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Complete History from Its Settlement in 1728 to the Present
Time. Included is the Organization of Ephrata Borough
and Other Information of Ephrata Connected
With the Cloister
Br REV. S. G. ZERFASS, B.D.
Past Chaplain Penna. House of Representatives 1917-1919
JOHN G. ZOOK, Publisher
Price $1.50. By mail, $1.60
The Ephrata Cloister
By^ John G. Zook
To the thousands of visitors who in the past
have visited the Cloister and to the thousands
who will in the future pay their respects to
this historic ground this volume is respectfully-
The Author, S. G. ZERFASS, B. D.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF S. G. ZERFASS
Rev. S. G. Zerfass was born fifty years ago, on what is now known as
the Fairview farm, on the historic Cloister premises at Ephrata, Pa. His
paternal grandfather came from the Alsace Lorraine, Germany, whilst on
his mother's side, his grandfather was Wm. Young who was married to
Katharine McQuate giving Mr. Zerfass fifty per cent. German and fifty
per cent. Irish blood, rather a happy combination.
He attended the Academy school in Ephrata township during regime of
the noted teacher, J. J. Yeager, whose fame as an instructor was spread far
and wide. At the age of fourteen, Rev. Zerfass became an apprentice in
Frank Royer's flour mill (formerly Cloister property), but on account of
financial reverses of the owner, the subject of our sketch was thrown out of
a job and after being coached by D. B. Kraatz, a former teacher, he began
his profession as a teacher at the age of seventeen and since that time has
been an active and successful teacher in the schools of his native county;
fourteen years being spent at the head of the Ephrata Grammar School
and for the last five years he has been principal of the Schoeneck Public
Schools. He is six feet tall, weighs about two hundred and fifty pounds.
He was elected and fully ordained as a minister of the German Seventh
Day Baptists fifteen years ago, being honored with the B. D. degree some
years ago, is now honorary chaplain of Galen Hall as well as the resident
pastor of the Ephrata Church. For some years he was editor-in-chief of
the Sabbath School literature, chairman of the hymnal committee, secretary
of the ministerial convocation, chairman of the Pennsylvania Missionary
Board, secretary of the committee on revision of faith and practice of the
German Seventh Day Baptist Church, furnished an article on the Ephrata
Community for the volume on American Communities by Hinds and con-
ducted several successful series of meetings in different places, at present
secretary-treasurer and custodian of the famous Cloister corporation.
Rev. Zerfass was a close student at Millersville in 1884-85, an active
member of the Normal Literary Society and since then was a member of
more than twenty-five literary societies. Early in life became a public
speaker especially much in demand on the stump in the political arena under
state and county committee direction of the G. O. P. persuasion. He served
as justice of the peace, census enumerator, delegate of his party to state
convention, he is a past district president of the P. O. S. of A., Past Grand
Conductor of the Grand Lodge I. O. O. F. of Pennsylvania, correspondent
for many papers, officiated as editor of the Denver Press for four months
(during vacation) and delivered thousands of addresses at picnics, reunions,
fraternal events, etc.
He was chairman of the Ephrata Borough Council during the historic
water fight some years ago and has become well known as an orator and
writer being chairman of the local history committee of the county institute
since the inception of that committee twenty-five years ago. He can truly
be said to serve as a many-sided man, with liberal and entertaining views of
life. His present desire is to intensify the importance of the industry,
frugality and sturdiness of the Pennsylvania German whose staunch de-
fender he has been in the Penna. German Society, and in public in general,
also being a member of the Lancaster County Historical Society.
His wife was Laura Elizabeth Kauffman, of Lititz, Pa. She died nine
years ago leaving him with two children, Minnie Mae, aged fifteen years,
and Theodore Samuel, aged ten years. True service gives full and best
endeavor to both man and God. He writes the sketch of Ephrata from a
sense of duty to truth and right. Rev. S. G. Zerfass has served with con-
siderable distinction as Chaplain of the State House of Representatives 1917.
Rev. S. G. Zerfass, the Author
Rev. Arthur E. Main, Alfred. N. Y.
Dean University and Theological Seminary
Ephrata with its historic Cloister stands in a class by itself. Its divers-
ified historical associations, i. e., relics of pietistic, monastic, communistic,
and industrial life, the early endeavor in education, in music, (composed
and rendered) in art and its loyalty during the Revolutionary period as
well as the Seventh Day Baptists of the present day, have been so grossly
misrepresented, so recklessly intensified and so much overdrawn by writers
of history and fiction, that the writer (who is a public school teacher and
a minister of the Seventh Day Baptists) feels it his duty and privilege, to
give his humble and honest efforts in a truthful recital of one of the oldest
communities in Amercia, where many societies of a similar nature were
Many communities of different types were organized, some less than
fifty years ago; others have ceased to exist and some seem to be passing
out of existence. In the grand old Keystone there seems to have been a
laboratory where many social, religious, civic and industrial experiments
Schools, lyceums, historical societies, persons of culture and refinement
find in local history an inspiration not easily found in national or general
The architecture of "ye olden buildings," the "lost industries," the
"wholesome amusements," the "wit and humor," the "motives of these,"
some of our distinguished progenitors, are surely worth while studying.
History in an ordinary sense is a narrative of human events, each event
considered by itself becomes particular, but considered as a whole in mutual
relations, it becomes general.
The present generation has sprung from the past and seems pressing
into the future. The past seems to us, in the present, enduring as finger
points of environments. Because of progress the present is more than the
past which is not infrequently obscure, meagerly and wrongly reported, yet
history possesses the highest importance for us relative to govenrment,
laws, institutions and real religion. The thoughts, acts and influences of
great men often bear fruit not only an hundred fold, but ten times that,
exerting silent yet potent influences on succeeding ages and our immediate
Human reasoning should apprehend the value of history and our holiest
conceptions must disclose the real significance and profoundly moral import
of human history. With the fond hope and the sincere prayer that the
author's efforts may be appreciated and that truth and right will prevail
this unpretentious work is submitted.
The writer is indebted to Julius Sachse, Esq., whose works of the early
Pennsylvania Sabbatarians were exhaustive and immensely interesting; to
Dr. Corliss F. Randolph, who as chairman of the Committee on Denomina-
tional History of Seventh Day Baptists of America is the first and fore-
most authority in the world; and to the Chronicon Ephratense compiled by
Brothers Lamech and Agrippa in ancient Cloister ; besides these he acknowl-
edges his native hereditary influences and environments as having been his
source of inspiration.
The kindly advice, the splendid encouragement, the lofty ideals and the
sterling qualities of Prof. M. J. Brecht, formerly county superintendent of
public instruction, now of the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission, in
fully a quarter of a century's labors in our public schools has given me the
premises of convictions in life's battle and the courage of my conviction.
As an instructor my obligations to Dr. Brecht are incalculable.
May the endeavor of all whose motives are pure be more than ever
appreciated. "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." May we thus have
the pluck to take life as it comes and live conscientiously void of offense
toward God and man and like Paul "lived in all good conscience before
S. G. ZERFASS, B. D.,
Pastor at Cloister.
Belief, Import of 75
Beissel, Conrad 9-40-42
Buildings and Practices 12
Ceremonies, Lovefeasts 73
Cloister, The Old— Poem 84
Cornerstone, Laying of 48
Ephrata Boro, Incorporation of 50
Ephrata, Legend of 22
Ephrata and Snow Hill Today 38
Faith and Practices 63-69
Friend, To a 76
Hocker, Ludwig, Schoolmaster 60
Industrial Features 16
Iron Scarce 15
Keiper, Barbara 59
Membership, Conditions of 71
Miller, Peter, Gets Enemy Pardoned 11
Miller, Peter 45-47
Mission Churches 30
Monument Unveiled 26
Moravians Visit Ephrata 13
Ordinances and Furnishings 14
Patriots' Day, First Observance 54
Prominent Personages 24
Public Park Not Favored 67
Religious Freedom 21
Sectarians, Our Early 77
Settlers, Early 9
Snow Hill Buildings 34
Soldiers, Commemorative Poem 53
Sunday School Offspring 39
Tree of Life, The 36
War Attitude 65
Weiser, Conrad 57
Women, Charitable 18
Zerfass, S. G., Biographical Sketch 4
1 1 I 1 1 1
II 1 1 l l l
l l ,
\ , ■
1 i i
' 1 '
Monument Proposed to Have Been
Erected on Mt. Zion in 1845
Early Settlers — Conrad Beissel
Acts 13:16. Ye that fear God give audience
j|ERMAN pietism seems to have been the natural result
of conditions existing in Europe, in the seventeenth
century. As a theory, it was dominant in a number
of the most prominent universities of Germany, but
ultimately it went to excess, and fanciful doctrines
and apparently strange practices came to prevail.
As a result, persecution drove Mennonites to America about
1683, followed by the Labadists in 1684. In 1694 the Rosicru-
cians landed in Philadelphia and in 17 19 the Dunkers or German
Baptists settled in Germantown. The Ephrata Community on the
Cocalico dates back to about 1725. The Schwenkfelders arrived
in Philadelphia about 1734 and a small colony of Moravians set-
tled where Bethlehem now stands 1734 to 1742.
Among the leaders was John Conrad Beissel who in the year
1720 fled from the Palatinate in Germany on account of religious
intolerance. He was about thirty years old, short in stature, high
forehead, prominent nose, sharp piercing eyes, a skillful baker
and an adept in music, and possessed of projects of a solitary life.
In 1 72 1, he and others visited the Conestoga Valley where in
a secluded spot in the primitive forest, beside a sparkling spring
of water, running into the mill creek, they built for themselves a
Here he (Beissel) was by common consent acknowledged as
leader of a new congregation. Beissel inaugurated an aggressive
campaign on the seventh day Sabbath question, a movement
which proved quite successful. The doctrine was spread ably by
use of the printing press and civilization. Following a series of
personal disagreements Beissel withdrew to a place about ten
miles north where on the banks of the romantic and now historic
Cocalico, beside a never failing double spring of water, a cabin
had been previously built far away from any habitation by Eman-
The location was peculiar because the meadow was shielded on
the north by what is known as Zion's hill and was much avoided
by Indians on account of the numberless snakes with which the
meadows and banks of the Cocalico were infested. The spring
is but a stone's throw from where Bethania, the brother-house,
The Ephrata Cloister
was built some time after. By the close of the year 1733 a steady
stream of settlers set in, the first traces of distinctive clothing
were worn and the Ephrata pioneers were accused of being Jesuits
sent there to seduce the populace.
Efforts were made by the surrounding people to burn down the
entire community but the wind providentially changed the course
of the fire and actually burned the barn and buildings of the chief
A granary was built, several large brick bake ovens were made
to supply bread and the almonry, a stone building still standing,
built in 1730, was used to feed the poor without charge. A record
of a communion in 1730, a school in 1735 in which some of the
classics were taught, and a Sabbath School in 1738, a generation
before Robert Raikes had the Bible or Sunday School in England,
coupled with the second earliest printery in America located at
Cloister, printing fifty different volumes, among them being one
of the earliest hymnals, a prayer book and a work on genealogy
are real history.
In the year 1735 there was a great religious revival which re-
sulted in large accessions to the Ephrata Community. Beissel
seemed to have strange power as when he established his hermi-
tage at Cloister it was then a desolate region, yet men and women
came from distant parts and voluntarily assumed hardships, bear-
ing burdens, drawing plows, sleeping on rude benches with a
block of wood for a pillow some of which used by the solitary
for sleeping purposes are still to be seen in the Sister House at
The Tulpehocken awakening occasioned by visits on the part
of Beissel brings to our notice Rev. Peter Miller, a graduate of
Heidelberg University, pastor of a Reformed congregation be-
tween Myerstown and Womelsdorf 1730 to 1735 when he was
baptized into the Ephrata Community as Brother Jaebez (mean-
ing height) and later became a leader in the solitary life until his
death 1796. He ranked as a most devout and learned theologian
and later translated the Declaration of Independence into seven
different languages and corresponded with as many different
nations during the period just prior to the adoption of the Dec-
laration of Independence in the Revolutionary period, thus vir-
tually officiating as a secretary of state although no such official
Conrad Weiser, one of Rev. Peter Miller's church officers, a
level headed pioneer, who was consulted by both civil and military
authorities in times of need and danger and at the same time was
the official Indian interpreter of the government, also entered the
Ephrata cloister life as Brother "Enoch" which means conse-
crated. He became a pioneer magistrate in Berks County.
Peter Miller Gets Enemy Pardoned
Peter Miller is described as a man tall in stature, with a kindly
face and friendly manner, open hearted, modest, genial, meek and
affable. A British officer after the Revolution said Miller was a
judicious, sensible, scholarly gentleman, not apparently reticent
which his life might imply but cheerful and exceedingly desirous
to render any and all information in his power.
Miller and Weiser leaving the faith of the Reformed Church
created quite a commotion, strengthening the Ephrata Community
and experiencing a doctrinal somersault. Members of Miller's
congregation never forgave him for his defection. His course
was very much disapproved, all expressed their contempt, some
by spitting on him, but "Jaebez" would never resent the insults,
merely holding his hands over his bosom and uttering a short
prayer or blessing for his tormentors.
One Michael Widman, who as a Tory was afterwards con-
demned and incarcerated at the Paoli military prison, was saved
by Peter Miller walking to Valley Forge to see Gen. George
Washington to intercede for Widman who had been personally
very abusive to Miller.
When Miller asked Washington to pardon Widman, Washing-
ton replied that it was contrary to the rules of war to pardon any
enemy of the country and that he couldn't do anything for Mil-
ler's friend. "Friend," exclaimed Miller, "he is the worst enemy
I have." "Then," says Washington, "how can you ask for his
pardon ?" Whereupon Miller with tears in his eyes replied, "My
Savior did as much for me." Widman was pardoned because of
Miller's meek forgiving spirit and the episode was beautifully
immortalized by Rev. Dr. Henry Dubbs, late of Franklin and
Marshall College, putting it in poetic effusion.
The first prior, Father Friedsam (meaning peaceable), Conrad
Beissel and the other member of the community of the solitary
laid out the camp where Ephrata was finally established.
The Sisterhood known as the Roses of Sharon or Spiritual
Virgins were under a matron, a sort of "Mother Superior" and
disobedience was reckoned a grievous sin. The community of
the solitary and Roses of Sharon were celibates aping monks and
nuns of Southwestern Europe, adopting monastic names, living
celibate lives but having no known vow or regulation discipline.
Petronella (real name Maria Hocker) was one of the leaders in
the Spiritual. She was a sister of Ludwig Hocker, known as
"Obed," meaning servant, the great teacher of the community and
organizer of the school for religious instruction on the Sabbath
The Hocker (Hacker) Memorial Fund of the Seventh Day
Baptist Conference of America is preparing a suitable memorial
to his memory.
Buildings and Practices
II Cor. 5:1. We have a building of God, a house not made with hands
HE Berghaus was too small for the growing congrega-
tion and Kedar was erected. "Bethania" or the
Brother House, "Saron" or the Sister House, and the
Saal, the present house of worship, were erected be-
fore 1745. The present parsonage occupied by the
writer was built in 1768. A story and a half cabin south of the
present Saal built in 1760 was erected as a dwelling for (Fried-
sam) Conrad Beissel but he refused to reside in it as it was too
much of a distinction for one man.
A decided innovation was the writing and reading of confes-
sional papers known as lectiones. This was followed by a mission-
ary movement that required walking pilgrimages. The ground,
about one hundred acres, was tilled, two flour and grist mills, oil
mill, fulling mill, paper mill, etc. All substantial assistance was
never refused to such as needed it and a sweet spirit of charity
pervaded the settlement.
When an effort was made by a constable to collect the "single
men's tax" known as the "head tax" the community was thrown
into confusion. Peter Miller and others were seized and taken
to Lancaster and in default of bail were imprisoned. Tobias
Hendricks, a venerable justice of the peace, offered bail and took
their word that they would appear in court when wanted. When
court convened they made their appearance according to promise.
They pled that they shouldn't pay the head tax as they acknowl-
edged no worldly authority's right over their bodies as the habi-
tation of the soul as they were redeemed from the world and men.
The court accepted their proposition and discharged the prisoners
after a payment for settlement of the whole.
The brethren silently filed into the Saal where midnight
services were in progress. With the entrance a hush cam<
the assembly which was broken by Conrad Weiser intoning "A
Mighty Fortress is Our God," the impressive Lutheran hymn.
The provincial governor later visited the community and de-
clared himself exceedingly pleased with the institution and offered
a commission as Justice of the Peace to Conrad Weiser who sub-
sequently accepted it.
9h" Vk j^*P
Saal Chape] 1738, Present meeiing room
■where r^tfular services are }»<?W
Sisriet* House, or
*>i«*ter House, or* Saxon
I TR^istratioM room for visitors
Inferior Saal showing Clock Pulpit.
Moravians Visit Ephrata
The fact that Weiser left the Ephrata Community displeased
Jaebez who was not slow in expressing his displeasure whereupon
Enoch (Weiser) reminded Jaebez that on the occasion of his ar-
rest Jaebez had walked to Lancaster but that his Lord and Master
went into Jerusalem riding an ass. Enoch was immediately in-
formed that Jaebez had to walk inasmuch as the governor had
appointed all his asses as magistrates.
Upon Beissel's- invitation in 1736 Moravians visited Ephrata
and friendly relations were established.
Probably one of the oldest clocks in the United States is at
present located on the third floor of the Saron or Sister House.
It is a tower clock bearing date of 1735, with the initials of C.
W. thereon, the production (beyond a shadow of a doubt) of
Christian Witt, a former member of the Kelpins Community, who
in due course of time became a clock maker and established him-
self in business in Germantown in a trade that he followed for
Years ago, expert clockmakers tried to add a minute hand and
change this timekeeper to an eight-day clock, along with having
it keep accurate time and strike every hour on a fine bell. All
failed and some years later Joseph Clarence Zerfass, then a pro-
bationary member and son of Win. Y. Zerfass, president of the
board of trustees, succeeded in having the clock run regularly and
strike the hours merrily, and proved himself a mechanical genius.
It is certainly one of the valued relics of the community coupled
with the hour-glass formerly the property of Peter Miller,
At first this peculiar settlement had no form of government,
being subject to the dictates of ''Father Friedsam," Conrad Beis-
sel, and his rulings were frequently ignored, as he had no means
of discipline to enforce them.
However this pietistic, monastic, mystical society had to learn
obedience. They wore plain clothing, leaving their beards and hair
on the head grow long, going barefooted when climatic conditions
would allow and used practically a vegetarian diet to insure real
health and attain a ripe old age.
Ordinances and Furnishings
Ecclesiastes 12:13. Fear God and Keep His Commandments
N THE lovefeast ceremonies a frugal meal of bread,
butter, apple butter, pickles and coffee was served as
a meal of sociability or hospitality, a custom still ad-
hered to, at least annually, to which everybody is wel-
comed. This is observed about noon and followed
in the evening (after candle lighting) by feet washing as in John,
13th chapter, and the administration of bread and wine as most
other Protestant churches do, having open communion which
means an invitation is extended to everybody to commune with
In this particular they differ with denominations who serve a
sort of a passover supper to their own membership only after
spiritual examination, being close communicants and therefore ex-
clude all except bonafide members of the particular congregation.
We make this mark of distinction as a matter of history, not in
the spirit of criticism.
The holy kiss was passed between the brethren and among the
sisters, evidently after II Samuel 20 :g and the apostolic practices
The habits relative to their raiment were a slight modification
of the White Friars, shirt, trousers, long gown and a monk's hood.
The sisters used a skirt, gown and a rounded hood which can be
seen at the parsonage at the present day.
The sisters also wore large aprons and not infrequently capes,
the materials being linen or wool according to the weather condi-
They adopted monastic names and often the Christian and
family names being lost sight of, and larger means of accommo-
dation resulted in a movement in 1739 to build the Saal for these
Later some of their buildings were used by the sisterhood as a
military hospital, a Red Cross effort long before such a society
existed when they cared for five hundred Revolutionary soldiers
brought to Ephrata after the battle of Brandywine, two hundred
of whom died of camp fever and wounds, being cared for abso-
lutely free of charge by the sisters and their doctors, besides hav-
ing been given Christian sepulture on Zion's hill where a modern
monument now stands, erected through the efforts of the Ephrata
Iron Scarce, Few Decorations
Monument Association by state appropriation. Thus the Ephrata
mystics, i. e. people who claim to be divinely informed and illum-
inated, were indeed brilliantly devoted but sad to relate had in-
ternal troubles occasioned by the introduction of the clock and
other bells and strange manifestations of spiritual confession.
There was a scant use of iron in the construction of the Ephrata
buildings due to the teachings of the old dispensation relative to
the building of the temple but probably more so because nails
were then forged by hand on the anvil, being quite expensive. Of
course in those days we find they used wooden plates, wooden
candle sticks, wooden chalice or goblet used in the holy commun-
ion and wooden blocks used as a flat iron probably to avoid the
unholy as well as expensive use of iron.
The interior of the Saal has undergone some changes in the
early days. Its interior furnishings are severely plain, the walls
being wainscoted about halfway up the sides with unpainted
boards stained with age, the remainder white washed and the ceil-
ing of wide boards also stained looking like walnut.
There are no decorations except the unparalleled scriptural
texts in quill writing known as Fracturscriften placed there over
one hundred and fifty years ago. They are masterpieces of art
showing patience and delicate lines and touch unequalled any-
where. Surely education and art was characteristic of these, our
To the rear of the Saal is a general purpose room filled with
tables, utensils, desk, etc., for baking, cooking and business meet-
ings. Further back a stone cookery cauldron and fireplace.
The old benches and tables of the Saal are the same and ar-
ranged as they always were. The method of lighting and venti-
lating is poor indeed. The present pastor had electric lights in-
troduced and holes made in the ceiling to bring in fresh air. On
the ceiling are foot prints intensely interesting and shown to all
visitors and that have been described as bloody footprints of the
soldiers or the apostolic method of punishing the brethren. They
can not be erased or washed off and the writer believes that some
of the brethren (with feet greased to keep the skin from cracking
whilst walking barefooted) accidentally walked over the unsea-
soned timber before it was placed in the ceiling with the attendant
It was heated by an old Ephrata cannon stove that was just
recently replaced by a more modern type. The Saal is regularly
used as a meeting place by the German Seventh Day Baptist con-
gregation who were chartered by the State Assembly in 1814.
Rev. S. G. Zerfass, B. D., is the pastor in charge. A Sabbath
School continues to meet every Sabbath (Saturday) afternoon.
Mrs. Katie Ward being superintendent.
Prov. 13:4. But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat
jflHE industrial and commercial features of Ephrata at
one time promised to make it the greatest industrial
community in this country.
At first the cultivation of the soil was the chief
labor done in rather a primitive style, followed by a
bakery that made no charge for baking for the poor and in the
almonry the indigent were fed gratis.
A large orchard was set out and a vineyard was begun, several
flour and grist mills, saw mill, oil mill, fulling mills, paper mill
and a tannery were added. A pottery was operated and basket
making was done by the sisters. Quarries were opened, bridges
and roads were built and the Cloister was for a time a hive of
industry, but the most important was the printery in which at
least fifty different volumes were printed and bound, including
the famous "Wunderspiel" of 1754; "Man's Fall" 1765; the first
great hymnal of 1766 ; also a prayer book and a work of genealog-
ical interest and the translation and reprinting of the "Mennonite
Martyrs Mirror" which buried more than a dozen men over two
and a half years and to say the least all the Ephrata printing was
a splendid specimen of that art.
Great material prosperity followed and their products were sold
at a good profit in Philadelphia, but they needed a personage of
excellent executive and administrative ability and an intellect to
control the opposing influences and there came a decline, and to
cap the climax a calamity in the shape of fire destroyed some of
their industrial buildings, soon to be rebuilt.
One of the printing presses is now in possession of the Penn-
sylvania Historical Society at Philadelphia. The other is in the
printing office of F. R. King, president of the Pennsylvania Con-
ference of German Seventh Day Baptists, at Salemville, Bedford
County, where church news, a publication in the interests of the
society and general job printing of a most excellent kind is done.
In 1786 the Chronicon Ephruteuse gave a spiritual history of
the community, was published and since translated by Rev. Dr.
J. Max Hark of the Moravian Church.
Ludwig Hacker known as Obed was the pioneer of educational
affairs at Cloister. Singing schools were organized, musical mel-
Old Academy Building
Ephrata Publications and Academy
odies and hymns composed and transcribed by hand and an
Alphabet Book with five different types of ornamental work by
quill was produced about 1750 with a title page as follows :
"De Christian A. B. C.
Isht leiden, dulden, huffen,
War dieses hadt galernt
Dar hudt sein stiel gatroffen."
"The Christian alphabet
Is suffering, patience and hope.
Whoever has learned these
Has hit life's goal."
After the Revolutionary period the Ephrata Academy was
established by the Seventh Day Baptists, the present building
being put up in 1837. Hoecker's Ephrata Primer was published
in 1786. The Academy was patronized by people from Philadel-
phia, New York and Baltimore and later as a public school in
charge of such extraordinary teachers of Young America as the
late J. J. Yeager and D. B. Kraatz, Esq., produced many of the
county's most successful business and professional men and not
a few of national repute.
One of the first Sabbath School cards designed, printed and
given to pupils of a Bible school were used in the Ephrata Sab-
bath School, the organization of which antedates the Sunday
School of Robert Raikes, of London, England, 1780, by a gen-
eration as the Ephrata Bible School dates back to 1738.
Snow Hill or Nunnery, a child of the Ephrata Community,
located about 2^ miles north of Waynesboro in Franklin County,
Pa., now numbers upwards of a hundred members and has made
great endeavor to keep the famous Ephrata music alive, as all
writers unite in speaking of the angelic quality of the Ephrata
vocal selections rendered solemnly, in soft soul stirring melodies
that seemed to transport one into the realms of spirits.
Regular daily duties occupied the Ephrata celibates. Seven to
nine p. m. was spent in writing, reading and study as well as de-
votional, then sleep until midnight, when they arose and had an
hour of matin (song service), not mass as there were no priests.
Then slept until 5 a. m. when another matin was observed to 6
a. m. Then work until 9 a. m. when the first meal ensued, then
more bodily employment until 5 p. m. followed by the evening
and final meal of the day.
Gossiping was frowned upon and loud laughter, even in the
boyhood days of the writer, was forbidden and thought to be the
work of a fool. Probationary and novitiate living in the church
existed. The former is still practiced as a companion to religious
The Ephrata Cloister
catechetical training of Seventh Day Baptists who are not emo-
tional or of a high pressure religious type.
The Ephrata women were noted in their acts of charity, nurs-
ing the sick, comforting the afflicted and attending to various
forms and missions of mercy. Migrations of members to Ber-
mudian, extreme northern part of York and Adams County, to
Virginia and places remote from Ephrata began about 1745.
Snow Hill and Antietam churches and later Salemville, Bedford
County, followed as Seventh Day Baptist settlements.
Music of a Superior Order
Acts 4:29. We ought to obey God rather than men
T THE Nunnery, the daily monastic life was but
slightly different from that of Ephrata (whose off-
spring they were) in a few minor details. Peter Leh-
man was their first leader, succeeded by Dr. Andreas
Fahnestock who later served in the pulpit at Ephrata
and Snow Hill (Nunnery) alternately.
The Penn family were friendly to the Ephrata Community so
that they held the Seventh Dayers in high esteem. Governor
Penn and his staff frequently visited their meetings at Cloister.
The governor sent for Peter Miller and other brethren and in-
formed them that he had made them a grant of five thousand
acres which he called the Seventh Day Baptist's Manor but these
pietistic brethren declined the grant saying "it might make their
purse rich and heart poor, and that it was against real pietism and
their religion to become possessed of so large a portion of worldly
possessions or real estate."
Surely with them there was no pride of possessions, only lofty
independence and meekness.
The decadence of the Ephrata monastic experiment may be due
to no fixed discipline ; the living in common which caused petty
jealousies ; the inmates growing old with no membership to recruit
from ; the changed conditions in the surrounding country ; a num-
ber of buildings being destroyed after being used for hospital
purpose after the Revolutionary War and the unnatural demands
of pietism and monastic life.
Above the door that enters from Sister House or Saron to the
Saal hangs a German tablet on which is inscribed the following:
"The house is entered through this door
By peaceful soul that dwell within;
Those that have come will part no more,
For God protects them here from sin;
Their bliss is found in forms of love
That springs from loving God above."
Over the pulpit in the Saal hangs another German motto mean-
ing in English "God and the Immaculate abide with you even
throughout eternity." How appropriate for the ministers!
The Ephrata Cloister
Music at Ephrata was highly cultivated and singing was carried
to an extent quite beyond the ordinary attainments of that period
and in many respects superior to the average attainment of the
Beissel was an excellent musician and as a composer left over
two hundred melodies whilst Sister Angus was quite a hymn
The style of music was possibly fashioned after Nature, the
tones of the Aeolian harp being his primary inspiration and stand-
ard. This music was written in four, six and eight parts, all the
parts except bass seemed to be sung by the women, there being
two bass parts. The prevailing tone was evidently a soft falsetto,
minor strains being very prominent. A writer in Rupp's history
of Lancaster County describes the music by saying "That the
whole is sung in falsetto voice, the singers not opening their
mouths as singers do now, and apparently threw their voices to
the ceiling which was not high and the tones, which seemed more
than human, at least so far from common church singing, ap-
peared to be entering from above and hovering over the heads of
the assembly." Another writer says "The treble, tenor and bass
were all sung by women with sweet shrill and small voices, but
with truth and exactness in tune and intonation that was admir-
able. It was impossible to describe the hearer's feelings. The
singers sat with their heads reclined, countenances solemn and
dejected, their faces pale, emaciated from their manner of living,
their clothing white and picturesque and their musical rendition
such as thrilled the very soul. Auditors would begin to think
themselves in the world of spirits and that the objects before
them were ethereal. The wonderful impression caused by this
spiritual and harmonious music continued strong for many days."
Seventh Day Baptists were at times arrested for violating Sun-
day laws, some of whom were brought to trial in New Jersey,
which led to a campaign for religious liberty. After a struggle of
some years, modifications of the ancient law secured comparative
liberty and in 1846 this agitation reached the State Legislature of
Pennsylvania, being discussed at length, but the oppressive fea-
tures of the Pennsylvania laws were continued, in spite of all
efforts to the contrary.
An extract from an Ephrata pamphlet says that "On the 2nd
day of October, 1798, at New Mills, Burlington County, State of
New Jersey, a Seventh Day Baptist being indicted before a Jus-
tice of the Peace for working on Sunday and finally he appealed.
During the trial at court an extract of a letter from General
Washington was produced by the Judge in his charge to the jury
which was an answer to a Committee of a Society in Virginia
dated August 4, 1789, where Washington says, "If I had the least
Constitution Guarantees Religious Freedom
idea of any difficulty resulting from the constitution adopted by
the convention of which I had the honor to be President, when
it was formed, so as to endanger the rights of any religious de-
nomination, then I never should have attached my name to that
If I had any idea that the General Government was so admin-
istered that the liberty of conscience was endangered, I pray you
be assured that no man would be more willing than myself to
revise and alter that part of it, so as to avoid all religious perse-
You can without doubt remember that I have often expressed
as my opinion that every man who conducts himself as a good
citizen is accountable alone to God for his religious faith and
should be protected in worshipping God according to the dictates
of his conscience.
(Signed) George Washington."
The result was acquittal. I hereby certify that I saw the orig-
inal English from which the above German pamphlet was trans-
lated at Ephrata, Pa., A. D., 1800.
Pastor of the Society at Snow Hill, Franklin County, Pa.
The first amendment to the U. S. Constitution guarantees free-
dom of religion. Section three of Article I of Pennsylvania Con-
stitution gives man the right to worship Almighty God according
to the dictates of their own conscience.
Thomas Jefferson says : "Almighty God hath created the mind
free and the Author of religion chose not to propagate it by co-
James Madison : "Religion is not in the purview of human
government and is distinct from government."
Gen. Grant : "Leave the matter of religion to the family, church
and private school."
Historian Ridpath says: "Essential freedom is the right to
differ and that right must be sacredly respected."
John Wesley says : "Never attempt to force a man into, even,
Jesus said : "Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's ;
and unto God the things that are God's" means a separation of
church and state. All which means limits to civil authority.
Seventh Day Baptists ask for no laws but desire to be left alone.
Surely the church at large proclaims her lack of love and divine
power whenever she seeks to carry her work by coercion and the
power of the state. Did Jesus ever ask for one law or ordinance
to make man good ?
LEGEND OF EPHRATA
JOSEPPTHENRY DUBBS, D. D., Late of F. & M. College
ETER MILLER was for many years Prior of the
conventical life of the German Seventh Day Baptists
of Ephrata. Though in some respects apparently
fanatical his sincere piety was never questioned. The
legend was actually related to Dr. Dubbs on a visit
to Ephrata and is chronicled in print. It is further stated that the
property of Michael Widman was confiscated by the government
and sold in March, 1780.
This is the story I heard one day
In the ancient cloister at Ephrata:
Miller was Prior here, you know,
More than a hundred years ago.
Here at his summons, at dawn's early light,
Gathered the Brethren in garments of white,
Singing their songs of devotion and praise,
Raising to heaven their rapturous lays,
Ere to their labor, through cold and heat,
Forth they wandered with naked feet.
Treasure of treasures, peace of mind !
Where can the weary spirit find,
After temptation, heavenly rest?
Where can the mourning soul be blest?
Even within the convent's walls,
Often a cloud of sorrow falls;
And the saint that is pure as driven snow
Can never escape from his ruthless foe,
But must feel the blows of the monster grim
That is sent by Satan to buffet him.
Near the convent a tavern stood,
Kept by a Tory, a man of blood,
Michael Widman, whose dreaded name
Was known and hated for deeds of shame,
Often he stood at the convent gate
Taunting the Brothers with words of hate
Once he smote the Prior meek,
Cruel blows on his aged cheek
Adding the final deed of shame —
A cruel insult I need not name —
Which the soldiers wrought when they beat the knee
On the fearful journey to Calvary.
Saving the Life of a Foe
Washington was at Valley Forge,
Watching the army of old King George,
But he sent one day a soldier band
To seize the Tory that cursed the land;
And Widman was borne away to die
The shameful death of a British spy.
Some of the Brothers were glad to know
The coming fate of their wicked foe;
But the Prior said: "I can not stay!"
And over the hills he took his way.
His limbs were weary, his feet were sore,
When he stood at last at the chieftain's door,
And prayed aloud: "O, General, save
The man, who has sinned, from a traitor's grave !"
"Pray," said the chieftain, "Tell me why
You pled for the life of a British spy?
Does your love to your country's foes extend?
And why have you chosen this wicked friend?"
"Friend," said the Prior, "It is not so,
The man I believe is my only foe,
But I seek to do what the Scriptures tell
And those that hate me, I love full well.
Save him, save him! I humbly pray,
As you hope to stand on the Judgment Day!"
The chieftain (Washington) mused: "Such love is rare
And I can not deny your earnest prayer,
I will save the life of the British spy;
He must leave the country, but shall not die.
You have taught a lesson that all should know,
That a Christian prays for his vilest foe."
Thus a way was found and the way was best
That led the Brothers to peace and rest;
For the cruel Tories were seen no more,
Gathered around the tavern door;
And their wicked leader away was sent
To the foe, in lifelong banishment.
But the Brothers sang with the rising sun,
And patiently toiled till the day was done,
Till the Lord at last gave their souls release,
And took them home to the realms of peace.
The Ephrata Cloister
N THE old God's Acre by the parsonage are many
historic graves, among them the grave of Conrad
Beissel with a large flat sandstone monument, bearing
the following inscription on it: "Here rests an out-
growth of the spirit of God, Friedsam, a Solitary
brother, afterward a leader, ruler and teacher of the Solitary and
the Congregation of Christ in and around Ephrata. Born in
Eberbach in the Palatinate, called Conrad Beissel, fell asleep July
6, 1768, in the fifty-second year of his spiritual life, but aged
seventy-two years and four months in his natural life."
BeisseFs successor as prior of the convent was Peter Miller,
whose tombstone stands next to Beissel's with following epitaph :
"Here lies buried Peter Miller, born in Oberant Lantern, Palati-
nate, came as Reformed minister to America in 1730, was bap-
tized into the congregation at Ephrata in 1735 and called Brother
Jaebez, was afterward their teacher and leader to his end. Fell
asleep September 11, 1796."
Another stone reads: "Here rest the bones of an eminent
Philosopher, Jacob Martin, born in Europe June, 1725, died a
good Christian July 19, 1790." But this good Christian had been
an astrologer and is not yet a sage, hence the ironical epitaph.
Henry Hostetter died in 1833 and the inscription on his stone
states that he was honored with a seat in the State Assembly in
1828-29 fully eighty-eight years ago.
Joseph Konigmacher lies buried here. He built the Mountain
Springs resort and entertained many prominent persons there,
I them Pres. Buchanan, the Great Commoner, Hon. Thad-
deus Stevens, and others. Jos. Konigmacher is geographically
responsible for locating modern Ephrata, having been instru-
mental in having the R. and C. R. R. route changed to pass
through near the little villa of Ephrata then, rather than through
"New Ephrata." (Lincoln now.)
Joseph Konigmacher was the first president of the Ephrata
Monument Association, being elected in 1845. The next year he
built the fine commodious hotel now known as the Mountain
Springs. Joseph Konigmacher was prominent in politics, having
been elected as a Representative to the State Assembly and later
Rijjht siiie doorwuy 14" wkIo x second f loor ot S
Saal kitchen , sink anol drain pips
as a Senator. He was chairman of the Committee on Lunacy that
gave a favorable report for the erection of a State Lunatic
Asylum at Harrisburg. He was also a member of the Reform
Convention called to amend the Pennsylvania State Constitution.
Edwin Konigmacher also lies buried here. His daughter Anna
was the first wife of Gov. M. G. Brumbaugh. Mr. Konigmacher
became a success as an old time storekeeper and druggist, being
nicknamed "Dr. Peewee."
Wm. Konigmacher, who for many years took a prominent part
in the affairs of the Seventh Dayers, was the pioneer millstone
maker and dealer. He also furnished the stone for the present
court house and jail at Lancaster. He died in 1881. His son
Adam, a staple tanner and farmer, also lies buried in this ceme-
Quite a number of prominent persons lie buried in Mt. Zion
cemetery where the monument stands.
Quaint and intensely patriotic sentiments fired the hearts at
Ephrata's first Fourth of July celebration in 1843, when a very
eloquent oration was delivered by George W. McElroy, Esq., and
it was proposed to build a monument if possible by public and
private contributions. The sum deemed necessary was not to
exceed two thousand dollars,
In January, 1845, an act to incorporate the Ephrata Monument
Association was passed. Matters evidently drifted until 1855
when a supplement to the charter was enacted and approved. In
1863 Jerre Mohler was elected president to succeed Joseph
Konigmacher who had died in 1861.
Josh. 4:6. What mean ye by these stones
N 1894 the Monument Association revived efforts to
build the monument and finally the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania appropriated five thousand dollars and
the most handsome polished granite shaft, forty feet
high, was erected and dedicated and unveiled May 1,
1902, with impressive ceremonies in Mt. Zion cemetery on the
ancient Cloister premises when upwards of twenty thousand peo-
ple were present to view the military and civic parade and enjoy
the exercises, where rest the remains of those who fought on the
bloody fields of Brandywine.
Ex-Governor Robert E. Pattison delivered the principal ora-
tion. Hon. J. A. Stober, then State Senator, delivered the his-
torical address. The then Governor Wm. A. Stone presented the
monument in behalf of the State. Jerre Mohler, president of the
association, accepted it. Miss Jean Wilson, of Washington, D. C,
read a poem written by Mrs. Mary N. Robinson, of Lancaster.
At one o'clock the big parade took place. It formed at the
Square with the right resting on Main street. Harry C. Gem-
perling, of Lancaster, who for years was a resident of Ephrata,
was chief marshall of the parade, and his aides were : Dr. J. Mc-
Caa, Dr. H. G. Reimensnyder, Dr. J. G. Leber, John M. Strohl,
A. Lane and Martin G. Stamy. Among the organizations taking
part in the parade were: Companies A and I, of Reading; Com-
pany C, of Columbia, and Company K, of Lancaster, of the Penn-
sylvania State National Guard, the battalion being in charge of
Major E. B. Eckman, assisted by Hugh M. North, of Columbia;
Manheim Fencibles, Millersville Cadets, Mountain Springs Rifles,
of Ephrata. The uniformed American Mechanics guards of
Lancaster; George H. Thomas and Admiral Reynolds posts of
the Grand Army, from Lancaster, as well as posts from Christi-
ana, Manheim, Downingtown, Quarryville and Marietta. In ad-
dition there were lodges of Odd Fellows from Terre Hill, New
Holland, and camps of the Patriotic Order of Sons of America
from Downingtown, Ephrata, Terre Hill and other places. There
were a great many representatives from the following chapters of
Daughters of the American Revolution; Donegal, of Lancaster;
Witness Tree, of Columbia ; Yorktown, of York ; Harrisburg and
Marion, of Philadelphia. Some of the ladies took part in the
In making up the line the Grand Army posts were given the
right, and they were followed by the National Guard, and then
the independent military companies of the county, including the
Manheim Fencibles, Millersville Cadets, Mountain Springs Rifles
and uniformed American Mechanics' guards, after which came
the Patriotic Sons of America and other secret societies. The line
of march was from the Square at Ephrata, to Washington avenue,
to Locust street, to Lincoln avenue, to East Main street. In pass-
ing Hotel Cocalico the parade was reviewed by Governor Stone,
ex-Governor Pattison and other notables, who fell in line in car-
riages. The line then moved to West Main street and thence to
Mt. Zion's cemetery, which was soon crowded with people, while
all the fields and roads in the immediate neighborhood were also
filled. After music by the band, President Jere Mohler, of the
Monument Association, opened the exercises, and there was an
invocation by Rev. John S. King, a Seventh Day Baptist Bishop.
A. F. Hostetter, of Lancaster, was announced as chairman of the
meeting. Then followed the unveiling of the monument. At a
given signal the flags were removed by Miss Helen Carter, great-
great-granddaughter of Major William Wirth, a distinguished
Lancaster county officer in the Continental army.
The monument is in Mt. Zion cemetery, about a half-mile north-
west of the town, on a hill overlooking the place. The cemetery
is not large, but contains many very old graves, and it has recently
been cleared and repaired until it presents a fine appearance. The
monument is situated near the centre of the plot, and can be seen
for some distance in every direction. The monument cost $5,000,
which money was appropriated by the State Legislature, but the
other expenses, including the celebration, etc., was about $2,000
additional, which was raised by the trustees and people of
The monument was built, taken to Ephrata and erected by
Thomas & Miller, of Quincy, Massachusetts. It is a beautiful
granite shaft 39 feet high, polished from bottom to top, and is
said to be one of the largest monuments of its kind in America.
It is inscribed and bears bronze tablets in relief. The inscriptions
are as follows :
North side: "Erected under the auspices of the Ephrata Monu-
ment Association, which was duly chartered by the Legislature of
the State of Pennsylvania. Unveiled and dedicated on May 1,
East side : "A grateful acknowledgment is here inscribed to
the religious society of the Seventh Day Baptists for its devotion
in administering to the wounds and comforts of the brave heroes."
The Ephrata Cloister
South side: "Sacred to the memory of the patriotic soldiers of
the American Revolution who fought in the battle of the Brandy-
wine, September n, 1777. About five hundred of the sick and
wounded were removed to Ephrata for treatment. Several hun-
dred died who were buried in this consecrated ground."
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
This inscription is surmounted by a bronze tablet of cross
swords in relief.
West side: ''More than a century the remains of these patriots
rested in this hallowed spot without any commemoration except
the following words on a plain board :
" 'Hier Ruhen die Gebeine von viel Soldaten.' "
(Here rest the remains of many soldiers.)
This inscription is surmounted by a bronze tablet of a Conti-
nental soldier in reilef.
Around the base of the monument is an asphalt pavement, and
at each corner are pyramids of cannon balls. Steps lead to the
base of the monument, on either side of which is an old-fashioned
cannon. The members of the Monument Association, through
whose efforts this beautiful shaft was erected, are as follows :
Jeremiah Mohler, president; Jacob Konigmacher, secretary rnid
treasurer; Dr. J. F. Mentzer, J. L. Steinmetz, Joseph Zerfass,
William Slump and Dr. B. Rhine Hertz. The president was a
charter member of the association, who had been working for
years in behalf of the monument, and now had the pleasure of
seeing it unveiled.
Poem by Mrs. Robinson on unveiling of Ephrata Monument:
Here under the silent moonlight,
And under the sunshine's glow
At rest 'neath the summer grasses,
At rest 'neath the winter's snow,
Deep hid in earth's vast bosom
And lulled by the robin song,
Lie the men who fought for freedom,
Who died to right the wrong.
To-day we are come together
To offer our meed of praise,
To give to these silent heroes
The shaft that o'er them we raise;
We reap the fruit of their sowing,
It sprang from each soldier's grave,
And the baptism of our nation
Was found in the blood they gave.
Through the pangs of their dissolution
Came the throes of a nation's birth;
And a grand new constellation
Flashes forth 'mid the stars of Earth;
Monument in Zion Hill Cemetery in Memory of Revolution Soldiers
Unveiling the Monument
And the banner which binds our Union
Was then to the winds unfurled,
The banner of Truth, of Freedom,
The banner to lead the world!
The blue of its field tells their honor,
Where glisten its many stars;
And pure as their love of country
Is the white of its stainless bars.
They gave their blood for its crimson
And the shaft which it veils to-day,
Is a tribute paid to the valor
Of those who have passed away!
Oh! Land 'neath one flag united,
The Flag of the Stripes and Stars !
Oh! youngest amid the Nations,
Unconquered in all thy wars!
Go till the sun knows no setting
O'er the land of a people free,
And all men bend in loyal greeting,
To the Flag of Liberty !
Mark 16:15. Go into all the world — Preach the gospel
LOSELY affiliated and a direct child of the Ephrata
Seventh Dayers is the German Seventh Day Baptist
Church of Morrison's Cove, Bedford County, Pa. It
was organized early in the nineteenth century. Regu-
lar services were held at first in private residences
and special services such as love-feasts or like occasions were
often held in a barn. The exact date of the Seventh Day Baptist
revival in Bedford County is not now definitely known but the
first resident ministers of the denomination ordained in the Cove
were John Snoeberger and Henry Boyer.
The commodious brick church now in use near Salemville,
Bedford County, was erected in 1847, superintended by three
members of the body ; viz : John Burger, Jacob Long and Ephrairrs
Mentzer. The entire cost of the building at the time was $1713.00.
It has since been covered with a slate roof at a cost of about
$250.00 and the original furniture has been replaced with hard-
wood pews of modern design costing $122.50. There is no par-
sonage attached to the church building. The property rights of
the church are held by a board of three trustees in connection with
the regular ordained ministers. A beautifully located cemetery
lies a short distance from the church ; it is under the direction of
an association, composed of the three regular trustees for property
and two others elected by the body of the church for a term of
three years, same as the church property trustees. Both church
and cemetery are valued together at $3000.00 and are entirely free
from debt. All services at this time are conducted in the English
language. Resident ministers are: Jeremiah Fyock, of Salem-
ville, and W. K. Bechtel, of Baker's Summit. All serve without
pay. At present the male communicants number 44; female 57;
total 10 1. There were formerly two organizations in Somerset
County ; one in Brother's Valley Township and another in Shade
Township. The former has become extinct by death, removal,
etc., and the remaining members at the latter place hold their
membership with the Morrison's Cove Church at Salemville.
There is a regular organized Sabbath School conducted here
which meets every Seventh Day. It has ten officers and teachers
and over a hundred scholars.
Frank King, the choritser of the church and leader of the
Salemville Silver Cornet Band, has a splendid choir that fur-
nishes excellent special music at church occasions. He, true to
the old Seventh Day Baptists' idea, of Ephrata, is an excellent
printer and does splendid work for a large trade established, be-
sides doing all the printing for the denomination in Pennsylvania.
His father, Christian L. King, has long been a leader of church
affairs there besides being one of the most prominent grangers of
William King, a son of C. L. King, deals extensively in auto-
mobiles throughout Bedford County and is another pillar of the
Seventh Day Baptists.
At Nunnery, two and one-half miles north of Waynesboro,
Franklin Co., Pa., is a very flourishing church as a result of Eph-
rata mission work.
About one-fourth mile north of the main buildings on the
northern extremity of the farm, consisting of one hundred and
thirty acres of land, Nunnery, Franklin Co., Pa., is a graveyard
used by the public. Here is found the grave of Peter Lehman,
the supposed founder of the Snow Hill Institute. This place,
commonly, is called the Nunnery. From whence the name orig-
inated we have no account, but this much we know that about as
soon as the place was occupied by ten or fifteen or more persons,
and it became noted for religious meetings being held, the people
commenced to call it the Nunnery.
One of the sisters who was born on the place, and lived there
to the advanced age of seventy-three years, told the writer, that
in the year 1775 meetings were held at their house, and that upon
one occasion a difference of opinion took place, on doctrines of
religion, and the preacher went off and did not stay for dinner.
After that, meetings were held by other preachers, among the
number was Peter Miller, of Ephrata, Lancaster County, Penn-
A number of letters, in the hand writing of Peter Miller, are
still here, which show that requests had been sent to have appoint-
ments made and meetings held. These letters date along the
period of 1780-90.
Conrad Beissel (By sel) of the religious institute of Ephrata,
founded in about 1730, held meetings at the Antietam, in the
southern portion of Franklin County, Pa., in the year 1764. At
the time a school teacher and six children were killed by the In-
dians near Greencastle.
There is a letter, written by Peter Miller near the close of his
life, to Peter Lehman, in which he says it would be in accordance
with his wishes, if he, Peter Lehman, would take charge of the
affairs of the church at the Antietam.
The Ephrata Cloister
The grave of Peter Lehman is found in the northern portion
of the graveyard. There is a bluish marble stone about three feet
high and twenty inches wide. On the one side is the following
inscription in the German in English letter :
"Here rest the mortal remains of Peter Lehman. — Was born
on the 24th of May 1757 and passed from time to eternity on the
4th of January 1823. Aged 65 years 7 months and 11 days."
On the opposite side of the stone is the following :
"Peter Lehman, upright in walk, righteous in life, just in faith,
patient in hope, brings a blessed end.
Look at me, I have had for a short time toil and labor. And
have found great comfort. For the Lord has appeared unto me
from afar. For the weary souls he will revive, and the troubled
souls he will comfort."
Peter Lehman came to the southern part of Franklin Co., Pa.,
in about 1795 or a few years earlier. He was a native of the
Glades, Somerset County, Pa., and a descendant of the denomina-
tion called Amish or Ornish. He adopted the persuasion of the
Ephrata Church, Lancaster County, Pa.
He became pastor of the Ephrata persuasion, at the Antietam.
He had been at Ephrata, a religious institution in Lancaster
County, Pa., and acquired a knowledge of the Ephrata church
music, which he afterwards introduced at Snow Hill, and the
probability seems to be, that he at once commenced making ar-
rangements to found an institution like the one at Ephrata.
Now in about the year 1800 there were eight heirs to the Snow
Hill farm, three sons and five daughters, and their parents were
both living. Some three of the children had married and com-
menced house-keeping. Two, as we suppose, married sometime
afterwards. Two daughters and one son, Barbara, Elizabeth and
John, remained at home, and favored the founding of an institu-
At one time a valuation was put on the property, what it was
we never learned, and it was agreed that the heirs who had left
would sell their shares to those who had remained at home. Time
passed on, the property increased in value and the heirs who had
left, became dissatisfied and wanted more. Then another valua-
tion was made; what it was we do not know, but the probability
seems to be, that it was eight thousand dollars. At all events
Elizabeth Snowberger, one of the heirs, said in just so many
words, "we all got one thousand dollars."
We are nearly certain, that Peter Lehman and his friends did
purchase of the heirs of Andrew Snowberger for the sum of
eight thousand dollars all their interests in the Snow Hill farm.
Then further, Andrew Snowberger did agree to make a lawful
deed to a Board of Trustees by taking a bond for the sum of six-
teen hundred and fifty dollars. He died in the year 1825, and
the estate was finally settled in the year 1828. He made a will,
and willed those sixteen hundred and fifty dollars to the heirs.
This sum we suppose was included in the sum paid to the heirs.
The grist mill was built in the year 1807 with one pair of burrs
and one pair of choppers. It was said it was built by Peter Leh-
man. For a number of years, as we understand, it was run by
Peter Lehman & Company. The merchants in Baltimore made
inquiry of the teamsters, who it was that made such excellent
flour. The mystery was this, only the best was taken out, and the
balance the women fed to the cows, and made an abundance of
John Snowberger and his family came from Switzerland in the
The mill in 1830 rented for about three hundred dollars, in
1840 for about four hundred. It is a question whether Peter
Lehman in money, land and labor did not pay three thousand
dollars towards the founding of the Snow Hill institution. He
died in 1823, aged 65 years, some months and days.
Snow Hill Buildings — Music
Ps. 24:3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord
|HE FIRST house ever erected on the grounds was a
log house built about one-fourth mile south of where
the buildings now stand. We suppose in about 1765.
The land being purchased from the Proprietaries of
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then under the
British Government, in 1763.
The second was a two-story stone house of good size, erected
where the first brick building at the west end now stands. It was
built in 1793.
The first brick house erected on the grounds was built in 1814.
It was said, it was built by Peter Lehman. It is the third house
from the west end ; forty feet long, thirty feet wide, two stories
high, ten by twelve glass. At the east end, on the second floor,
was a large room, set apart for meeting purposes.
Here meetings were held, small and large, as was customary in
those days, until 1829 when the meeting-house was built.
The second house erected was built in 1835. It is the second
one from the west end, and was put up between the old stone
house and the brick house first built. It is thirty feet square, two
stories high, for dining room purposes, and chapel above.
The third house erected was the first one at the west end, is
forty feet long, thirty wide, two stories high, was built in 1838.
The fourth one erected is the one at the east end. Forty feet
long, thirty wide, two stories high. Was built in 1843.
The meeting-house was built by the church. It was built by
subscription by the church, and the public, at an expense of about
fifteen hundred dollars.
We would perhaps not make the estimate too high, if we were
to say, that in the course of one hundred and more years, hun-
dreds and thousands of people have attended religious meetings
on these Snow Hill grounds.
In years gone by, on a fine summer's morning, the people would
drive in their carriages ten, twenty and thirty miles, to attend
large meetings. And in the afternoon get their dinner with-
out charge, of good bread, butter, coffee, and a few other articles.
We once heard a man say, he was among a company that had
Unusual System of Music
come thirty miles, and he ate heartily, the bread and coffee he said
But some people do not know how these meetings were held.
Well, the public has had a great deal to do with making them
just what they were. The church would decide on a day for a
meeting, at which arrangements would be made to entertain visi-
tors from a distance. Then very soon the public would find it out.
Presently you would hear that tailors and seamstresses round
about were all busy getting up new styles for the young people to
go to the large meeting.
The number of people generally in attendance at these meetings
is variously estimated at from five hundred to a thousand.
The number of loaves of bread prepared on such occasions was
from sixty to ninety. At times there would be some left, while
at others it would be used up entirely. The size of the loaves was
eight to one bushel.
Snow Hill Institute is one of the Literary Institutes of the
whole church of the Ephrata persuasion, whose members chiefly
reside in Lancaster, Franklin, Bedford and Somerset counties,
In about 1800 Peter Lehman and others began to devise a plan
to found an Institute like the one at Ephrata.
Quite a number of books were obtained from Ephrata — music
books and others. By 1820 the music became noted for excellence,
and accounts written by those who heard it at the time found their
way into periodicals and histories.
The music is chiefly composed in five parts, a few pieces in
We turn to page 199 of the Choir music, published at Ephrata,
1754, composed by Conrad Beissel, (By sel) Gott ein Hersher
alter Heideii. "God a ruler of all the nations." The piece is in
seven parts, Major scale on D. The composition is arranged on
the Treble pitch, or in other words, on the female voice. There
is an upper bass and a lower bass, but the lower bass runs just as
high as the upper. They are pitched an octave higher than the
ordinary church music of the present day.
The scale upon which the music is arranged includes three
whole octaves, bass, tenor and treble tones. There are used the
lowest tones of the male voice, and the highest tones of the
female voice. The leading part is sung by the best female voice.
Counting from below, the first part is lower bass, second upper
bass, third female tenor, fourth female treble, fifth counter high
female voice, sixth leading voice, seventh second leading voice.
The lower and upper bass have the F cleff on the fourth line.
Third and fourth part have the C cleff on the fourth line. The
The Ephrata Cloister
fifth part, the C cleff on the third line. The sixth and seventh
part, the C cleff on the first line.
The book containing the music has the following in the German.
''Which in these last times and ages, in these evening lands, and
parts of the earth have come forth as an approaching sound of the
"Consisting of a new and unusual system of music arranged
after the manner of the angelic and heavenly choirs."
Ephrata print 1754.
The following is a translation of the words to the first piece of
the work :
THE TREE OF LIFE
How deep within us hidden lies,
That noble branch and tree of life;
How many toils and cares arise,
Until again that state we find,
Wherein the branch is seen to glow,
And opens Paradise again;
He that is taught of God will know,
His soul shall heavenly bread obtain.
And should the tree in beauty glow,
And heavenly light be thrown around;
And fruit upon its branches grow,
Such as in Paradise are found,
Still must the root remain to stand,
Here in this world of sin and death,
Where there is pain on every hand,
Until the last expiring breath.
To look upward brings with it pain,
To him who clings to things of earth.
And though the branches beauty gain,
And Life and strength is springing forth,
Yet can the root no light shed forth,
Since it is hidden out of sight;
And should a dew moisten the earth,
It still remains concealed from light.
When flesh and blood will roses break,
It turns to earth the prize to find,
Where curse and thorns it overtake,
And pain torment the loving mind,
Since man this does not fully know,
That life blooms in eternity;
And things of earth cannot bestow,
A life divine from pain set free.
Unusual System of Music
Hence, wisdom has contrived a plan,
To send her glories down to earth;
That long were hidden unto man,
But now anew are breaking forth:
And pressing on in streams of light,
To plant a new and heavenly mind:
Her path shall be our chief delight,
So shall we full redemption find.
— Conrad Beissel.
Ephrata and Snow Hill Today
Ps. 1:3. Like a tree planted by the rivers of water
EV. JOHN A. PENTZ, Bishop of the Church in
Pennsylvania, is the minister in charge of the Snow
^ Hill congregation at present. Ninety-two communed
there in June, 1917. Rev. Wm. A. Resser assists
Rev. Pentz. The church also has preaching at Mt.
Zion, four miles northwest of Nunnery, and at stated times at
Tomstown, due north about same distance. New furnishing, fres-
coing, an organ and choir were recently introduced.
George Walk, of Quincy, one mile northwest of Nunnery, has
been- treasurer for many years. His father, the venerable Rev.
John Walk, was a former pastor of the Snow Hill congregation.
He died about five years ago. George Walk is now retired after
having led a very busy life as postmaster, teacher and farmer.
Miss Emma Mohn, a graduate of Lock Haven Normal School,
is one of the active members here as well as the Recording Secre-
tary of Pennsylvania Conference of German Seventh Day Bap-
tists. Ulcie Pentz is the Nunnery farmer assisted by his father,
Rev. John A. Pentz.
The Sunday School connected with Zion Reformed Church,
Lincoln, Pa., one mile distant from Cloister, was organized in the
Ephrata Academy building in 1844, by a Mr. E. A. Wiggins and
some time thereafter moved to New Ephrata, now called Lincoln,
with the late Albert Bowman of Ephrata as its superintendent,
being known as the Lincoln Union Sunday School.
Superintendent Bowman was succeeded by Joseph M. Shenk
and Mr. Shenk was succeeded by Hon. Christian W. Myers, Chief
of Bureau of Colled n Public Officers, of Harrisbug,
Pa., in Auditor General's Department, and Mr. Myers was suc-
ceeded by L. E. Miller, Esq., who since 1876 has been its superin-
tendent. Upon completion of the new Zion Reformed Church
building in 1901, the school was removed from the Lutheran and
Reformed church edifice to the new building and named Zion
The fortieth anniversary of L. E. Miller as Sunday School
superintendent became a matter of history when on Sunday, June
\y, i') 1 7, an appropriate service was held, namely: A. M., a ser-
mon by Pastor Rev. M. \Y. Schweitzer. P. M., a community
Sunday School Offspring of Cloister
reunion service with opening prayer by Rev. C. F. Glessner, of
Bethany Reformed Church, Ephrata. Historical address by L.
E. Miller. Reminiscent addresses by A. K. Hostetter, Cashier
Conestoga National Bank, Lancaster; Rev. S. G. Zerfass, Pastor
at Cloister and Chaplain of House of Representatives at Harris-
burg; John M. Fry, Editor Ephrata Reporter, recently deceased;
Rev. Thos. Hacker, of Wyomissing; and a presentation address
by Rev. M. W. Schweitzer by which a fine Morris chair and flow-
ers were presented to the honored superintendent, L. E. Miller,
also teller in the Lincoln National Bank. The exercises were
brought to a close in the evening with a sermon by Rev. Dr. F. J.
Hacker, pastor of the Reformed Church at Wyomissing, also a
Past State Pres., P. O. S. of A. of Virginia. Mrs. Andrew H.
Garber rendered a splendid solo. The attendance throughout the
day was large.
L. E. Miller, Edwin Musser, Catharine Stuber Stephan, Sue
Andes Reinhold, Lillie K. Eitnier, Mary Wolf Ditzler, Mary Mel-
linger Serena Schaeffer Wissler, Martin W. Schweitzer, Henry
M. Wolf and Henry B. Keller are the living Sunday School pupils
of 1877, twenty-nine having passed to the great beyond. Most of
the pupils were formerly enrolled in the old New Ephrata and
Academy public schools, the latter of which being on the Cloister
premises will be described later.
Extensive religious combinations to effect a political object are
always dangerous. The combinations here, however, only worked
for good, politics being forgotten in the promulgation of truth.
John Conrad Beissel
Ps. 1:6. The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous
OHN CONRAD BEISSEL, the founder of the Sev-
enth Day Baptists and the now prosperous borough of
Ephrata, first saw the light of the world in 1690, at
Eberbach, a village on the Neckar, belonging to a
sub-bailiwick of the domain of Mossbach in the
Palatinate. His father was a baker, but of such intemperate habits
that he spent all his money and died soon after, leaving a poor
widow with a numerous family, and Conrad his youngest son was
born two months after his father's death, and was therefore a true
opus postumum; by which orphan birth the Spirit indicated his
future lone condition and as one preordained, he derived no com-
fort from his natural kindred. His mother was a godly person
and raised him until he was eight years old when she, too, died.
From that time he led a sorry life until he was old enough to
learn a trade. With his growth of years he displayed extraordi-
nary natural gifts. He showed a wonderful facility for learning
many things, without any instruction, merely with reflection, his
brother frequently telling him that he (Conrad) would yet make
a fool of himself. He was apprenticed to a baker who also
taught him how to play the violin and as he frequently danced at
weddings and carousals, it was all the more wonderful to have
him become a Pietist.
He was converted in 171 5, when twenty-five years old. His
fame as a baker spread, many grew jealous and once at a guild
banquet he reproved the others for their idle practices, in conse-
quence of which, the masters managed with the city councils to
have him arrested and put in jail. His trial soon took place and
no just cause was found, so his accusers declared that he was a
Pietist and he was tried by an ecclesiastical court of the clergy of
the three dominant religions. They decided to give him the
choice to join one of these three religions or leave the country,
but the former was against his conscience and he had to leave
notwithstanding the fact that his master and a Jew made stren-
uous efforts to gain his pardon. Therefore in 1720 he set out for
America, landing in autumn at Boston and because of the religious
freedom in Pennsylvania, Beissel went to Germantown and made
John Conrad Beissel
friends with one John Kelpius, a leader of a solitary life residing
His trade of baker being no benefit to him in America, he
learned the weaver's trade with Peter Becker, a member of the
Baptists. These good people loved him much and he was instru-
mental in arousing many to a sense of duty.
In the fall of the year 1721, he went into a country known as
Conestoga, this county, and with the aid of his traveling com-
panion Stuntz built a solitary home at Muehlbach or Mill Creek.
Isaac Von Bebren and George Stiefel joined them soon afterward
and the latter declared that they should observe the seventh day or
Sabbath and work on the first day or Sunday. His companions
did not like this solitary life and in a short time deserted Beissel
who on his visits frequently did not eat for three days for his own
devotion but greatly to the offense of a kind and hospitable people.
Soon afterward Peter Becker, his former master, was on a tour
of preaching baptism and Beissel decided to humble himself and
was baptized and the first lovefeast of any religious sect in this
county was held on November 12, 1724, just 170 years ago.
Shortly after his baptism, Beissel and some others of the same
faith united. Some chose to call him a fool but he conducted
meetings with astonishing strength of spirit and was quite an
orator. The congregation in September of that year observed
their first Lord's Supper .
He composed a very large number of tunes for four voices and
was quite a poet, his printed hymns numbering four hundred and
forty-one, many being quite prophetic. There remain sixty-six
printed discourses and seventy-three spiritual letters, therefore
your humble servant veritably believes Conrad Beissel should be
given a more prominent place in our history.
John Conrad Beissel's Death
Rev. 2:10. Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life
OHN CONRAD BEISSEL, originator of the Ephrata
community, died July 6, 1768, in the 77th year of his
He attended to his ministerial duties until within
eight days of his departure at which time he per-
formed his official duties at his last lovefeast, in other words the
holy communion. He was then already so weak that on his way
"he was so sick he could just lie down and die."
Three days before his death an aged sister who held him in high
esteem came to her last moments and requested Beissel to visit her
even if he could not speak, if she only might see him. Notwith-
standing his conflict with death he called a brother to his aid and
complied with her request, soon after which her spirit fled.
At the same time there was another, who had come from a far
distant land, and had but shortly before become a sister, in a low
state of sickness ; and she desired of the Lord, that he would but
let her die with this righteous man : and it was her lot to depart
before him, some hours only.
At length came the 6th day of Jply 1768, upon which his time
of probation was brought to a close. In the morning he was seen
a short distance abroad, in consequence of which, no one appre-
hended that the spirit's final flight was so near at hand ; neither
could the powers of death prostrate him so far as to oblige him
to take the bed of sickness. In the mean time, however, constant
watch was kept; for it was presumed that strange things would
yet take place, and that the powers of death would yet have much
with him to do; since he was an old warrior that was not accus-
tomed to depend upon the good usage of men, nor to flee before
the powers of darkness.
But at length the message came of his fast approaching end ;
when a number of persons gathered into his house : the brethren
stood nearest around him, and next stood the sisters ; and such
of them as were small, stood upon benches to witness the last of
his transitory existence. Of his approaching end he was con-
scious ; and having his powers of speech, he conversed of differ-
ent religious matters ; when he at length requested of the brethren
to be blessed, and taken into their communion ; which was assented
JOHN CONRAD BEISSEL'S DEATH
to, and prayer pronounced with the laying on of hands, after
which all the brethren gave him the kiss of peace upon the way.
He was then persuaded to lie down upon his bench, when he
was heard to repeat several times the words, "O way! way!
O woonder! O woonder!" upon which his voice failed, and soon
after he fell quietly asleep. Then was the saying of old remem-
bered, "My father, my father, the Chariot of Israel, and the
horsemen thereof." (See 2 Kings 2:12.) Yet no one was seen
to shed tears, for there was within all an inward emotion of
thanksgiving unto God, that he with so much mercy, after a so
long continued martyrdom, had delivered his servant, from the
death of the natural body.
The words which he made use of, are in identical English : O
woe ! O woe ! O wonder ! O wonder ! Under what reflections he
repeated those words, can of course only be conjectured. If his
modes of expression, as found in his writings, can to any degree
be relied on, in solving the mystery, there is reason to believe that
he in the first place, had reference to the destiny of the wicked;
and in the second, to the salvation of the righteous. This conclu-
sion, would fully agree with different subjects, which near his
last engaged his mind.
In person he was small, yet well formed ; in features, his fore-
head was high, his nose prominent, and his eyes sharp. His ap-
pearance generally made the impression upon others, that he was
a man of deep and profound thought. Otherwise he had excel-
lent natural talents, that under favorable circumstances, he might
have become one of the most learned men. Many through his
labors, were awakened to a spiritual life; and many strove earn-
estly to follow in his footsteps, but could not keep equal pace ; for
he had given himself so far out of his own hands, both naturally
and spiritually, that he lived in a singular narrowed-up way, that
continued to the close of his life. In accordance with the dictates
of his conscience he lived and died in a single state of life, and
owned no property.
He was born in the year 1609, his repentance was brought about,
without any human agency, in the year 171 5, in the 25th year of
his age. His whole age he brought to yy years, 4 months, and 6
If it had been possible to develop and control the natural talents
and the spiritual along certain lines there is no conjecture as to the
ultimate and inestimable greatness of men of this type. He was
great beyond comparison in his sphere. Surely his efforts were
indefatigable to do the right as he believed God gave him power
to know the right, to exercise a sincerity of purpose worthy of
consideration and emulation.
The Ephrata Cloister
The death of Beissel was followed by some internal dissensions
as he was the leading spirit with an iron hand. The new prior
was of a retiring disposition and very meek and unassuming and
the time of aggressive policy in the community life was past.
This is not said to detract from the culture and scholarly traits of
Peter Miller, his successor.
Peter Miller's Tombstone, Virtually Secretary of State. Translated
Declaration of Indedendence into Seven Languages
Matthew 5:44. Love your enemies
ETER MILLER was the son of a Reformed minister,
born early in the year 1710 at Altzborn Oberant,
Kaiserlautern in the Palatinate. He was educated at
Heidleberg University, where he graduated as an
honor student with a skillful training in theology and
law, alike, afterwards elected a member of the American Philo-
sophical Society. In his twentieth year he responded to a call for
clergymen from Pennsylvania, where he arrived August 28, 1730,
and was ordained in November, becoming pastor of the Tulpe-
hocken Church between Womelsdorf and Myerstown where there
was a union congregation of Lutherans and Reformed made up
of Germans, many of whom lived in the Cocalico valley and
Bucherthal in the upper Conestoga country.
Peter Miller was tall of stature, with a kindly face, friendly
manner, distinguished looking, open hearted toward those to
whom he took a liking. He was modest and extremely meek.
Many visiting strangers always tried to get an introduction to him,
seeking his society, some for reputation's sake, others to mix with
culture and refinement, others because they recognized him as a
man of much learning, an expert linkuist and had much theologi-
His disposition, in addition to the pietistic simplicity of char-
acter and kndness of manner, was open, frank, affable, easy of
access and entertaining, instructive and agreeable in conversation.
He was judicious, sensible, well informed, easy and cheerful, a
man who had received from God most remarkable gifts and sound
judgment and on account of that, carried great weight with him
into whatever sphere he might turn calling for honorable sacred
performance of duty to God and man.
Yet when Jaebez (Peter Miller) assumed management of the
Ephrata Community the settlement was already on the decline
due to conditions not to Miller.
When the American Revolution broke out. Congress needed to
find a trustworthy scholar to translate the diplomatic correspond-
ence into different tongues of Europe. Many who had the ability
were suspected or being fugitives or Tories. This being true of
the clergy of the Established Church. At this time, Charles
The Ephrata Cloister
Tompson thought of Jaebez. The offer was made to him to do
this work. He promptly accepted and didn't receive a penny for
his services, all of which appears as a matter of record.
This humble recluse of Ephrata translated the Declaration of
Independence into seven different languages and sent it to the
different courts of Europe, the work being done in a cabin shown
in this book, possibly most of it by the light of a schmaltz-lamppe
(fed licht), lard lamp.
Surely the services rendered by Jaebez can hardly be estimated
at the present time. He was alike author of a song book, an ex-
pert proof reader, and translator of the Mennonite Martyr's Mir-
ror, upward of 1500 pages. The making of the paper, setting the
type, printing, translating and binding of which occupied more
than a dozen men over two and a half years.
Peter Miller was well known to Washington by whom he was
greatly respected. It is said and handed down from generation
to generation that Washington visited the Cloister on three dif-
ferent occasions, being received by Miller and the Ephrata Com-
munity at the west end of the Saron. His favorite chair can be
seen in the Saron.
Jaebez exercised great diligence and activity as well as foster-
ing care of the mission churches or congregations west of the
Susquehanna and his interest continued until his death ensued.
His love and solicitude for the churches at Bermudian and An-
tietam were very marked even in his declining years.
A few years prior to his death he fractured his hip by a severe
fall and so lamed him that any journey, let alone pilgrimages,
were out of the question. Little is known of his latter days. He
died September 25, 1796, aged 86 years and 9 months, having
lived on some borrowed time. Truly his days were "many" and
useful. Some time before his departure from this life his health
was poor and it is reported that he had a second fall causing him
to take his bed until the day he died. His remains were interred
besides the grave of Beissel. A large and sad funeral ensued. A
terrific storm broke upon the concourse which was in attendance,
a suitable sermon being delivered with the text from Rev. XIV :
12 :i3 as a basis of eulogy.
"Here is the patience of the saints ; here are they that keep the
commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write,
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.
Yea saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labors and their
works do follow them."
He was also the author of the Chronicon Ephratense. Truly
Peter Miller needs no monument to be remembered but deserves
one for services rendered to God and man.
It is said that the following was penned by Francis Hopkinson:
TO PETER MILLER AT EPHRATA
The Eternal God from His exalted throne
Surveys at once earth, heaven and worlds unknown,
All things that are before His piercing eye
Like the plain tracings of a picture lie;
Unuttered thoughts, deep in the heart concealed,
In strong expression stands to Him revealed.
Thousands and twice ten thousands every day
To Him a feigned or real homage pay:
Like clouds of incense rolling to the skies,
In various forms their supplications rise.
Their various forms to Him no access gain
Without the heart's true incense, all are vain;
The suppliant's secret motives there appear,
The genuine source of every offered prayer.
Some place Religion on a throne superb,
And deck with jewels her resplendent gray;
Painting and sculpture all their powers display,
And lofty tapers shed a lambent ray.
High on the full toned organ swelling sound,
The pleasing anthem floats serenely round;
Harmonious strains their thrilling powers combine
And lift the soul in ecstacy divine.
In Ephrata's deep gloom you fix your seat
And seek religion in the dark retreat.
In sable weeds you dress the heaven born maid,
And place her pensive in the lonely shade;
Recluse unsocial, you your hours employ
And fearful banish every harmless joy.
Each may admire and use their favorite form,
If Heaven's own flame their glowing bosoms warm,
If love divine of God and man be there,
The deep felt want that forms the ardent prayer.
The grateful sense of blessings freely given
The boon unsought, unmerited of heaven.
'Tis true devotion— and the Lord of love,
Such prayers and praises kindly will approve,
Whether from golden altars they arise,
And wrapt in sound and incense reach the skies;
Or from your Ephrata so meek and low,
In soft and silent aspirations flow.
O let the Christian bless that glorious day,
When outward forms shall sure be done away,
When we in spirit and in truth alone,
Shall bend O Lord! before thy awful throne
And thou our purer worship shall approve
By sweet returns of everlasting love.
Laying Corner-Stone for Monument
Exodus 3:15. This is my memorial to all generations
jHE following is a short account of the laying of the
corner-stone of the proposed monument at Mt. Zion,
Sept. nth, 1845.
On the 4th of July, 1843, a movement was made to
have a monument erected at the bury-ground on Mt.
Zion, where many of the first settlers of Ephrata rest, and whose
graves bear different marks of respect and love from those left
behind. The soldiers buried in this ground up to the year 1843,
had nothing but the recollections of a few old citizens, and the
time-worn inscription on a pine board, 6 in. wide and 6 fet. long,
placed over the entrance to where lay the remains — many in one
grave, and altogether occupying about as much space as is usually
allotted to twenty graves at this period. The board bears this in-
"Hier ruhen die Gebeine von viel Soldaten"
which means "Here rest the remains of many soldiers" — a simple
but touching memorial.
At this time a society was formed for erecting the proposed
monument, at the head of which was Joseph Konigmacher, Esq.,
of Ephrata. Slowly and carefully did they work until on Sept.
nth, 1845, the following imposing and solemn ceremonies took
place, being the anniversary of the Battle of Brandywine, Sept.
nth, 1777, an encampment of soldiers which was commenced on
Tuesday, on the open space in which Mt. Zion is located.
The peaceful abode of the pious and learned fathers of Ephrata
had rarely been the scene of strong worldly gatherings. The val-
ley had often resounded to the almost heavenly music, written by
Father Beissel, the head of the institution. None but those who
had heard the music, were able to judge of its effects. Those who
had heard it, spoke of it as realizing their fancy of the song of
angels. But this occasion brought into the lovely place for the
third time the men of battle, and thousands of the young and old
of the county and those adjoining.
Among the strangers present were Col. Scott, of New Bruns-
wick, N. J., and his interesting sister, Miss Hannah Scott. She
was then about 80 years of age, yet healthful, cheerful and active.
Laying Corner-stone for Monument
She was here while the sick soldiers were in the society's houses.
Her father, Dr. Scott, afterwards Surgeon General of the army,
was one of the three physicians who had care of the sick and
wounded soldiers, and he brought thither his family. Miss Scott
was then nearly twelve years of age, and her memory was very
distinct upon many events, especially as it was subsequently re-
freshed by conversations with her father.
At 10 o'clock there was a review of the soldiery of his Excel-
lency, the Governor of the Commonwealth, Hon. Francis R.
Shunk, who, with part of his staff and Cabinet, had come to assist
in the ceremonies of the day. After the review, the military
formed around the site of the monument, when the Rev. Daniel
Hertz offered a prayer.
Mr. Fagan, a marble mason of Lancaster, then put into the
Governor's hands some implements, when his Excellency ad-
dressed the immense assemblage in English, on the nature of the
ceremony and the object of the monument. He then read a list
of papers about to be deposited, and turned and addressed the
company in German. Both addresses were appropriate and stir-
ring. The ceremonies having been concluded, the miltary formed
and received the Governor, the Orator of the day, the President
of the day, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the President of
the Society, the Treasurer of the State, the Clergy and others
(the present President walking with the President at that time).
The whole body then moved towards an adjacent grove, where a
rostrum had been erected and seats provided for a goodly number.
After the company had seated, the military was formed on the
outside, and the Rev. Mr. Buchanan opened the meeting with
prayer. The President of the day, Col. Scott, of New Jersey,
then made a very touching and eloquent address, and introduced
Joseph R. Chandler, who delivered an oration ; after which Mr.
J. Beck, the Principal of Lititz Academy, spoke for a considerable
time in German. His address was fervent, eloquent and stirring,
and his appeal to the spirit of the dead, and to one venerable man
present, who was at the Battle of Brandywine, was touching in
the highest degree. The ceremonies of the morning were closed
with a fervent prayer and benediction by the Rev. Mr. Wooley, of
Lititz, a clergyman well known and respected in Philadelphia. At
half past 3 p. m. an historical address was delivered by George W.
McElroy, Esq., of Lancaster. It was a beautiful compend of the
story of the valley and the hill, eloquent and gratifying.
Among the military were two companies from Philadelphia,
one of which was commanded by Col. Murphy. We believe none
visited the beautiful valley for the first time on that occasion, that
did not feel delighted with the place, and spoke favorably and
encouragingly of the project.
Incorporation of Ephrata Borough
Gen. 4:17. And He Builded a City
N application for the incorporation of Ephrata into a
borough was presented to Quarter Sessions Court,
April 20th, 1 89 1. The application was the outcome of
the agitation of the two months prior. Of the 298
property holders of the town, 170 had signed the peti-
tion, but of course, as in all progressive movements, a counter
petition was originated and circulated, and presented in opposition
at Court, with 102 names attached, a number of whom were non-
residents. Messrs. Brown and Hensel represented the petitioners,
and Messrs. Steinmetz, Malone and Whitson were attorneys for
During the ten years prior to this move the town had a rate of
growth of about 300 per cent. The population at the time of in-
corporation was about 2200. A bank, four churches and various
industries desired the advantages of municipal privileges ; a police
system was needed; better school facilities, graded streets and
According to announcement a meeting was held in Mentzer's
Hall on Saturday afternoon, February 14th, 1891, to define the
boundaries of the new borough of Ephrata. There was a large
attendance of property holders and great interest was manifested
in the movement. The advantages of having borough regulations
were presented and fully explained. The spirit of the meeting
was good and the sentiment in favor of the advance movement
was almost unanimous, but very few making exceptions to the
step. Messrs. George Wise, John R. Messner, J. B. Kellar, J. J.
Baer and J. B. Eshleman were appointed a committee to make a
draft of the proposed lines. George A. Kemper, of Akron, was
the surveyor, and the entire work was performed with promptness
and little or no opposition from the property holders along the line
surveyed, almost all being anxious to be included in the borough
The petition for the incorporation of our town into a borough
having gone through all the preliminary stages, the Court on Sat-
urday afternoon, August 22d, 1891, made a decree incorporating
it into a borough, Judge Patterson issuing the decree.
Incorporation of Ephrata Borough
An editorial from the Ephrata Review, August 28th, 1891, says:
"At last the wish of our citizens has been granted and we are an
incorporated borough. If we citizens perform our duties consci-
entiously and with a desire for realizing the best good to the
greatest number, we will soon reap the advantages to be derived
from incorporation. It is now necessary to elect to the several
borough offices, men who will advance the interests of the town.
If they are wise and prudent, our streets and sidewalks will soon
be in better condition than at present, and at a cost but little in ad-
vance of our past taxation for road purposes. An economical and
wise borough council can soon put into operation plans whereby
our streets can be lighted, our schools better regulated, and the
town well supplied with water. These are questions of the great-
est importance, and must be met now and discussed and acted
The first borough election was held at the public house of L.
E. Royer in Ephrata, on Tuesday, September 15th, 1891, between
the hours of 7 A. M. and 7 P. M. The following officers having
been appointed by the Court officiated : Judge, H. C. Gemperling ;
Inspectors, John H. Spera and A. B. Urich; F. S. Klinger and
W. K. Mohler were chosen as Clerks. This special election was
to elect officers to serve until the regular election in February fol-
lowing. The total number of votes cast was 443, and was quite
large in consideration that the registered voters numbered 536.
No party tickets were settled by primary election or caucus, and
the election was very quiet, there being no disorder of any kind,
though there was considerable electioneering done. The candi-
dates for councilmen were most numerous, as there were seven-
teen persons who aspired to an office for which six could be
elected. The entire list of candidates numbered forty-eight. The
successful candidates were as follows : Burgess, G. S. Wise ;
Council, J. B. Brugger, G. F. Groff, J. J. Baer, J. S. Spangler,
Joseph Cooper and A. W. Mentzer ; School Directors, C. B. Kel-
ler, J. M. Shaeffer, J. Frank Eckert, Samuel R. Hess, Levi S.
Landes and Wm. Heilig; Judge of Elections, John A. Heyser;
Inspectors, H. H. Stroble and B. F. Emmert; Assessor, Samuel
R. Nagel ; Assistant Assessors, Edwin Konigmacher and David
Kraatz; Tax Collector, Levi B. Snader; Auditor, J. J. Yeager;
Constable, H. W. Gier.
On Friday evening, September 18th, following the first borough
election, the newly elected Borough Council held a preliminary
meeting at the Eagle Hotel for the purpose of organization. S. L.
Sharp, resident Justice of the Peace, was in attendance and ad-
ministered the oath of office. Burgess George S. Wise presided.
Hon. J. Hay Brown, Esq., of Lancaster, was elected Borough
Solicitor, and promised to explain the duties of Council on Thurs-
The Ephrata Cloister
day evening, September 24th. S. L. Sharp, Esq., was elected
Clerk. Much laborious and disagreeable work was necessarily
well performed by the first set of Councilmen, and to them belong
much credit for their bold stand in the new enterprise.
The present officer of the borough (1901) are: Burgess, W. K.
Mohler; Councilmen, Jacob S. Spangler, George Groff, A. P.
Snader, J. B. Brugger, George Mohler and J. J. Baer; Clerk of
Council, W. L. Bixler; Justices of the Peace, W. K. Seltzer and
S. L. Sharp; High Constable, Wm. Dunn; Constable, H. W. Gier.
The town has enjoyed general prosperity and has made rapid
strides of improvement since its organization. The Board of
School Directors immediately set to work and built a fine eight-
roomed school-house at a cost of over $15,000, and Prof. H. E.
Gehman, with an able corps of teachers, was elected principal.
He graduated the first class from the Ephrata High School in
1893-94. It consisted of five young men and three young ladies,
all of whom were exceptionally bright. The most notable and
marvelous change due to incorporation is the educational work,
and too much can not be said for all the members of the School
Board and the honest, conscientious work of Prof. Gehman and
his corps of instructors, as we have officially been ranked at the
head of schools in this county. Thus may it ever be, let results
prove the system and no one will dare raise his voice against the
most glorious of our free institutions.
The town of Ephrata is nicely laid out, though somewhat ir-
regularly, and lies on the north and west of the Ephrata hills, and
by the Lancaster papers is often called the "mountain town,"
whilst writers in magazines and the daily press have termed it the
"quaint and quiet village." Suffice it to say that Ephrata has
nicely graded streets, fine pavements, elegant homes, good water,
excellent schools, plenty of churches and societies, and is ever
hospitable to all respectable visitors. In fact, there is that warmth
of greeting with our people, that all strangers are loath to leave
us when once here. It has had a steady growth, such as can with-
stand the shocks of time and a financial crisis without much dis-
tress. We are therefore not of a mushroom growth, but staple,
productive, intelligent, progressive, active, energetic, and awake
to true citizenship, the highest aim of man after the saving of his
soul. Much more might be said as to the general push of the
citizens and the unconscious working together of the same forces.
When a new venture is proposed, it is generally well discussed and
made plain to all before it is adopted, hence the few downright
failures in whatever Ephrata has undertaken to do. — S. G. Z.
Poem Commerative of Soldiers
Commemorative of the Soldiers buried at Ephrata, Pa.
By Adelaide A. Conger.
"I am the Resurrection and the Life,
And though man die, yet shall he live again !"
This being so, may not the purple air
Be filled with forms of men who once were slain?
Who died that we, their sons, might live and breathe,
The air of freedom, both on land and sea,
And proudly fling on every breeze that blows,
The stars and stripes, the banner of the free.
We love to sing the songs they used to sing,
And which from memory cannot depart,
Electric fires from their past lives leap down,
And light the altar in each living heart.
As years roll down on Time's resistless tide,
And onward sweep to the great living head,
May we commemorate as now we do-
Heroic virtues of these soldiers dead.
May they to us as beacon lights, lead on
To lofty purpose and to actions brave,
And find unstained and pure within our hands,
The freedom which they gave their lives to save.
On blood-stained fields of Brandywine they fell,
As falls the wheat before the reaper's blade,
Or as the leaves by wintry blasts are strewn,
And on the bosom of the earth are laid.
Four hundred of the men who fell that day,
On which the issues of the battle turned,
Were brought by loving hands to this sweet vale,
And given the care their sacrifice had earned.
And to the sisters who by constant care
Smoothed soft the pillow of each dying son,
To one and all we pay this tribute just:
Thou faithful servant, well thy work was done.
And as the breath from each worn frame went out,
Like light of lamps in which the oil is spent,
Within the gracious arms and on the breast
Of Mother Earth, dust unto dust, is lent.
Lent till the resurrection morning dawns,
And worlds on worlds like wax shall melt away,
And all the ills and gloom of mortal life,
Be lost in light of everlasting day.
First Observance of Patriots' Day
Sleep on, brave hearts beneath the stars, sleep on;
Earth unto earth, dust unto dust is given,
Their bugle call is stilled, the moans have ceased,
The soldier finds his rest and crown in Heaven.
— From Patriot's Day Souvenir, 1895.
The first annual observance of Patriot's Day on Tuesday, Sep-
tember nth, 1894, will pass down upon the annals of the historic
community of Ephrata, as one of the brightest and best, as well
as the most memorable of days. The people of the borough and
surrounding towns, also numbers from a distance, turned out in
vast crowds to join the Trustees of the Monument Association
and the General Executive Committee in the celebration of Patri-
ot's Day, a day set apart by the Association for suitable observ-
ance in memory of the Revolutionary soldiers brought here after
the battle of Brandywine, whose remains lie buried in the Zion's
Hill of the noted Cloister grounds and possessions. "
A general Executive Committee of fifteen or twenty citizens,
was chosen to assist the Association and all concerned can feel
elated with the success of the affair. The exercises of the day
took place in the orchard grove adjoining Mount Zion cemetery,
where as is well known, there are buried nearly two hundred
sturdy patriots of the Revolution, who were brought to the Eph-
rata Cloister in a sick and wounded condition, after the battle of
Brandywine, and who subsequently died. A movement to build
a monument had been started in 1845, but owing to mismanage-
ment and a lack of funds, no more than the base of the sacred
shaft was built at that time.
Of the original Trustees of the Monument Association, only
three survive, viz : William Spera, Christian Smith and Jerre
Mohler. About three years ago these survivors of the old asso-
ciation resolved to make an effort to complete the memorial, and
last year's demonstration marks a fitting start toward the realiza-
tion of their hopes and desires. In honor of the occasion the
stores and places of business of the borough were closed and a
general holiday air prevailed. Qunite a number of residences and
business places in the several streets were handsomely decorated
with the national colors. Many persons in the vast crowds wore
the national emblems conspicuously, all of which added enchant-
ment to patriotism.
The programme of the day included a parade, composed as
follows : Chief Marshal, Captain H. C. Gemperling and six aids ;
Reamstown Band; Major Ricksecker Post, G. A. R., of Lincoln;
Mountain Springs Rifles ; Washington Camp, 590, P. O. S. of A.,
of Rothsville; Washington Camp, 227, P. O. S. of A., of Ephrata;
Columbia Band, of Stevens; Clay Lodge, No. 915, I. O. O. F., of
Lincoln ; Representatives of Ephrata School Board ; Caernarvon
The Ephrata Cloister
Band ; the Ephrata Schools, nine in number, and teachers ; Pioneer
Fire Company, of Ephrata ; Ephrata's noted band ; Ephrata
Lodge, 406, I. O. O. F. ; twenty carriages, with members of the
Association, the Executive Committee, clergy and speakers, and a
number of mounted men, all making a large and imposing parade,
which was viewed by several thousand citizens and visitors, who
were much pleased with the splendid display.
The schools of Lincoln and Hinkletown had also been closed
to give the pupils a chance to have an object lesson in history.
Upon arrival at the monument, Dr. D. R. Hertz, Chairman of
the Executive Committee, opened the day's exercises. Prayer was
offered by Rev. A. L. Shannon, of the U. B. Church, and Jere.
Mohler, the honored president of the association, welcomed the
great concourse of people in a most fitting manner. "America"
was then sung by the assemblage, after which Rev. Dr. J. H.
Dubbs, of the Theological Seminary, Lancaster, delivered the
memorial address, which was a most eloquent and fitting tribute,
and was greeted with continued applause, and at its close, the
noon hour having arrived, the exercises of the morning closed
with the benediction of Rev. S. Schweitzer, of the First Reformed
Rev. F. Pilgrim, of Bethany Reformed Church, opened the
exercises of the afternoon with an invocation, after which A. F.
Hostetter, Esq., of the Lancaster Bar, was introduced, and deliv-
ered the historical address, which was a fine production, and duly
appreciated by the many willing and eager listeners. After sev-
eral patriotic selections by the bands, brief addresses were made
by Rev. Pilgrim, M. S. Fry, Clerk of Quarter Sessions Court, and
Jere. Mohler, after which the afternoon's exercises were formally
closed with the benediction by Rev. B. G. Welder, of the Reams-
town Lutheran Church.
The excellent drilling by the Mountain Springs Rifles was a
feature of the day.
In the evening an open air concert was held in the vacant lot
adjoining the public school building on Franklin Street in the bor-
ough of Ephrata. The Ephrata, Caernarvon and Reamstown cor-
net bands rendering their choicest selections, all of which were
The feature of the evening was the grand display of fireworks.
A handsome souvenir in the shape of a pamphlet, finely illustrated,
containing a history of the association, a sketch of the Cloister,
and noteworthy facts of Ephrata borough was sold in large num-
bers. The projector of this scheme was the late Dr. D. Rhine
An editorial in the Ephrata Review of that time says: "The
weather could not have been more delightful than that of Tuesday
The Ephrata Cloister
for the first big demonstration here on that day in memory of the
Revolutionary heroes. The response to the invitation to celebrate
the day was hearty and liberal and shows a truly patriotic spirit.
The exercises were of an elevating character, uplifting and en-
nobling, entirely fitting to the day and the enthusiasm aroused is
The excellent addresses by A. F. Hostetter, Esq., of the Lan-
caster bar, and Rev. Dr. J. H. Dubbs, of F. and M. faculty, both
now deceased, are splendid productions.
All the organizations, especially the Monument Association,
deserve the greatest praise for the successful issue of Patriot's
Day, September n, 1894.
May this living, real object lesson of good will, peace and
patriotism be a stimulus for those who at present live and move
and have their being in this great republic though progressive,
prosperous and happy, nevertheless in an anomalous condition.
Progenitor — Conrad Beissell's Tomb— Monastic Name Friedsam (Peaceable)
Pro. 10:20. The tongue of the just is as choice silver
TRANGE to say, such an important personage as Con-
rad Weiser was carried away by the eloquence and
argument of Conrad Beissel, and Weiser and Peter
Miller were on intimate terms together, which death
itself didn't destroy.
Conrad Weiser was born in Wurtemberg, a part of the famous
Palatinate of the Rhine in the town of Gross- Aspad, November
2, 1696, and followed the trade of baking and by diligence and
self culture attained the position of Esquire.
He assisted in the supervising of the publication of the Wey-
rauch's Hiigel. He had served as an elder in the Tulpehocken
Reformed Church and with Peter Miller in 1735 was baptized
into the Ephrata Community. His oldest son and daughter both
became celibates at Ephrata. He was consecrated to, the priest-
hood and had the order of Melchizedek conferred upon him. Later
he was offered a justiceship, having prepared himself in the law
as practiced in England. Weiser's fame rests on his ability as an
interpreter for the early settlers with the Indians. He was sent to
treat with the Iroquois so as to settle a dispute amicably. He
journeyed nearly five hundred miles ; the winter weather being
very severe, he suffered untold hardships but was very successful.
Weiser also became intimate with early Moravian missionaries.
He had lived in the Ephrata Community as Brother Enoch
(meaning consecrated) about seven or eight years.
Subsequently he and Beissel had an estrangement which seemed
serious but they later became reconciled.
His daughter was married to the Rev. Henry Melchor Muhlen-
berg, who was really the founder of American Lutheranism. Ac-
cording to the Chronicon there is some reason to believe that in
later years he was in full communion with the Brotherhood at
Ephrata. Weiser died on first day, July 13, 1760, on his farm in
Heidelberg township, near Womelsdorf, Berks Co., Pa., where
his remains are interred.
Weiser was officially recognized as interpreter of Pennsylvania
covering many years of constant service above all taint and sus-
picion, something that might well be emulated by public servants
of today, even by some justices of the peace.
The Ephrata Cloister
His private life, his official record, his religious zeal as a mem-
ber of the Reformed Church, as a celibate at Ephrata, therefore
a Seventh Day Baptist, had fealty to the Lutheran Church in
which he did energetic service, make him a beautiful character to
He was superintendent of the Indian Bureau and Governor
Morris gave him a commission as "Colonel," and he was not mere-
ly an ornamental colonel, but commanded a regiment of volunteers
and had charge of the Second Battalion in 1755.
A monument was erected in front of the Womelsdorf public
school buildings some years ago in his honor. He has lived to
be remembered. Monuments contribute nothing towards a
blessed immortality but it is eminently fitting that a memorial was
raised in his memory, though marble shafts or granite pillars do
not immortalize a personage that has died. His record is his
Dr. Wm. M. Fahnestock of the Ephrata Community was ap-
pointed the delegate to the Seventh Day Baptist General Confer-
ence held at Shiloh, New Jersey, September 9 to 13 inclusive,
1846, probably the first Ephratanian to attain this honor but un-
fortunately Dr. Fahnestock was unable to attend sending a letter
of regret. Benjamin Konigmacher was the moderator and
Joseph Konigmacher the secretary who signed the credentials.
In 1846 Dr. Fahnestock was made a vice president of the
American Sabbath Tract Society and served for five years.
In 1849 ne was present at the General Conference and in 1852
he was present at special church occasions at Plainfield, N. J. In
1854 he was made a director of the Seventh Day Baptist Publish-
ing House at Little Genesee, N. Y.
He was a generous contributor to the work of the American
Sabbath Tract Society, as was also William Konigmacher, of
Dr. Fahnestock was a voluminous writer on the Sabbath Re-
corder (our weekly church paper) staff and was the author of a
twenty four page tract entitled The Bible Sabbath published
In 1854 on the 15th of December in a hospital in the city of
Philadelphia, Dr. Wm. M. Fahnestock died from injuries received
in a fall down the stairway of a private house in that city.
Benjamin Konigmacher, who was a deacon for fifty years, died
March 24, 1850, seventy-seven years old. He was a most efficient
lay leader for forty years and frequently took charge when there
was no preacher present.
Barbara Keiper ("Sister Beverly"), one of the last survivors
of the recruits to the monastic sisterhood, passed to her eternal
resting place, on March 16, 1852. She entered Saron, the Sister
Death of Barbara Keiper
House, at the age of sixteen and died there in the eightieth year
of her age.
She had witnessed the death of each of the last sixteen of the
solitary sisters, closing their eyes before her in the endless sleep.
Sometime before her demise she gave all her earthly belongings
amounting to about two thousand dollars per annum, to be shared
by the needy and indigent of the church and she herself accepted
only house room, fuel, flour and other necessities of life as pro-
vided for to all other sharers of her bounty which in sickness or
helpless old age provided everything.
Ludwig Hoecker. Schoolmaster
Gal. 3:24. The law was our schoolmaster
UDWIG HOECKER (Hacker) Brother Obed organ-
ized the educational department of the Ephrata Com-
munity. Hoecker was one of the Brethren who for a
time lived on the banks of the Wissahickon. He was
married, had one daughter, Maria, who afterward?
entered the Ephrata monastery under the name of Petronella.
His wife also entered Saron and soon after "Obed's" arrival he
was installed as the schoolmaster of the congregation, instructing
the youths in elementary education.
Regular hours were set apart by both sexes for instruction, for
practice of ornamental penmanship, engrossing and the study and
transcribing of music. It is, however, by no means certain who
the writing master was but Hoecker introduced some of the
classics in his early school efforts and had a Sabbath School or-
ganized for religious instruction of the young on the Seventh Day
Sabbath, fully a generation before Robert Raikes had organized
the Sunday School in London, England, in 1780.
"Obed" at an early day compiled and published a German
School Book for the use of pupils entitled as follows : "A short,
comprehensive school book to instruct children in spelling, read-
ing and learning by heart, to which is appended a short clear in-
struction in arithmetic. Compiled for the use and service of chil-
dren by Ludwig Hoecker, Ephrata. Printed and to be had of the
school master." This title is from the second edition issued 1786.
The Psalter and Testament were used in an instruction that was
religious based on the Bible, similar to the early practice of the
Lutheran and Reformed churches who used their catechisms as
In the organization of the Ephrata Sabbath School "Obed" was
assisted by his daughter Maria, "Sister Petronella," who was
known as a beautiful and lovely girl, not in comely form, but in
her Christian character, being undoubtedly the first female Sab-
bath school teacher of whom history has a record.
The object was "to give instruction to indigent children of the
vicinity who were kept from the regular school by the employ-
ments which their necessities obliged them to be engaged in during
LUDWIG HOECKER, SCHOOLMASTER
the week as well as to give religious instructions to those of better
circumstances." What noble ideals !
Hoecker and Peter Miller were the principal speakers at the
funeral of Beissel, both masterly in their efforts.
In 1 791 Sister Petronella died, having served as a teacher of
embroidery, fine needle work and the early educational efforts.
She was bedridden for four years prior to her death.
In 1792 Ludwig Hoecker himself died, having been one of the
leading characters of the Community and for many years its edu-
cational head and leader.
In 1749 Succoth, a building was erected for him, where during
his old age he lived as a printer and book binder having lived the
import of his monastic name Obed which means "server," giving
service. "Albina" was the monastic name of Margaret Hoecker,
wife of Obed, who was divinely devout.
"Bevely" was quite a reputed guide to the many visitors who
came to see the Cloister in her life time and was personally ac-
quainted with many prominent personages. She supported herself
by knitting stockings, making mittens, gloves and similar trinkets.
Reminiscent pages from her experiences might prove very inter-
esting. Suffice it to say she was a unique intensely interesting
lady whose charitable acts and spirit of devotion to the truth were
The late Abram H. Lewis, D.D., in response to a request on the
part of Rev. S. G. Zerfass, visited the Ephrata Cloister in April,
1906. It should be remembered that Dr. Lewis was former head of
our educational institutions and editor of the Sabbath Recorder.
He preached sixth day eve April 27 on Matt. 5:17, on Sabbath
28th he spoke on Music to the Sabbath School and in the regular
service he spoke on Luke 12:32; and on first day, 29th, he spoke
on Sunday Legislation basing his remarks on Matt. 22:21. All
his talks were logical, forceful, very impressive, coming from one
of the greatest men of his time.
Since August, 1908, Dr. Corliss F. Randolph, principal of the
Newark High School, has been making annual visits to Ephrata,
Nunnery and Salemville churches. He too is a conscientious fear-
less Seventh Day Baptist who has a many-sided life and is very
actively prominent in the church today.
After the death of Dr. Fahnestock Ephrata passed through a
long siege of untoward circumstances that greatly retarded the
growth of the church, reducing the membership and apparently
threatened to destroy. Its present membership is full of courage,
vigor, hope and determination.
The Ephrata Community became a legal corporate body under
the laws of the State of Pennsylvania in 1814 with a board of
trustees consisting of three members, to manage its affairs.
The Ephrata Cloister
The president of the board, William G. Zerfass, is also the
farmer of the Fairview farm of the society. Reuben Kachel, the
third member of the board of trustees, is farmer of the Shady
Nook farm. Rev. S. G. Zerfass is the secretary and custodian.
The Snow Hill society, a child of the Ephrata society, was in-
corporated in 1823.
The German Seventh Day Baptist Church building at Salem-
ville was erected in 1848.
The expose of faith reduced to its lowest terms is to accept the
Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, an acceptance of the
divinity of Jesus, and a belief in the Trinity. Belief in salvation
for all of mankind through the acceptance of Christ as the Savior
of men, the observance of the Seventh Day of the week as the
Sabbath, baptism by immersion and the celebration of the Lord's
Faith and Practices of German Seventh Day Baptist Church
John 5:39. Search the Scriptures
j|RT. i. We believe that all Scripture given by inspira-
tion in the Old and the New Testaments is the Word
of God, and is the only rule of Faith and Practice.
2 Tim. 3 :i6 ; 2 Peter 1 :i9, 20, 21 ; Mark 7:13; 1 Thes.
2:13; Acts 4:29, 30, 31.
Art. 2. We believe that unto us there is but one God, the
Father ; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the Mediator between
God and mankind, and that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God.
1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1 :2i ; John 14:26.
Art. 3. We believe that the Ten Commandments which were
written on two tables of stone by the finger of God, continue to be
the rule of righteousness for all mankind. We further believe
that active participation in war by military service in the army or
navy is in violation of the sixth commandment and the teachings
of Jesus Christ. Ex. 20; Matt. 5:17, 18; Mai. 4:4; Isaiah 1:25
and 2:10; Rom. 3:31 ; 7:25; 13:8, 9, 10; Eph. 6:2.
Art. 4. We believe that all persons ought to be baptized in
water by trine immersion in a forward position after confession
of their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Matt. 28 : 18-26 ;
Acts 2:38 and 8:36; Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12.
Art. 5. We believe that the Lord's Supper ought to be admin-
istered and received in all Christian Churches, accompanied with
the washing of one another's feet previous to the breaking of the
bread. Luke 22:19, 2 °5 l Cor. 11 :23, 24, 25, 26; Jno. 13:4-17.
Art. 6. We believe in the anointing of the sick with oil in the
name of the Lord. James 5:13, 14, 15.
Art. 7. We believe in the invocation of Infant Blessing. Matt.
19:13, 14, 15; Mark 10:13, 14, 15, 16; Luke 18:15, 16.
Art. 8. We believe that all Christian Churches should have
Elders and Deacons. Titus 1 :5 ; Acts 6:3.
Art. 9. We believe that the duties of the Deacons to be :
To provide for the Communion Service of the Church, and
officiate thereat when necessary; to seek out and report to the
Church all cases of destitution or suffering within bounds of the
Church, especially such as arise from sickness ; to provide neces-
sary relief in behalf of the Church. They shall also be deemed
The Ephrata Cloister
co-workers in the ministry and counsellors in spiritual matters.
They shall continue in office for life or during good behavior.
Art. 10. We believe in observing the Seventh Day (Sabbath).
He whom we worship was its first observer. Gen. 2:1-3; Ex.
20:8-11; Ex. 16:23, 25, 29; Lev. 13:32; Nehemiah 9:14; Nehe-
miah 13:15, 16, 21; Isaiah 56:2-6; Matt. 28:1; Mark 2:27, 28;
Luke 13:10; Acts 13:42; Acts 16:13; Acts 18:4; Heb. 4:4.
His law by which we are to be judged. James 2 : 10-22.
Monk and Nun Costu
Resolutions Showing War Attitude
Ps. 120:7. I am for peace, they for war
Waynesboro, Pa., June 10, 1917.
HE German Seventh Day Baptists of Pennsylvania in
Conference assembled, adopted the following pream-
ble and resolutions :
Whereas, our country is at war and public peril
exists, calling upon all good citizens for devotion to
our government, we recognize our duty and privilege of loyalty to
our government, our country and its flag; and
Whereas, our church in the dark days of the American Revolu-
tion showed marked loyalty by allowing paper to the Colonial
troops; by interpreting the Declaration of Independence into
seven different languages through Rev. Peter Miller; and by car-
ing for five hundred American soldiers, absolutely free of charge,
after the Battle of Brandywine, at Ephrata by the sisterhood ; and
Whereas, it becomes us all to contribute our moral and financial
support, and do our utmost to relieve the sufferings consequent to
war; to aid in restoring normal conditions; and therefore exer-
cise all possible diligence to increase the food products and food
supply of our country ; and
Whereas, German Seventh Day Baptists during all their exist-
ence took the stand that war is inconsistent with the teachings of
Christ, our church always considered, practiced, and believed, as
fundamental in sound doctrine the principle of peace and non-
We Hereby Reaffirm our decided conviction that the bearing
of arms and the participation in war are in violation of the com-
mand "Thou shalt not kill," as well as contrary to the teachings
of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as our church has always
taught and practiced; and
Whereas, our members were all urged to promptly register on
June 5, 1917, as required by law, —
Be It Resolved: —
That we pledge our loyalty to the United States ;
That we remain true to our fundamental principles of peace
and non-resistance ;
The Ephrata Cloister
That we humbly request the full exercise of religious liberty
and exemption from military service in the army and navy ; and
That we, as a people do our best to relieve distress, giving food,
shelter, clothing, and medical attention to our wounded soldiers ;
and more than ever produce greater amounts of food, and recom-
mend all who are able to invest in government bonds.
Resolved, also, that we have this action recorded in our min-
utes, and a copy transmitted to the President of the United States
by this Committee.
S. G. Zerfass,
H. W. Fetter,
U. A. Pentz,
Rev. W. K. Bechtel moved that the resolution be adopted as
read. Carried unanimously.
Public Park Not Favored
HY should a civic club, or patriotic societies and indi-
viduals make strong effort to turn the premises into a
Do these people fail to know that the German Sev-
enth Day Baptist Conference of Pennsylvania is un-
alterably opposed to any such project? Why shouldn't we as
Seventh Day Baptists really believe the place too sacred to be
turned into a public park ? And the Pennsylvania Conference is
under the General Conference of Seventh Day Baptists of Amer-
ica, composed of upwards of 30,000 members, and that Pennsyl-
vania Conference has half a dozen active ministers of the gospel,
a number of regular churches, prosperous, and several missions
besides, probably upwards of three hundred members?
Is it not much more fitting and interesting for tourists and per-
sons of culture and scholarship to find that the parent church in
Pennsylvania has a congregation (though small in numbers) and
regular Sabbath School intact and in regular worship on the orig-
Why not know the truth and the truth shall make you free?
And now abideth faith, hope and love. The greatest of these
is love !
The early German Seventh Day Baptists, like the Quakers, the
Amish, the Dunkards, and the Mennonites, did not and do not at
present believe in carnal warfare and are and were opposed to
bearing arms believing that active participating in war by military
service in the army or navy is in violation of the sixth command-
ment and the teachings of Jesus Christ. See Exodus 20:13;
Matt. 5:17, 18.. 19; Malachi 4:4; Isa. 2:10; Romans 3:31, also
7:25 ; Romans 13 :8, 9, 10, etc., that Christ's sword was the sword
of peace, Peter being told to put up his sword. Yet we have been
The ministers and membership of the church believe in a uni-
versal brotherhood of man and the general fatherhood of God, in
real practice not platitudes only.
The spirit of loyalty to truth, of consecration to and willing-
ness to suffer, if need be, for the sake of truth and duty, were the
prominent and immediate source of the development of Seventh
The Ephrata Cloister
Day Baptists who were notably industrious and frugal, severely
simple in their tastes and habits, and there was an entire absence
of indolence and of that pernicious doctrine of some in these
modern days, "The world owes me a living," which is character-
istic of too many communistic theories.
With their intellectual and physical ability their habits of thrift
and economy ; had they been avaricious, they might have secured
possessions in that early time which would have made them
abundantly weatlhy at the present day.
True the stories, legends and even anecdotes handed down to
us are many indeed. It is said that sisters Sphigenia and Ana-
tasia, the latter born in Switzerland, were expert skillful writers.
Anatasia entered the convent as a young maiden of very comely
appearance and gifted with musical talents of a high order. As
a nun she was first named "Tabea" and seemed to be a favorite
with everybody, especially the spiritual leader Friedsam. Falling
in love with a young man named Daniel Scheibly whom the Soli-
tary Brethren had "purchased" by paying his "passage money,"
she decided to leave the community and to be married to the ob-
ject of her affections.
On the day set for the wedding she took leave of the sisterhood,
no longer robed in the white habit of her religious order ; but upon
having a final interview with the superintendent, her heart failed
her and, bursting into tears, she vowed that she would remain as a
Rose of Sharon. "Friedsam" declared her tears had washed
away the stain of her apostasy and ever thereafter she was called
"anatasia," which means the resurrected. Surely this is very in-
teresting, especially to our ladies.
Miss Mabel Meek, a recent bride married
Farmer Kachel and wife Shady Nook
Dr. Corliss F. Randolph, Newark, N. J.
Author of Seventh Day Baptist Histories
Twin Sisters, 85, Life Long Members
Rev. Edwin Shaw. Tract Society
One of the Mills of the Sevent.i Day Baptists on the Cocalico is now
included in the Knitting Mills of W. W. Moyer
Faith and Practices of German Seventh Day Baptist Church
John 5:39. Search the Scriptures
TEADFASTNESS of purpose and the determination
"to stand and having done all to stand" was preached
as a cardinal duty from the first and that spirit
abounds in the hearts of those who remain to this day.
Though the faith and practice of the Ephrata Seventh
Day Baptists have been both misunderstood and frequently misin-
terpreted by writers in magazines and reporters of metropolitan
papers, in particular, the facts show that they have always been
social, liberal minded, hospitable, abundant in good works and in
genuine Christian faith.
When some writer reported the footprints on the ceiling as
being bloody foot prints of soldiers or the apostolic method of
punishing the brethren by walking on the ceiling, it looks like a
wrong interpretation for notoriety's sake.
When a Philadelphia daily that "always tells the truth" reports
that the day is not far distant when the remaining members of
Ephrata will amalgamate with the Holy Redemptorists east of the
Cocalico creek, that journal either wilfully falsifies or does not
know what they are talking about.
Surely, the doctrine of immersion in baptism, as well as the
observance of the Seventh Day Sabbath makes the German Sev-
enth Day Baptists anti-Catholic (not necessarily antagonistic) in
doctrine, as the Catholic Church instituted aspersion or sprinkling
for baptism. See Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, A. D. 248, and
infant baptism under Tertullian, A. D. 194-220. The Catholics
also instituted the observance of the Sabbath on the first day by
Constantine in A. D. 321.
The salutation of the "holy kiss," as was practiced by the Apos-
tles and these German Seventh Dayers, has been made light of by
newspaper writers because these writers don't know their Bible
or man to falsify. See Acts 20:37, Romans 16:16, I Peter 5:14.
The anointing of the sick practiced by the ancient and modern
Ephratanians according to James 5:14 and 15, is plainly an evi-
dence of faith, and not a species of Christian Scientism as insin-
uated by some recent writers.
Infant blessing, the Seventh Day Baptist interpretation of Mark
10:14, Luke 18:16, has been very much distorted by some in-
The Ephrata Cloister
famous writers, when it is really a solemn practice, uplifting,
ennobling and scriptural to say the least.
Feet washing, an ordinance of many other churches, as well as
of these Ephrata Sabbatarians, according to John, 13th chapter,
is held in a ludicrous manner by a novelist who professes friend-
ship for the Pennsylvania German, in a subtle manner.
The writer means to denounce the evident tendency on the part
of a certain class of writers to misrepresent, to overdraw, and
place these historic and devoted progenitors of ours in the wrong
Many people seem to think that the present ninety-five acres of
land owned by the society as a corporation, are public property,
donated as it were by the Commonwealth, when any one can go
to the Recorder's Office at Lancaster and find out for himself
that several individuals gave deeds to the society for the property
and the membership, as well as the best informed people every-
where know that the Commonwealth has nothing to do with it so
far as ownership is concerned and Seventh Day Baptists know
All this palaver and gross exaggeration, to say the least, is not
edifying and very discouraging to the membership.
Conditions of Membership
iT WAS a condition that the inmates of the Cloister
shall be single persons ; whether they have ever been
married before or not was not stipulated. They had
to be strict observers of the Seventh Day Sabbath and
baptized persons of reputed piety, quite a few being
first admitted as probationary members, with a voice and vote;
even to this day the charter requires members to be in union and
The application for membership had to be made to the prior or
pastor and the trustees who were the authorized judges of the
applicant's eligibility. No vow, no promise of continued celibacy
were required, but the simple condition that if they ever changed
their mind and desired to marry they had to leave the monastery.
No wages were paid but all shared alike the comforts of the
establishment and no one could enter and retain independent
estate or control of personal property or real estate. If they
brought any property, a certificate of appraised valuation was
given and if the inmate should afterwards leave the institution
their property (personal) was returned to them without interest.
If, however, the inmate died, all of their belongings accrued per-
manently to the establishment.
The labors of the establishment were shared alike by all who
could work in a well arranged series. The Brethren, under the
direction of the Prior or Superintendent and the Sisters, under
the direction of the Prioress, a kind of Mother Superior.
In no respect, however, was there any preeminence of class, as
there were officers simply for order's sake only. They were in
truth a band of brothers and sisters and equals in every respect
affecting their life, their honor and their happiness, all being en-
titled to food, shelter and necessary clothing. They were really
known as indoor members.
The outdoor members of the congregation were married folks
mostly and had no personal rights in the property and there was
no more community of interest among them than among the mem-
bers of other denominations of Christians.
The religious interests were and continued to be congregational,
as truly republican as any other congregation. Their officers were
The Ephrata Cloister
voluntarily elected. They did not hold to paying any salary to-
their ministers. At Ephrata he was given a house, rent free, a
load of hay, potatoes and six bushels of wheat.
If necessity called for it the minister was given voluntary as-
sistance. The ministers were elected by the congregation after
having been led in prayer, requesting divine guidance in their
selection, which meant voting without nomination.
On bended knees with laying on of hands, the minister was
ordained and after a reasonable probationary service the applicant
was given a full ordination which entitled the minister to perform
all ecclesiastical functions making him fully entitled to the bish-
opric. Similar to some fraternities, the minister is not supposed
to use any ritual at any funeral, wedding or communion service.
In the early days their preaching was supposed to be without
manuscript, almost entirely inspirational. At present time there
is but one minister in Pennsylvania who attempts to preach in
German and he (the writer) confesses that his vocabulary in
German is rather limited. The Ephrata Saal or Church is the
only known church building not now having an organ or an or-
ganized choir, chorister and modern appurtenances. No collec-
tions are taken in the Ephrata Church. Even the arrangement of
the seats, etc., are practically unchanged.
On funeral occasions the corpse was taken into the church (ex-
cept in case of contagious disease). The services consisted of
several hymns, a prayer and a short sermon, after which the
casket with the corpse was generally removed to the space in front
of the Saal for a final viewing of the remains and not for the
purpose of having the sun shine on the face of the dead once more
before interment as some writers have said.
A sad procession was then formed to the cemetery where short
final obsequies were observed after which meals were furnished
in the Saal.
Teams and help were all furnished free of all charges and little
or no display of any ostentatious character was observed.
Wooden Communion Service. Presented by George Washington
Chair on Which Washington Sat. Hour Glass. Turned Twice When Peter Miller Preached
Ceremonies — Lovefeasts
HE LOVEFEAST meal intended as a season of soci-
ability and hospitality is somewhat similar to the
Methodist idea of serving bread and water, more like
the Moravians who serve (streislers) rusks and cof-
fee, the Seventh Day Baptists serve a regular well
provided meal on the tables and the exuberance of their benevo-
lence did not confine it to their members or professing Christians
but extended an invitation to all persons present.
In this the Seventh Dayers imitate very closely the festival of
the primitive Christians who originally observed it as a social re-
past, truly a lovefeast gathering preceded by prayer and followed
by table hymns and parting words of prayer.
Bountiful preparations had to be made in advance of the love-
feast event. The meeting usually begins with sixth day evening,
services on Sabbath morning (seventh day) ; Sabbath School in
the afternoon, feet-washing and regular open communion follow-
ing in the evening.
This custom may have arisen from force of conditions and cir-
cumstances in the infancy of the church, which was planted in
the wilderness and sparse settlements and the members and visi-
tors came from far and near, from all the surrounding regions
and the society acting on the principle which moved our Divine
Master when the multitude came to hear His words and were
empty, he took pity on them and fed them, and thus they got into
this custom which has been continued to the present day.
The lovefeast was regarded among them as the meeting of all
members and friends of the entire neighborhood and from abroad
together as one family, to engage in holy exercises, enjoying dur-
ing the continuance thereof, a common board (table) supplied for
that purpose, and in renewing their pledges of love in Christ
Jesus, by partaking of the emblems of His broken body and shed
To say the least the intention and result on people of right
motives is good, so that all who have thus participated, even chil-
dren, are anxious for more lovefeasts but some of the reckless,
thoughtless people, many of whom are the younger element whose
educational facilities should make them more thoughtful, also
The Ephrata Cloister
curiosity seekers as well as sensational newspaper reporters for
miles have taken advantage of the great liberality and make a
frolic of it instead of respecting it as a sacred religious festival
and by so doing apparently frustrate, in a decided measure ,its
superb design and in addition thereto destroy the comfort and
satisfaction to those who solemnly engage in it.
Efforts are in progress to make the slight changes in the love-
feast occasion, so that it be a practical family recognition in the
future, probably issuing ticket invitations similar to our Mora-
vian brethren and making prepartion to entertain all members
and invited friends in a plain, frugal manner but exclude the friv-
olous rabble that detract, making the feet-washing ordinance and
administration of the Holy Communion less of a public service so
that the members and serious-minded people who desire to be
present as spectators to meet alone and attend to those solemn
services in real privacy and quietness essential to fully commune
with our Lord.
At present regular lovefeasts are celebrated by the principal
surviving churches of German Seventh Day Baptists at Snow
Hill, Nunnery, Franklin County, at Salemville, Bedford County
(Morrison's Cove) and at Ephrata. They are usually attended by
a large company, many of whom are not members of the church.
At Ephrata and Salemville the lovefeasts (annual) are cele-
brated in autumn whilst at Nunnery and Snow Hill the annual
lovefeast is usually held near Whitsuntide. There are also Christ-
mas, Easter and Harvest lovefeasts.
Snow Hill and Ephrata congregations have church farms but
Salemville Church has no farm connected with it.
The Import of Belief
T MAKES a great difference what a man believes,
even if sincere. We must prove all things, hold fast
to that which is good.
Every religious tenet must have the foundation of
the Apostles and prophets with Christ as the chief
corner-stone. All scripture is profitable for doctrine and the min-
isters must continue in the work, preach the Word, reprove, re-
buke, exhort with longsuffering, and this duty is imperative, lest
the truth be turned into fables. Why not show uncorruptness and
convince gainsayers? God will not accept the homage of any who
teach contrary to his will nor can we close our ears to the truth
and remain innocent lest our prayers be an abomination. The
gates of the heavenly city are open that the righteous may enter
Christ must be preached with that naturalness, suggestiveness,
tenderness, consistency and devoutness, as well as soundness
which characterized his discourses, making him our model both
in matter and in manner. A correct theology based on solid truth
the same yesterday, today and forever, and a correct practice are
as necessary to perfect spiritual life as a perfectly developed body
and soul are to the natural.
The earnest teacher is often apparently rough ; God does not
polish the bark of the oak tree. Proverbs 23 123. "Buy the truth
and sell it not."
In the blackest soil grow some of the richest flowers and some
of the loftiest, strongest and most beautiful trees spring heaven-
ward among the rocks.
Men are not always to be taken for what they appear. One may
have a rough unseemly exterior but a good true heart within ;
while another possessing a captivating person and manner, may be
destitute of all genuine principle.
Say not "welcome" when I come,
Say not "farewell" when I go,
For I come not when I come
And I go not when I go.
The Ephrata Cloister
For a welcome ne'er I'd give you,
And farewell I'd never say;
In my heart I'm always with you,
Always will he — every day.
— S. G.
"TO A FRIEND"
May a little bit of gladness
Come into your life each day;
May a little bit of sunshine
Ever fall upon your way.
Tho your life be sad and lonely,
Tho your path be rough and long,
May the joy of blessed sunshine
Change your sorrow into song.
Tho the clouds look black and heavy,
As above your head they sweep,
May that little ray of sunshine
Ever through their darkness creep.
Tho with shadows it is blended,
May your sunshine never end,
'Tis my wish to you extended.
I who write this am your friend.
What a picture all this Cloister history brings before us. No
doubt these our progenitors with all their deprivations and hard
lot were more contented than many now living in luxury. Godli-
ness with contentment is great gain.
S. G. Zerfass.
. ^ i
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ef^i; i ' : ^j^^-
J ■ ">
OUR EARLY SECTARIANS
S. G. ZERFASS, B. D.
Past Chaplain Pennsylvania H. of R. (1917 to 1919)
The "Early Sectarians," more especially of Lancaster County as well as
their descendants are noted for their thrift, their industry, their loyalty
and their religious devotion. They are so numerous, of such sturdy stock
and such devoted, pious, frugal, unostentatious citizens, and so generally
respected and recognized by the most intelligent, the most thoughtful and
discriminating as well as most cultured people everywhere, and yet so
frequently and slanderously misrepresented by not a few newspaper writ-
ers, by self-assumed (pulpit) critics and fiends, by magazine articles and
supposed authorities as well as fiction writers; that your humble servant
feels it his duty as well as a privilege, to defend them from this merciless
and uncalled-for calumny, the insinuating innuendo and baseless misrepre-
sentation of a conscientious and God-fearing people.
No subject offers a greater and more interesting field for study, espe-
cially to the historical student, nor is of greater interest to the general
public than our Early Sectarians. More especially is this true of the
"Garden Spot" and adjacent counties known for their Pennsylvania German
customs and manners. By the Early Sectarians I mean the Amish, the
Mennonites, German Baptists, et al., as well as the Seventh Day Baptists
who left and were obliged to leave Switzerland, the Palatinate, Alsace Lor-
raine and portions of Prussia for conscience sake being practically driven
from Europe by bigoted persecution and unjust prosecution and upon
their arrival in America, for religious and social reasons kept aloof from
any dissenting country people and their English speaking newly acquired
They adhered to their native tongue, were but devotedly peculiar in
religious ceremonies due to their pietistic leanings and became objects of
suspicion. For instance the Ephratanian brethren were first believed to be
papal representatives and incendiary efforts to clean out the supposed
Catholics were blamed on the Indians when as a matter of fact the fires
were due to the prejudice of the whites living adjacent to the Ephrata
community — so that our early sects were maligned, injured personally and
considerably oppressed, more especially so when after the French and
Indian wars, nearly all of our Early Sectarians like the orthodox Quakers,
were known as non-combatants, anti-war or non-resistants.
They were peaceful, paying their taxes and had domestic habits worthy
of emulation. Of course, many of them refused to meddle with politics or
affairs of state yet they were almost invariably successful in their several
undertakings, industrial or agricultural, all of which tended to excite the
envy and jealousy of their more intemperate and turbulent neighbors, and,
as a result there were ridiculous and numerous charges of heresy and
slander, when as a matter of fact, these sectarians were composed of none
but God-fearing men and women. Some egotistical self-established critics,
and who lay claim to being educated, continue to receive these calumnies
as truth and would classify our Early Sectarians well nigh to the animal
The Ephrata Cloister
Not for a moment would I have you believe the non-combatant deficient
in courage; they may meekly submit but this not because of lack of man-
hood; they merely practice their religious teachings and live their creed.
Did these Early Sectarians bring with them from the Prussian soil, the
murderous weapons of warfare? No! Yet nearly every Pennsylvania-
German family points out with pride the old family Bible (des gasang
buch) a hymnal (an altes catechismus) an old catechism or a devotional
book (Das Wares Christentum) of Lutheran production, the (Paradieses
Gurtlein) Garden of Paradise and many other volumes that formed their
chief treasure in numerous homes of these Pennsylvania-German Early
From these volumes they got their code of ethics, their grain of com-
fort, in times of sorrow and trial.
Implements of peaceful art used in farm economy or domestic house but
no arsenal occupied their houses and homes, after the pietistic ways which
followed the thirty years war in Prussia.
The Mennonites, including thirteen families, came to Germantown in
1683. Then the Labadists to New Castle, now Delaware, in 1684 and
neither of them carried weapons. The real pietists came to the banks of
the Wissahickon in 1694 and the Dunkers, afterwards called German Bap-
tists, now the Brethren, followed in 1719, whilst the Seventh Day Baptists
first preached in this county in 1728. The Schwenkfelders settled in Bucks
County in 1734, the Moravians in Lehigh and at Lititz in 1742, all of which
forms a most romantic episode in the history and future importance of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the influence they exerted for good in
the early days of our development extends down even to the present day.
None of these sects were emotional in their services nor of a high pres-
sure, dynamic (pertaining to forces not in equilibrium), hysterical, im-
pulsive or spontaneous religious tendencies, but rather dignified, always
educated to their faith. The Moravians were always an educated people,
yet they in the early days buried married women, married men, single men,
single women, in respective sections of their early cemeteries and their love-
feasts consisting of an excellent sermon, splendid music, sincere devotion
and the hospitality of the coveted streisler bun and coffee, are adhered to
and quite properly so to this day.
Their schools, seminaries and love for art, music and care for the aged
are most praiseworthy.
The Brethren with their close communion, their lovefeast, feet-washing
and holy kiss, have colleges and publishing houses and number among them
some of the intellectual giants of the present day.
The Mennonites, who were originally followers of Menno Simon, an ex-
priest from Holland, had a conscientious, able, and fearless leader and
they have colleges and publishing houses. Their faith spread in Europe un-
til Wm. Penn in 1683 invited the Mennonites to Penn's woodland, Pennsyl-
vania, and to-day we find them in nearly every state, with 18 conferences
and numerous organized missions.
The Amish, an offspring of the Mennonites, a little more severe in the
garb proposition, a branch of the orthodox Amish tolerating no houses of
worship, whilst the church Amish have church buildings for worship. Yet
their articles of faith and creed include the Triune God, baptism by pour-
ing, self denial, bishops, elders, etc., by lot; the bread and wine as sym-
bols; feet-washing; sisters devotional covering, I Cor. 11, 2 to 16; anointing
with oil, Jas. 5:14, etc.; holy kiss, I Peter 5:14; marriage only in the Lord,
I Cor. 7:39; divorce contrary to the Spirit, Matt. 19:5 to 9; non-conformity
in dress, in association, in business or politics, Rom. 12:2; no oaths, secret
orders, or life insurance, Matt. 5, 33 to 44, II Cor. 6:14, Jere 49:11; obsti-
nate sinners to be expelled, I Cor. 5:13; obedience to magistrates within
Our Early Sectarians
gospel limits, Rom. 13:1 to 7; churches to evangelize, Matt. 28, 19 and 20; a
final judgment, eternal reward and punishment, II Cor. 5:10, Matt. 25:46;
unaccountable children will be saved, Mark 10:14; no open communion,
pay taxes, but indulge in no political conspiracies, nor hold public office, and
bring Christ into disrepute; no revenge on any be they English, German,
French or Japanese, etc., nor any human nor even brutes; the right to flee'
from wrong accusers and rather than build battleships, feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, care for the
They countenance no partnership with Satan, no suing in court, only
when forced there by self defense, preaching ex-communication, believing
in an evolution of the mind, educating the heart, all being astray sheep who
must be redeemed, they practice no infant baptism, admit of figurative cir-
cumcision but tolerate no whites and blacks to intermarry, non-believer and
believers not to intermarry, II Cor. 6:14, I Cor. 7:38; practice non-resist-
ance, Matt. 5:33 to 37; Matt. 26:51 to '2; Luke 9:51 to 57; II Cor. 10:4;
Rom. 12:19 to 21, and the commandment "Thou shalt not kill!"
They are opposed to salaried ministers, Isa. 55:1, Matt. 10:8, I Peter
5:2; weakening the spirituality of the church, I Cor. 9:19, etc.; commercial-
ize high calling, II Peter 2:3; and a hindrance to preaching the truth,
II Tim 4:2-4.
They advise members who marry a companion who belongs to a church
not of non-resistant faith and a member of lodges to receive definite teach-
ing and in case of transgression inform them of their error, if possible lead
them to repentance and if they make no amends deal with them as II Thess.
According to Matt. 5:40 and I Cor. 6:1 to 8 they deem it unscriptural to
take aggressive part in lawsuits.
A brother being elected to the legislature and their congregation sup-
porting his election shows the ministers to have failed and all should be
dealt with according to the spirit of the gospel as in Gal. 6:1.
Since to the powers of the world are delegated the use of force and
carnal weapons and fobridden to the children of God these sectarians, or a
majority thereof, deem it inconsistent with the teaching of God's word for
our brethren to hold office in the legislature and any one being a candidate
for such office should be instructed to withdraw his candidacy.
If a brother and sister neglected to commune for a number of years
they should be duly and prayerfully admonished and instructed and if they
refuse should not be considered members. According to II Cor. 10:45, and
our faith we should teach the evils of wars and their results. But to ex-
emplify this doctrine guard well the tongue and do not abuse your Christian
liberty by appealing to law for protection of life and property. Family
reunions are frowned upon unless in a Godly way and manner conducted.
The Amish say that inasmuch as our forefathers in Europe suffered
because of non-resistance principles we came to America on the promise of
liberty of conscience and religious freedom and inasmuch as we to-day hold
sacred the same principles and are conscientious in that matter that we
cannot engage in war in any form. Our opposition to war is not founded
on cowardice or disloyalty to our government but on the conviction that the
gospel of Christ is a gospel of peace, I Tim. 2:1, 2. Lead a quiet, peaceful
life, good and acceptable in the sight of the Savior.
1. To the ministry: that they be ensamples of the flock, that they
preach, teach and exemplify, reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long-
suffering and doctrine (II Tim. 4:3-4) and, where needed, to discipline in
the spirit of love and meekness; that in the line of dress they wear the
regulation plain coat and avoid all outward ornamentation, that they en-
courage the plain coat and modest apparel with no uncertain sound.
The Ephrata Cloister
2. To the brethren: that they submit themselves to the Word of God
and to them that watch for their souls as they that must give account. The
fashionable neckties, ornamental chains, studs, rings or other jewelry, not
in harmony with the aforesaid scriptures, and are to be refrained, as well
as all other changing follies, fashions in attire, cutting and combing the
hair to the latest styles, etc.
To the sisters: that they read the above Scriptures in the fear of God.
That in the line of dress they adhere to the plain cloth bonnet, fastened with
strings, (not hatpins) for summer protection, and to the plain hood or bon-
net for winter, that costly silks, laces, embroideries, low cut or unbecoming
short dresses, short sleeves, transparent fabrics that give an immodest ap-
pearance, also jewelry in the line of wearing gold, pearls, rings, bracelets,
broaches, pins, chains, wrist watches and all outward ornamentation be
avoided. That our sisters should part their hair in the middle, comb it flat
and put it up in a becoming way, to wear the devotional covering, which
should be of proper size, so as to be kept on the head, and be readily seen
answering the purpose for which it is intended and not so as to bring re-
proach to the cause of Christ. Lastly,
To the brotherhood in general: that we so live as to promote the spirit
of unity of the body of Christ and in example and teaching uphold the
Bible principles on the subject of simplicity and non-conformity, in all
things being a light to the world, ever pointing to the fact that we are
strangers and pilgrims here and that we seek a city whose builder and
maker is God.
They practice the golden rule, and are of a quiet, unobtrusive nature,
quick to sympathize, rather sunny in disposition, not boisterous in laughter,
try to understand others, lend a hand and material help when possible,
looking for the best in others, are loth to believe bad reports or hearsay,
don't recite their own worries, in public don't preach what they think, but
what they believe, and admonish the practice thereof. "Bearing all things,
hoping all things, and enduring all things."
Few if any of these Early Sectarians are punished by getting to our
jails, none if any are found in our almshouse and the writer never saw one
of them in our insane asylum.
The lesson most impressive from this glimpse into the lives of our Early
Sectarians, looking at perils and hardships endured, to the writer, means
unselfish labors for posterity having built on the solid rock of sound moral-
ity and religion, acting in faith, living with hope, and practicing charity;
showing by their aims, culture, purposes, ideals and achievements, the high-
est, noblest and most adorable types of real manhood and womanhood,
leaving to us a magnificent heritage.
Will we emulate them to the utmost of our ability, by sturdiness of
character, by devotion to faith, by being real Christians?
They learned in Prussia that religion ceases to be religion in proportion
as it is forced. They have studied in detail that
"There is no such good soil anywhere to be found for the growth of the
seeds of hypocrisy as that furnished by a state-enforced religion. He who
counts himself an acceptable servant of God because of his observance of
religious regulations made and enforced by the state, has not learned the
first principles of the kingdom of Christ. The gospel of that kingdom is
not thus proclaimed, and no such organization was ever commissioned of
heaven to give it. Men are not to be made good by statute. No; but men
can be made civil by law, and that is the province of civil law. The state
can only deal with those things of civil character. Those things which are
religious and pertain to the consciences of men, are wholly outside the
jurisdiction of the state. Let this distinction be clearly drawn.
Our Early Sectarians
"God requires of every man obedience and worship. Each must obey for
himself; each must worship for himself. No man has authority from God
to delegate those duties to another. Neither has any man authority from
God to require another to obey God in the manner he thinks that other
ought to obey, or to worship God in the manner he believes that other
ought to worship. Liberty in these matters is the foundation of all liberty.
"Compulsion is no part of the gospel of Christ. He who can not be
drawn to the service of Christ by the love of Christ and the beauty of his
character, can not be driven to acceptable service through human laws and
"The church proclaims her lack of love and divine po\ver whenever she
seeks to carry on her work by coercion and the power of the state.
"The utmost that severity can do is to make men hypocrites; it can
never make them converts.
"When the church goes into politics you can expect politics to go into
"Should he [the ruler] persecute his obedient, loyal subjects, on any
religious account, this is contrary to all law and right; and his doing so
renders him unworthy of their confidence, and they must consider him not a
blessing but a plague." — Adam, Clarke, on Romans 13.
George Washington on Religious Liberty
To the Quakers, in October, 1789, George Washington said:
"Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the
persons and consciences of men from oppression, it certainly is the duty of
rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but, according to their sta-
tions, to prevent it in others.
"The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshiping Al-
mighty God agreeably to their consciences, is not only among the choicest
of their blessings, but also of their rights." — Sparks's "Writings of George
Washington" Vol. XII, page 168.
George Washington, replying to congratulations of the Baptists in Vir-
ginia on his election to the presidency, in May, 1789, said:
"If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the consti-
tution framed in the convention, where I had the honor, to preside, might
possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly
I would never have placed my signature to it; and if I could now conceive
that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the
liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one
would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against
the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
For you doubtless remember that I have often expressed my sentiments,
that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable
to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping
the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." — Id., Vol. XII,
To the New Church, Baltimore, January, 1793, George Washington said:
"We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of
truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition,
and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of
his own heart." — Id., Vol. XII, page SO4.
These sectarians accept Thomas Jefferson when he says "Among the
most inestimable of our blessings is that of liberty to worship our Creator
in the way we think most agreeable to His will — a liberty deemed in other
countries incompatible with good government any yet provided by our ex-
perience to be its best support."
The Ephrata Cloister
Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts in 1635 for maintain-
ing the doctrine of religious freedom, saying that no man could be held
responsible to his fellow-man for his religious belief.
James Madison: "Religion is not in the purview of human government.
Religion is essentially distinct from government and exempt from its cog-
nizance. A connection between them is injurious to both."
U. S. Grant: "Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the
church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contribution.
Keep the state and the church forever separate."
Thomas Jefferson also said: "Almighty God hath created the mind free;
all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil
incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and
are a departure from the plan of the holy Author of our religion, who,
being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by co-
ercion on either, as was in his almighty power to do."
Wm. Penn, when a prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote: "To conceit
that men must form their faith of things proper to Another World by the
Prescriptions of mortal Men, or else they can have no right to eat, drink*
sleep, walk, trade, be at liberty, or live in This, to me seems both ridiculous
Spurgeon, the great English preacher, has well said: "I am ashamed of
some Christians because they have so much dependence on Parliament and
the law of the land. Much good may Parliament ever do true religion,
except by mistake ! As to getting the law of the land to touch our religion,
we earnestly cry, 'Hands off! leave us alone!' All forms of act-of-Parlia-
ment religion seem to me to be all wrong. Give us a fair field and no favor,
and our faith has no cause to fear. Christ wants no help from Caesar. I
should be afraid to borrow help from government; it would look to me as
if I rested on an arm of flesh, instead of depending on the living God. Let
the religion triumph by the power of God in men's hearts, and not by the
power of fines and punishments."
No power but that of love can rightfully compel the conscience. Relig-
ion is a matter for the individual conscience.
All of these quotations are to show a side generally misunderstood.
Characters like those of our Early Sectarians gave service, sacrifices,
suffering as well as sympathy, four S's that form a sacred legacy transmit-
ted to our veneration, to be cherished, to be preserved unimpaired and
gladly given to our descendants after and for ages.
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Article I, Sections 3 and 4
Section 3. All men have a natural and indefensible right to worship
Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, no man
can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship;
or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can,
in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience,
and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establish-
ments or modes of worship.
Section 4. No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a
future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious
sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit un-
der this Commonwealth.
Our Early Sectarians
Article I. — Freedom of Religion, of Speech, of the Press, and Right of
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,
or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
You can forge a crowbar but you can't hammer out a conscience. Christ
never petitioned the government to make people good by law or ordinance.
The present hysterical age of emotional revivalism which tends to mob
rule in land slides of opinion, radically and spontaneously bursting like
bubbles, condemning the right, forgetting that ours is a land of liberty to
worship as we believe is most agreeable to God's will and when the reform
associations want law to touch our religions we earnestly cry "Hands off !"
Learn a lesson of calm, considerate, conservative action, being unassuming
and thereby emulate the lives of the Early Sectarians. And as Christ says:
"Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they
are they which testify of me," and as Paul says: "Study to show thyself
approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly di-
viding the word of truth"; also "For this cause God shall send them strong
delusions that they should believe a lie."
When not misunderstood the lives of the Early Sectarians recognize the
law of our great country in all secular matters, and the laws of God and of
God alone in religious faith and practice. These are but the inalienable
rights of all the members of the greatest of all nations.
May God, The Immaculate Lamb, rest and abide with us throughout
THE OLD CLOISTER AT EPHRATA, PA.
By Louisa A. Weitzel
'Twas October, dreamy, tender, all the land was bathed in splendor,
And our hearts did melt within us as we loitered by the way
O'er the old stone bridge we wandered and half audibly we pondered
How a million feet had passed it ere we saw the light of day.
Soon we reached a stile and climbing landed in green clover
Carpeting the field surrounding buildings men come far to see.
Here they lived, the old and sainted Brethren history has painted,
In their simple lives and labors, in their rare old piety.
As they reared the quaint, high gables naught cared they for lettered fables
But the glory of the Highest whom their daily walk adored,
Hence these temples more enduring, to the pious more alluring,
Built they than Old World cathedrals in their splendor can afford.
As we passed through narrow doorways, as we trod the firm, hard fioorways,
Paced the narrow halls and entries and each bare and cell-like room
Oft we seemed to see the stately Sisters passing, prim, sedately,
Kneeling in the chapel, working at the distaff or the loom.
And we wondered if they hovered, by kind Providence empowered,
In those dim and low ceiled chambers, once so dear to them of yore,
Curious, too, to see the zealous — and, perhaps a little jealous
Of these desecrating fingers — linger o'er their work to pore.
Did they revel in the beauty of kind Nature or did duty
Chain them to their tasks more closely than we heirs of later date?
Artist souls felt no repression, see we by their own confession,
In the charts and books they left us, spared as yet by time and fate.
All around is changed and changing, as each wanderer sees found ranging
'Round the weather-beaten structures, which alone unchanged remain,
And those pictured forms uncanny of the Sisters few, if any,
Scenes familiar would discover, if to life returned again.
One thing only changes never; for the human heart forever
Find we in all times and places beating to the same old tune;
And the same old joys and sorrows, yesterdays and same to-morrows
Share we with those ancient Brethren, like the changes of the moon.
Virtue, too, is found not only grown in sheltered cloisters lonely,
But it blooms wherever shineth God's free sunshine o'er the land.
Yea, we find it in all ages, in this old world's passing stages,
Cloistered halls may fall and crumble, but His kingdom still shall stand.
— From "A Quiver of Arrows," a book of poems by the author.
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