meeting, when roast turkey and
mince-pie are in order, and when the "Dutch"
housewife has store of cakes on hand to give to
the little folks.
We still hear of barring-out at Christmas.
The pupils fasten themselves in the school-house,
and keep the teacher out to obtain presents from
The First of April (which our neighbors gen-
erally call Aprile) is a great occasion. This is
the opening of the farming year. The tenant
farmers and other " renters" move to their new
homes, and interest-money and other debts are
due ; and so much money changes hands in Lan-
caster, on the 1st, that pickpockets are attracted
thither, and the unsuspicious "Dutch" farmer
sometimes finds himself a loser.
The movings, on or about the 1st, are made
festive occasions; neighbors, young and old, are
gathered ; some bring wagons to transport farm
utensils and furniture, others assist in driving
cattle, put furniture in its place, and set up bed-
steads; while the women are ready to help pre-
pare the bountiful meal. At this feast I have
heard a worthy tenant farmer say, " Now help
yourselves, as you did out there" (with the goods).
Whitsuntide Monday is a great holiday with
the young "Dutch" folks. It occurs when there
is a lull in farm-work, between corn-planting
and hay-making. Now the new summer bon-
nets are all in demand, and the taverns are
found full of youths and girls, who sometimes
walk the street hand-in-hand, eat cakes and drink
beer, or visit the " flying horses." A number of
seats are arranged around a central pole, and, a'
pair taking each seat, the whole revolves by the
work of a horse, and you can have a circular ride
for six cents.
On the Fourth of July we are generally at
work in the harvest-field. Several of the festi-
vals of the Church are held here as days of rest,
if not of recreation. Such are Good Friday, As-
cension-day, etc. On Easter, eggs colored and
otherwise ornamented were formerly much in
52 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
vogue; but the custom of preparing them is
Thanksgiving is beginning to be observed bere,
but the New-Englander would miss tbe family
gatherings, the roast turkeys, the pumpkin-pies.
Possibly we go to church in the morning, and sit
quiet for the rest of the day ; and as for pumpkin-
pies, we do not greatly fancy them. Raisin-pie,
or mince-pie, we can enjoy.
The last night of October is " Hallow-eve."
I was in Lancaster last Hallow-eve, and the boys
were ringing door-bells, carrying away door-
steps, throwing corn at the windows, or running
oft with an unguarded wagon. I heard of one
* A neighbor has told me that the people here used to make
fat-cakes they called them "plow-lines" on Shrove-Tues-
day, or else " they conceited the flax wouldn't grow. The
people used to conceit a many things," she added. Nor is the
custom of baking pancakes on Shrove-Tuesday yet given up.
* A correspondent of the Reading Eagle, of February 16th, 1872,
says, " Tuesday was a great day among our county women
(Berks County) for manufacturing doughnuts. In every
house we entered we found the good wife engaged in some
part of the baking performance ; . . . and later in the day
we saw heaps of the delicious nuts piled up for table use. Such
are the old usages of ' Fastnacht,' and I move they be
Similar reports came in also from York and Lancaster
Counties; while a Lancaster correspondent, speaking of the
next day, says, "Seven years ago, I witnessed a sale of a large
stock of cattle, on Ash-Wednesday: every cow and steer
offered for sale was completely covered with wood ashes."
PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 53
or two youngsters who had requested an after-
noon holiday to go to church, but who had spent
their time in going out of town to steal corn for
this occasion. In the country, farm-gates are
taken from their hinges and removed; and it was
formerly a favorite boyish amusement to take a
wagon to pieces, and, after carrying the parts up
to the barn-roof, to put it together again, thus
obliging the owner to take it apart and bring it
down. Such " tricks" as described by Burns in
the poem of " Hallow-e'en" may be heard of oc-
casionally, perpetrated perhaps by the Scotch-
Irish element in our population.
About twenty years ago, I was circulating an
anti-slavery petition among women. I carried it
to the house of a neighboring farmer, a miller to
boot, and well to do. His wife signed the peti-
tion (all women did not in those days), but she
signed with her mark. I have understood that
it is about twenty years since the school law was
made universal here, and that our township of
Upper Leacock wanted to resist by litigation
the establishment of public schools, but finally
decided otherwise.* It is the school-tax that is
* In a recent paper I find this statement : " West Cocalico
did not until recently accept the provisions of the General
School Law of the State."
54 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
onerous. "Within the last twent}" years a great
impetus has been given to education by the es-
tablishment of the County Superintendency of
Normal Schools and of Teachers' Institutes. I
think it is within this time that the Board of
Directors met, in an adjoining township, and,
being called upon to vote by ballot, there were
afterward found in the box several different
ways of spelling the word " no."
At the last Institute, a worthy young man at
the blackboard was telling the teachers how to
make their pupils pronounce the word " did,"
which they inclined to call dit ; and a young
woman told me that she found it necessary, when
teaching in Berks County, to practice speaking
"Dutch," in order to make the pupils understand
their lessons. It must be rather hard to hear and
talk "Dutch" almost constantly, and then go to
a school where the text-books are English.
There is still an effort made to have G-erman
taught in our public schools. The reading of
German is considered a great accomplishment,
and is one required for a candidate for the min-
istry among some of our plainer sects. But the
teacher is generally overburdened in the winter
with the necessary branches in a crowded, un-
graded school. Our township generally has
school for seven months in the year; some
townships have only five ; and in Berks County
I have heard of one having only four months.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 55
About thirty-five dollars a month is paid to
teachers, male and female.
My little boy of seven began to go to public
school this fall. For awhile I would hear him
repeating such expressions as, " Che, double o,t,
coot" (meaning good). "P-i-g, pick." " Kreat
A, little A, pouncing P." " I don't like chincher-
pread." Even among our " Dutch" people of
more culture, etch is heard for aitch (H), and it is
a relic of early training.
The standard of our County Superintendent is
high (1868), and his examinations are severe. His
salary is about seventeen hundred dollars. Where
there is so much wealth as here, it seems almost
impossible that learning should not follow, as
soon as the minds of the people are turned toward
it; but the great fear of making their children
" lazy" operates against sending them to school.
Industrious habits will certainly tend more to
the pecuniary success of a farmer than the " art
of writing and speaking the English language
* The story of the difficulties that have beset those who have
striven to introduce the public school system in some parts of
Pennsylvania is a remarkable one. In the county of Berks
(as well as in Lancaster), it is claimed that the Keformed and
Lutheran settlers had schools, in early times, in connection
with their churches; but as regards the public schools, Berks
is now considerably behind Lancaster.
The fear of making the children lazy, as it seems to me now,
56 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH:
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.
My dear old " English" friend, Samuel GL, had
often been asked to stay and eat with David B.,
and on one occasion he concluded to accept the
invitation. They went to the table, and had a
silent pause ; then John cut up the meat, and
the workmen and members of the family each
put in a fork and helped himself. The guest was
discomfited, and, finding that he was likely to
lose his dinner otherwise, he followed their ex-
ample. The invitation to eat had covered the
whole. When guests are present, many say,
" Now, help yourselves," but they do not use vain
repetitions, as the city people do.
Coffee is still drunk three times a day in some
is not the only objection to the public schools in the minds of
some of our "Pennsylvania Dutch."
.An Amish man (who labored under the difficulty of not
speaking English fluently) once answered some of my in-
quiries upon the subject of education.
He said that they were not opposed to school-learning, but
to high learning. "To send children to school from ten to
twenty-one, we would think was opposed to Holy Scripture.
There are things taught in school that don't agree with Holy
I asked whether he thought it was wrong to teach that the
earth goes round the sun.
" I don't know anything about it; but I am not in favor of
teaching geography and grammar in the schools: it's worldly
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 57
families, but frequently without sugar. The sugar-
bowl stands on the table, with spoons therein for
those who want sugar ; but at our late " home-
coming" party I believe that I was the only one
at the table who took sugar. The dishes of smear-
case, molasses, apple-butter, etc. are not always
supplied with spoons. We dip in our knives, and
with the same useful implements convey the
food to our mouths. Does the opposite extreme
prevail among the farmers of Massachusetts ?
Do they always eat with their forks, and use
On many busy farm-occasions, the woman of
the house will find it more convenient to let the
men eat first, to get the burden of the harvest-
dinner oft* her mind and her hands, and then sit
down with her daughters, her "maid" and little
children, to their own repast. But the allowing
to the men the constant privilege of eating first
has passed away, if, indeed, it ever prevailed.
At funeral feasts the old men and women sit
down first, with the mourning family. Then
succeed the second, third, and fourth tables.
We Lancaster " Dutch" are always striving to
seize Time's forelock. We rise, even in the win-
ter, about four, feed the stock while the women
get breakfast, eat breakfast in the short days by
coal-oil lamps, and by daylight are ready for the
operations of the day. The English folks and the
backsliding " D utch" are sometimes startled when
58 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
they hear their neighbors blow the horn or ring
the bell for dinner. On a recent pleasant Octo-
ber day, the farmer's wife was churning out-of-
doors, and cried, " Why, there's the dinner-bells
a'ready. Mercy days!" I went in to the clock,
and found it at twenty minutes of eleven. The
"Dutch" farmers almost invariably keep their
time half an hour or more ahead, like that vil-
lage of Cornwall where it was twelve o'clock
when it was but half-past eleven to the rest of the
world. Our " Dutch" are never seen running to
catch a railroad train.
We are not a total-abstinence people. Before
these times of high prices, liquor was often fur-
nished to hands in the harvest-field.
A few years ago a meeting was held in a
neighboring school-house, to discuss a prohib-
itory liquor law. After various speeches, the
question was put to the vote, thus : " All those
who want leave to drink whisky will please to
rise." "Now all those who don't want to drink
whisky will rise." The affirmative had a de-
Work is a cardinal virtue with the " Dutch-
man." " He is lazy," is a very opprobrious re-
mark. At the quilting, when I was trying to
take out one of the screws, Katy Groff, who is
sixty-five, exclaimed, " How lazy I am, not to
be helping you !" (" Wie ich bin faul.")
Marriages sometimes take place between the
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 59
two nationalities ; but I do not think the " Dutch"
farmers desire English wives for their sons, un-
less the wives are decidedly rich. On the other
hand, I heard of an English farmer's counseling
his son to seek a " Dutch" wife. When the sou
had wooed and won his substantial bride, " Now
he will see what good cooking is," said a " Dutch"
girl to me. I was surprised at the remark, for
his mother was an excellent housekeeper.
The circus is the favorite amusement of our
people. Lancaster papers often complain of the
slender attendance which is bestowed upon lec-
tures, and the like. Even theatrical perform-
ances are found " slow," compared with the feats
of the ring.
Our "Dutch" use a freedom of language that
is not known to the English, and which to them
savors of coarseness. " But they mean no harm
by it," says one of my English friends. It is dif-
ficult to practice reserve where the whole family
sit in one heated room. This rich limestone
land in which the "Dutch" delight is nearly
level to an eye trained among the hills. Do
hills make a people more poetical or imagina-
Perhaps so ; but there is vulgarity too among
AN AMISH MEETING.*
IT was on a Sunday morning in March, when
the air was bleak and the roads were execrable,
that I obtained a driver to escort me to the farm-
house where an Amish meeting was to be held.
It was a little after nine o'clock when I en-
tered, and, although the hour was so early, I
found the congregation nearly all gathered, and
the preaching begun.
There were forty men present, as many women,
and one infant. Had the weather been less in-
clement, we should probably have had more little
ones, for such plain people do not think it neces-
sary to leave the babies at home.
The rooms in which we sat seemed to have
been constructed for these great occasions. They
were the kitchen and "the room," as our peo-
ple call the sitting-room, or best room, and were
BO arranged as to be made into one by means of
Our neighbors wore the usual costume of the
sect, which is a branch of the Mennonite So-
* Amish is pronounced Ommish, the a being Tcry broad,
AN AMISH MEETING. 61
ciety, or nearly allied to it, the men having laid
off their round-crowned and remarkably wide-
brimmed hats. Their hair is usually cut square
across the forehead, and hangs long behind ;
their coats are plainer than those of the plainest
Quaker, and are fastened, except the overcoat,
with hooks and eyes in place of buttons ; whence
they are sometimes called Hooker or Hook-and-
Eye Mennists. The pantaloons are worn with-
out suspenders. Form erly, the Amish were often
called Beardy Men, but since beards have become
fashionable theirs are not so conspicuous.
The women, whom I have sometimes seen
with a bright-purple apron, an orange necker-
chief, or some other striking bit of color, were
now more soberly arrayed in plain white caps
without ruffle or border, and white neckerchiefs,
though occasionally a cap or kerchief was black.
They wear closely-fitting waists, with a little
basquine behind, which is probably a relic from
the times of the short -gown and petticoat.
Their gowns were of sober woolen stuff, fre-
quently of flannel ; and all wore aprons.
But the most surprising figures among the
Amish are the little children, dressed in gar-
ments like those of old persons. It has been
my lot to sec at the house of her parents a ten-
der little dark -eyed Amish maiden of three
years, old enough to begin to speak "Dutch,"
and as yet ignorant of English. Seated upon
62 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
her father's lap, sick and suffering, with that
sweet little face encircled by the plain muslin
cap, the little figure dressed in that plain gown,
she was one not to be soon forgotten. But the
little girl that was at meeting to-day was either
no Amish child or a great backslider, for she
was hardly to be distinguished in dress from the
The floors were bare, but on one of the open
doors hung a long white towel, worked at one
end with colored figures, such as our mothers or
grandmothers put upon samplers. These per-
haps were meant for flowers. The congregation
sat principally on benches. On the men's side
a small shelf of books ran around one corner of
The preacher, who was speaking when I en-
tered, continued for about fifteen minutes. His
remarks and the rest of the services were in
"Dutch." I have been criticised for applying
the epithet to my neighbors, or to their lan-
guage, but "Dutch" is the title which they
generally apply to themselves, speaking of " us
Dutch folks and you English folks," and some-
times with a pretty plain hint that some of the
" Dutch" ways are discreeter and better, if not
more virtuous, than the English. But, though
I call them " Dutch," I am fully aware that they
are not Hollanders. Most of them are Swiss of
AN AMISH MEETING. 63
ancient and honorable descent, exiles from reli-
I am sorry that I do not understand the lan-
guage well enough to give a sketch of some of
the discourses on this occasion. At times I un-
derstood an expression of the first speaker, such
as, "Let us well reflect and observe," or "Let
us well consider," expressions that were often
repeated. As he was doubtless a farmer, and
was speaking extemporaneously, it is not re-
markable that they were so.
When the preacher had taken his seat, the
congregation knelt for five minutes in silence.
A brother then read aloud from the German
Scripture concerning Nicodemus, who came to
Jesus by night, etc. After this another brother
rose, and spoke in a tone like that which is so
common among Friends, namely, a kind of sing-
ing or chanting tone, which he accompanied by
a little gesture.
While he was speaking, one or two women
went out, and, as I wished to take notes of the
proceedings, I followed them into the wash-
house or outside kitchen, which was quite com-
fortable. As I passed along, I saw in the yard
the wagons which had brought the people to
meeting. Most of them were covered with
plain yellow oil-cloth. I have been told that
there are sometimes a hundred wagons gath-
64 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
ered at one farm-house, and that in summer the
meetings are often held in the barn.
I sat down by the stove in the wash-house,
and a very kindly old woman, the host's mother,
came and renewed the fire. As she did not talk
English, I spoke to her a little in German, and
she seemed to understand me. "When I wrote,
she wondered and laughed at my rapid move-
ments, for writing is slower work with these
people than some other kinds of labor. I sup-
pose, indeed, that there are still some of the
older women who scarcely know how to write.
I asked her whether after meeting I might
look at the German books on the corner shelf,
ancient books with dark leather covers and me-
tallic clasps. She said in reply, " Bleibsht esse ?"
("Shall you stay and eat?") Yes, I would. "Ya
wohl," said she, "kaunsht." ("Very well, you
A neat young Amish woman, the ".maid" or
housekeeper, came and put upon the stove a
great tin wash-boiler, shining bright, into which
she put water for making coffee and for washing
I soon returned to the meeting, and found the
same preacher still speaking. I suppose that he
had continued during my absence, and, if so, his
discourse was an hour and ten minutes in length.
This was quite too long to be entertaining to one
who only caught the sense of an occasional pass-
AN AMISH MEETING. 65
age, or a few texts of Scripture. It was while
these monotonous tones continued that I heard
a rocking upon the floor overhead. It pro-
ceeded, I believe, from the young mother,
the mother of the little one before spoken of.
When the child had become restless before this,
or when she was tired, a young man upon the
brethren's side of the room had taken it for
awhile, and now it was doubtless being put to
sleep in a room overhead, into which a stove-
pipe passed from the apartment where we sat.
My attention was also attracted by an old
lady who sat near me, and facing the stove, with
her hands crossed in her lap, and a gold* or brass
ring on each middle finger. She wore a black
flannel dress and a brown woolen apron, leather
shoes and knit woolen stockings. Her head was
bent forward toward her broad bosom, upon
which was crossed a white kerchief. With her
gray hair, round face, and plain linen cap, her
whole figure reminded me of the peasant women
of Continental Europe or of a Flemish picture.
When the long sermon was ended, different
brethren were called upon, and during a half-
hour we had from them several short discourses,
* "Were they not brass?" says one of my Old Mennist
neighbors. "She 'wears them for some sickness, I reckon.
She would not wear them for show. One of our preachers
wears steel rings on his little lingers for cramps."
66 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
one or two of them nearly inaudible. The speak-
ers were, I think, giving their views on what had
been said, or perhaps they were by these little
efforts preparing themselves to become preach-
ers, or showing their gifts to the congregation.
It is stated in Herzog's Cyclopaedia that among
the Mennonites in Holland the number of Lie-
besprediger has greatly declined, so that some
congregations had no preacher. (The word Lie-
besprediger I am inclined to translate as volun-
tary, unpaid preachers, like those among Friends.)
I am in doubt, indeed, whether any such are now
found in Holland. There seems to be no scarcity
in this country of preachers, who are, however,
in some, if not all three of the divisions of Men-
nonites, chosen by lot.
When these smaller efforts were over, the
former preacher spoke again for twenty minutes,
and several of the women were moved to tears.
After this the congregation knelt in vocal prayer.
"When they rose, the preacher said that the next
meeting would be at the house of John Lapp, in
two weeks. He pronounced a benediction, end-
ing with the name of Jesus, and the whole con-
gregation, brethren and sisters, curtsied, or
made a reverence, as the French express it.
This was doubtless in allusion to the text, " At
that name every knee shall bend." Finally, a
hymn, or a portion of one, was sung, drawn out
in a peculiar manner by dwelling on the words.
AN AMISH MEETING. 67
I obtained a hymn-book, and copied a portion.
It seems obscure :
" Dcr Schopfer auch der Vater heisst,
Durch Christum, seinen Sohne;
Da wirket mit der Heilig Geist,
Einiger Gott drey Namen,
Yon welchem kommt ein Gotteskind
Gewaschen ganz rein von der Sund,
Wird geistlich gespeisst und trancket,
Mit Christi Blut, sein Willen thut
Irdisch verschmacht aus ganzen Muthe,
Der Vater sich ihm schenket."
The book from which I copied these lines was
in large German print, and bore the date 1785.
In front was this inscription, in the German tongue
and handwriting: "This song-book belongs to
me, Joseph B . Written in the year of
Christ 1791 ; and I received it from my father."
Both father and son have been gathered to their
fathers ; the book, if I mistake not, was in the
house of the grandson, and it may yet outlast
several generations of these primitive people.
The services closed at a little after noon. From
their having been conducted entirely in German,
or in German and the dialect, some persons might
suppose that these were recent immigrants to our
country. But the B. family just alluded to was
one of the first Amish families that came here,
having arrived in 1737.
It seems that the language is cherished with
care, as a means of preserving their religious and
63 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
other peculiarities. The public schools, how-
ever, which are almost entirely English, must
be a powerful means of assimilation.
The services being ended, the women quietly
busied themselves, while I wrote, in preparing
dinner. In a very short time two tables were
spread in the apartment where the meeting had
been held. Two tables, I have said, and there
was one for the men to sit at, but on the women's
side the table was formed of benches placed to-
gether, and, of course, was quite low. I should
have supposed that this was a casual occurrence,
had not an acquaintance told me that many years
ago, when she attended an Amish meeting, she
sat up to two benches.
Before eating there was a silent pause, during
which those men who had not yet a place at the
table stood uncovered reverentially, holding their
hats before their faces. In about fifteen minutes
the " first table" had finished eating, and another
silent pause was observed in the same manner
before they rose.
I was invited to the second table, where I
found beautiful white bread, butter, pies, pickles,
apple-butter, and refined molasses. I observed
that there were no spoons in the molasses and
apple-butter. A cup of coffee also was handed
to each person who wished it. We were not
invited to take more than one.
This meal marks the progress of wealth and
AN AMISH MEETING. 69
luxury, or the decline of asceticism, since the day
when bean soup was the principal if not the only
dish furnished on these occasions. The same
neighbor who told me of sitting up to two
benches many years ago, told me that at that
time they were served with bean soup in bright
dishes, doubtless of pewter or tin. Three or four
persons ate out of one dish. It was very unhandy,
But while thus sketching the manners of my
simple, plain neighbors, let me not forget to ac-
knowledge that ready hospitality which thus pro-
vides a comfortable meal even to strangers visiting
the meeting. Besides myself, there were at least
two others present who were not members, two
German Catholic women of the poorer class, such
as hire out to work.
The silent pause before and after eating was
also observed by the second table ; and after we
rose, a third company sat down.
When all were done, I gave a little assistance
in clearing the tables, in carrying the butter into
the cellar and the other food to the wash-house.
The dishes were taken to the roofed porch be-
tween the latter and the house, where some of
ithe women-folk washed them. A neat table
stood at the foot of the cellar-stairs, and received
the valued product of the dairy, the fragments
being put away in an orderly manner.
I now had a time of leisure, for my driver had
70 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
gone to see a friend, and I must await his com-
ing. This gave me an opportunity to talk
with several sisters. I inquired of a fine-look-
ing woman when the feet-washing would be
held, and when they took the Lord's Supper.
When I asked whether they liked those who
were not members to attend the feet-washing,
I understood her to say that they did not. (I
attended, not a great while after, a great Whit-
suntide feet-washing and Bread-breaking in the
meeting-house of the New Mennists.)
I had now an opportunity to examine the
books. Standing upon a bench, I took down a
great volume, well printed in the German lan-
guage, and entitled " The Bloody Theatre ; or,
The Martyr's Mirror of the Baptists, or Defence-
less Christians ; who, on Account of the Testi-
mony of Jesus, their Saviour, Suffered and were
Put to Death, from the Time of Christ to the Year
1660. Lancaster, 1814." This book was a version
from the v Dutch (Hollandisch) of Thielem J. van
Bracht, and it has also been rendered from
German into English. I was not aware, at the
time, that I had before me one of the principal
sources whence the history of the Mennonites is
to be drawn, a history which is still unwritten.
The books were few in number, and I noticed
no other so remarkable as this. Another German
one, more modern in appearance, was entitled
"Universal Cattle-Doctor Book ; or, The Cures
AN AMISH MEETING. 71
of the old Shepherd Thomas, of Bunzen, in Si-
lesia, for Horses, Cattle,. Sheep, Swine, and
"While I was looking over the volumes, a little
circumstance occurred, which, although not flat-
tering to myself, is perhaps too characteristic to
be omitted. My " Dutch" neighbors are not
great readers, and to read German is considered
an accomplishment even among those who speak
the dialect. To speak " Dutch" is very common,
of course, but to read German is a considerable
attainment. I have, therefore, sometimes sur-
prised a neighbor by being able to read the lan-
guage. I am naturally not unwilling to be
admired, and, as two or three sisters were stand-
ing near while I examined the books, I endeav-
ored in haste to give them a specimen of my
attainments. I therefore took a passage quickly
from the great " Martyr-Book," and read aloud
a sentence like this : " Grace, peace, and joy
through God our Heavenly Father; wisdom,
righteousness, and truth, through Jesus Christ
his Son, together with the illumining of the
Holy Spirit, be with you." Glancing up to see
the surprise which my attainments must produce,
I beheld a different expression of countenance,
for the attention of some of the thoughtful sisters
was attracted by the subject-matter, instead of the
reader, and that aroused a sentiment of devotion
72 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
I asked our host, " Have you no history of
your society ?"
" No," he answered ; " we just hand it down."
I have since heard, however, that there are
papers or written records in charge of a person
who lives at some distance from me. From cer-
tain printed records I have been able to trace a
streamlet of history from its source in Switzer-
land, where the Anabaptists suffered persecution
in Berne, Zurich, etc. I have read of their exile
in Alsace and the Palatinate ; of the aid afforded
to them by their fellow-believers, the Mennonites
of Holland; and of their final colonization in Penn-
sylvania, where they also are called Mennists.
Nearly all the congregation had departed when
my driver at last arrived. I shook hands with
those that were left, and kissed the pleasant old
lady, the mother of our host.
THE plain people among whom I live, Quaker-
like in appearance, and, like the Quakers, opposed
to oaths and to war,* are in a great measure
descendants of Swiss Baptists or Anabaptists,
who were banished from their country for re-
fusing to conform to the established Keformed
Some of the early exiles took refuge in Alsace
and the Palatinate, and afterwards came to Penn-
sylvania, settling in Lancaster County, under the
kind patronage of our distinguished first Pro-
prietor. William Penn's sympathy for them was
doubtless increased by their so much resembling
himself in many important particulars.
If any one inclines to investigate the tradi-
* Our German Baptists are more non-resistant than tho
Quakers. Some of them refuse to vote for civil officers.
The term Anabaptist is from the Greek, and signifies one
who baptizes again. All Baptists baptize anew those who were
baptized in infancy. The term Anabaptist, in the present
essay, is used indiscriminately with Baptist, and, in a degree,
74 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
tions of these people, let him ask the plain old
men of the county whence they originated. I
think that a great part of the Amish and other
Mennonites will tell him of their Swiss origin.
Nor are very important written records want-
ing upon the subject of the Swiss persecutions.
Two volumes in use among our German Bap-
tists narrate the story.
The first is the great Martyr-book, called " The
Bloody Theatre ; or Martyr's Mirror of the De-
fenceless Christians," by Thielem J. van Bracht,
published in Dutch, about the year 1660, trans-
lated into German, and afterwards into English.*
The second printed record, circulating in our
county, and describing the sufferings of some of
the Swiss Anabaptists, is a hymn-book formerly
in use among our " old Mennists," but now, I
think, ^employed only by the Amish.
It is a collection of " several beautiful Chris-
tian songs," composed in prison at Bassau,f in
the castle, by the Switzer Brethren, " and by
other orthodox (rechtglaubige) Christians, here
I know of no English version.
Near the close of this hymn-book there is an
account of the afflictions which were endured by
* The English version is one of the labors of Daniel Kupp.
f Bassuu is, I suppose, upon the Danube, in Bavaria. Is it
not written Passau in the Martyr-book ?
SWISS EXILES. 75
the brethren in Switzerland, in the canton of
Zurich, on account of the gospel (" um des
The first-mentioned work, the great Martyr-
book, is a ponderous volume.
The author begins his martyrology with Jesus,
John, and Stephen, whom he includes among the
Baptist or the defenceless martyrs. I suppose
that he includes them among the Baptists on
the ground that they were not baptized in in-
fancy, but upon faith. From these, the great
story comes down in one thousand octavo pages,
describing the intense cruelties of the Roman
emperors, telling of persecutions by the Sara-
cens, persecutions of the Waldenses and Albi-
genses, and describing especially the sufferings
which the Baptists (in common with other Prot-
estants) endured in Holland under the reigns of
Charles V. and Philip II.*
The narrative of the persecution of the Ana-
baptists of Switzerland by their fellow-Protest-
ants is mostly found at the close of the volume.
It comes down to the year 1672, and may be, in
part at least, an appendix to the original volume.
Allusions to the severe treatment of the Ana-
* Of the heretics executed hy Alva in the Spanish Nether-
lands, a large proportion were Anabaptists. Encyclopaedia,
76 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
baptists of Switzerland may also be found in
Herzog's and in Appleton's Cyclopaedia.
In the former work, we read that Anabaptism,
after a public theological disputation, was by the
help of the authorities suppressed in Switzerland.*
In the American Cyclopaedia (article Anabap-
tists), we read that Melanchthon and Zwingli
were themselves troubled by questions respect-
ing infant baptism, in connection with the per-
sonal faith required by Protestantism. Neverthe-
less, Zwingli himself is said to have pronounced
sentence upon Mentz, who had been his friend
and fellow-student, in these words : " Whosoever
dips (or baptizes) a second time, let him be
dipped." " Qui iterum mergit, mergatur." This
humorous saying appears to be explained in the
Martyr-book, where we read that Felix Mentz
was drowned at Zurich "for the truth of the
gospel," in 1526. The persecution of such men
is said to have shocked the moderate of all
Upon the authority of Balthazar Hubmor
(whom I suppose to be the Hubmeyer of the
Cyclopaedia), the Martyr-book states that Zuin-
* How thoroughly it was suppressed may be inferred from
the fact that of the population of Berne, in 1850, only one
thousand persons are put down as Baptists in a population of
458,000. Of the remainder, 54,000 are Catholics, and the re-
mainder of the Reformed Church (I give round numbers).
See the American Cyclopaedia.
SWISS EXILES. 77
glius, etc., imprisoned at one time twenty persons
of both sexes, in a dark tower, never more to
see the light of the sun.
This earliest Swiss Protestant persecution oc-
curred, it will be observed, about 1526, and the
latest recorded in the Martyr-book, in or about
1672, covering a period of nearly one hundred
and fifty years.*
At the same time that the Swiss Baptists were
suffering at the hands of other Protestants, Ana-
baptists of the peaceful class were found in Hol-
land in large numbers. The record of their
sufferings and martyrs (says the American Cyclo-
paedia) furnishes a touching picture in human
history. William of Orange, founder of the
Dutch republic, was sustained in the gloomiest
hours by their sympathy and aid.f That great
prince, however importuned, steadily refused to
Simon Menno, born at the close of the fifteenth
or the commencement of the sixteenth century,
educated for the priesthood of the Roman Catho-
lic Church, converted in manhood to the faith
of the Anabaptists, became their chief leader.
* Zschokke, in his History of Switzerland, accuses the Ana-
baptists of causing great trouble and scandal. Some account
of the furious or warlike Anabaptists of Holland may be
found in the American Cyclopedia.
f This must not be understood as aid in bearing arms.
78 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Mennonites and Anabaptists have from his time
been interchangeable terms.*
It was about seventeen years after the drown-
ing of Mentz in Switzerland, and while the
Catholic persecution was raging in Holland, that
in the year 1543 an imperial edict was issued
* One of Merino's brothers is said to have been connected
with the Anabaptists of Mxinster, those who took up arms,
etc. Of these, whose course was so very different from the
lives of our defenceless Baptists in this country, Menno may
have obtained some, after their defeat, to come under the
peaceable rule. There are in the Netherlands, says a recent
authority, 40,000 Mennonites. They are a true, pure Nether-
landish appearance, which is older than the Reformation, and
therefore must not be identified with the Protestantism of the
Menno Simon does not mert to be called the father of the
Netherlandish Mennonites, but rather the first shepherd of
the scattered sheep, the founder of their church community.
The ground-thought from which Menno proceeded was not,
as with Luther, justification by faith, or, as with the Swiss Re-
formers, the absolute dependence of the sinner upon God, in
the work of salvation. The holy Christian life, in opposition
to worldliness, was the point whence Menno proceeded, and
to which he always returned. In the Romish Church we see
ruling the spirit of Peter; in the Reformed Evangelical, the
spirit of Paul ; in Menno we see arise again, James the Just,
the brother of the Lord.
See articles Menno and the Mennonites, and Holland, in
HerzogVReal-Encyclopadie," Stuttgart and Hamburg, 1858.
. Many of the Mennonites of Holland at the present day
seem to have wandered far from the teachings of Menno,
and to be very different from the simple Mennonite commu-
nities of Pennsylvania.
SWISS EXILES. 79
against Menno ; for both parties persecuted the
Baptists, the Catholics in the Low Countries,
the Protestants in Switzerland. The Martyr-book
tells us that a dreadful decree was proclaimed
through all West Friesland, containing an offer
of general pardon, the favor of the emperor, and
a hundred carlgulden to all malefactors and mur-
derers who would deliver Menno Simon into the
hands of the executioners. Under pain of death,
it was forbidden to harbor him; but God pre-
served and protected him wonderfully, and he
died a natural death, near Lubeck, in the open
field, in 1559, aged sixty-six.
It is further mentioned that he was buried in
his own garden.*
About fourteen years after the death of Menno,
or in the year 1573, we read in the Martyr-book
that Dordrecht had submitted to the reigning
prince, William of Orange, the first not to shed
blood on account of faith or belief.
But the toleration which William extended to
the Baptists was not imitated by his great com-
peer, Elizabeth of England. For the Martyr-
book tells us that in 1575, " some friends," who
* The burying of Menno in his own garden can be ex-
plained by the great secrecy which in times of persecution
attended the actions of the persecuted sects. The family
graveyards of Lancaster County, located upon farms, may bo
in some degree traditional from times of persecution, when
Baptists had no churches, etc., but met in secret.
80 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
had fled to England, having met in the suburbs
of London " to hear the word of God," were
spied out, and the constable took them to prison.
Two of these were burnt at Smithfield, in the
eighteenth year of Elizabeth. Jan Pieters was
one of them, a poor man whose first wife had been
burnt at Ghent. He then married a second, whose
first husband had been burnt at the same place.
Thus it befell the unfortunate Jan that while
his wife was burnt by Catholics, he himself suf-
fered at the hands of English Protestants.*
The expression " sheep" or " lambs," which is
applied to some of the Baptist martyrs, alludes,
I suppose, to their non-resistance. Thus, in
1576, Hans Bret, a servant, whose master was
about to be apprehended, gave him warning, so
that he escaped, but himself, "this innocent
follower of Christ, fell into the paws of the
wolves.", . . . . "As he stood at the stake,
they kindled the fire, and burnt this sheep alive."
The next year after this, William of Orange
had occasion to call to order, as it appears, some
of his own subjects. The magistrates of Mid-
delburg had announced to the Baptists that
they must take au oath of fidelity and arm
themselves, or else give up their business and
shut up their houses.
* To the writer it is a question of some interest how far
George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, was acquainted with
the lives, sufferings, and writings of the Anabaptists.
SWISS EXILES. 81
The Baptists had recourse to "William, prom-
ising to pay levies and taxes, and desiring to be
believed on their yea and nay. William granted
their request, their yea was to be taken in the
place of an oath, and the delinquent was to be
punished as for perjury.
In William Penn's Treatise on Oaths, it is
stated that William of Orange said, " Those
men's yea must pass for an oath, and we must
not urge this thing any further, or we must con-
fess that the Papists had reason to force us to a
religion that was against our conscience."
About nine years after William had thus
reproved the magistrates of Middelburg, or in
the year 1586, the Baptists came to grief else-
where. It is stated that those called Anabap-
tists, who had taken refuge in the Prussian
dominions, were ordered by " the prince of the
country" to depart from his entire Duchy of
Prussia, and in the next year from all his domin-
ions. -This was because they were said to speak
scandalously of infant baptism.
About the close of the century, pleasanter
times for the Baptists seem to have followed.
" When the north wind of persecution became
violent, there were intervals when the pleasant
south wind of liberty and repose succeeded."
" But now occurred the greatest mischief in
Zurich and Berne, by those who styled them-
selved Reformed;" but others of the same name,
82 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
" especially the excellent regents of the United
Netherlands," opposed such proceedings.
The Martyr-book says, in substance, "It is
a lamentable case that those who boast that they
are the followers of the defenceless Lamb, do no
longer possess the lamb's disposition, but, on the
contrary, have the nature of the wolf. It seems
as if they could not bear it that any should travel
towards heaven in any other way than that which
they go themselves, as was exemplified in the
case of Hans Landis, who was a minister and
teacher of the gospel of Christ. Being taken to
Zurich, he refused to desist from preaching and
to deny his faith, and was sentenced to death,
the edict of eighty years before not having died
of old age. They, however, persuaded the com-
mon people that he was not put to death for
religion's, sake, but for disobedience to the
After the death of Hans Landis, persecution
* Hans (or John) Landis is the name of the sufferer just
spoken of. Several Landises are mentioned in the Martyr
ologies, and the name is very common in Lancaster County
at this time. John Landis is remarkably so.
In quoting from the Martyr-book, I employ the English
version, " Martyr's Mirror." I have lately had an oppor-
tunity of seeing an old German copy, from the press of the
Brotherhood at Ephrata, about 1750. I find that it is differ-
ently arranged from the modern English version, and suspect
SWISS EXILES. 83
rested for twenty-one years, when the ancient
hatred broke out afresh in Zurich.
The Baptists now asked permission to leave
the country with their property, but this was
not granted to them. " They might choose,"
says the Martyrology, "to go with them [the
Reformed] to church, or to die in prison. To
the first they would not consent ; therefore they
might expect the second."
This brings us to the era of the persecution
described in the Hymn-book of which I for-
merly spoke, the book now in use among the
Amish of our county.
This little volume little when compared to
the ponderous Martyr-book gives an account
of the persecution in Zurich between the years
1635 and 1645. Many of the persons mentioned
in the Hymn-book as suffering at this time ap-
pear to be of families now found in Lancaster
County, not only from the Hymn-book's being
preserved here, but especially because the sur-
names are the same as are now found here, or
are slightly different. Thus, we haveLandis, Mey-
lin, Strickler, Bachmann, and Gut, now Good;
Miiller, now Miller; Baumann, now Bowman.
Mention is made of about eighteen persons
who died in prison during this persecution, in
tlie period of nine or ten years. Proclamation
was made from the pulpits forbidding the people
to afford shelter to the Baptists : even their own
84 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
children who harbored them were liable to be
fined, as Hans Miiller's wife and children, who
were fined forty pounds because "they showed
mercy to their dear father."
The Hymn-book states that the Gelehrte (the
learned?) accompanied the captors, running day
and night with their servants. Many fell into
the power of the authorities, man and woman,
the pregnant, the nursing mother, the sick.
In the midst of this persecution, the authori-
ties of Amsterdam, themselves Calvinists or
Reformed, being moved by the solicitations of
the Baptists of Amsterdam, sent a respectful
petition to the burgomaster and council of
Zurich, to mitigate the persecution ; but the
petition, it is said, excited an unfriendly and
It seems that some of the Baptists, harassed
in Zurich, took refuge in Berne ; and about the
time that the persecution in Zurich came to a
close, or about 1645, it is stated that " those of
Berne" threatened the Baptists. About four
years after, " those of Schaffhausen" issued an
edict against the people called Anabaptists.*
Only a few years later, or in 1653, as we read
in the Martyr-book, there was another perse-
* Prom Schaffhausen came some of the Stauffer family, as
I have read. The Stauffers are numerous in our county. For
some family traditions, seo " The Danker Love-Feast."
SWISS EXILES. 85
cution elsewhere. The record says, in sub-
stance, "As a lamb in making its escape from
the wolf is eventually seized by the bear" (we
like the quaint language), "so it obtained for
several defenceless followers of the meek Jesus,
who, persecuted in Switzerland by the Zwing-
lians, were permitted to live awhile in peace in
the Alpine districts, under a Roman Catholic
prince, Willem Wolfgang. About this year,
however, this prince banished the Anabaptists,
so called. But they were received in peace and
with joy elsewhere, particularly in Cleves,*
under the Elector of Brandenburg, and in the
Netherlands. ' When they persecute you in
one city/ saith the Lord, * flee ye into another.' "
About six years after, or in 1659, an edict
was issued in Berne, of which extracts are given
in the Martyr-book. If the edict in full brings
no more serious charges against the Baptists
than do these extracts, this paper itself may be
regarded as a noble vindication of the Anabap-
tists of Switzerland at this era.
According to the substance of this Bernese
edict, the teachers of this people i.e. the preach-
* In the duchy of Cleves, the town of Crefeld, some fifty
or sixty years later, gave refuge to the Bunkers. It appears
also to have harbored some of the French Protestants who
fled from their country on the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes. See "Ephrata."
86 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
ers were to be seized wherever they could be
sought out, " and brought to our Orphan Asylum
to receive the treatment necessary to their con-
version ; or, if they persist in their obstinacy, they
are to receive the punishment in such cases be-
longing. Meantime the officers are to seize
their property, and present an inventory of the
" To the Baptists in general, who refuse to de-
sist from their error, the punishment of exile
shall be announced. It is our will and com-
mand that they be escorted to the borders, a
solemn promise obtained from them, since they
will not swear, and that they be banished en-
tirely from our country till it be proved that
they have been converted. Returning uncon-
verted, and refusing to recant, they shall be
whipped, branded, and again banished, which
condign punishment is founded upon the follow-
ing reasons and motives :
" 1. All subjects should confirm with an oath
the allegiance which they owe to the authorities
ordained them of God. The Anabaptists, who
refuse the oath, cannot be tolerated.
" 2. Subjects should acknowledge that the ma-
gistracy is from God, and with God. But the
Anabaptists, who declare that the magisterial
office cannot exist in the Christian Church, are
not to be tolerated in the country.
"3. All subjects are bound to protect and de-
SWISS EXILES. 87
fend their country. But the Anabaptists refuse
to bear arms, and cannot be tolerated. . . .
"o. The magistracy is ordained of God, to
punish evil-doers, especially murderers, etc.
But the Anabaptists refuse to report these to
the authorities, and therefore they cannot be
" 6. Those who refuse to submit to the whole-
some ordinances of the government, and who
act in opposition to it, cannot be tolerated. Now,
the Anabaptists transgress in the following
" They preach without the calling of the magis-
tracy; baptize without the command of the
authorities ; . . . . and do not attend the
meetings of the church.
"We have unanimously resolved that all should
inflict banishment and the other penalties against
all who belong to this corrupted and extremely
dangerous and wicked sect, that they may make
no further progress, but that the country may
be freed from them ; on which, in grace, we rely.
" As regards the estate of the disobedient exiles,
or of those who have run away, it shall, after de-
ducting costs, be divided among the wives and
children who remain in obedience.
""We command that no person shall lodge nor
give dwelling to a Baptist, whether related to
him or not, nor afford him the necessaries of
life. But every one of our persuasion should be
88 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
exhorted to report whatever information he can
obtain of them to the high bailiff.
"And an especial proclamation of this last
article shall be made from the pulpit."
This Bernese edict, being read in all parts, was
a source of great distress, and it appeared to the
Baptists as if " the beautiful flower of the ortho-
dox Christian Church" would be entirely extir-
pated in those parts.
It was therefore concluded to send certain per-
sons from the cities of Dordrecht, Leyden, Am-
sterdam, etc., to the Hague, where the puissant
States-General were in session, to induce them to
send petitions to Berne and Zurich for the relief
of the people suffering oppression.
The States-General, as "kind fathers of the
poor, the miserable, and the oppressed," took
immediate cognizance of the matter.
Letters were written " to the lords of Berne"
for the liberation of prisoners, etc., and to the
lorda of Zurich for the restoration of the prop-
erty of the imprisoned, deceased, and exiled
Baptists. The letter to Berne narrates (in brief)
that " the States-General have learned from per-
sons called in this country Mennonists, that their
brethren called Anabaptists suffer great perse-
cution at Berne, being forbidden to live in the
country, but not allowed to remove with their
families And property. "We have likewise learned
SWISS EXILES. 89
that some of them have been closely confined ;
which has moved us to Christian compassion.
" We request you, after the good example of
the lords-regent of Schaffhausen, to grant the
petitioners time to depart with their families and
property wherever they choose. To this end,
we request you to consider that when, in 1655,
the Waldenses were so virulently persecuted by
the Romans for the confession of their reformed
religion, and the necessities of the dispersed
people could not be relieved but by large collec-
tions raised in England, this country, etc., the
churches of the Baptists, upon the simple recom-
mendation of their governments, and in Chris-
tian love and compassion, contributed with so
much benevolence that a remarkably large sum
was raised Farewell, etc. At the
The letter of the States-General to Zurich is
similar to the foregoing abstract.
Besides these acts of the States-General, several
cities of the United Netherlands, being entirely
opposed to restraint of conscience, reproved " the
members of their society in Switzerland," and
exhorted them to gentleness.
ThuSjtheburgomasters and lords of Rotterdam,
speaking in behalf of the elders of the church
called Mennoriist, whose fellow-believers in Berne
are called in derision Anabaptists: "As to our-
selves, honorable lords, we are of opinion that
90 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH"
these men can be safely tolerated in the common-
wealth, and for this judgment we have to thank
William, Prince of Orange, of blessed memory,
who established, by his bravery, liberty of con-
science for us, and could never be induced to
deprive the Mennouites of citizenship.
" We have never repented of this, for we have
never learned that these people have sought to
excite sedition, but, on the contrary, they have
cheerfully paid their taxes.
" Although they confess that Christians cannot
conscientiously act as officers of government, and
are opposed to swearing, yet they do not refuse
obedience to the authorities, and, if they are con-
victed of a violation of truth, are willing to un-
dergo the punishment due to perjury. We indulge
the hope that your lordships will either repeal
the onerous decree against the Menuonists, or at
least grant to the poor wanderers sufficient time
to make their preparations, and procure resi-
dences in other places.
" When this is done, your lordships will have
accomplished a measure well pleasing to God,
advantageous to the name of the Reformed, and
gratifying to us who are connected with your
lordships in the close ties of religion. Rotter-
* Abstracted from the passage or letter in the great Baptist
Martyr-book, the " Martyr's Mirror."
SWISS EXILES. 91
These appeals of the States-General and of
the cities of Holland seem to have had very little
effect, at least upon the authorities of Berne, for
there arose eleven years later, or in 1671, another
severe persecution of the Baptists in that canton,
which was so virulent that it seemed as if the
authorities would not cease until they had ex-
pelled that people entirely.
In consequence of this, seven hundred persons,
old and young, were constrained to forsake their
property, relations, and country, and retire to
the Palatinate.* Some, it seems, took refuge in
Alsace, above Strasburg.
An extract from a letter given in the Martyr-
book says, "Some follow chopping wood, others
labor in the vineyards; hoping, I suppose, that
after some time tranquillity will be restored, and
they will be able to return to their habitations ;
but I am afraid that this will not happen soon.
The authorities of Berne had six of
the prisoners (one of whom was a man that had
nine children) put in chains and sold as galley-
slaves between Milan and Malta."f
* " Martyr's Mirror."
f This, it appears, is not the first instance of this punishment
being inflicted at Berne. A list in the Martyr-book of per-
sons put to death for their faith concludes thus: "Copied
from the letter of Hans Loersch, while in prison at Berne,
16G7, whence he was taken in chains to sea."
The dreadful fate of the galley-slave who was chained to
the oar or to the bench, exposed to the society of criminals,
92 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
This severe penalty of being sold as slaves to
row the galleys or great sail-boats which trav-
ersed the Mediterranean, was also impending
over other able-bodied prisoners, as it is said, but
" a lord of Berne," named Beatus, was excited
to compassion, and obtained permission that the
prisoners should leave the country upon bail that
they would not return without permission.
In the year 1672, the brethren in the United
Netherlands (the Mennonites or Baptists) sent
some of their members into the Palatinate to
inquire into the condition of the refugees, and
the latter were comforted and supported by the
assistance of the churches and members of the
There were among the refugees husbands and
wives who had to abandon their consorts, who
belonged to the Reformed Church and could not
think of removal.
Among these were two ministers, whose fami-
lies did not belong to the church (Baptist), and
who had to leave without finding whether their
wives would go with them, or whether they loved
their property more than their husbands. " Such
incidents occasioned the greater distress, since
the authorities granted such persons remaining
permission to marry again."*
etc., may be found alluded to in works of fiction, such as
Zschokke's " Alamontade, or the Galley-Slave. "
*" Martyr's Mirror."
SWISS EXILES. 93
Alsace and the Palatinate (lying upon the
Rhine), where our Swiss exiles had taken refuge,
were soon after devastated in the great wars of their
ambitious neighbor, Louis XIV., King of France.
Turenne, the French general, put the Palatinate,
a fine and fertile country, full of populous towns
and villages, to fire and sword. The Elector
Palatine, from the top of his castle at Manheim,
beheld two cities and twenty towns in flames.*
Turenne, with the same indifference, destroyed
the ovens, and laid waste part of the country of
Alsace, to prevent,the enemy from subsisting.!
About fourteen years after, or in the winter of
1688-9, the Palatinate was again ravaged by the
French king's army. The French generals gave
notice to the towns but lately repaired, and then
so flourishing, to the villages, etc., that their in-
habitants must quit their dwellings, although it
was then the dead of winter; for all was to be
destroyed by fire and sword.
" The flames with which Turenne had destroyed
two towns and twenty villages of the Palatinate
were but sparks in comparison to this last terrible
destruction, which all Europe looked upon with
* Voltaire's " Age of Louis XIV."
f The troops of the Empire of Germany, or of Germany
and Spain combined. See " Age of Louis XIV."
94 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Between the time of these two great raids
there occurred several noteworthy incidents.
There came to Holland and Germany, in the
year 1677, a man who was then of little note, a
man of peace, belonging to a new and persecuted
sect, but who has since become better known in
history, at least to us who inhabit Pennsylvania,
than Marshal Turenne, or the great Louis XIV.
himself. It was the colonist and statesman, the
Quaker, William Penn.
The Elector Palatine now reigning was a rela-
tive of the King of England. Penn failed to
see this prince, but he addressed a letter to him,
to the " Prince Elector Palatine of Heydelbergh,"
in which he desires to know " what encourage-
ment a colony of virtuous and industrious fami-
lies might hope to receive from thee, in case they
should transplant themselves into this country,
which certainly in itself is very excellent, respect-
ing taxes, oaths, arms, etc."*
I know not what encouragement, if any, the
Elector offered to Penn; but only about four
years later, Penn's great colony was founded
* Several towns and townships in southeastern Pennsylvania
bear record of the Palatinate, etc. In Lancaster County we
have Strasburg, doubtless named for that city in Alsace, and
two Manheims. Adjoining counties have Heidelbergs. The
Swiss Palatines do not seem to have preserved enough affection
for the land of their origin to bestow Swiss names upon our
Lancaster County towns. What wonder ?
SWISS EXILES. 95
across the Atlantic, a colony which afforded
refuge to many "Palatines."
Of this journey to Germany and Holland, just
spoken of, Penn kept a journal, and there is
mention made at Amsterdam of Baptists and
" Menists," or Mennonites ; but whether he ever
met in Europe any of our Swiss exiles, I do not
find stated in history. Of his other two journeys
to Germany, no journal has been found.
Eight years after Penn's journey, there oc-
curred, in the year 1685, two circumstances which
may have especially interested our Swiss Bap-
tists and have operated to bring their colony to
"In June, 1685, the Elector Palatine dying
without issue, the electoral dignity went to a
bigoted Popish family. In October, the King of
France recalled the Edict of Nantes."* Five or
six hundred thousand Frenchmen are said to
have left their country at the time of this cruel
act, and the Palatinate doubtless received many
of the wanderers.f
The Swiss exiles that first took refuge in Lan-
caster County came here about thirty-eight years
after the severe Bernese persecution of 1671.
* The above I have fou nd credited to Bishop Burnet.
f If so, it does not appear to have furnished a safe resting-
place. Six thousand distressed Palatines, it is said, sought
refuge in England under the patronage of Queen Anne.
96 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Rupp, the historian of our county, tells us
that in 1706 or 1707 a number of the persecuted
Swiss Mennonites went to England and made a
particular agreement with the honorable pro-
prietor, William Penn, for lauds.
He further says that several families from the
Palatinate, descendants of the distressed Swiss,
emigrated to America and settled in Lancaster
County in the year 1709.*
The next year, the commissioners of property
had agreed with Martin Kendig, Hans Herr, etc.,
Swissers lately arrived in this province, for ten
thousand acres of land, twenty miles east of
The supplies of the colonists were at first
scanty, until the seed sown in a fertile soil yielded
some thirty-, others forty-fold.;}; Their nearest
mill was at Wilmington, distant, as I estimate,
about thirty miles.
One of their number was soon sent to Europe
to bring out other emigrants, and after the ac-
cession the colony numbered about thirty fami-
* This was twenty-eight years after the founding of Penn's
colony. Several years earlier, or in 1701, some Mennonites
bought land in Germantown, and in 1708 built a church (or
meeting-house). For this information I am obliged to Dr.
f The above-mentioned " Connystogoe" it would probably
be very difficult to point out. The Conestoga Creek empties
into the Susquehanna below Lancaster.
SWISS EXILES. 97
lies. They mingled with the Indians in hunting
and fishing. These were hospitable and respect-
ful to the whites.*
We are told that the early colonists had strong
faith in the fruitfulness and natural advantages
of their choice of lands. " They knew these
would prove to them and their children the home
of plenty." Their anticipations have never failed.f
The harmony existing between the Indians
and these men of peace is very pleasing. Soon
after their first settlement here, Lieutenant-
Governor Gookin made a journey to Cones-
togo (1711), and in a speech to the Indians tells
them that Governor Penn intends to present five
belts of wampum to the Five Nations, " and one
to you of Conestogo, and requires your friend-
ship to the Palatines, settled near Pequea."J
f The question has been discussed, why did the Germans
select the limestone lands, and the Scotch-Irish take those less
fruitful ? Different hints upon this subject may be found in
Day's Historical Collections of Pennsylvania. Under the
head of Lancaster County, he says that a number of Scotch-
Irish, in consequence of the limestone land being liable to
frost and heavily wooded, seated themselves (1763) along the
northern line of the counties of Chester and Lancaster.
A gentleman of Marietta, in this county, has said to me
nearly as follows: "Ninety in one hundred of the regular
members of the Mennonite churches are farmers, and they
follow the limestone land as the needle follows the pole."
J The Pequea Creek (pronounced by the "Dutch" Peck'-
98 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
About seven years after this, William Perm
died in England, in the year 1718.
Whether the persecution of the Baptists con-
tinued in Switzerland, and had begun in the
Palatinate, I am not able to say, further than to
offer the following passage, taken from Herzog's
" When the Baptists were oppressed in Swit-
zerland and the Palatinate, the Mennonites united
into one community with the Palatines, at Gro-
ningen (Holland), and established in 1726 a fund
for the needy abroad, to which Baptists of all
parties richly contributed. About eighty years
after, this fund was discontinued, being no longer
Thus active persecution of the Baptists in those
regions had ceased, as it seems, about the year
The German or Swiss colony in Lancaster
County is said to have caused some alarm, though
we can hardly believe it a real fear. Nine years
after the death of William Penn, representation
was made to Lieutenant-Governor Gordon (1727)
that " a large number of Germans, peculiar in
their dress, religion, and notions of political gov-
ernment, had settled on Pequea, and were de-
termined not to obey the lawful authority of
way) waters some of the finest land in the county, or the very
finest. " The Piquaws had their wigwams scattered along the
banks of the Pequea."
SWISS EXILES. 99
government; that they had resolved to speak
their own language, and to acknowledge no sov-
ereign but the great Creator of the universe."
Rupp, from whom I quote the above passage,
adds, " There was perhaps never a people who
felt less disposed to disobey the lawful authority
of government than the Mennonites, against
whom these charges were made."
The charges were doubtless dropped, or an-
swered in a satisfactory manner; for two years
subsequently, or in 1729, a naturalization act was
passed concerning certain Germans who had
come into the province between the years 1700
Over one hundred persons are naturalized by
this act (Martin Meylin, Hans Graaf, etc.) ; and
a great part of the people of the county can find
their surnames mentioned therein.*
All the names, however, are not those of Bap-
Nearly to the same date as this naturalization
* Not always as at present spelled. The present Kendig
appears as Kindeck, Breneman as Preniman, Baumgardner
as Bumgarner, Eby as Abye. These were probably English
efforts at spelling German names. Kupp says that ho was in-
debted to Abraham Meylin, of "West Lampeter Township, for
a copy of the act. There appear to have been among the
Palatines who came into our county some Huguenot families ;
but, from intermarrying with the Germans, and speaking the
dialect, they are considered " Dutch." The name of the
Bushong family is said to have once been Beauchamp.
100 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
act belongs a letter written from Philadelphia,
in 1730, by the Rev. Jedediah Andrews.
Mr. Andrews says, in substance, " There are
in this province a vast number of Palatines;
those that have come of late years are mostly
Reformed. The first-comers, though called Pala-
tines, are mostly Switzers, many of whom are
wealthy, having got the best land in the prov-
ince. They live sixty or seventy miles oft', but
come frequently to town with their wagons laden
with skins belonging to the Indian traders, with
butter, flour, etc."*
Mr. Andrews, in his letter, while speaking of
the Switzers, continues :
" There are many Lutherans and some Re-
formed mixed among them. . . . Though
there be so many sorts of religion going on, we
don't quarrel about it. We not only live peace-
ably, but seem to love one another."
This harmony among the multitudinous sects
in Pennsylvania must have been the more re-
markable to Mr. Andrews, from his having been
born and educated in Massachusetts, where a very
different state of affairs had prevailed.
* This mention of the Switzers' wagons reminds me of the
great Conestoga wagons, which, before the construction of
railroads, conveyed the produce of the interior to Philadelphia.
With their long bodies roofed with white canvas, they went
along almost, I might say, like moving houses. They were
drawn by six powerful horses, at times furnished with trap-
pings and bells ; and the wagoner's trade was qno of importance.
SWISS EXILES. 101
On this subject Rupp says, " The descendants
of the Puritans boast that their ancestors fled
from persecution, willing to encounter perils in
the wilderness, and perils by the heathen, rather
than be deprived of the free exercise of their
" The descendants of the Swiss Mennonites in
Lancaster County claim that while their ances-
tors sought for the same liberty, they did not
persecute others who differed from them in re-
The letter of Mr. Andrews, lately quoted, bears
date 1730. Twelve years after, or in 1742, a re-
spectable number of the Amish (pronounced
Ommish) of Lancaster County petitioned the
General Assembly that a special law of naturali-
zation might be passed for their benefit. They
stated that they had emigrated from Europe by
an invitation from the proprietaries ; that they
had been brought up in and were attached to the
Amish doctrine, and were conscientiously scru-
pulous against taking oaths ; " they therefore can-
not be naturalized agreeably to the existing law."
An act was passed in conformity to their request.
* A test-oatb, or oath of abjuration, seems to have been in
force at one time in Pennsylvania, concerning the Roman
Catholics. (See Rupp's History of Berks and Lebanon.)
Must we not attribute this act to the Royal Home government
rather than to William Penn ?
102 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
(I give this statement as I find it, although some-
what surprised if the laws of Pennsylvania did
not always allow those to affirm who were con-
scientiously opposed to oaths.)
The history of our Swiss Exiles is nearly fin-
ished. It is chiefly when a nation is in adversity
that its history is interesting to us. What is there
to tell of a well-to-do farming population, who
do not participate in battles, and who live almost
entirely secluded from public affairs ?
Under the date 1754, it is noted that Governor
Pownall, traveling in Lancaster County, says,
" I saw the finest farm one can possibly con-
ceive, in the highest culture; it belongs to a-
Switzer." Thus Gray's lines (slightly altered)
may be said to comprise most of the external
history of these people for a century and a
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe hath broke ;
How early did they drive their team a-field,
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke !
Some difficulty had arisen, however, between
the Germans of our county and the "Scotch-
Irish." Thus, Day, in his Historical Collections,
says, " The Presbyterians from the north of
Ireland came in at about the same time with
the Germans, and occupied the townships of
Donegal and Paxton." (Paxton, now Dauphin
SWISS EXILES. 103
County.) " Collisions afterwards occurring be-
tween them and the Germans, concerning elec-
tions, bearing of arms, the treatment of the
Indians, etc., the proprietaries instructed their
agents in 1755 that the Germans should be en-
couraged, and in a manner directed to settle
along the southern boundary of the province, in
Lancaster and York Counties, while the Irish
were to be located nearer to the Kittatinny
Mountain, in the region now forming Dauphin
and Cumberland Counties.*
In the Revolutionary War, the German Men-
nonites did not early espouse the cause of inde-
pendence. Some of them doubtless felt bound by
their promise of loyalty to the established gov-
ernment, while others were perhaps influenced
by the motive lately attributed to them in the
correspondence of one of our county papers (" Ex-
aminer and Herald," Lancaster, October 27th,
1869). The writer tells us that Lancaster County
was settled principally by Mennonites, etc., who
are strict non-resistants. They were peculiarly
solicitous to manifest their loyalty to the powers
that be, because they had been accused by their
* It was not long after this date (in 1763) that the "Pax-
ton Boys" made a raid down to Lancaster and massacred
the remnant of Conestoga Indians, in the jail of that town.
Day says that there was policy in the order above given ;
that the Irish were warlike, and could defend the frontier.
104 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
enemies of having been implicated in rebellion
during the unhappy events at Miinster, Germany,
in the years 1635-36.
When our Revolutionary struggle began, these
people were cautious in resisting the established
During the late rebellion, although very few
of our German Baptists bore arms, yet some, I
think, were active in raising funds to pay bounties
to persons who did enlist.
It appears to the writer that there can scarcely
be a people in our country among whom the
ancient practices are more faithfully maintained
than among the Amish of Lancaster County.*
In the great falling off" from ancient principles
and practices which we read of among Holland
Mennonites (see Herzog's Cyclopaedia and the
Encyclopaedia Americana), it seems that there are
yet left in Europe others of the stricter rule.
In Friesland, Holland, where the Mennonites
are divided, as here, into three classes, there are
found, by comparison, most traces of the old
Mennonism. (See Herzog.)
* The Amish seem to have originated in Europe, about the
year 1700, when Jacob Amen, a Swiss preacher, set up, or
returned to, the more severe rule, distasteful to brethren in
Alsace, etc., and enforced the ban of excommunication upon
some or all of those who disagreed with him.
A small pamphlet upon this subject has been published at
Elkhart, Indiana, and is for sale at the office of the Herald of
SWISS EXILES. 105
And we have lately heard of Amish in France.
A letter from that country, published in the
Herald of Truth (Elkhart, Indiana, July, 1871)
alludes to the late European war. The writer
says, "The loss we here sustained is indescrib-
able. Many houses have been entirely shattered
to pieces by the cannon-balls, and others totally
destroyed by fire." He adds, " As you desire to
know what kind of Mennonites there are residing
here in France, I will briefly state that most of
them are Amish Mennonites." He signs him-
self Isaac Rich, Etupes, par Audincourt, Doubs,
France. This locality, as I understand, is not
far from Switzerland and Alsace.
The church history of our Mennonites has not
been entirely uneventful.
Rupp tells us that they were very numerous
about the year 1792, and that Martin Boehm and
others made inroads upon them. A considerable
number seceded and joined the United Brethren,
or Vereinigte Briider.
A society of Dunkers was formed near the
Susquehanna, many years ago, by Jacob Engle,
who had been a Mennonite. This society is
called " The River Brethren," and from it has
been formed the "Brinser Brethren," popularly
The Rev. John Herr is generally considered
the founder of a sect popularly called "New
Mennists." They call themselves, however,
106 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
"Keformed Mennonites," and claim that they
have only returned to the ancient purity of
How far the " Albrechtsleut," or "Dutch
Methodists," the Evangelical Association, as
they call themselves, have made converts among
the Mennonites, I cannot tell.
Mr. Eupp, whose History of Lancaster County
is as yet the standard, speaks of the Mennonites
as the prevailing religious denomination in 1843,
having about forty-five ministers preaching in
German, and over thirty-five meeting-houses.
The Amish meet in private houses.
Although I have never heard that our Men-
nonites as a religious body passed any rules for-
bidding slaveholding, as did the Quakers, yet
they are in sentiment strongly anti-slavery, hav-
ing great faith in those who are willing to labor
with their own hands.
Of this strong anti-slavery sentiment I offer
convincing proof in the votes by which they
supported in Congress our late highly distin-
guished representative, Thaddeus Stevens.*
* Traditionary stories exist in our county concerning the
Swiss origin, etc., of certain families. I have heard one con-
cerning the Engles, and one of the Stauffers. One of the
Johns family has told me of their Swiss origin, and of their
name being formerly written Tschantz.
It is probable that other traditionary stories concerning
Swiss families could now be collected, if some one would exert
himself to do it before their custodians " fall asleep."
SWISS EXILES. 107
But let those -who gather these stories beware of the " fine
writer," lest he add what he considers embellishments, and
make the narratives improbable.
The Stauffer traditions were mentioned to me by a venerable
member of the family, one who has kindly lent me his aid and
sympathy in some of my records of the " Pennsylvania Dutch. "
John Stauffer is now a great-grandfather, and he calculates
that it was, at the nearest, his own great-great-grandfather
who, with his mother and his three brothers, came to this
country, his ancestors being of Swiss origin. " The mother,"
says my neighbor (in substance), " weighed three hundred, and
the sons made a wagon, all of wood, and drawed her to the
Khine. When they got to Philadelphia, they put their mother
into tie wagon and drawed her up here to Warwick township.
There they settled on a pretty spring ; that is what our people
The reader of this little story may remember the "pious
-<Eneas," who "from the flames of Troy, upon his shoulders,"
the old Anchises bore.
The tradition of the Engle family was narrated to me by
two of its members.
Mr. Henry M. Engle has felt some difficulty in reconciling
the tradition with the fact of the family's having been in this
country only about one hundred years, and with his idea that
the Swiss persecution must have ceased before that period.
But we have seen that some Baptist families tarried in the
Palatinate, etc. before coming here, and a circumstance like
the imprisonment of one of their women would be remem-
bered among them for a long time.
Tradition says that it was the grandmother's mother or
grandmother of Henry M. Engle and Jacob M. Engle who
was a prisoner in Switzerland for her faith. The turnkey's
wife is said to have sympathized with the prisoner, because she
knew that Annie had children at home. So she said to her, in
the Swiss dialect, "Annie, if I were you, I would go away
once." (" Annie, wann i die war, i det mohl geh." " Annie,
wenn ich dich ware, ich thut einmal gehen.")
108 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
She therefore set Annie to washing clothes, and, turning her
back upon her, gave her opportunity to escape.
Annie's husband was not a Baptist ; nevertheless, he was
so friendly as to prepare a hiding-place for her, into which she
could go down, if the persecutors came, by means of a trap-
door ; and she was never taken prisoner again.
THE DDNKEB LOVE-FEAST.
ON the morning of the 25th of September, 1871,
I took the cars of the Pennsylvania Central Rail-
road for the borough of Mount Joy, in the north-
west part of this county. Finding no public
conveyance thence to the village of C., I ob-
tained from my landlord a horse and buggy and
an obliging driver, who took me four or five miles,
for two dollars. We took a drive round by the
new Dunker meeting-house, which is a neat frame
building, brown, picked out with white win-
dow-frames. Behind it is a wood, upon which
the church-doors open, instead of upon the
We heard here that the meeting would not
begin till one o'clock on the next day. Some of
the brethren were at the church, however, with
their teams, having brought provisions, straw,
and bedding. We went into the neat meeting-
room, and above into the garret, where straw was
being laid down. A partition ran down the
middle, and upon the women's side a small room
110 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
had also been divided from the rest, wherein
were one or two bedsteads and the inevitable
cradle. The basement had a hard earthen floor,
and was divided into dining-room, kitchen, and
cellar. Upon spacious shelves in the cellar a
brother and sister were placing the food. Many
large loaves of bread were there. The sister was
taking pies from a great basket, and bright coffee-
pots stood upon the kitchen-table.
All here seemed to speak " Dutch," but several
talked English with me. They seemed sur-
prised that I had come so far as twenty-three
miles in order to attend the meeting. One re-
marked that it was no member that had put the
notice of the meeting in the paper which I had
seen. Others, however, seemed interested, al-
though by my dress it was very plain that I was
quite an outsider. I found C. a neat place of
about a dozen houses, and we drove to the only
tavern. The landlady was young and pleasant,
but she could speak little English. She was
quite sociable, however, and thought that she
could teach me Dutch and I her English. By
means of some German on my part, we got along
tolerably together. She took me to a good cham-
ber, and began removing from it some of their
best clothing. Showing me two sun-bonnets, one
of them made of black silk, she said, " It is the
fashion." " The fashion ?" said I. "Yes; the
fashion for married women." This was, doubt-
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. HI
less, the Dunker influence even among those not
Being at leisure in the afternoon, I walked to
an ancient Moravian church in the neighbor-
hood, with the landlady's little daughter, a
' Her mother said, " Geh mit der aunty :" so
she went with her adopted relative.
" Do you speak English ?" I said to the little
" Na !" she answered.
" Hast du ein Bruder ?" (Have you a brother ?)
"Na!" she replied, in the dialect.
" Wie alt bist du ?" (How old are you ?) I said
" Vaze es net." (I don't know.)
I found the church a small log building that
had been covered with boards. Many of the
tombstones were in the Moravian fashion, such
as I had seen at Litiz, small square slabs, lying
flat in the grass ; and some were numbered at the
top of the inscription. One of these is said to be
one hundred and twenty years old, and when it
was laid this was doubtless an Indian mission.
But the Herrnhiiter (as my landlady said) are all
* Our "Dutch" all of them, I believe use the singular
pronoun du, thou.
112 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
gone, and another society holds meetings in the
Although my little guide of six years could
not speak English, she was not wanting in good
sense. As I was trying to secure the graveyard
gate, holding it with one hand, and stooping to
roll up the stone that served to keep it fast, the
little one, too, put out her hand, unbidden, to
hold the gate. I thought that there were some
English children that would not have been so
helpful, and reflected, as I walked along, upon
unspoken language, if I may use the expression.
The landlady had a plentiful supper after we
returned. I was the only guest, and, as is usual
here, the maid sat down with us. "We had fried
beef, sweet potatoes, pie, very nice apple-butter,
canned peaches, barley-cofiee, brown sugar, etc.
The charge for board was at the rate of one dol-
lar per day.
In the evening I heard my hostess up-stairs
preparing my bed, as I supposed. My surprise
was therefore considerable, on turning down the
woolen coverlet, to find no sheets upon the
feather bed. On lifting this light and downy
bed, which was neatly covered with white, I
found one sheet, a straw bed, and then a bed-
cord in the place of a sacking-bottom. I at once
perceived that the feather bed was a feather
cover, of which I had often heard, but had never
met with one before during my sojourn in
THE BUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 113
Pennsylvania " Dutchland." I should think that
this downy covering might be pleasant in cold
weather, but now I rolled it off upon the floor,
and, with the help of a spare comfortable, was
soon at rest. The pillow-cases, which were
trimmed with edging, were marked with black
silk, in a large running-hand, in this manner :
" Henry G. Kreider, 1864."
As I sat the next morning awhile with the
landlady in her basement kitchen, she remarked,
" Here is it as Dutch as Dutchlant." But she
said that my Dutch was not like theirs. The
neighborhood, however, is not nearly so German
as Germany. I was told by an intelligent young
man that half the grown men did not speak
English : I understand by this, not that they do
not speak our language at all, but not habitually
and with fluency. Many speak English very
well, but the " Dutch" accent is universal. For
several years the school-books in the township
have all been English. I laughed with the land-
lady, who herself seemed somewhat amused, at
the children having English books and speaking
Dutch, or, as she would say, " Die Kinner lerne
Englisch und schwetze Deitsch." However, at
the Dunker church, a pretty girl told me after-
ward that she had had no difficulty at school
the preceding winter, although " we always talk
German at home."
At breakfast this morning, among other dishes,
114 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
we had raisin-pie. Not a great while after this
meal was over, the morning having proved wet,
a neighbor took me over to the church in his buggy
for twenty-five cents. Although the hour was so
early, and meeting was fixed to begin at one, I
found a considerable number here, which did not
surprise me, as I knew the early habits of our
" Dutch" people. Taking a seat, I began to read
a number of the Living Age, when a black-eyed
maid before me, in Duuker dress, handed me her
neatly-bound hymn-book, in English and Ger-
man. I told her that I could read German, and
when I read a verse in that language, she said,
"But you don't know what it means." Reading
German is with us a much rarer accomplishment
than speaking the dialect.
Ere long, a stranger came and sat down behind
me, and entered into conversation. He was a
preacher from a distance, named L., and spoke
very good English. "We soon found that we had
mutual acquaintances in another county, and
when dinner was ready he invited me down to
Here the men sat upon one side, and the women
on the other, of one of the long tables, upon which
was laid a strip of white muslin. "We had bowls
without spoons, into which was poured by attend-
ant brethren very hot coffee, containing milk
or cream, but no sugar. We had the fine Lan-
caster County bread, good and abundant butter,
THE BUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 115
apple-butter, pickles, and pies. The provisions
for these meals are contributed by the members
at a previous meeting, where each tells what he
intends to furnish, how many loaves of bread, etc.,
while some prefer to give money.* Whatever
food is left over after the four meals are done is
given to the poor, without distinction of sect;
" whoever needs it most," as a sister said.
At this dinner, before eating, my new acquaint-
ance, L., gave out, by two lines at a time, the
" Eternal are thy mercies, Lord."
But few joined in the singing. They would
doubtless have preferred German. In that lan-
guage thanks were returned after eating.
When we went up into the meeting-room
again, a young man of an interesting counte-
nance, a preacher, named Z., asked me if I was
not the one who had written an article which had
lately appeared in one of our county papers. It
was very gratifying to be thus recognized among
An elderly sister, who sat down by me and
began to talk, was named Murphy. The name
surprised me much, but it was not the only Irish
one here. It is probable that these persons were
* To furnish provisions would be natural to a people of
whom about seventy-five in a hundred are farmers, as among
116 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
taken into Dunker families when young to be
brought up, and thus had been led to join a
church so different from the Roman Catholic.
Having observed that there was a good deal
of labor to be performed here in waiting upon
BO many people, I asked Mrs. Murphy whether
there were women hired. She told me, " There's
a couple of women that's hired; but the members
does a heap, too."
On another occasion, I made a remark to a
friendly sister about the brethren's waiting upon
the table, as they did. She answ^fed that it was
according to the Testament to help each other ;
the women cooked, and the men waited upon
the table. She did not seem able to give the text.
It may be, " Bear ye one another's burdens." I
was amused that it should be so kindly applied
to the brethren's helping the sisters.
Before meeting began in the afternoon, a
lovely aged brother, with silvery hair and beard,
and wearing a woolen coat nearly white, showed
me how the seats were made, so that by turning
down the backs of some, tables could be formed
for the Love-Feast. He told me that the Dun-
kers number about one hundred thousand, that
they have increased much in the "West, but not
in the Eastern States. To which I rejoined,
smiling, " You Dutch folks do not like poor land,
like much of that at the East."
" This is not good laud," he said. " We have
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. H7
improved it;" for I had left the rich limestone
soil and had come to the gravelly land in the
northern part of the county. But as regards
Massachusetts, can it be that there is yet a trace
of the ancient antagonism of the Puritans to the
When meeting began, as brethren came in, I
saw some of these bearded men kissing each
other. These holy kisses, as will be s^en here-
after, are frequent among the Dunk^rs, and,
as the men shave only the upper lip, it seems
strange to us who are unaccustomed to the sight
and the sound. The oft-repeated kissing was
to me, perhaps, the least agreeable part of the
The afternoon meeting became very crowded,
and, as is usual among our "Dutch" people, a
number of babies were in attendance. During
the sessions their voices sometimes rose high, but
the noise did not seem to affect those who were
preaching or praying. They felt it perhaps like
the wailing and sighing of the wind, which they
regard not, and would rather bear the inconve-
nience of the children than to have the mothers
stay away from meeting. This afternoon, during
prayer, a little fellow behind me kept saying,
" Want to go to pappy ;" but if his father was
among the brethren, he was on the other side of
My new acquaintance, L., was the only preacher
118 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
here who spoke in English. All the other exer-
cises, except a little singing, were in German or
in our Pennsylvania dialect. This afternoon L.
said, among many remarks more sectarian, or less
broad, " Faith is swallowed up in sight ; hope, in
possession ; but charity, or love, is eternal. It
came from God, for God is love." The allusion
here is to Paul's celebrated panegyric on charity ;
but how much more charming it is in the German
version, "Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of
these is love. Love suffereth long and is kind,
is not puffed up," etc.
About the middle of the afternoon I perceived
a speaker giving some directions, and I asked
the women near me what he had said. One
answered and said something about "Wahl
halten fur Prediger," by which I perceived that
the election for a preacher was now to take
place. Both brethren and sisters were to vote ;
not to select from a certain set of candidates,
however; but at random, among the congrega-
tion, or Family, as it is sometimes called ("for
all ye are brethren").
In the room above-stairs were the bishop or
elder and an assistant to receive the votes. This
bishop we might call the father of this family,
which has four preachers and as many meeting-
houses. The bishop is always that preacher who
is oldest in the ministry. Meeting is held by
turns in the different houses, occurring only once
THE BUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 119
in six weeks in the large new house which we
then occupied. These particulars, which I gath-
ered in conversation, are, I believe, substantially
During the interval of the election I sat and
read, or looked out from my window at the young
people, the gayly-dressed girls mostly grouped
together. Some of these were, probably, rela-
tives of the members, while others may have come
for the ride and the fun, to see and to be seen,
meetings of this kind being great occasions in the
The young men stood around on the outside of
these groups of girls, some holding their whips
and twirling them with the butts resting upon
the ground. Of course the young girls were not
conscious of the presence of the beaux.
On the front of the house, or rather the back,
for, as I have said, the main doors open upon
the wood instead of upon the roadside, were
more young girls, and plain sisters and brethren.
I asked a nice-looking woman about the elec-
tion, but she could not tell me, although she
wore the plain cap. " Most of the women do
around here," she said, and added that Dunker
women in meeting had offered to kiss her.
" You know they greet each other with a kiss."
After the brethren, the sisters were called up
to vote. I laughed, in talking with some of
the members, at the women's being allowed to
120 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
vote, in contrast to the usual custom. Mrs.
Murphy reckoned it would be different if the
women should undertake to vote for Governor or
I said to some of the sisters, " Who do you think
will be chosen ?" But they pleasantly informed
me that to talk upon this point was against their
rules, it was a matter for internal reflection.
After meeting was over next day, as the bishop
was talking with a sister, I ventured to ask him
whether a majority was necessary to elect a
preacher, or only a plurality. He seemed quite
willing to talk, displaying no clerical pride, and
ausw.ered, " A majority," adding, " Do you speak
German ?" I feared that I could not readily un-
derstand him on such a subject, and put the case
to him thus in English : " Suppose one man has
twenty votes, another fifteen, and another ten ?"
Then the bishop said that the one having twenty
would be elected ; whence it seems that a plurality
only is required. On this occasion the vote was
doubtless much divided, for I afterward heard
that the bishop had said to the congregation that
it seemed there were a good many there that
were thought fit for preachers.
As sunset approached, some of the members
began to form tables from the benches, for the
Love-Feast, which made me wonder when sup-
per was to be ready. I soon found, however,
that my ignorance of the language had pre-
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 121
vented my observing that while the " Family"
voted the rest of the congregation supped. I
was told, however, that if I would go down I
could still get something to eat. These meals
were free to every one that came. All were re-
ceived, in the hope that they would obtain some
In the basement I found a number of men
sitting at the end of one of the tables, waiting
for food, and I also sat down near them. I was
invited, however, by a sister to step into the
kitchen, where I stood and partook of hot cof-
fee, bread and butter, etc. As we went along
through the dining-room, I thought that the
sister cast a reproachful glance at a disorderly
man seated at the table with his whip, and who
was, perhaps, intoxicated. I wondered that she
should have taken me from the table to stand
in the kitchen, till I remembered that that was
a men's table.
In the kitchen, brethren were busily occupied
cutting large loaves of bread into quarters for
the coming Love-Feast ; and when I returned to
the room above, active preparations were still
going on, which consumed much time. The im-
provised tables were neatly covered with white
cloths, and hanging lamps shed down light upon
the scene. Piles of tin pans were placed upon
the table, knives, forks, and spoons, and some-
times a bowl. The tables occupied nearly the
122 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
whole floor of the church, leaving but little
room for spectators. I was myself crowded
into a corner, where the stairs came up from
the basement and went up to the loft; but,
though flt times I was much pressed for room,
I had an excellent plfcce to observe, for I stood
at the end of the main table. Here stood, too,
a bright and social sister from a neighboring
congregation, who did not partake of the feast,
and was able and willing to explain the cere-
monial j[o" me, in English, Mrs. E., as I will call
Near fey at the table, among the older sisters,
sat a pair who attracted a great deal of my
attention a young mother and her babe her-
self so quiet, and such a quiet babe! They
might have been photographed. Once or twice
the little six-weeks' child gave a feeble young
wail, and I saw the youthful mother modestly
give it that nourishment which nature provides.
The brethren came up carrying tubs of meat,
which smelt savory, for I was fasting from flesh
since the morning. Then came great vessels of
soup, one of them a very large tin wash-boiler.
The soup was taken out into the tin pans before
mentioned, and the plates of meat were set upon
the top, as if to keep both hot. And, now that
"at the long last" the Love-Feast tables were
spread, the fasting family was ready to begin,
not the supper, but the feet-washing ! This was
THE BUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 123
the more remarkable, because the Testament,
their rule of action, relates that, supper being
ended, Jesus washed the disciples' feet.
The bishop arose in his place at the table,
and, lamp in one hand and book in the other,
read in German the account of the feet-washing
in John's Gospel.
Four men who stood in front of him, watch-
ing his words, started when he said " legte seine
Kleider ab" (" laid aside his garments"), and, in
imitation of Jesus, took oft' their coats ; and, as
the Scripture says, " He took a towel and girded
himself," they, or two of them, put on long white
aprons, tied around the waist. Two washed feet
and two wiped, and then he who was thus min-
istered unto was kissed by one or both of the
ministering brethren. I was a little surprised
that two should perform that office, which Jesus
is said to have performed alone; but Mrs. R.
told me that, as the Church was one body, it
was considered that it made no difference to
have two persons.
The four who had ministered took their seats,
and were served in their turn, four others taking
their places, and so on. Upon the sisters' side
of the house, on a front bench, the sisters were,
in a similar manner, performing the same ordi-
"While the religious services of the evening
were going on within, from without there came
124 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
the sound of voices and laughter, from where
the young people of the world were enjoying
themselves in the clear, cool moonlight. I doubt
not that, by this time, the girls had recognized
the presence of the young men.
Once there was a shriek or a yell, and Mrs.
R. said, "Oh, the drunken rowdies! there's
always some of them here!"
Having heard of the non-resistant or wehrlos
tenets of the Dunkers, I wondered what they
would do should the disturbance without be-
come very great and unpleasant. Mrs. Murphy
thought that the other people would interfere
in such a case, that is, that those not members
would interest themselves to maintain order.
But on this point I afterward received informa-
tion from a brother, as I shall mention. The
services were so long that I told Mrs. K. I
thought that the soup would be cold. " Oh,
no!" she said, "that won't get cold so soon."
So I ventured to- put my finger against a pan
near me, and it was yet warm. She asked me,
during feet- washing, whether I did not think
that I would feel hapgy to be there, partaking
of that exercise.
I answered, in a non-committal manner, that
if I had been brought up to such things, as she
had been, I might feel so, but that all my friends
and acquaintances were of a different mind. She
rejoined, "But we must follow Christ, and serve
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 125
God, in spite of the world." Even after the feet
were all washed, the fasting family could not yet
eat, on account of the protracted exhortations.
At length they broke their fast. From two
to four persons, each with a spoon, ate together
from one pan of soup, very quietly, fifty feed-
ing like one, so to speak, the absence of sound
proceeding in part from the absence of earthen
plates. Then they cut from the meat and from
the quarter-loaves, and partook of the butter,
these being all the food. There was no salt nor
any other condiment. The occasional bowl was
for water. I suppose that most persons would
think that there had been enough kissing of the
kind ; but about this time a young bishop, an
assistant, stood up at the centre of the main
table, and after some remarks shook hands
with the sister upon his left and kissed the
brother upon his right, and from brother to
brother, and from sister to sister, the kiss went
around the congregation.
The bishop, and this assistant, went around
upon ours, the women's side, superintending
this ceremony, as if to see that none failed in
this expression of unity, and that it was con-
ducted in an orderly manner. The last sister
who has no one to kiss goes forward, and
kisses the first one, with whom the bishop had
shaken hands, thus completing the chain of
unity. This was doubtless done before the
126 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH.' 1
Communion, and showed that brotherly love
existed among these brethren, fitting them to
partake of the Sacrament. I was also told
that the latter half of the afternoon meeting
had been for self-examination on the same
About this time of the evening Mrs. R. told
me that if I would go down I could get some
of the soup, as there was plenty left. I was
willing to partake, not having had a regular
supper, and I got a bowl of good mutton-broth,
containing rice or barley, etc.
After the Love-Feast, these " Old Brethren,"
as they are' sometimes called, held the Com-
munion. The bread and wine were placed
upon the general or main table being set
before the bishops and were covered with a
Before the celebration of the ordinance, there
was read in German the passage of Scripture
upon which it is founded ; and also, as it seemed
to me, the narrative of the crucifixion. The
hymn now sung was an English one, and the
only one in our language that was sung by the
whole congregation during the two days' meet-
ing. It was,
"Alas ! and did my Saviour bleed."
Meantime, the assistant bishop divided the
bread, or cakes, which were unleavened and
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 127
sweetened. He directed the members, while
eating the bread, to reflect upon the sufferings
of the Saviour. His manner was devout and
impressive. As he and Bishop D passed
around among the women, distributing the
bread, the former repeated several times, in a
sonorous voice, these or similar words: "Das
Brod das wir brechen ist die Gemeinschaft des
Leibes Christi." (" The bread that we break is
the communion of the body of Christ.")
The wine, which smelt strong, was the juice of
the grape, and was made in the neighborhood.
An aged bishop from another congregation made
some observations, and while speaking marked
the length of something upon his finger. Mrs.
R. said that he was showing the size of the
thorns in the crown. She added, " They are
there yet." I looked at her in much surprise,
wondering whether she believed in the pres-
ervation of the actual thorns; whereupon she
added, " They grow there still. Did you never
read it in Bausman's book on the Holy Land ?
Bausman, the Reformed preacher." The sim-
plicity of the surroundings upon this occasion
were, it seemed to me, in keeping with those
of the original Supper, at which sat the " Car-
penter's Son" and the fishermen.
When meeting was over, as I did not see my
escort to the public house, and as I had been
told that I could stay here, I followed those who
128 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
went above-stairs, and received a bolster made
of a grain-bag filled with hay or straw. I shared
it with Mrs. Murphy. Our bed was composed
of straw laid upon the floor, and covered, or
nearly so, with pieces of domestic carpet. We
had a coverlet to lay over us. I talked with
some of the other women who lay beside us,
and could not get to sleep immediately ; but at
last I slept so sweetly that it was not agreeable
to be disturbed at four o'clock, when the sisters,
by my reckoning, began to rise. When some
of these had gone down, I should perhaps have
slept again, had it not been for a continued talk-
ing upon the men's side of the partition, quite
audible, as the partition only ran up to a dis-
tance of some feet, not nearly so high as the lofty
ridge of the building. The voices appeared to
be those of a young man and one or two boys,
talking in the dialect. A woman near me
4 'What is it?" said I.
" It's too mean to tell," she answered.
I surmise that the Dunker brethren had gone
down and left these youths. Although a baby
was crying, I lay still until two girls in Dunker
caps one ten years old, the other twelve came
with a candle, looking at us, smiling, and making
remarks, perhaps thinking that it was time for
us to be up.
I asked the eldest what o'clock it was.
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 129
She did not know.
" What made you get up, then ?"
" I got up when the others did."
Then some one explained that there were a
good many dishes left unwashed the evening
I was surprised to see such young persons
members of the meeting, for I supposed that
the Dunkers, like the Mennonites, are opposed
to infant baptism. The former explained to
me, however, that they thought such persons
as these old enough to distinguish right from
wrong. I was told, too, of one girl, still younger,
who had insisted on wearing the cap. The Men-
nonites baptize persons as young as fifteen.
Both sects seem to hold peculiar views upon
A Dunker preacher once said to me,
"We believe that, after Adam, all were born
in sin ; but, after Christ, all were born without
And a Mennist neighbor says,
" Children have no sin ; the kingdom of hea-
ven is of little children."
I continued to lie still, looking at the rafters
and roof, and speculating as to their being so
clean, and clear of cobwebs, and whether they
had been laboriously swept ; and then, gathering
my wardrobe together with some little trouble,
I was at last ready to go down. As I went to
130 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
one of the windows, I saw Orion and Sirius, and
the coming day.
Going down to wash at the pump, in the morn-
ing gloaming, while the landscape still lay in
shade, I found two or three lads at the pump,
and one of them pumped for me. I was so
ignorant of pump-washing as to wonder why
he pumped so small a stream, and to suspect
that he was making fun; but thus it seems it is
proper to do, to avoid wetting the sleeves.
Here I met a pretty young sister, from Cum-
berland County, fat and fair, whose acquaint-
ance I had made the day before. Her cap was
of lace, and not so plain as the rest. There
was with her at the pump one of the world's
people, a young girl in a blue dress.
" Is that your sister ?" I asked.
" It's the daughter of the woman I live with,"
she replied* "I have no sister. I am hired
with her mother/'
To my inexperienced eye it was not easy to
tell the rich Dunkers from the poor, when all
wore so plain a dress. I was afterward much
surprised on discovering that this pretty sister
did not understand German. Another from
Cumberland County told me that I ought to
come to their meeting, which was nearly all
After washing I went up into the meeting-
house, where the lamps were yet burning. A
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 131
few sisters were sitting here, and two little
maidens were making a baby laugh and scream
by walking her back and forth along the empty
benches. About sunrise the bishop had arrived,
and a number of brethren ranged themselves
upon the benches and began to sing. Before
long, we, who had stayed over-night, had our
breakfast, having cold meat at this and the
succeeding meal. I think it was at breakfast
that my pleasant friend with the silvery hair
mentioned that there was still a store of bread
The great event of the morning meeting was
the " making the preacher." At my usual seat,
at a distant window, I was so busily occupied
with my notes that I did not perceive what was
going on at the preacher's table, until I saw a
man and woman standing before the table with
their backs to the rest of the congregation. I
made my way to my former corner of observa-
tion, and found that there was another brother
standing with them, the sister in the middle,
and these were receiving the greetings of the
Family. The brethren came up, one by one,
kissed one of the men, shook hands with the
sister, and kissed the other man. This last was
the newly-chosen preacher, the former brother,
named Z., being a preacher who, by the consent
of the members (also given yesterday), was now
advanced one degree in the ministry, and was
132 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
henceforth to have power to marry and to bap-
tize. The sister was his wife. She is expected
to support her husband in the ministry, and to
be ready to receive those women who, after bap-
tism, come up from the water. This office and
that of voting seem to be the only important
ones held by women in this society. Herein
they differ greatly from another plain sect,
Friends or Quakers, among whom women min-
ister, transact business, etc.*
After the brethren were done, the sisters came
* A friend tells me that he once heard a discourse from a
celebrated Dunker preacher, named Sarah Keiter. She was
allowed to preach, it seems, by a liberal construction of Paul's
celebrated edict, because she was unmarried.
Even when afterward married, by a more liberal con-
struction still, the liberty to preach was not forbidden her.
Possibly it was assumed that her husband at home was not
able to answer all her questions upon spiritual matters. Sho
removed to Ohio.
In the Encyclopaedia Americana, the following are given as
propositions of some of the former Anabaptists: "Impiety
prevails everywhere. It is therefore necessary that a new
family of holy persons should bo founded, enjoying without
distinction of sex the gift of prophecy, and skill to interpret
divine revelations. Hence they need no learning, for the in-
ternal word is more than the outward expression."
At this time, however, while our German Baptists still be-
lieve in an unpaid, untaught ministry, none of them, I think,
hold to the doctrine that the gift of prophecy or preaching
is without distinction of sex.
In this respect, George Fox seems to have agreed with the
early Anabaptists just mentioned.
THE BUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 133
up, shook hands with Z., kissed his wife, and
shook hands with the new preacher, whose wife,
I believe, was not present.
The bishop invited the sisters to come forward:
" Koomet alle ! alle die will. Koomet alle !"
"While this salutation was in progress, L., who
spoke in English, made some explanatory re-
marks. He told us that he had read or heard of
two men traveling together, of whom one was a
doctor of divinity. The latter asked the younger
man what he was now doing. He replied that
he was studying divinity. He had formerly been
studying law, but on looking around he saw no
opening in the law, so he was now studying di-
vinity, which course or which change met the
approval of the reverend doctor.
" Now," said L., ' we do not approve of men-
made preachers ;" a striking remark in a congre-
gation where a preacher had just been elected by
a plurality. But he went on to explain that he
trusted that there was no brother or sister who
had voted for him who had just been chosen for
this arm of the church, who had not prayed God
earnestly that they might make such a choice as
would be profitable in the church. He went on
to explain that the newly-chosen preacher was
now receiving from the congregation an expres-
sion of unity.
There were various other exercises this morn-
ing, preaching, praying, and singing, before
134 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
the final adjournment. At the close we had din-
ner. I made an estimate of the number who par-
took of this meal as about five hundred and fifty.
One of the men guessed a thousand; but we are
prone to exaggerate numbers where our feelings
Before we parted, I had some conversation with
certain brethren, principally upon the non-resist-
ant doctrines of the society. In my own neigh-
borhood, not a great while before, a Dunker had
been robbed under peculiar circumstances. Sev-
eral men had entered his house at night, and,
binding him and other members of the family,
had forced him to tell where his United States
and other bonds were placed, and had carried
off property worth four thousand dollars. The
brother had gone in pursuit of them, visiting the
mayor of our town, and the police in neighboring
cities (without recovering his property). I asked
these brethren at different times whether his
course was in agreement with their rules. They
answered that it was not.
On the present occasion I repeated the ques-
tion as to what they would have done on the
previous evening if the disturbance had risen
to a great height. One of the brethren, in reply,
quoted from the Acts of the Apostles, where it
is narrated that forty Jews entered into a con-
spiracy to kill Paul. But Paul sent his nephew to
the chief captain to inform him of the conspiracy.
THE DUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 135
The captain then put Paul under the charge
of soldiers, to be brought safe unto Felix the
From this passage the Dunkers feel at liberty
to appeal to the police for their protection, but
only once; if protection be not then afforded
them, they must do without it.
I further mentioned to these brethren a case
which had been told to me some time before by
a Dunker preacher, of a certain brother who had
been sued in the settlement of an estate, and had
received a writ from the sheriff. This writ was
considered by the Dunkers as a call from the
powers that be, to whom they are ordered to be
subservient, and the brother therefore went with
some brethren to the office of a lawyer, who fur-
nished him with subpoenas to summon witnesses
in his defence. But the Dunkers argued among
themselves that for him to take these legal papers
from his pocket would be to draw the sword. He
therefore sent word to his friends, informally, to
come to the office of a magistrate; and, the evi-
dence being in his favor, he was released. "This,"
said my informant, " is the only lawsuit that I
have known in our society since I joined the
meeting," which was, I believe, a period of about
In repeating this narrative to the brethren at
the Love-Feast, I learned that they are now at
liberty to engage in defensive lawsuits. They
136 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
have, as I understood one to say, no creed and no
discipline (although I believe that a certain con-
fession of faith is required). The New Testament
(or, as they say, the Testament) they claim to be
their creed and their discipline. There is also
much independence in the congregations. But
in some cases they have resort to a general coun-
cil, and here it has been decided that a Dunker
may defend himself in a lawsuit, but only once.
Should an appeal be taken to another court, the
Dunker can go no farther. This reminds me of
Paul's question to the Corinthians, " Why do you
not rather suffer loss than go to law ?"* Does it
not seem hard to practice such non-resistance, to
remain upright and open-minded, and at the same
time to acquire much wealth ?
The Dunkers do not like to be called by this
name. Their chosen title is Brethren.
The Love- Feast, above described, was held by the
" Old Brethren," who originated in Germany about the
It has been said that they originated among the
Pietists; but a very great resemblance will be found
among them to our German Baptists of the Mennonite
or Anabaptist stock.
I afterward visited other Dunkers, belonging to a
division called the " River Brethren." They originated
* See the questions in full, I. Corinthians, chap. vi.
THE BUNKER LOVE-FEAST. 137
near the Susquehanna River, but they have now spread
as far as Ohio, if not farther.
That these are of the old Baptist stock there is no
doubt, as Jacob Engle, their founder, was of a Men-
nonite family, a family which boasts that one of their
ancestors was a prisoner in Switzerland on account
of her faith. (See note on " Swiss Exiles.")
In coming to this country, about one hundred years
ago, tradition tells us that the Engle family joined with
thirty others, who were upon the same vessel, to re-
main bound together in life and in death. The young
infants of these families all died upon the voyage, ex-
cept Jacob Engle, whereupon an old nurse said, " God
has preserved him for an especial purpose."
He became a preacher, and this his friends regarded
as a fulfillment of the prophecy.
Jacob Engle, or " Yokely Engle," as he was some-
times called, considered that there was not sufficient
warmth and zeal among the Mennonites at that time.
He became very zealous; experiencing, as he be-
lieved, a change of heart.
Before he became a preacher, some joined him in
holding prayer-meetings. It was found that some
wished to be baptized by immersion, and the rite was
thus performed (whereas the Mennonites baptize by
A common observer would see very little difference
between these Brethren and the Old Dunkers. The
River Brethren allow all present to partake of the
Love-Feast, or Paschal Supper. Some of them have
said that the Paschal Supper is an expression of the
love of God to all mankind, and love toward all men
138 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
constrains them to invite all to partake thereof. But
from the Lord's Supper they exclude all strangers.
Their meetings are usually held in private houses,
or, in summer, in barns.
Some of their preachers have been heard, upon rising
to speak, to declare that they intend to say only what
the Spirit teaches them.
One of their most striking peculiarities is their op-
position to the use of lightning-rods. A preacher said
to me, when talking upon this subject, " If God wishes
to preserve the building, he can preserve it without the
lightning-rod. If he does not wish to preserve it, I
am willing to submit to the result."
It has been thought that an acquaintance with the
laws of electricity would remove this objection which
The Brinser Brethren were formed from the River
Brethren some years ago. They are popularly thus
called from an able preacher named Matthias Brinser.
They erect meeting-houses, in preference, as I under-
stand, to meeting in private houses. Their church has
not opposed electrical conductors, though some mem-
bers feel conscientious in the matter.
The question of erecting meeting-houses seems to
have caused considerable trouble among the River
Brethren. A gentleman of our county remarked to me
that the custom of meeting in private houses is tra-
ditional among our people, and dates from times of
THIS quiet village in Lancaster County has
been for over a century distinguished as the seat
of a Protestant monastic institution, established
by the Seventh -Day German Baptists about the
Conrad Beissel, the founder of the cloister, was
born in Germany, at Oberbach, in the Palatinate,
in the year 1691.
He was by trade a baker, but, after coming to
this country, he worked at weaving with Peter
Becker, the Dunker preacher, at Germantown.
lie is said to have been a Presbyterian, which
I interpret a member of the German Reformed
According to the inscription upon his tom]j-
stone, his "spiritual life" began in 1716, or eight
years before he was baptized among the Bunkers.
This may be explained by an article written
by the Rev. Christian Endress,* who seems to
* See Hazard's Kegister, vol. v. C. L. F. Endress, D.D.,
preached twelve years in Trinity (Lutheran) Church, Lan-
140 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
have studied the Ephrata Community more, in
connection with their published writings, than
have the mass of persons who have endeavored
to describe this peculiar people.*
Mr. Endress says, "The Tankers trace their
origin from the Pietists near Schwarzenau, in
While they yet belonged among the Pietists,
there was a society formed at Schwarzenau com-
posed of eight persons, whose spiritual leader was
Alexander Mack, a miller of Schriesheim.
The members of this little society are said to
have been re-baptized (by immersion), because
they considered their infant baptism as unavail-
* At the present time, the learned Dr. Seidensticker, of
Philadelphia, is preparing an article upon this subject. To
him, and to Mr. J. D. Kupp, I am indebted for assistance.
t A new movement in German theology arose in the second
half of the seventeenth century, through Spener, the founder
of Pietism. The central principle of Pietism was that Chris-
tianity was first of all life, and that the strongest proof of the
truth of its doctrines was to be found in the religious experi-
ence of the believing subject. The principles of the Pietists
were in the main shared by the Moravians. (See American
Cyclopaedia, article German Theology.) Compare this state-
ment of the main principle of Pietism with this of the Ana-
baptists, whom the mass of our Bunkers so much resemble :
" The opinions common to the Anabaptists are founded on the
principle that Christ's kingdom on earth, or the church, is a
visible society of pious and holy persons, with none of those
institutions which human sagacity has devised for the un-
godly." (See American Cyclopaedia, article Anabaptist.)
ing, and to have first assumed the name of
Taeuffer, or Baptists.*
The Dunkers first appeared in America in
1719, when about twenty families landed in
Philadelphia, and dispersed to Germantown,
Conestoga, and elsewhere.
Beissel was baptized among them in 1724, in
Pequea Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna.
He lived for awhile at Miihlbach (or Mill Creek,
now in Lebanon County ?). About a year after
his baptism, he published a tract upon the Sev-
enth Day as the true Sabbath. This tract caused
a disturbance among the brethren at Mill Creek,
and about three years after, in 1728, Beissel and
some with him withdrew from the other Dun-
kers, and Beissel re-baptized those of his own
Not long after, says Endress, Beissel, who had
appointed several elders over his people, with-
drew from them, and retired to live a solitary
life in a cottage that had been built for a similar
purpose, and occupied by a brother called Elime-
lech. This cottage stood near the place where
the convent was afterward built.
Here we infer that he lived for several years.
* They took for themselves the name of Brethren, says an
article in Rupp's "Keligious Denominations." The Dunkers
in our county call themselves Brethren, "Old Brethren,"
" River Brethren," etc. "Whether the Ephrata Dunkers
adopted the same name, I cannot say.
142 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
To live the life of cenobites or hermits, says
Rupp, was in some measure peculiar to many of
the Pietists who had fled from Germany to seek
an asylum in Pennsylvania. " On the banks of
the Wissahickon, near Philadelphia, severM
hermits had their cells, some of them men of
fine talents and profound erudition."
Of some of these hermits, and of the monastic
community afterward settled at Ephrata, it is
probable that a ruling idea was the speedy com-
ing of Christ to judge the world.
It is stated that after the formation of Beissel's
" camp" (or Lager) midnight meetings were held,
for some time, to await the coming of judgment.
Those who remember the Millerite, or Second
Advent, excitement of the year 1843, can appre-
ciate the effect that this idea would have upon
the minds of the Dunkers, and how it could
stimulate them to suffer many inconveniences
for the brief season that they expected to tarry
in the world.*
"While Beissel was dwelling in his solitary cot,
about the year 1730, two married women joined
the society, of whom the Ephrata Chronicle tells
us that they left their husbands and placed them-
* In the time of the Millerite excitement above alluded
to, many prepared ascension robes. One person whom I heard
of went to the roof of his house, where, in his robe, he could
look for the coming of Christ, and where he was prepared im-
mediately to ascend.
selves under the lead of the director (or Vorsteher,
the title applied to Beissel in the " Chronicon").
He received them, although it was against the
canon of the new society. One of these was
Maria Christiana, the wife of Christopher Sower,
he who afterward established the celebrated
German printing-office at Germantown. She
escaped in the year 1730, and was baptized the
same fall. In the beginning, she dwelt alone in
the desert, " and showed by her example that a
manly spirit can dwell in a female creature."*
While Beissel was still in his hermitage, dis-
cord and strife arose among the brethren of his
society, news of which reached him by some
means, for in the year 1733 he cited them to
appear at his cottage.
They met, and some of the single brethren
agreed to build a second cottage near that oc-
cupied by their leader. Besides this, a house
was also built for females, and in May, 1733,
two single women retired into it.f
In 1734, a third house for male brethren was
* " Afterward, she held to edification for many years, in the
Sister-convent, the office of a sub-prioress, under the name of
Marcella. Finally, in her age, she was induced by her son to
return to her husband although another motive was the
severe manner of life in the Encampment, which she could
no longer bear." Chronicon Ephratense, p. 45.
f Are these the married womon just spoken of, who had be-
come single ?
144 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
built and occupied by the brothers Onesimus
and Jotham, whose family name was Eckerlin.*
* These remarkable men seem to deserve especial notice.
In Eupp's History of Lancaster County, it is stated that
they were from Germany, and had been brought up Catho-
lics. Israel Eckerlin ( Brother Onesimus) became prior of the
Brother-House at Ephrata. Peter Miller, in an original letter,
complains that he obliged them to meddle with worldly things
further than their obligations permitted ; and that when money
came in it was put out at interest, "contrary to our principles."
They could not, however, have been very rich, for when in
1 745 a bell arrived in Philadelphia, from England, which had
been ordered by Eckerlin, and which cost eighty pounds, they
k new not how to pay for it. The name of Onesimus had been
placed upon the bell.
When the news of its arrival was received, a council was
held in the presence of the spiritual father, Beissel, and it was
concluded to break the bell to pieces and bury it in the earth.
The next morning, however, the father appeared in the
council, and said that he had reflected that as the Brothers
were p oor, the bell should be pardoned. It therefore was sold,
and was placed upon the Lutheran church in Lancaster.
Miller says that the prior (Eckerlin) conceived a notion to
make himself independent of Beissel, and was stripped of all
The Eckcrlins, says Hupp, afterward moved to Virginia.
In Day's Historical Collections, article Greene County, it is
stated that three brothers named Eckarly, Dunkards by pro-
fession, left the eastern parts of Pennsylvania and plunged
into the western wilderness. Their first permanent camp was
on a creek flowing into the Monongahela, in Pennsylvania, to
which stream they gave the name of Dunkard Creek, which it
still bears. These men of peace employed themselves in ex-
ploring the country in every direction.
They afterward removed to Dunkards' Bottom, on Cheat
Soon after, says Endress, they all united in
the building of a bake-house and a storehouse
for the poor. And now the whole was called
the camp (das Lager).
About this time, he continues, there was what
the Tuukers called a revival in Falconer Swamp,
Kiver, which they made their permanent residence ; "and, with
a savage war raging at no considerable distance, they spent
some years unmolested."
In the same narrative it is stated that Dr. Thomas Eckarly,
in order to obtain salt, ammunition, and clothing, recrossed
the mountains with some skins. Upon his return, he was un-
avoidably detained. On approaching the cabin where he had
left his brothers, he found a heap of ashes. " In the yard lay
the mangled and putrid remains of the two brothers," and the
hoops on which their scalps had been dried.
This seems a very sorrowful termination to the lives of men
of peace, but the reader may be consoled by hearing Miller's
account of the brothers, who are but two, it appears in his
He says, " The prior quitted the camp, and established a new
settlement for hermits on the banks of the new river." (Ohio ?)
After many vicissitudes, he and his brother were taken
prisoners by seven Mohawks, and sold to Quebec, whence they
were transported to France, "where, after our prior had re-
ceived the tonsure and become a friar of their church, they
both died." The Ephrata Chronicle says (chap, xxiii.) that
the prior went out of time twenty years before Beissel. The
latter died in 1768. By the former reckoning, the prior went
out of time in 1748, or about three years after the difficulty
about the bell at Ephrata. It is possible that his death is
antedated in the Chronicle; but history, like other human
evidence, is sometimes a strange thing. *
(Day, after speaking of the Eckerlins at Ephrata, refers us
to the Greene County narrative, above given in brief.)
146 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
in consequence of which many families took up
land round about the camp, and moved upon it.
Another revival on the banks of the Schuylkill
drove many more into the neighborhood ; by it
the Sister establishment gained accessions ; but
only two, Drusilla and Basilla, remained steadfast.
"A further revival in Tolpehoccon," 1735,
brought many to the society. Hereupon they built
a meeting-house, with rooms attached to it for
the purpose of holding [preparing?] love-feasts,
and called it Kedar. About the same time, a
revival in Gerraantown sent additional Brothers
and Sisters to the camp.
It was in 1735, during the revival at Tulpe-
hocken, that Peter Miller was baptized.* Miller,
in one of his letters (see Hazard's Register, vol.
xvi.), speaks of several persons who, as it appears,
were baptized with him; namely, the school-
master, three Elderlings (one of them Conrad
Weyser), five families, and some single persons.
This, he says, raised such a fermentation in that
church (by which I suppose he means the Re-
formed Church, which they left), that a perse-
cution might have followed had the magistrates
consented with the generality.
* The Tulpehocken Creek is a tributary of the Schuylkill,
which rises in Lebanon County, and empties at Reading,
in Berks County. It was, I suppose, within the limits of
Lebanon County, with perhaps adjoining parts of Berks, that
Peter Miller, whom we are now quoting, was
one of the most remarkable men that joined the
Ephrata Baptists. He was born in the Palati-
nate, and is said to have been educated at Heidel-
berg. He came to this country when about
twenty years old. He is mentioned, it seems, in
an interesting letter of the Rev. Jedediah An-
drews, under date of Philadelphia, 1730, which
letter may be found in Hazard's Register. He
says that there are " in tl^is province a vast
number of Palatines. Those that have come of
late years are mostly Presbyterian, or, as they
call themselves, Reformed, the Palatines being
about three-fifths of that sort of people."
Mr. Andrews says, in substance, "There is
lately come over a Palatine candidate for the
ministry, who applied to us at the Synod for
ordination. He is an extraordinary person for
sense and learning. His name is John Peter
Miller,* and he speaks Latin as readily as we
do our vernacular tongue."f
* In Kupp's " Thirty Thousand Names" of immigrants to
Pennsylvania, there will be found under date of August 29th,
1730, the names of Palatines with their families, imported in
the ship Thistle of Glasgow, from Eotterdam, last from Cowes.
Among these occurs Peter Miiller, whom by a note Kupp con-
nects with the Peter Miller of the text.
As to the name John Peter, as given by Andrews, it is sur-
prising to see how many of these immigrants bear the names
of John, Hans, Johan, Jqhann, and Johannes, prefixed to
other names. I count twenty in a column of thirty-four.
f Mr. Andrews, froin whom I quote, was a graduate of
148 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Peter Miller, in one of his letters, speaks of
his baptism (or re-baptism) in the year 1735.
He says at that time the solitary Brethren and
Sisters lived dispersed "in the wilderness of
Canestogues, each for himself, as heremits, and
I following that same way did set up my hermit-
age in Dulpehakin [Tulpehocken], at the foot
of a mountain, on a limpid spring; the house is
still extant , with an old orchard. There
did I lay the foundation of solitary life.*
"However,'' he continues, "I had not lived
there half a year, when a great change hap-
pened; for a camp was laid out for all solitary
persons, at the very spot where now Ephrata
stands, and where at that same time the presi-
dent [Beissel] lived with some heremits. And
now, when all heremits were called in, I also
quitted my solitude, and changed the same for
a monastic life; which was judged to be more
inservient to sanctification than the life of a
Harvard, who seems to have come to Philadelphia in 1698,
and to have preached in an Independent or Presbyterian
church, or both.
* The Conestogas were a small tribe . . . consisting in
all of some dozen or twenty families, who dwelt a few miles
below Lancaster. They sent messengers with corn, venison,
and skins, to welcome William Penn. When the whites
began to settle around them, Penn assigned them a residence
on the manor of Conestoga. (See Day's Historical Collections.)
The Conestoga Creek empties into the Susquehanna, below
EPHRA TA. 149
heremit, where many under a pretence of holi-
ness did nothing but nourish their own self-
ishness. . . . We were now, by necessity,
compelled to learn obedience. ... At that
time, works of charity hath been our chief
" Canestogues was then a great wilderness, and
began to be settled by poor Germans, which de-
sired our assistance in building houses for them ;
which not only kept us employed several sum-
mers in hard carpenter's-work, but also increased
our poverty so much that we wanted even things
necessary for life."
He also says, "When we settled here, our
number was forty Brethren, and about so many
Sisters,f all in the vigor and prime of their ages,
never before wearied of social life, but were com-
pelled, . . . with reluctance of our nature,
to select this life."J
* "When this letter was written, Miller was about eighty
years old. He doubtless spoke German during the sixty years
that he lived at Ephrata, as well as before that time. It will
be observed that he does not write English elegantly.
f In the year 1740, says Fahnestock, there were thirty-six
single Brethren in the cloisters, and thirty-five Sisters ; and at
one time the society, including the members living in the
neighborhood, numbered nearly three hundred.
J Rev. C. Endress says that some were anxious to retain the
solitary life, and some (it appears) were opposed to giving to
Beissel the title of Father. Sangmeister left the society and
retired to a solitary life in Virginia. " His book," says the
150 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
3t was, as it appears, about the same time that
Miller was baptized .that the midnight meetings
were held at the camp, " for the purpose of
awaiting the coming of judgment."
Not long after the building of the meeting-
house called Kedar (says Endress), a widower,
Sigmund Lambert, having joined the camp, built
out of his own means an addition to the meet-
ing-house and a dwelling for Beissel. Another
gave all his property to the society, and now
Kedar was transformed into a Sister-convent,
and a new meeting-house was erected.
Soon after 1738, a large house for the Brethren
was built, called Zion, and the whole camp was
The solitary life was changed into the con-
ventual one ; Zion was called a Kloster, or con-
vent, and put under monastic rules. Onesimus
(Eckerlin) was appointed prior, and Conrad
Beissel named Father, f
It was probably about this time, or before,
that the constable entered the camp, according
same writer, " is much tainted with bitterness, and undertakes
to cast a dark shade upon the whole establishment."
* Larger accommodations were afterward built in the
meadow below ; a Sister-house, called Saron, a Brother-house,
named Bethania, etc. Most of these are still standing, I be-
lieve, in 1872; but the former buildings on the hill long since
f His general title appears to be Vorsteher, superintendent
to Miller, and demanded the single man's tax.
Some paid, but some refused. Miller says that
some claimed personal immunity on the ground
that " we were not inferior" to the monks and
hermits in the Eastern country, who supplied
the prisons in Alexandria with bread, and who
were declared free of taxes by Theodosius the
Great and other emperors. But these Ephrata
Brethren were not to be thus exempted. Six
lay in prison at Lancaster ten days, when they
were released on bail of a "venerable old justice
of peace." When the Brethren appeared before
the board of assessment, the gentlemen who were
their judges saw six men who in the prime of
their ages had been reduced to skeletons by
penitential works. The gentlemen granted them
their freedom on condition that they should be
taxed as one family for their real estate, " which
is still in force (1790), although these things hap-
pened fifty years ago." (See Miller's letters in
A monastic dress was adopted by the Brethren
and Sisters, resembling that of the Capuchins.*
* The Ephrata Chronicle speaks nearly in this manner of
that of the Sisters:
Their dress was ordered, like that of the Brethren, so that
little was to be seen of the disagreeable human figure (von
dem verdricsslichen Bild das durch die Siind ist offenbar
worden). They wore caps like the Brethren, but not pointed
ones. While at work, these caps or cowls hung down their
152 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
The Chronicle, published in 1786, speaks of
the Sisters as having carefully maintained the
dress of the order for nearly fifty years. About
the same date we read of Miller in his cowl.
It appears from the Chronicle that the other
members of the society at one time adopted a
similar dress, but that the celibates (die Ein-
samen) appeared at worship in white dresses,
and the other members (die Hausstande) in
gray ones. The secular members, however,
" saddled themselves again" and conformed to
the world in clothing and in other things.
In an article upon Ephrata in Hazard's Regis-
ter, vol. v., 1830, will be found the statement
that, thirty or forty years before, the Dunkers
were occasionally noticed in Philadelphia (when
they came down with produce), with long beards
and Capuchin habiliments ; but this statement
does not seem to agree in date with that of the
Chronicle, if these were secular brethren.
Among the austerities practiced at Ephrata
backs ; but when they saw anybody, they drew them over
their heads, so that but little could be seen of their faces. But
the principal token of their spiritual betrothal was a great veil,
which in front covered them altogether, and behind down to
the girdle. Koman Catholics who saw this garment said that
it resembled the habit of the scapular.
At Ephrata, in the winter of 1872, Sister showed me
in the Sister-house a garment of white cotton, composed of the
cowl, to which were attached long pieces before and behind,
coming down, I think, nearly to the feet.
formerly, was sleeping upon a bench with a
block of wood for a pillow.*
A recent writer, Dr. "William Fahnestock, tells
us that these and other austerities were not in-
tended for penance, but were undertaken from
economy. Their circumstances were very re-
stricted, and their undertaking was great. They
studied the strictest simplicity and economy.
For the Communion they used wooden flagons,
goblets, and trays. The plates from which they
ate were thin octagonal pieces of poplar board,
their forks and candlesticks were of wood, and
every article that could be made of that sub-
stance was used by the whole community.
Rupp says that the chimneys, which remain
in use to this day (1844), are of wood ; and the
attention of the present writer in 1872 was
called to the wooden door-hinges.
Rupp says that they all observed great abste-
miousness in their diet; they were vegetarians,
and submitted to many privations and to a
rigid discipline exerted over them by a some-
what austere spiritual father.
Peter Miller himself says that he stood under
BeissePs direction for thirty years, and that it
*The Chronicle tells us that once, in Beissel's absence, a
costly feather bed was brought into his sleeping-room. He
made use of it one night, but sent it away afterward, and
not even in dying could be brought to give up the sleeping-
bench (der Schlafbanck).
154 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
was as severe as any related in the Roman
Church (but this sounds exaggerated).
In the Brother- and Sister-houses, it has been
stated that six dormitories surrounded a common
room in which the members of each subdivision
pursued their respective employments. "Each
dormitory was hardly large enough to contain a
cot, a closet, and an hour-glass."*
Of the industries established at Ephrata, one
of Peter Miller's letters gives us a good idea.
He complains, as before mentioned, of Eckerlin's
obliging them to interfere so far in worldly
things, and of money's being put out at interest.
He adds that they erected a grist-mill, with
three pairs of stones ; a saw-mill, paper-mill, oil-
mill, and fulling-mill ; had besides three wagons
with proper teams, a printing-office, and sundry
He adds, " Our president [by whom he means
Beissel] never meddled with temporal things."
Mr. Rupp (who cites the Life of Rittenhouse)
* In Carey's Museum for 1789, will be found a letter from a
British officer to the editorof the Edinburgh Magazine, whence
it appears that at that time, 1786, a rug was laid upon the
sleeping-bench. The writer says that each brother had a cell,
with a closet adjoining; that the smallness of the rooms was
very disagreeable, and that they were not clean. The churches
were clean and neat, but perfectly unadorned, except by some
German texts. The house " occupied by the nuns" was uni-
formly clean, and the cells were in excellent order. (Some of
the statements of this writer appear very loose.)
says that the women were employed in spinning,
knitting, sewing, making paper lanterns and other
toys. A room was set apart for ornamental writ-
ing, called "Das Schreibzimmer," and "several
Sisters," it has been said, devoted their whole at-
tention to this labor, as well as to transcribing the
writings of the founder of the society; thus mul-
tiplying copies before they had a press.
But the press appears to have been early estab-
lished, and it was the second German one in our
State. It has been stated that Miller was at one
time the printer.*
Among the books published at Ephrata, were
some of Beissel's, who had adopted the title, it
seems, of Peaceful (Friedsam). One of their pub-
lications was a collection of hymns, and was en-
titled " The Song of the Solitary and Abandoned
Turtle Dove, namely, the Christian Church,
by a Peaceful Pilgrim traveling
towards Quiet Eternity." Ephrata, from the press
of the Fraternity, 1747. 500 pages, quarto.f
* At Ephrata, in the winter of 1872, I was told that Miller
was once met, as he was taking a load of paper from the mill
to the press, by a certain man named Widman. This Wid-
man, according to tradition, had been a vestryman in Miller's
former church. " Is this the way they treat you," said
Widman, "harnessing you up to a wheelbarrow?" and he
spit in Miller's face.
Allusion will be made hereafter to the traditionary tale of
Miller and Widman.
f Of one of the collections of hymns published at Ephrata,
156 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Beissel also wrote a Dissertation on Man's
Fall, which Miller seems to have much admired.
He says (1790)," When, in the late war, a marquis
from Milan, in Italy, lodged a night in our con-
vent, I presented to him the said dissertation,
and desired him to publish it at home, and dedi-
cate it to his Holiness," etc.
In 1748, a stupendous book was published by
the society at Ephrata. It is the Martyr's Mirror,
in folio, of which copies may be seen at the
libraries of the Pennsylvania Historical Society,
and of the German Society, in Philadelphia.
The Chronicon Ephratense, orEphrata Chroni-
cle, so often alluded to in this article, was also
from their press, but was published thirty-eight
It contains the life of the venerable " Father
in Christ, Peaceful Godright (Gottrecht), late
founder and Vorsteher of the Spiritual Order of
the Solitary (Einsamen) in Ephrata, collected by
Brothers Lamech and Agrippa." I have heard
within this year of three copies still extant, one
in Lancaster County, one in Montgomery, and
one in the Library of the Historical Society at
Fnhnestock says that four hundred and forty-one were written
by Beissel, seventy-three by the Brethren in the cloister, one
hundred by the single Sisters, and one hundred and twelve by
the out-door members.
Endress speaks in unfavorable terms of the literary merits
of some of the Ephrata hymns.
Philadelphia. The last I have been allowed to
In speaking of the industries practiced at
Ephrata, it may be permitted to include music.
Beissel is said to have been an excellent musi-
cian and composer. " There was another tran-
scribing-room," says Fahnestock, " appropriated
to copying music. Hundreds of volumes, each
containing five or six hundred pieces, were trans-
ferred from book to book, with as much accu-
racy, and almost as much neatness, as if done
with a graver."
In composing music, Beissel is said to have
taken his style from nature. " The singing is
the ^Eolian harp harmonized. . . . Their
music is set in four, six, and eight parts."
Morgan Edwards* (as cited in Day's Histori-
cal Collections) says, "Their singing is charm-
ing, partly owing to the pleasantness of their
voices, the variety of parts they carry on to-
gether, and the devout manner of performance."
This style of singing is said by Rupp (1844) to
be entirely lost at Ephrata, but to be preserved
in a measure at Snow Hill, in Franklin County.
Fahnestock, who was himself a Seventh-Day
Baptist (or Siebtaeger), gives a very enthusiastic
* " Materials towards a History of the American Baptists."
158 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
account of the singing at Snow Hill. It may
be found in Day's Historical Collections, article
'" Franklin County."*
In addition to the various industries which
claimed the attention of the community, there
must not be forgotten the care of their landed
estate. It has been said that they bought about
two hundred and fifty acres of land.f
A very large tract was once offered to them
by one of the Penns, but they refused it. (I was
told at Ephrata that they were " afraid they would
get too vain.")
Count Zinzendorf, the celebrated Moravian
* Dr. Fahnestock resided for awhile in the latter part of his
life in the Sister-house, at Ephrata. Here Mr. Rupp, the his-
torian, visited him. Rev. Mr. Shrigley, librarian of the Penn-
sylvania Historical Society, who visited Ephrata, has spoken
to me of Fahnestock's venerable appearance.
f In after-years they seem to have been much troubled by
litigation. Dr. Fahnestock says that they considered conten-
tion with arms, and at law, unchristian ; but that they unfor-
tunately had to defend themselves often in courts of justice.
To set an example of forbearance and Christian meekness, they
suffered themselves for a long time to be plundered, until for-
bearance was no longer a virtue. He says (Hazard's Register,
1835) that the society is just escaping from heavy embarrass-
ments which they incurred in defending themselves from the
aggressions of their neighbors.
The British officer, whose statement was published as early
as 1789, speaks of Peter Miller as often engaged in litigation.
In a recent work (Belcher's History of Religious Denomi-
nations, 1854), the Seventh-Day Baptists at Ephrata are said
to possess about one hundred and forty acres.
bishop, came to Pennsylvania in 1741. At one
time he visited Ephrata, and was entertained in
the convent, where his friendly behavior was
very agreeable to the Brothers. (We can sup-
pose that Miller, and Eckerlin, who was not yet
deposed, were men fit to entertain him.) He
also expressed a wish to see Beissel. This was
made known to the latter, who answered, after a
little reflection, that = = = =* was no wonder
to him, but if he himself were a wonder to him
(Zinzendorf), he must come to him (to Beissel's
Zinzendorf was now in doubt what to do, but
he turned away and left without seeing the
The Chronicle adds that thus did two great
lights of the church meet as on the threshold,
and yet neither ever saw the other in his
At a later date, the Moravians erected Bro-
ther- and Sister-houses at Litiz, in our county,
and elsewhere, but they were not monastic
Is it possible that the idea of erecting those
* = = = = (printed thus in the Chronicle). Were they
ashamed to insert the name Zinzendorf, or his title, " The
f It does not appear that the Celibates at Ephrata were
bound by vows. All our other German Baptists are consci-
entiously opposed to oaths.
160 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
houses originated from this visit of their great
leader to Ephrata ?
Dissension arose at one time between some of
the Brethren (apparently secular brothers) and
Count Zinzendorf, at a conference held by the
latter at Oley, now in Berks County. Zinzeudorf
seems to have desired to unite some of the sects
with which Pennsylvania was so well supplied.
But the Solitary Brethren (of Ephrata) were so
suspicious of the thing that they would no longer
unite with it. They had prepared a writing upon
Marriage, how far it is from God, and that it
was only a praiseworthy ordinance of nature.
This they presented, whereupon there arose a
violent conflict in words.
The Ordinarius (Zinzendorf) said that he was
by no means pleased with this paper; his mar-
riage had not such a beginning; his marriage
stood higher than the solitary life in Ephrata.
The Ephrata delegates strove to make all right
again, and spoke of families in their Society who
had many children. (See Chronicle.)
But Zinzendorf left his seat as chairman, . . .
and at last the conference came to an end, all
present being displeased.*
* A writer in the Chronicle speaks of being at one of the
Count's conferences, where there were Mennonites, Separat-
ists, and Baptists.
But when he came home, he told the Vorsteher that he re-
About this date (or about 1740) took place
the formation of the Sabbath-school, by Ludwig
Hoecker, called Brother Obed. He was a
teacher in the secular school at Ephrata, a
school which seems to have enjoyed consider-
able reputation. The Sabbath-school (held on
Saturday afternoon) is said to have been kept
up over thirty years. This was begun long be-
fore the present Sunday-school system was in-
troduced by Robert Raikes.* (American Cy-
clopaedia, article "Bunkers.") .
Not long after the visit of Zinzendorf, or about
1745, occurred the deposition of Eckerlin, the
In one of his letters, Miller says (1790), " Re-
member, we have lost our first prior and the
garded the Count's conference as a snare to bring simple awak-
ened souls again into infant-baptism and church-going.
Then they held a council, and resolved to have a yearly
conference of their own.
The above expression infant-baptism and church-going
sounds so much like the account of the Baptist or Anabaptist
persecutions narrated in the Martyr-book, that we might al-
most conclude that the Bunkers had a direct connection with
the Anabaptists, instead of originating among the Pietists.
But it will be remembered that the Ephrata Dunkers had
published an edition of the great Martyr-book, and it is most
probable that some of them were familiar with it. Still, there
may have been among the Pietists some who were or had
* Near the close of this sketch mention is made of" Hoeckers
a Creveld." Perhaps Ludwig belonged to the same family.
162 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Sisters their first mother .... because they
stood in self-elevation, and did govern despotic-
ally ;" and adds, " The desire to govern is the
last thing which dies within a man."
(It seems probable that Eckerlin has not re-
ceived sufficient credit for the pecuniary success
of the infant community.)
Some ten years after this occurrence (or in
1755), began the old French and Indian war.
Fahnestock tells us that the doors of the clois-
ter, including the chapels, etc., were opened as
a refuge for the inhabitants of Tulpehocken and
Paxton* settlements, which were then the fron-
tiers, to protect the people from the incursions
of the hostile Indians. He adds that all these
refugees were received and kept by the Society
during the period of alarm and danger. Upon
hearing of which, a company of infantry was
despatched by the royal government from Phila-
delphia to protect Ephrata.
But why, we might ask, did these people seek
refuge in a community of non-combatants? The
question bears upon the yet unsettled contro-
versy, as to whether the men of peace or the
men of war were nearerf right in their dealings
with the savages.
* Paxton Township is now Dauphin County. (See Day.)
The Paxton church was three miles east of Harrisburg.
\ The Mennonites, Moravians, and Quakers were peaceably
disposed towards the Indians, but the Presbyterians from the
Beissel died in the year 1768, or about thirty
years after the establishment of the cloister.
Upon his tombstone was placed, in German,
this inscription :
"Here rests a Birth of the love of God, Peace-
ful, a Solitary, but who afterward became a
Superintendent of the Solitary Community of
Christ in and around Ephrata: born in Ober-
bach in the Palatinate, and named Conrad Beis-
"He fell asleep the 6th of July, A.D. 1768 : of
his spiritual life 52, but of his natural one, 77
years and 4 months."
The character of Beissel is thus spoken of by
Mr. Endress :
" He appears to me to have been a man pos-
sessed of a considerable degree of the spirit of
rule; his mind bent from the beginning upon
the acquirement of authority, power and as-
cendency." For ourselves, we have just seen
north of Ireland, who were settled at Paxton, felt a deadly
animosity against them, and, as Day says, against the peaceful
Moravians and Quakers, who wished to protect the Indians,
as the Paxton men thought, at the expense of the lives of the
settlers. The Paxton Eangers were commanded by the Pres-
byterian minister, the Kev. Colonel Elder.
Mr. Elder seems to have opposed the massacre of the
Indians at Lancaster by the " Paxton boys."
" No historian," says Day, "ought to excuse or justify the
murders at Lancaster and Conestoga. . . . They must ever
remain . . . dark and bloody spots in our provincial history."
164 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
how he received the Count Zinzendorf, a reli-
gious nobleman, who had crossed the ocean, and
come, as it were, to his threshold.
Mr. Endress further says,
"Beissel, good or bad, lived and died the
master-spirit of the brotherhood. "With him it
sank into decay."
The British officer who wrote in 1786 (?),
eighteen years after Beissel's death, gives the
number of the celibates as seven rnen and five
I do not consider him good authority ; but if
the numbers were so much reduced from those
of 1740, it seems probable that they had begun
to decline before the decease of Beissel.*
Eighteen years after BeissePs death, was pub-
lished atEphrata the Chronicle of which I have
so often spoken, giving an account of his life.
Beissel was succeeded by Peter Miller.
Miller was sixty-five when our Revolutionary
war broke out, and had been the leader at
Ephrata seven years.
Fahnestock says that after the battle of Bran-
dywirie " the whole establishment was opened
to receive the wounded Americans, great num-
bers of whom (Rupp says four or five hundred)
were brought here in wagons a distance of more
* See Carey's American Museum.
EPHRA TA. 165
than forty miles, and one hundred and fifty of
whom died and are buried on Mt. Z'ton."*
It is also narrated that before the battle of
Germantown, a quantity of unbound books were
seized at Ephrata by some of our soldiers, in
order to make cartridges. " An embargo,"
says Miller, "was laid on all our printed paper,
so that for a time we could not sell any printed
book." (See Carey's American Museum.)
A story has appeared in print, and not always
in the same manner, about Miller's going to
General Washington and receiving from him a
pardon for his old enemy Widman, who was
condemned to die.
This story Mr. Rupp thinks is based upon tra-
dition ; one version has been told in a glowing
manner, and is attributed to Dr. Fahnestock.
It runs thus. On the breaking out of the Rev-
olution, Committees of Safety were formed in
different districts to support our cause. At the
head of the Lancaster County Committee was
Michael Widman, who kept a public house, and
who had been a vestryman in the Reformed
Church. This church Miller had left when he
joined the Baptists. He persecuted Miller to a
shameful extent, even spitting in his face when
he met him.
* An insignificant hill overlooking the meadow where the
Brother- and Sister-houses now stand.
166 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Widman was at first bold and active in the
cause of Independence, but he became discour-
aged, and resolved to go to Philadelphia and
conciliate General Howe, the British commander,
who then held that city. Howe, however, de-
clined his services,* but gave orders to see him.
safely beyond the British outposts.
His treasonable intentions having become
known to the Americans, he was arrested and
taken to the nearest block-house, at the Turk's
Head, now Westchester; was tried by court-
martial, and sentenced to be hung.
Peter Miller, hearing of his arrest, went to
General Washington and pleaded for mercy to-
wards him. The general answered that the state
of public affairs was such as to make it necessary
that renegades should suffer, " otherwise I should
most cheerfully release your friend."
"Friend!" exclaimed Miller: "he is my worst
enemy, my incessant reviler."
Said the general, "My dear friend, I thank
you for this example of Christian charity!" and
he granted Miller's petition.
It is not necessary for me to go further, and
describe the scene of Miller's arriving upon the
ground with the pardon just as Widman was to
be hung, nor the subsequent proceedings there,
for I am quite sure that they did not take place.
* A remarkable statement.
The evidence to this effect is found in the
Pennsylvania Archives, vol. ix., where Peter
Miller writes to Secretary Matlack, interceding
(apparently) for a man named Rein.
Miller says, " I have thought his case was
similar to Michael Wittman's, who received
pardon without a previous trial."
The secretary replies (1781), "Witman did
not receive a pardon previous to a surrender."
Thus it seems that the story of Widman's
trial by court-martial is also* wrong. That his
property was confiscated, as I was lately told at
Ephrata, I have no reason to doubt, as the Colo-
nial Records, vol. xii., show that in council, in
1779, it was resolved that the agents for forfeited
estates should sell that of Michael Wittman, sub-
ject to a certain claim.*
At Ephrata, during the past winter, I stood
in the loft of the Brother-house beside a great
chimney of wood and clay, and was told that
here Widman had been hidden. Whether he
actually concealed himself in the Brother-house,
as has been narrated, I do not find that history
At a subsequent date, 1783, we find in the
Pennsylvania Archives, vol. ix., that Miller in-
tercedes for certain Mennonites who had been
* The different modes of spelling the above name will not
surprise those who are familiar with our Pennsylvania Gor-
168 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
fined for not apprehending British deserters ;
the Mennonites not being permitted by their
principles to do so.
Does this mean deserters from ourselves to
the British? who were, as deserters, liable to
the punishment of death ? a punishment which
the Mennonites, as non-resistants, could not
Certain letters of Peter Miller, published in
Hazard's Register, and of which I have made
considerable use, were written at an advanced
age, eighty or thereabout. He says in one of
them (Dec., 1790), " Age, infirmity, and defect
in sight are causes that the letter wants more
perspicuity, for which I beg pardon."
He died about six years after, having lived
some sixty years a member of the community
Upon his tombstone was placed this inscrip-
tion in German:
"Here lies buried Peter Miller, born in Ober-
ampt Lautern, in the Palatinate (Chur-Pfalz) ;
came as a Reformed preacher to America in the
year 1730 ; was baptized by the Community at
Ephrata in the year 1735, and named Brother
Jaebez ; also he was afterward a preacher (Leh-
rer) until his end. He fell asleep the 25th of Sep-
tember, 1796, at the age of eighty-six years and
In the plain upon the banks of the Cocalico
still stand the Brother- and Sister-houses,* and,
I was told in 1872, the houses of Conrad Beissel
and of Peter Miller.
But the society is feeble in numbers, and the
buildings are going to decay. They are still,
however, occupied, or partly so. Several women
live here. Some of these were never married,
but the majority are widows ; and not all of them
are members of the Baptist congregation. Nor
are the voices of children wanting.
The last celibate brother died some forty years
ago. One, indeed, has been here since, but, as I
was told, " he did not like it," and went to the
more flourishing community of Snow Hill, in
The little Ephrata association (which still owns
a farm), instead of supporting its unmarried mem-
bers, now furnishes to them only house-rent, fuel,
and flour. The printing-press long since ceased
from its labors, and many of the other industrial
pursuits have declined.
No longer do the unmarried or celibate mem-
bers own all the property, but it is now vested in
all who belong to the meeting, single and married,
and is in the hands of trustees. The income is, I
presume, but small.
The unmarried members wear our usual dress,
and none are strictly recluse.
* Not the buildings first erected.
170 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
Formerly a large room or chapel was connected
with the Brother-house. It was furnished with
galleries, where sat the sister^ while the brethren
occupied the floor below. This building, I am
told, is not standing. In the smaller room or
chapel (Saal) connected with the Sister-house,
about twenty people meet on the Seventh day
for public worship. But among all these changes
the German language still remains ! All the ser-
vices that I heard while attending here in Feb-
ruary of 1872, were in that tongue, except two
hymns at the close. "We must not suppose that
this language is employed because the mem-
bers are natives of Germany. One or two may
be, but the preacher's father or grandfather came
to this country when a boy.
Around the meeting-room are hung charts or
sheets of grayish paper, containing German verses
in ornamental writing, the ancient labors of the
celibates, or perhaps of the sisters alone. One
small chart here is said to represent the three
heavens, and to contain three hundred figures in
Capuchin dress, with harps in their hands, and
two hundred archangels.
But for these old labors in pen and ink, the
chapel is as plain as a Quaker meeting-house,
and is kept beautifully clean.*
* It may be observed how nearly this description of the
chapel agrees with that given by the British officer of the
one he visited here some eighty-five years ago.
Opening out of it is a kitchen, furnished with
the apparatus for cooking and serving the simple
repasts of the love- feasts.
Among these Baptists, love-feasts are held not
only, as I understand, in a similar manner to
the other Dunkers, but upon funeral occasions,
a short period after the interment of a brother
Hupp speaks of their eating lamb and mutton
at their Paschal feasts. In the old monastic time,
it was only at love-feasts that the celibate Bro-
thers and Sisters met.
Here was I shown a wooden goblet made by
the brethren for the Communion. It has been
said that they preferred to use such, even after
more costly ones had been given to them.
After attending the religious services in the
chapel, three or four of us strangers were sup-
plied with dinner in the Brother-house, at a neat
and well-tilled table.*
I afterward sat for an hour in the neat and com-
fortable apartment of Sister in the Sister-
house. Here she has lived twenty-two years, and,
though now much advanced in life, has not that
appearance. She seemed lovely, and, I was told,
had not been unsought.
* Fahnestock says that, like some dilapidated castles, Ephrata
yet contains many habitable and comfortable apartments. The
Brother- and Sister-houses, etc., form but a small part of the
modern village of Ephrata.
172 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
One of her brothers has been thirty-three
years at the Snow Hill community.
Sister produced for me a white cotton
over-dress, such as was formerly worn by the
Sisters. It was a cap or cowl, with long pieces
hanging down in front and behind nearly to the
feet; and, if I remember it right, not of the pat-
tern described in the Chronicle. But fashions
change in fifty to a hundred years.
Sister also showed me some verses re-
cently written or copied by one of the brethren
at Snow Hill. They were in German, of which
I offer an uurhymed version :
" Oh divine life, ornament of virginity 1
How art thou despised by all men here below!
And yet art a branch from the heavenly throne,
And borne by the virgin Son of God."
I was surprised to find such prominence still
given to the idea of the merits of celibacy, for I
had not then seen the Chronicon Ephratense.
One object which especially attracted my at-
tention was an upright clock, which stood in the
room of Sister , and which was kept in nice
order. It was somewhat smaller than the high
clocks that were common forty or fifty years ago.
All that I heard of its history was that it had
come from Germany. It had four weights sus-
pended on chains. Above the dial-plate hovered
two little angels, apparently made of lead, one
on either side of a small disk, which bore the
inscription " Hoeckers a Creveld," as I interpret,
made by the Hoeckers at Crefeld. Crefeld,
historic town ! Here then was a relic of it, and
standing quite disregarded, it was only an old
When the Bunkers were persecuted in Europe,
soon after their establishment, some of them took
refuge in Crefeld, in the duchy of Cleves.
I have lately read that in Crefeld, Muhlheim,
etc., William Penn and others gained adherents
to the doctrine of the Quakers.*
We also find in the American Cyclopaedia that
at Crefeld (German, Krefeld), a colony of Hugue-
not refugees in the seventeenth century intro-
duced the manufacture of silk. The town is now
in Rhenish Prussia (says the Cyclopaedia). D lin-
kers, Quakers, Huguenots, fleeing perhaps from
France when Louis XIV. revoked that edict of
Nantes, which had so long protected them !
Who were the Heckers, or who was the
Hoecker, that made this old clock ? Who bought
it in historic Crefeld ? Who brought it from
Europe, got it up into Lancaster County, and
lodged it in the monastery or nunnery at Ephrata?
What, if anything, had Ludwig Hoecker or Bro-
ther Obed to do with it ? What tales could it not
* See article " Francis Daniel Pastorius," by Dr. Seiden-
sticker, in the Penn Monthly, January and February, 1872.
174 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
tell! But it is well cared for in the comfortable
apartment of the kindly sister.
The Snow-Hill settlement, I presume, is named
from the family of Snowberger (Schneeberger?),
one of whom endowed the society. It is situated
at Antietam, Franklin County, Pennsylvania;
where a large farm belongs to "the nunnery"
(to quote an expression that I heard at Ephrata).
There were, until lately, five Sisters and four
brothers at Antietam, but one of the Brethren
The Brethren have sufficient occupation in
taking care of their property ; the Sisters keep
house, eating in the same apartment at the same
time with the Brothers. Under these circum-
stances I could imagine the comfort and order
of the establishment, and think of the Brothers
and Sisters meeting in a cool and shaded dining-
room. What question then should I be likely
to ask ? This one : " Do they never marry ?"
I was told that marriages between the Brothers
and Sisters are not unknown ; but I also under-
stood that such a thing is considered backsliding.
Persons thus married remain members of the
church, but must leave the community, and find
* Mr. Endress tells us that with many of the single Breth-
ren and Sisters at Ephrata, the mystical idea of the union with
Christ was evidently used to gratify one of the strongest natural
affectious of the human heart. " The Ecdeemer was their
E PER ATA. 175
In an article by Redmond Conyngham (Haz.
Reg., vol. v.) will be found the statement that
the " President of the Bunkers" says,
"We deny eternal punishment; those souls
who become sensible of God's great goodness
and clemency, and acknowledge his lawful au-
thority, .... and that Christ is the only
true Son of God, are received into happiness;
but those who continue obstinate are kept in
darkness until the Great Day, when light will
make all happy." .According to Dr. Fahnestock,
however, the idea of a universal restoration,
which existed in the early days, is not now pub-
The observance of the seventh day as a Sab-
bath must always be onerous, in a community
like ours. Hired people are not required by the
Siebentaeger (or Seventh-day men) to work on
Saturday ; and, unless of their own persuasion,
will not work on Sunday.
It has been said that the customs at Ephrata
resembled the Judaic ones; and Eudress says
bridegroom or bride. . . . He was the little infant they
carried under their hearts, the dear little lamb they dandled
on their laps."
He adds that this at least was found much more among the
single than among those whose affections were consecrated in
a conjugal life. " The powers of human nature would evince
their authority." "According to Sangmeister, some sank
under the unceasing struggle." See Hazard's Register, 1830.
176 "PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH."
that they consider baptism similar to purification
in the Mosaic law, as a rite which may be re-
peated from time to time when the believer has
become defiled by the world, and would again
renew his union with Christ.
But Miller says (1790), " Our standard is the
Fahnestock says that they do not approve of
paying their ministers ; and it seems that the
women, or at least the single Sisters, are at liberty
to speak in religious meetings.
In the correspondence of one of our Lancaster
papers of 1871, there was given the following
account: "Ephrata, May 21. The Society of
the Seventh-Day Baptists held their semi-annual
love-feast yesterday, when one new member was
added to the Society by immersion. In the even-
ing the solemn feast of the Lord's Supper was
celebrated, the occasion attracting a large con-
course of people, only about half of whom
could obtain seats. The conduct of a number
of persons on the outside was a disgrace to an
The article also mentions preachers as present
from Bedford, Franklin, and Somerset Counties.
However, the whole number of the Seventh-Day
German Baptists, in our State, is very small.
* Upon this subject of the New Testament as a creed, etc.,
all or nearly all our German Baptist sects seem to unite.
EPHRA TA, 177
[NoxE. Since this article was written, the author
has heard what is the present location of the bell
which was ordered from Europe by Eckerlin, Brother
Onesimus, and which caused so much dissension in
the little Ephrata Community when it arrived in the
This bell was sold, as has been before stated, to
the Lutherans of Lancaster. It was long in use upon
Trinity Lutheran Church, but was afterwards sold to
one of the fire-engine or hose companies of Lancaster,
and is still in use, and in good preservation, bearing
upon it the Latin inscription, with the name of the
" reverend man" Onesimus.
Is there an older bell in use upon this continent ?J
ABOUT twenty miles from the State line that
divides Maryland and Pennsylvania, there stands,
in the latter State, a retired farm-house, which
was erected more than fifty years ago by Samuel
Wilson, a Quaker of Quakers.
His was a character so rare in its quaintness
and its nobility, that it might serve as a theme
for a pen more practiced and more skillful than
the one that now essays to portray it.
Samuel Wilson was by nature romantic. When
comparatively young, he made a pedestrian tour
to the Falls of Niagara, stopping upon his return
journey, and hiring with a farmer to recruit his
exhausted funds; and when he had passed his
grand climacteric, the enthusiasm of his friend-
ship for the young, fair, and virtuous, still showed
the poetic side of his character.
Veneration induced him to cherish the relics
of his ancestry, not only the genealogical tree,
which traced the Wilsons back to the time of
William Penn, and the marriage certificates of
A FRIEND. 179
his father and grandfather, according to the reg-
ular order of the Society of Friends, but such
more humble and familiar heirlooms as the tall
eight-day clock, and the high bookcase upon a
desk and chest of drawers, that had been his
father's, as well as the strong kitchen-chairs and
extremely heavy fire-irons of his grandfather.
To this day there stands at the end of the
barn, near the Wilson farm-house, a stone taken
from one of the buildings erected by Samuel's
father, and preserved as an heirloom. Upon it
the great-grandchildren read nearly the follow-
ing inscription :
" James Wilson, ejus manus scripsit. Deborah
Wilson, 5 mo. 23d, 1757."
Samuel Wilson, having been trained from his
earliest years to that plainness of speech in
which the Discipline requires that Friends bring
up those under their care, not only discarded
in speaking the simple titles in use in common
conversation, but did not himself desire to be
addressed as Mr. Wilson.
A colored woman, the wife of one of his
tenants, said that he refused to answer her when
she thus spoke to him.
A pleasant euphemism was generally employed
by these people in addressing him. He and his
wife were "Uncle Samuel" and "Aunt Anna"
to their numerous dependents.
The apparel of Samuel and Anna was of the
180 -A FRIEND.
strict pattern of their own religious sect. To
employ a figure of speech, it was the " weddiug-
garment," without which, at that time and place,
they would not have become elders in their so-
ciety, and thus been entitled to sit with minis-
ters, etc., upon the rising seats that faced the rest
of the meeting. But the plainness of Uncle
Samuel was not limited to the fashion of his own
When Aunt Anna had made for her son a suit
of domestic cloth, dyed brown with the hulls of
the black walnut, and had arrayed him in his
new clothes, of which the trousers were made
roomy behind, or, as the humorist says, " baggy
in the reverse," she looked upon him with
maternal pride and fondness, and exclaimed,
" There's my son !"
For this ejaculation she was not only reproved
at the time by her husband, but in after-years,
whenever he heard her, as he thought, thus fos-
tering in the mind of their dear child pride in
external appearance, he repeated the expression,
" There's my son !" which saying conveyed a
volume of reproof.
From this and other circumstances of the
kind, it may be supposed that Friend Wilson
was a cold or bitter ascetic. But he possessed a
vein of humor, and could be gently and pleas-
antly rallied when he seemed to run into ex-
tremes. But, though his intellect was good, the
A FRIEND. 181
moral sentiments predominated in his character.
His head was lofty and arched.
His wants were very few; he possessed an
ample competence, and he had no ambition to
enter upon the fatiguing chase after riches. He
disliked acquisitive men as much as the latter
despised him. " I want so little for myself," he
said, " I think that I might be allowed to give
Sometimes but rarely a little abruptness was
seen in his behavior. He had the manners of a
gentleman by birth, tender and true, open to
melting charity, thinking humbly of himself, and
The vein of humor to which I have alluded
prompted the reply which he made on a certain
occasion to a mechanic or laboring-man em-
ployed in his own family. In this section of
Lancaster County, the farming population is
composed principally of a laborious and in
some respects a humble-minded people, who sit
at table and eat with their hired people of both
The same custom was pursued by Samuel and
Anna; but, as their hired people were mostly
colored, they sometimes offended the prejudices
or tastes of many who were not accustomed to
this equality of treatment, which was maintained
by several families of Friends. The white hired
man to whom I have alluded, when he perceived
182 ^ FRIEND.
who were seated at the table, hesitated or refused
to sit down among them. As soon as Samuel was
conscious of the difficulty, for which, indeed, his
mind was not unprepared, he thus spoke aloud
to his wife : " Anna, will thee set a plate at that
other table for this stranger ? He does not want
to sit down with us." And his request was
quietly obeyed. The man who was thus set apart
probably became tired of this peculiar seclusion,
for he did not stay long at the Quaker homestead.
I think that Samuel was also in a humorous
mood when he called that unpretending instru-
ment, the accordeon, from which his daughter-
in-law was striving one evening to draw forth
musical sounds, " Mary's fiddle."
Indeed, he left the house and went to call upon
a neighbor, so greatly did he partake of that
prejudice which was felt by most Friends against
The Discipline asks whether Friends are punc-
tual to their promises; and (to quote a very
different work) Fielding tells us that Squire All-
worthy was not only careful to keep his greater
engagements, but remembered also his promises
to visit his friends.
Anna Wilson on one occasion having thought-
lessly made such a promise, as, indeed, those
in society frequently do when their friends say,
" Come and see us," was often reminded of it
in after-years by her husband. When he heard
A FRIEND. 183
her lightly accepting such invitations, he would
humorously reprove her by saying in private,
" When is thee going to see Benjamin Smith ?"
the neighbor to whom the ancient promise was
The hospitality which the Scriptures enjoin
was practiced to a remarkable degree by Samuel
and Anna. It has always been customary in
their Religious Society to entertain Friends who
come from a distance to attend meetings, and
those traveling as preachers, etc. But the Wilson
homestead was a place of rest and entertainment
for many more than these. It stood not far from
the great highway laid out by William Penn
from Philadelphia westward, and here called the
" Old Road." Friends traveling westward in
their own conveyance would stop and refresh
themselves and their horses at the hospitable
mansion, and would further say to their own
friends, " Thee'd better stop at Samuel Wilson's.
Tell him I told thee to stop." But a further and
greater extent of hospitality I shall mention
The Discipline asks whether Friends are care-
ful to keep those under their charge from per-
nicious books and from the corrupt conversation
of the world; and I have heard that Samuel
Wilson was grieved when his son began to go to
the post-office and take out newspapers. Hith-
erto the principal periodical that came to the
184 A FRIEND.
house was The Genius of Universal Emancipation,
a little paper issued by that pioneer, Benjamin
Lundy, who was born and reared in the Society
of Friends. It does not appear, however, that
the class of publications brought from the little
village post-office to the retired farm-house were
of the class usually called pernicious. They were
The Liberator, The Emancipator, and others of the
Samuel himself became interested in them,
but never to the exclusion of the " Friends'
Miscellany," a little set of volumes containing
religious anecdotes of Friends. These volumes
were by him highly prized and frequently read.
It has been said that he was a humorist; and
perhaps he was partly jesting when he suggested
that his infant grand-daughter should be named
Tabitha. The mother of the little one, on her
part, brought forward the name Helen.
" Ile-len !" the grandfather broke out in reply ;
" does thee know who she was ?" thus expressing
his antipathy to the character of the notorious
beauty of Greece. He did not insist, however,
on endowing the precious newly-born infant with
that peculiar name, which is by interpretation
Dorcas, the name of her who, in apostolic times,
was full of good works and alms-deeds.
Friend Wilson shared the Quaker disregard
for the great holidays of the Church. To the
colored people who surrounded him, who had
A FRIEND. 185
been brought up at the South, where Christmas
is so great a festival, where it was so great a
holiday for them especially, it must have been a
sombre change to live in a family where the day
passed nearly like other working-days. One of
the colored men, however, who had started at
the time of the great festival to take *Christmas,
was seen, before long, coming back ; " for,"
said he, " Massa Wilson don't 'prove on't no-
Among the lesser peculiarities of Samuel
Wilson was his objection to having his picture
taken, an objection, however, which is felt to
this day by some strict people belonging to other
religious societies, but probably on somewhat
One who warmly loved and greatly respected
Friend Wilson took him once to the rooms of
an eminent daguerreotypist, hoping that while
he engaged the venerable man in looking at the
objects around the room, the artist might be
able to catch a likeness. But Samuel suspected
some artifice, and no picture was taken. Some
time after, however, the perseverance of his
friend was rewarded by obtaining an excellent
oil-painting of the aged man, from whom a re-
luctant consent to sit for his likeness had at
length been obtained. It was remarked, how-
ever, that the expression of the face in the paint-
ing was sorrowful, as if the honorable man was
186 A FRIEND.
grieved at complying with a custom which he
had .long stigmatized as idolatrous* as idolatry
of the perishing body.
Although at the time of the great division in
the Society of Friends Samuel Wilson had de-
cidedly taken the part of Elias Hicks, yet was
he seldom or never heard to discuss those ques-
tions of dogmatic theology which some have
thought were involved in that contest.
Samuel probably held, with many others of his
Society, that the highest and surest guide which
man possesses here is that Light which has been
said to illumine every man that comes into the
world; that next in importance is a rightly
inspired gospel ministry, and afterward the
Scriptures of truth. One evening, when certain
mechanics in his employ were resting from their
labors in the old-fashioned kitchen, he fell into
conversation with them on matters of religion,
and shocked one of his family, as he entered the
sitting-room, by a sudden declaration of opinion.
It was probably the uncommon warmth of his
manner which produced this effect, quite as much
as or more than the words that he spoke, which
were about as follows : " There's no use talking
about it; the only religion in the world that's
worth anything is what makes men (Jo what is
right and leave off' doing what is wrong."
As far as was possible for one with so much
fearless independence of thought and action,
A FRIEND. 187
Samuel Wilson maintained the testimony of
Friends against war. Not only did he suffer his
corn to be seized in the field rather than pay
voluntarily the military taxes of the last war with
Great Britain, but he went to what may appear
to some a laughable extreme, in forbidding his
young son's going to the turnpike to see the
grand procession which was passing near their
house, escorting General Lafayette on his last
visit to this country. He was not, however, alone
in this. I have heard of other decided Friends
who declined to swell the ovation to a man who
was especially distinguished as a military hero.
But we shall see hereafter that Friend Wilson
met with circumstances which tried his non-re-
sistant opinions further than they would bear.
The distinctive trait of his character, however,
that trait which made him exceptional, was
his attachment to the people of color. It was in
entertaining fugitives from slavery that he showed
the wide hospitality already referred to; and in
this active benevolence he was excelled by few
in our country. He inherited from his father this
love of man; but I have imagined that the hos-
tility to slavery was made broad and deep in his
soul by removing, with the rest of his family, in
his youth, from Pennsylvania into Delaware, and
seeing the bondage which was suffered by col-
ored people in the latter State contrasted with
what he had seen in the former. Be that as it
188 A FRIEND.
may, no sooner was he a householder than his
door was ever open to those who were escaping
from the South, coming by stealth and in dark-
ness, having traveled in the Slave States from the
house of one free negro to another, and in Penn-
sylvania from Quaker to Quaker, until in later
times the hostility to slavery increased in our
community so far that others became agents of
this underground railroad, and other routes were
"When the Wilson family came down in the
morning, they saw standing around these strange
sable or yellow travelers (" strangers," they were
called in the family), who, having arrived during
the night, had been received by some wakeful
member of the household.
"What feelings filled the hearts of the exiles !
Alone, at times, having left all that they had
ever loved of persons or of places, fearful, tired,
foot-sore, throwing themselves upon the charity
and the honor of a man unknown to them save
by name and the direction which they had re-
ceived to him, as one trustworthy.
Sometimes they came clothed in the undyed
woolen cloth that showed so plainly to one ex-
perienced in the matter the region of its manu-
facture, the heavy, strong cloth which had de-
lighted the wearer's heart when he received the
annual Christmas suit with which his master
furnished him, but which was now too peculiar
A FRIEND. 189
and too striking for him to safely wear. "Women
and children came too, and sometimes in consid-
When they had eaten and partaken of the
necessary repose, they would communicate to
Friend Wilson, in a secure situation, some par-
ticulars of their former history, especially the
names and residences of the masters from whom
they had escaped.
Some years after he had begun to entertain
these strangers, Friend Wilson commenced a
written record of those who came to him, and
whence and from whom they had escaped. This
list is estimated to have finally contained between
five and six hundred names.
The next care was to bestow new titles upon
the fugitives, that they might never be known
by their former names to the pursuer and the
From what has been already said, it may be
supposed that these names were not always se-
lected for their euphony or aesthetic associations.
One tall, finely-built yellow man, who trembled
when he was questioned in the sitting-room, lest
his conversation about his old home and the
free wife whom he longed to have brought to him,
should be overheard in the kitchen, expressed
to me his dissatisfaction with his new name
Simon. " I never knowed anybody named that,"
he said. His beautiful bright wife bright in
190 A FRIEND.
the colored sense that is, bright-colored, or
nearly white was secretly and safely brought to
him, and nursed him through that fatal disease
which made him of no value in the man-market,
the market which had been the great horror of
his life. The particulars Friend Wilson collected
concerning his humble charge the venerable
man entered in his day-book, in a place specially
assigned to them. If this record were still ex-
isting, I should, perhaps, be able to tell what
name the fortunate and unfortunate Simon had
been obliged to renounce. This record, how-
ever, is lost, as I shall mention hereafter. If the
services of any of these fugitives were needed,
within-doors or without, and the master's pur-
suit was not supposed to be imminent, they were
detained for awhile, or perhaps became perma-
nent residents in the neighborhood; otherwise,
they were forwarded at night to Friends living
nearer Philadelphia. Of these, two other families
willing to receive the poor exiles lived about
twelve miles farther on.
The house and farm were generally pretty
well stocked with colored people, who were a
wonder to the neighbors of the Wilson family;
for these were in a great measure "Pennsylvania
Dutch," a people anxious to do as much work
with their own hands and by the hands of their
own family as possible, in order to avoid expense.
It is a remarkable circumstance that, although
A FRIEND. 191
Samuel Wilson during thirty years or more
entertained the humble strangers, and although
he received so large a number, only one of them
was seized upon his "plantation" and taken
back to slavery. This was owing partly to the
secluded situation of his house, and partly to the
prudence and discretion that he exercised. "He
was crafty," it has been said.
Neither did he suffer any legal expenses, such
as lawsuits, from the slaveholders who came in
pursuit of their fleeing bondmen. Two friends
who lived not far from him, and who prosecuted
kidnappers, had their barns burned, and others,
of whom he had knowledge, suffered great pe-
cuniary loss in consequence of their assisting
runaway slaves. He, however, limited his care
to receiving, entertaining, and forwarding those
who came to him in person, and never under-
took any measures of offense, any border raids,
so to speak, such as sending into Maryland and
Virginia for the relatives and friends of fugitives
who were still living in those States as slaves.
The one person of whom I have spoken, who
was recaptured from the Wilson farm, was a
young girl of fifteen or sixteen. Samuel and
Anna were absent from home at the time, gone
on a little journey, such as they frequently took,
to attend their own monthly and quarterly meet-
ings; assisting to preserve the discipline and
order of the Society of Friends. The men who
192 A FRIEND.
came in pursuit of the young girl told her that
her friends, who had run away too, had con-
cluded to go back South again ; and the poor
child, under these circumstances, could hardly
do anything but go with the beguilers; not,
however, to find the friends whom she expected.
There was also a man who was very near being
taken, a man who had "come away," to use
the brief euphemism sometimes employed in the
"Wilson family in speaking of fugitives from
slavery. He escaped by having gone down the
creek or adjacent mill-stream to set his muskrat-
traps. This creek where it ran by the house was
well wooded ; therefore the colored man, looking
up to the house, could see the white strangers
without being seen himself. With what trem-
bling did he see that they were persons whom
he "knowed in Murrland," as he expressed it!
However, the friendly woods sheltered him,
while Samuel at the house was talking with the
slaveholder or his agents, kidnappers, as the
Wilsons called them.
The men told Samuel that they had come after
a runaway nigger, black, five feet ten inches
high, lost one of his front teeth, etc. To this
description Friend Wilson listened in silence. I
do not know what he would have done had he
been directly questioned by them, for the differ-
ent items suited him of the muskrats, the man
who had gone to the woods. But during Samuel's
A FRIEXD. 193
continued silence they went on to say, "He's a
very ornary nigger ; no dependence to be placed
on him nohow." " There is no man here," re-
joined Samuel, greatly relieved, " that answers
the description." " We've very good reason to
think he came here," said one; "we got word
very direct; reckon he's lyin' around here.
Hain't there been no strange nigger here?"
" There was a colored man here, but he has
gone away; I don't know as he will ever come
back again." For, from the man's protracted ab-
sence, he doubtless had some idea of his having
seen his pursuers, and having sought shelter.
"Tell him that his master says that- if he will
only come back again, down to Baltimore county,
he sha'n't be whipped, nor sold, nor uuthiu',
but everything shall be looked over."
"I'll tell him what you say," said Samuel, "if
ever I see him again ; but," he added, regaining
his accustomed independence, " I'll tell him, too,
that if I wtis in his place I'd never go back to
The men left, and under cover of the friendly
night the fugitive sought a more secure hiding-
There was one heroic black man in whom
Samuel Wilson felt an abiding interest. When
Jimmy Franklin told the tale of his perilous
escapes and recaptures in the States of Maryland,
North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida,
194 A FRIEND.
when he showed the shot still remaining in his
legs shot that had been fired ut him as he~ran,
and, working through to the front, were perceived
through the skin, like warts upon his legs, the
lads of the family looking and listening had their
sympathies enkindled in such a manner as could
never entirely die out. One of them, in after-
years, was asked :
"How does thee account for that man's per-
sistent love of freedom ? What traits of char-
acter did he possess that would account for his
doing so much more than others to escape from
the far South?"
" I don't know," was the reply, in the freedom
of familiar conversation. " What was the reason
that Fulton invented his steamboat ? or that Ba-
con wrote his System ? or that Napier invented
" This man was agenius, a greater man, in his
way, than those I spoke of. If he had had edu-
cation, and had been placed in circumstances to
draw him out, he would have been the leader in
some great movement among men."
The narrative of James Franklin was taken
down by a dear friend of him whom I call Sam-
uel Wilson, but is supposed to have been burned
when the mob destroyed Pennsylvania Hall.
It was in relation to these fugitives that Sam-
uel sometimes forgot for awhile his strictly peace-
ful principles; for there were to be found among
A FRIEND. 1<J5
the men of color those who could be induced to
betray to the pursuers their fugitive brethren,
giving such information as would lead to their
recapture; or, if they should escape this, to their
being obliged to abandon their resting-places
and to flee again for safety.
It was iu talking of some such betrayer that
Samuel Wilson said to his colored friends,
" What would you do with that man, if you had
him on Mill-Creek bridge?" (a lofty structure
by which the railroad crossed the adjacent
stream,) thus hinting at a swift mode of punish-
ment, and one that might possibly have been a
Though with an unskilled pen, yet have I en-
deavored to describe that quiet family, among
whom the fugitive-slave law of 1850 fell like a
blow. Samuel Wilson had ample opportunity
to study its provisions and its peculiarities from
the newspapers of which I have before spoken,
and from the conversation which these journals
This horrible act gave the commissioner before
whom the colored man was tried five dollars
only if the man went free from the tribunal,
but ten dollars if he was sent into slavery. Hith-
erto, men had suffered in assisting the fugitive
to escape; now it was made a penal offense to
refuse to lend active assistance in apprehending
196 A F&IEND.
Friend Wilson had read much of fines and
imprisonment, having studied the sufferings of
the people called Quakers. (Even a lady of so
high a standing as she who became the wife of
George Fox was not exempt from many years'
imprisonment; nor from persecution at the hands
of her own son.) Friend Wilson was about
seventy-five years old when the fugitive-slave bill
was passed. In spite of his advanced years, how-
ever, after sorrowful reflection upon it, he said
to one of his household, " I have made up my
mind to go to jail."
That hospitality and chanty which had so
long been the rule of his life he was not now
prepared to forego through fear of any penalties
which human laws would inflict upon him.
It was while suffering from the infirmities of
advanced years, and from the solicitude which
this abominable enactment had called forth, that
Samuel destroyed the record which he had kept
for so many years of the slaves that had taken
refuge with him. This record was contained in
about forty pages of his clay-book, and these he
cut out and burned. How would they now be
prized had they not thus been lost !
Samuel Wilson saw with the prophetic eye of
faith and hope, what he did not live to behold
in the flesh, the abolition of slavery. His mor-
tal remains repose beside the Quaker meeting-
A FRIEND. 197
house where he so long ministered as an elder.
No monumental stone marks his humble resting-
place; but these simple lines of mine, that por-
tray a character so rare, may serve for an affec-
"WELL, Phebe, I guess thee did not expect
me this afternoon. Don't get up. I will jnst
lay my bonnet in the bedroom myself. Dinah
Paddock told me thy quilt was in ; so I came up
as soon as I could. Laid out in orange-peel ! I
always did like orange-peel. Dinah's was her-
ring-bone; and thine is filled with wool, and
plims up, and shows the works, as mother used
to say. I'll help thee roll before I sit down.
Now then. Days are long, and we'll try to do a
stroke of work, for thee's a branch quitter, I've
" Jethro Mitchell stopped to see me this morn-
ing. They got home from Ohio last week, and
he says that Cousin Jemima Osborne's very bad
with typhoid fever. Poor Jemima! It had been
pretty much through the family, and after nurs-
ing the rest she was taken 'down. I almost know
she has no one tit to take care of her, only
Samuel and the three boys, and maybe some
hired girl that has all the housework to do.
COUSIN JEMIMA. 199
The neighbors will be very kind, to be sure, sit-
ting up at night; but there's been so much sick-
ness in that country lately.
" Jemima was Uncle Brown Coffin's daughter,
thee knows, who used to live down at Sandwich,
on the Cape, when thee and I w T ere girls. She
always came to Nantucket to Quarterly Meeting
with. Uncle Brown arid Aunt Judith ; and folks
used to say she wasn't a bit of a coof, if she was
born on the Cape. When Samuel and she were
married, they asked me and Gorham Hussey to
stand up with them. Jemima looked very pretty
in her lavender silk and round rosy cheeks.
When meeting was over, she whispered to me
that there was a wasp or bee under her neck-
handkerchief that had stung her while she was
saying the ceremony. But I don't think any-
body perceived it, she was so quiet. Poor dear!
I seem to see her now on a sick-bed and a rolling
" After my Edward died, I was so much alone
that I thought I couldn't bear it any longer, and
I must just get up and go to Ohio, as Samuel
and 'Mima had often asked me to. I stopped on
the way at Mary Cooper's at Beaver; and Mary's
son was joking a little about Cousin Samuel's
farming, and said he didn't quite remember
whether it was two or three fences that they had
to climb going from the house to the barnyard.
I told him that Samuel wasn't brought up to
200 COUSIN JEMIMA.
farming; he bought land when he moved out
"I found Jemima a good deal altered, now
that she had a grown family ; but we just began
where we left off, the same friendliness and
kindness. When I was in Ohio was just when
the English Friends, Jonathan and Hannah Pur-
ley, were in the country. We met them at Marl-
borough Quarterly Meeting. We were all to-
gether at William Smith's house, one of the
neatest of places, everything like waxwork,
with three such daughters at home. How they
worked to entertain Friends !
" First-day a great many world's people were
at meeting on account of the strange Friends.
Meeting was very full, nearly as many out in
the yard as in the house. Very weighty remarks
were made by Jonathan and Hannah. She spoke
to my own state : ' Leave thy widows, and let
thy fatherless children trust in Me.' The meet-
ing was disturbed some by the young babies;
but we could hardly expect the mothers to stay
" Second-day was Quarterly Meeting. Of
course the English Friends, being at William
Smith's, drew a great many others. We had
forty to dinner. One of William's daughters
stayed in the kitchen, one waited on the table, and
one sat down midway, where she could pass
everything, and wait on the Friends. It was in
COUSIN JEMIMA. 201
the Eighth Month, and we had a bountiful tahle
of all the good things of that time of year,
vegetables and fruits too. William was a nur-
" There was a little disturbance at breakfast,
William's son a rather wild young man mak-
ing the young people laugh. We had fish,
mackerel, and little fresh fish out of the mill-
dam. I sat near the middle, and heard Friend
Smith at one end say to each, ' Will thee have
some of the mackerel, or some of these little
dam-fish ?' Then young William, at the other
end, spoke low to his friends : * Will thee have
some of the mackerel, or some of these dam
little fish?' But most of the young women
kept pretty serious countenances. When Quar-
terly Meeting was over, the English Friends
went out to Indiana, visiting meetings and
Friends' families, and I went back with Cousin
"I was dreadfully disappointed once. One
evening Samuel and 'Mima and the rest of us
were sitting round the table, and Samuel put
his hand into his coat-pocket and drew out the
paper and two or three letters. As he read, I
noticed that one of the letters had not been
opened, and caught sight of my name Priscilla
Gardner ; so I put out my hand and took it. It
was from sister Mary, just as James and she
were starting for California. She told me that
202 COUSIN JEMIMA.
they should stay in Pittsburgh over one night,
and she hoped I should be able to meet them
th ere and bid them a long farewell. But when
I looked again at the date of the letter, and
glanced at the paper that Samuel was reading, I
found that my letter was ten days old. The
time had gone by. Oh, dear ! I walked out into
the kitchen and stood by the stove, in the dark,
and cried. Some one came up behind me. Of
course it was Jemima. She kissed me, and
waited for me to speak. I gave her the letter,
and in about ten minutes I felt able to go back
to the sitting-room. When I sat down, Samuel
said, ' 'Mima tells me, Priscilla, that thee is
very much disappointed about thy letter. I had
on this coat when I went to the post-office a
week ago, and I didn't put it on again till to-
day. I hope thee'll excuse me. Thomas, my
son, will thee bring us some red-streaks ? I feel
as if I could eat a few apples.'
"I felt sorrowful for some time about my
sister; but my mind was diverted when we got
word that the English Friends were coming to
our Monthly Meeting on their way back from
Indiana ; and as we lived very near the meeting-
house, of course they would be at Samuel's. As
the time came near, Jemima and I were a good
deal interested to have things nice. They were
going to be at William Smith's again, where
every thing was so neat, and I felt very anxious
COUSIN JEMIMA. 203
to make every thing in-doors, at Jemima's, as
neat as we could.
"In the sitting-room was one empty corner,
where the great rocking-chair ought to stand. It
was broken, and put away in the bedroom. I
wanted very much to have it mended; but it
seemed as if we could not get it to Salem. One
time the load would be too large, one time the
chair would be forgotten. At last one day it was
put in the back of the covered wagon, and fairly
started. When Samuel got home it was rather
late in the evening, and I heard him say to
'Mima, * Only think of my forgetting thy large
chair. I was late starting from home, thee
knows; and when I got to Salem there was a
good deal of talk about the war; and when I
got half-way home I remembered the big chair
in the back of the wagon. It can go in next
week.' "We did send it again, but it did not get
home before Monthly Meeting.
" Jemima had a very neat home-made carpet
on the sitting-room : she had a great taste for
carpets. As there had been some yards left, she
let me cover the front entry too, and her young-
est son Edward, a nice lad, helped me put it
down. A little colored girl, near by, rubbed up
the brass andirons for us, and Edward built up a
nice pile of wood ready to kindle the fire when
it was wanted. A good many panes of glass
had been broken, and as we had just had an
204 COUSIN JEMIMA.
equinoctial storm, some old coats, and so on,
had been stuffed in at several places ; but we
managed to get most of the glass put in before
" When we had done all we could to the house,
of course we began to think of the cooking.
Jemima said, 'I sha'n't be able to get Mary
Pearson to come and cook : she is nursing. I
wonder whether I hadn't better heat the oven on
meeting-day. I can get the dinner in before I
go ; and then between meetings I can run over
and see to it. I shall hardly be missed. I can
slip in at the side-door of the meeting-house
before Mary Ann has done reading the Minutes.'
'Then thee will heat the oven?' said I. 'I
reckon,' she said; 'but it is only a mud oven.
Samuel has been talking for a good while about
having a brick oven. This one is not very safe.'
' Suppose I make a little sponge-cake, and put
it in too,' said I. Til send for some sugar, if
thee is willing. Polly Evans used to call me a
dabster at sponge-cake.'
" Jemima was willing, and we began to get
ready to go to the store. Edward and the little
colored girl hunted the barn and the straw-shed,
and brought in a quantity of eggs. All could
not be sent, because we needed some at home,
and some had been set on, and some had lain
too long. Then Jemima sent to the garret for
brooms and rags, and spared a little butter, not
COUSIN JEMIMA. 205
much, to be sure, when Monthly Meeting was
coming. I thought I might as well ride over with
Edward ; and when we had got coffee, and tea,
and so on, and were just starting home, I caught
sight of some lemons. I bought a few, and when
I got home asked Jemima if she would not like
some lemon-puddings. ' Thy apple-pies and rice-
puddings are nice, dear/ I said ; * but Hannah
Purley and Jonathan are such strangers, we
might go a little out of the common way.' Je-
mima smiled some at my being so anxious, but
agreed, as she generally did.
u Fourth-day morning we were up very early.
Jemima was going to roast some fowls and a
loin of veal. Edward and the little colored girl
helped me to beat eggs, grate lemons, and roll
sugar ; and every thing was ready for the oven
before the Friends came in from a distance, who
always stopped before meeting to get a cup of
" We had a nice little table for them, of course,
dried beef, preserves, and so on ; and one
woman Friend, a single woman, asked for a
warm flat-iron to press out her cap and hand-
kerchief. At last we were ready to start. Je-
mima had set every thing into the oven, which
stood out in the yard. She put the meats back,
and the cakes and puddings near the door, where
it was not so hot. ' The door isn't very safe,'
206 COUSIN JEMIMA.
said she, * and I propped a stick against it to
keep it up. Don't let the dog knock it down,
Susan, while we are gone.'
" The day was beautiful ; all signs of the storm
over, except the roads a little muddy ; and as we
stepped over to the meeting-house Jemima whis-
pered, ' I am glad I told Susan to set both tables.
I think we shall have a good many to dinner. I
wanted cole-slaw, like Pennsylvania folks, but
the cows broke in last night and ate all the solid
cabbage.' She did not talk of these things gen-
erally going into meeting ; but our minds were
"First Meeting was rather long, for several
Friends spoke besides the strangers. "When it
broke, Jemima stepped out, and I quietly fol-
lowed her. We walked over to the house, and
round into the side-yard, going toward the oven.
But just as we had got into the yard we saw the
old sow. She had broken out of the barn-yard,
and had been wallowing in a pond of brown
water near the fence. Now she had knocked
down Jemima's stick, and as the door fell I
guess she smelt our good things, for she had her
fore-feet upon the oven floor. We ran and
screamed, but she did not turn. She made a
jump up to the oven, over my cakes and pud-
dings, the veal and chickens, and carried the
oven roof off with her. Oh, dear! oh, dear!
COUSIN JEMIMA. 207
poor Jemima ! I could laugh too, if it wasn't so
Header. And what did they do then ?
Writer. The best that they could. I do won-
der at Jemima, poor thing, to undertake so much
on Monthly Meeting day.
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,
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//. The Riverside Edition. i6mo, on fine white
paper ; from new stereotype plates. With Steel Plates. Complete
in 26 vols. Green crape doth, gilt top, beveled edges. Per voL
$1.75. Half calf, gilt extra. Per voL #3.25.
///. The People's Edition. From the same stereo-
type plates as above, but printed on cheaper paper. Complete in
26 vols. i6mo. With Steel Vignette Titles. Neatly bound in
cloth. Per voL $1.25. Half calf neat Per vol. $2.50.
IV. The Sunny side Edition. izmo, on fine toned
paper. With Steel Plates. Complete in 28 vols. Handsomely
bound in dark-green cloth. Per vol. $2.25. Half calf, gilt extra.
Per vol. $4.
Embracing the tollowing :
Columbus, 3 vols.,
Mahomet, 2 vols.,
Spanish Papers, 2 vols.
Washington, 5 vols.,
Life and Letters, 4 vols.
The reissue of these works in their several forms is unusuallj
elegant The plates are new, the paper superior, the printing hand
some, and each, in proportion to price, combining good taste witfc
-KACH WORK SOLD SEPARATELY.
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FEE 2 1 1992