Joseph Mortimer Levering.

A history of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741-1892 online

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Online LibraryJoseph Mortimer LeveringA history of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741-1892 → online text (page 1 of 90)
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BethleheiM, Pennsylvania








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Bethlehem, Pa.


Printers and Publishers









It is but justly due the advance subscribers of "A History of
Bethlehem" that a foreword on the part of the Committee to which
had been entrusted the preparation of this, the crowning feature of
the Sesqui-Centennial celebration of the founding of the town, should
partake of at least an apologetic flavor.

The passing of a full decade before the fulfillment of the task was
•due, in part, to the long-continued illness of Prof. Edwin G. Klose,
who had assumed the greater part of the many details involved in
the projection of the Volume and who, almost to the day of his
death, had cherished the hope that returning health would enable
him to contribute to its pages the main part of the work. His regret-
table demise, occurring before he was able even to pen a chapter
thereof, led to the devolvement of the task upon the Rt. Rev. J.
Mortimer Levering, then one of the pastors of the Moravian Church
at Bethlehem, custodian of the Archives at this place, and signally
qualified to bring the work to a successful issue.

Although given occasional respite from his pastoral duties, oft
recurring periods of ill health and bodily suffering disabled him from
persistent application to this work, requiring as it did a close study
of manuscript material, rendered trying and laborious alike by its
diflfuseness and by its frequent approach to illegibility.

The result of his labors embodied in these pages, the Committee
beheves, will be found by the reader to fully compensate for the
delay. Indeed the delay has made possible what could otherwise not
have been accomplished, viz., an authoritative history based on origi-
nal documents and manuscript sources.

He has treated the history of the town without any undue attempt
at conciseness, yet, in the carrying out of his work, he stops short of
fatiguing elaboration ; he maintains, moreover, the dignity commen-
surate with the high aims had in view by the first settlers of Bethle-
hem, so that they only will be disappointed who may look for a collec-
tion of amusing tales recounting the eccentricities or failings of some
of the worthies of a centurv and more ago. On the other hand, the



student of history will find in this monograph an important contri-
bution to the secular and religious history of our country.

The many illustrations with which the volume is embellished are,
in a great number of instances, reproductions of rare prints, manu-
scripts and drawings and materially enhance the value of the book.

Abraham S. Schropp,
Charles H. Eggert,
Henry T. Clauder,
Joseph A. Rice,
Robert Rau,
J. Samuel Krause,
William V. Knauss,
J. Taylor Hamilton,
Harvey W. Kessler.
Bethlehem, Pa., June 25th, 1903.


Bethlehem, being a town with a past far from common-place, has
been much and variously written about from its beginning to the
present time.

Correct historical and descriptive information has never been
entirely lacking, and has increased in recent years, but more
numerous have been the published accounts which have propagated
erroneous ideas, hard to eradicate, in regard to former institutions
and usages of the place and to the Church that founded it. These
have been lauded and traduced, idealized and caricatured according
to the knowledge or fancy, animus or object of different writers, and
usually the most unreal elements of these diversified views have the
firmest hold on the popular mind.

Many persons yet derive all their notions of Bethlehem from
fantastic portrayals of "Moravian customs," for the entertainment
of newspaper readers, by imaginative correspondents who continue
to devise variations of the theme and occasionally to freshen it with
newly-invented features. Such stock terms as strange people,
quaint community, interesting brotherhood, which even in olden
times expressed conceptions largely fanciful and are as little appli-
cable to the Moravian Church now as to other churches of Bethle-
hem, had become tiresome before the place ceased, half a century
ago, to be what it is still often styled in print, a Moravian town.

Since the modern examination of Moravian archives in Pennsyl-
vania and the writing of history from these sources began about
fifty years ago, the publications of the Moravian Historical Society,
with many other books and pamphlets, contain much matter about
Bethlehem, but scattered through more general history or given in
disconnected treatment of specialties. Very little of it extends beyond
the first fifty years, much of it ser\^es rather a mere antiquarian curi-
osity or reminiscent fancy, and some has been superseded by maturer
work resulting from a more thorough study of records.

Meanwhile, nothing that can be called a history of Bethlehem
has appeared.

The volume of miscellany from historical documents, official state-
ments, tourists' descriptions and village tales, called "Bethlehem and


the Moravians," publislied in 1873, ^y Jo^^" Hill Alartin, "entirely for
amusement," is not a connected history and remains without the
corrections which would doubtless have been made in a second

The Rev. William C. Reichel was engaged in 1876, at "A Memorial
Volume of the Bethlehems by way of a Centennial Record," adver-
tised to be issued by August 15, of that year, but his lamented death
in October left the task unaccomplished. His notes were subse-
quently utilized in a variety of ways — a few of them in a history of
Northampton County, compiled in 1877, for which Bishop Edmund
de Schweinitz furnished a section on early Bethlehem in addition tO'
what the compilation contains in other parts.

The desire for a more complete history of the town, which, in 1892,
revived the project of a Memorial Volume, will perhaps be met to
a fair degree by the present work, completed after a long delay and
under peculiar difficulties. It having eventually taken the form of
a history from one hand instead of a collection of monographs, as
at one time proposed, the absence of fuller specializing under that
plan is possibly compensated for by the advantage of a more closely-
woven, consecutive body of matter.

Only first sources have been used in what pertains to Moravian
affairs in America and to all Bethlehem events prior to the middle of
the nineteenth century. After that, so far as possible, only those
written and printed statements have been followed which, in the
nature of things, could be relied upon.

While entire absence of errors is not presumed, many obscurities,
inaccuracies and contradictions in extant history have been corrected.

The length of the chapters, embracing epochs and periods, may
seem to bury many details of interest in the mass, but it is beUeved
that the careful indexing of subjects and names separately, which has
been prepared by an assistant, will make amends for this.

The writer ventures the hope that the work may, on the whole,
not be disappointing to those who have been awaiting it.

J. M. Levering.
January, 1903.


[The manuscripts — all originals or authentic contemporaneous copies, and mostly
German— are named, not by exact titles, but in a general, somewhat explanatory
way, and, for brevity, in classified groups. Printed works are likewise briefly men-
tioned and an asterisk marks those in which the matter used consists of published
original documents havmg all the authority of first sources for ordinary purposes.]


Diaries. — General Moravian diary of Bethlehem, 1742-1900; diaries of Single
Brethren's House, 1744-1814, and Sisters' House, 1748-1844; George Neisser's
notes, Georgia and Pennsylvania, 1734-1742; J. P. Meurer's journal en route with
Sea Congregation and later, 1742-1744; Neisser and Hoepfner's journals. Second
Sea Congregation, 1743 ; Henry Miller's memoranda, 1742-1745; journals, Beth-
lehem itinerants among Indians and settlers, 1742-1762.

Official Minutes. — General Moravian Executive Board in Pennsylvania
under successive titles — after 1782 Provincial Helpers' and General Helpers' Con-
ference and after 1855 Provincial Elders' Conference — 1744-1857; Bethlehem
Boards of Elders, Stewards, Supervisors {Au/seher), etc.. School Boards and Con-
gregation Councils, 1742-1851 (Elders and Parochial School Directors to 1892);
early records, District School (incomplete) and sundry extracts and reports, Public
Schools, 1 836-1 872.

Synodical Records. — Pennsylvania Synods, first union, and after 1748 ex-
clusively Moravian, 1742-183 5 ; General Synods, Moravian Church (Europe), 1736-

Personal Records. — Autobiographies— Peter Boehler, Martin Mack, John
Boehner, and other pioneers — and numerous memoirs filed in archives and entered
in register, Moravian Church.

Correspondence. — Bethlehem ofificials with European General Moravian
Board, 1742-1857; and with civil and military authorities of Pennsylvania, New
York, New Jersey, and Nation, more than a century.

Miscellaneous. — Lists of Moravian Immigrants, 1 735-1 800; historical
reminiscences at laying of corner-stone, Nazareth Hall, by Peter Boehler; account
of Revolutionary times by John Ettwein ; sundry statements, petitions and appeals
during Revolution ; history, Moravian property and finances, by Lewis David de
Schweinitz; legal opinions, advice and instructions, Lewis Weiss, Benjamin Chew,
Horace Binney, and others ; maps, drafts, surveys abstracts of title, deeds and
other conveyances; sundry account books, 1744-1851, of general management,
schools and industries ; annual reviews and statistics, 1742-1892.



Principal writers, from 1771 (Cranz) to 1895, on the Unitas Fratrum — general
history and special subjects.

*Buedingsche Sammlungen (Buedingen Collections), issued 1742-1744.

*Authentische Relation, etc., account of the First Pennsylvania Synod with various
related documents, 1742.

*Zinzendorf's Peri Eautou or Naturelle Reflexiones, 1746.

*Acta Fratrum Unitatis in Anglia, 1749.

^Spangenberg's Declaration ueber Beschuldigungen. Darlegung richtiger Ant-
worten and Apologetische Schluss-Schrift, 1751.

Spangenberg's Life of Zinzendorf, 1772.

Risler's Life of Spangenberg, 1794.

*Autobiographies, Bishop Spangenberg, Nicholas Garrison, John Christopher
Pyrlaeus, Frederick William von Marschall, John Heckewelder, and others m
Nachrichten aus der Bruedergemeine.

Benham's Memoirs of James Hutton, 1856.

♦Pennsylvania Archives and Colonial Records.

■•'■Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania and Register.

*Occasional items in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

Local newspaper files in Bethlehem Archives: Die Biene, 1 846-1 848; The
Moravian, 1856-1892 ; The Bethlehem Advocate and the Lehigh Valley Times,
between 1858 and 1861 ; The Bethlehem Times, 1 874-1 892.

*Official publications of institutions and corporations of Bethlehem and South


Introduction. — The Pennsylvania Experiment — Seventeenth Century Con-
ditions — Persecution — Early Settlements, Dutch, Swedish, English — Penn's
Province — Religious Turmoil — Moravian Pioneers — Praised and Defamed —
Their Gospel of Peace, Pages i-6

The Unitas Fratrum or Moravian Church, 1457-1735.
Origin and Name — Hussite Parties — Brethren found Association — Are Op-
pressed — Principles and Organization — Episcopate — Developed System —
Affinities — Persecution — Education — Hymnology — Bible Translation —
Confessions of Faith — Utter Suppression — Friendship of England — Come-
nius — American Prospects — Resuscitation — Christian David and Zinzendorf —
Moravians to Saxony — Herrnhut — Plans of Zinzendorf — Clerical Assaults —
Zinzendorf reads Comenius — Deputation to England — Adjustment to State
Church — Missionaries to the Heathen — American Settlement Planned —
Jablonsky transfers Episcopate — David Nitschmann founds Church in
America, Pages 7-30

From Herrnhut to the Forks of the Delaware, 1735-1740.

American Plans — Georgia and Pennsylvania — First Moravians — Skippack
Union — Attempt in South Carolina — Georgia Abandoned — Moravians with
Whitefield to Pennsylvania — Christopher Wiegner, Henry Antes — Whitefield's
Nazareth Plan — Employs Moravians — Arrival in the Forks — Region Described
— Scotch-Irish Settlements — William Allen — Indian Complications — Walking
Purchase — Moravians commence Nazareth House— Disagreement with White-
field — Nathaniel Irish offers them Land on the Lehigh — Bishop David Nitsch-
mann and Company arrive — First Christmas at Nazareth — Site Selected on
the Lehigh — First Tree Felled — The Spring at the Monocacy, . Pages 31-58

The Settlement Founded and Named, 1741.

Missionary Beginnings — Indians of Welagameka — Captain John and Christian
Froehlich — Allen Tract on the Lehigh finally Selected — Building Operations
Commenced — Land Purchased for Moravians by Antes — First House Built —
Journeys and Visitors — Pioneers remove to Allen Tract — A Busy Summer —
First Preaching and Communion — Lovefeasts and Prayer-days — The Com-
munity House — Sectarians and Fanatics visit the Forks — George Neisser's
Records — Count Zinzendorf arrives in America — Screeds and Pasquinades —
Zinzendorf at Philadelphia — Visits Henry Antes — Evangelical Alliance
Planned — Reaches the Forks — A Memorable Christmas Eve — The Name
Bethlehem Pages 59-79


Connecting Events and the Sea Congregation, 1742.

Zinzendorf's Tour through the Country — Sects Encountered — He settles in
Philadelphia — Plans for Pennsylvania — Confusion and Strife — He distin-
guishes Religions and Sects — His Scheme Elucidated — His Conception of the
Moravian Church — His Ecclesiastical Status — Entanglements of Rank —
Insult and Calumny — Proposes to renounce Rank and Title — Preaches for
Lutherans in Philadelphia — Crusade of Rev. John Philip Boehm — Pyrlaeus
Mobbed — The Bechtel Catechism — The Hirten Lieder — Antes calls Con-
ference of Religions — The Seven Conferences Treated — Zinzendorf as Moder-
ator — Excited Opposition — His Course Misrepresented — Use of the Lot
Explained — First Moravian School in Germantown — The " Sea Congregation"
arrives — Attracts Attention at Philadelphia — Joins Pennsylvania Synod —
Names of Colony with Notes Pages 80-126

From the Organization to the Return of Spangenberg, 1742-1744.
The Colony reaches Bethlehem — Community House Chapel Dedicated — Con-
gregation Organized — The Sabbath Question Discussed — First Arrangements

— Officials and Functionaries — Pharmacy and Dispensary — Postal Arrange-
ments — Organization of Labor — The Prayer Bands — A Typical Sunday —
First Interment in Cemetery — Baptism of Indians Described — Community
House Enlarged — First Decorative Art — First Hospital and Tavern — Plans
for the Barony of Nazareth — Boarding Schools Planned — Bethlehem People
Misunderstood by Neighbors — Zinzendorf 's Tours in the Indian Country —
Second Christmas at Bethlehem — Zinzendorf 's Departure — Ad Interim Ar-
rangements — First Grist-mill and Ferry — Whitefield House Finished — The-
Demented Hardie — School of Indian Languages — Nazareth Colony arrives

— Early Musical Instruments — Musicians Organized — Single Men's House
Built — Missionaries Oppressed in New York — Spangenberg returns to Beth-
lehem Pages 127-177

The Economy During Spangenberg's First Term, 1745-1748.

Spangenberg's General Plan — The Economy — Popular Misapprehensions —
Detailed Organization — Henry Antes Superintendent of Externals — Organized
Labor — System of Accounts — Labor Made Pleasant — Idyllic Scenes — Mur-
murers — The Herrnhaag Extravagances — Zinzendorf 's Connection There-
with — The Climax — Herrnhaag Abandoned — Fanaticism slightly afTects-
Bethlehem — Success of Co-operative Union — Crown Inn Built — First Semi-
nary — Industries Developed — Indian Converts from New York build Friedens-
huetten — Small-pox Scourge — Missionary Society Formed — Mills Built —
Brethren's House Built — The Irene Built and Launched — Local Improvements

— Culture, Medicinal Herbs — Polyglot Song Service — Collegium Musicum —
Notes on Various Schools — First School South Side of River — The Old Man's
Place — Henry Antes Justice of the Peace — Complications with Neighbors —
Bethlehem Township Formed — Legal Status of Moravians — Acts of Parlia-


ment 1747 and 1749 — Bishop de Watteville comes to Bethlehem — Official
Changes Made — Spangenberg retires, .... Pages 178-229

The Course of Things to the Indian Raid, 1749-1755.

De Watteville's Labors and Journeys — Schools Reorganized — John Nitsch-
mann supersedes Spangenberg — Greenlanders at Bethlehem — The Jones
Farm — English Cloth-weavers come to Bethlehem — David Brainerd and his
Indians — Gilbert Tennent denounces Moravians — Unique Service at Bethle-
hem — Greenlanders, Arawacks, Indians, Negroes — Gnadenhuetten Indians —
Teedyuscung — Meniolagomeka — John Nitschmann's Administration Object
tionable — Antes leaves Bethlehem — Nitschmann's Arbitrary Course — Presen-
Old Chapel Built — Sister's House Enlarged — Grist-mill Rebuilt — New Phar-
macy — Store in Horsfield House — Indian House at Monocacy — The Nazareth
Road — John Nitschmann Recalled to Europe — Spangenberg returns to
Bethlehem — Easton Founded — William Parsons — Northampton County
Erected — Moravian Properties Secured — Individual Proprietor and Adminis-
trator — Financial Crisis in Europe— Nazareth Hall Built — The Family House

— Proposed New Bethlehem Tavern — The Little Irene — The Bethlehem
Water-works — Silk Worms — General Economy Reorganized — Death of Henry
Antes, Daniel Brodhead and James Burnside — Approaching Indian
Troubles Pages 230-296

Bethlehem During the Indian Uprising, 1755-1756.

Braddock's Defeat Announced at Bethlehem — Moravians Accused of Furnish-
ing Arms and Ammunition to Indians — Teedyuscung tries to allure Moravian
Indians — Frederick Post alone in Wyoming — Wild Stories Circulated — Be-
ginning of Violence in Eastern Pennsylvania — First Refugees to Bethlehem —
Moravian Settlements in Danger — Massacre at Gnadenhuetten on the Mahoning

— This vindicates Moravian Missionaries — Bethlehem becomes a City of
Refuge — Spangenberg urges Building Fort at Lehigh Gap — Franklin com-
mands Frontier Defences — Women and Children Concentrated at Bethlehem

— Savages plan Attack — Dreaded Christmas safely Passed — Impatience of
Franklin and Authorities with Panic Stricken Settlers — They burden Bethlehem
heavily — Spangenberg pleads their Cause — Assembly objects to Expenses
for Keeping Indians at Bethlehem by Order of Government — Bickerings of
Public Men jeopardize Life and Property — Bounty for Scalps Proclaimed —
Teedyuscung Dreaded at Bethlehem, Pages 297-343

To the End of the General Economy, 1756-1762.

Bethlehem Escapes — Christian Indians of much Service — Great Council at
Easton — Tranquility Preserved at Bethlehem — Nazareth Hall Dedicated —
Peter Boehler returns to Bethlehem — Nain Built for Christian Indians —
Neighbors object — Teedyuscung Permitted to spend Winter at Bethlehem —
Leaves in the Spring of 1758 — His Melancholy End — Sun Inn Built — Post's
Services to the Government — Close of Indian War — Church Ship Irene Captured


and Sunk — Klemm and Tanneberger Organ Builders — Death of Father Nitsch-
mann — Plans to dissolve General Economy — School Opened in Nazareth
Hall — Founding of Wechquetank — Small-pox — Many Visitors — Descriptions
Recorded — A New Church Ship, The Hope — Problems Involved in Dissolu-
tion of General Economy — The Task is Consummated — Departure of Bishop
Spangenberg for Europe Pages 344-385

The Decade to the Second Re-organization, 1762-1771.

Personal Changes — Post and Heckewelder to Ohio — Distinguished Visitors —
Topography in 1762 — New Water- works — Indian Troubles again Brewing

— Demand for Removal of Indians from Nain and Wechquetank — Threats
against Bethlehem — Cowardly Murder of Indians by Captain Wetterhold's
Militia — Retaliation by Savages at Stenton's Tavern — The Wounded Captain
dies at the Crown Inn — Bethlehem again Stockaded for Defence — Oil Mill
Burned by Incendiaries — First Fire Engine in America Brought to Bethlehem

— Indians of Wechquetank and Nain Removed to Philadelphia — Mob and Riot
in the City — Designs of the Paxton Rangers — Indians Brought Back to Beth-
lehem — Klein's Stage-wagon to Philadelphia — Beginning of Allentown —
Many Visitors — Industrial Progress — New Oil Mill — Widows' House Built

— Widow's Society Founded — Friedensthal — Brandmiller's Printing-press —
Founding of Hope, New Jersey — Re-organization of Bethlehem — Financial
Settlements, Pages 386-425

Into the Depths of Revolutionary Trouble, 1772-1778.

The New Order — Industrial Developments — Calumnies about Moravians —
Visitors and Tourists — Death of Bishop David Nitschmann — Inoculation for
Small-pox Introduced — Political Excitement — Standpoint of Moravians Eluci-
dated — The War begins — First Troops pass through Bethlehem — Declara-
tion of Independence — Arms Searched for — Prayer for King Omitted in
Litany — Brethren's House Taken for Hospital — Soldiers Buried West of
Monocacy — Threats against Bethlehem — A Night of Peril — Moravians Mis-
construed — Petty Tyranny of County L'eutenant Wetzel — Prisoners Quartered
upon Bethlehem — Military Stores arrive — Liberty Bell m Bethlehem — Members
of Congress from Philadelphia— Lafayette at the Beckel House — Congressional
Order of Protection — Brethren's House again a Hospital — Invasion of Rabble

— Value of Trustworthy Soldiers — Supplies Furnished by Moravians — Malig-
nant Fever in Crowded Hospital — The Dead no longer Counted — Contagion
spreads in the Town — Riotous Militia — Imposition by Minor Officers — The
Town Relieved — Hospital Closed, ..... Pages 426-483

Through the Revolution to Another Re-organization, 1778-1785.
Prominent Men in Bethlehem — Tract Against " Quakers and Bethlehemites " —
Count Pulaski at Bethlehem — His Famous Banner — General Riedesel and
Family — Brunswick Troops — Exorbitant Prices — Martha Washington in


Bethlehem — Refugees from Wyoming — Tradesmen Harassed by County
Lieutenant and Squires — Moravians at Emmaus Arrested — Marched Through
Bethlehem as a Spectacle — Such Activity Financially Profitable — Allentown
Squires summon all the Men of Bethlehem — Higher Authorities advise that it
be Ignored — Squires threaten Ettwein — Discussion at Bethlehem on the
Test Act — General Washington's Nephev^^ in Bethlehem — Bishop John Fred-
erick Reichel arrives — Position to be Taken by Moravian Villages — Recogni-
tion of New Government — Official Changes — General Washington visits
Bethlehem — More Distinguished Foreigners — The Marquis de Chastelloux —
Captain Paul Jones at Bethlehem — Deals with Ruffians at Crown Inn — Ruin
of Missions in Ohio — Slaughter of Christian Indians at Gnadenhuetten — Death
of Bishop Nathanael Seidel — Dr. Schoepf's Description of Bethlehem — Thanks-
giving Service after Treaty of Peace — Rehabilitation of Industries — Bishop

Online LibraryJoseph Mortimer LeveringA history of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741-1892 → online text (page 1 of 90)