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The German Sectarians
of Pennsylvania: 1708-1742

Julius Friedrich Sachse




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VOLUME I.



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

No. /-^^ .

September^ /8pg,



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SPECIMEN OF ARTISTIC PEN-WORK MADE AT EPHRATA CLOISTER ABOUT 1745.



ORIGINAL 12 X 18 INCHES.



PHOTOGRAPHED BY J. f. SACH8E.



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THE



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ENNSYLVANIA

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A CRITICAL AND LEGENDARY HISTORY

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BY

JULIUS FRIEDRICH SACHSE



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PHU-ADELPHIA:

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COPYRIGHT, 1899,

By JULIUS F. SACHSB.

AI,h laCHTS RBSERVSD



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Printed by P. C. Stocchausbn, 53-55 N. 7th St., Philadelphia.



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FOREWORD.

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

THE GERMAN PIETISTS OF PENNSYLVANIA

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

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



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vi Foreword.

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

(i) Zwei Stucke aus Pennsylvanien. Being letters from
Pastorius, dated March 7, 1684.

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

(3) The original MS. of the Send-Schreiben of fohann
Gottfried Selig to Rev. Francke^ at Halle.

(4) Pastorius' Send-Brieff Offenherziger Liebesbezeugung
an die so-genannte Pietisten in Hoch Deutschland.

(5) Biographical sketch of Magister Zimmermann, show-
ing that he was a student of Rev. M. Tobias Wagner.

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

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

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



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Foreword. vii

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

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

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

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

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



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viii Foreword.

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

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

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

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

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

J. F. Sachse.

July, 1899.



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CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

EPHRATA OF THE PRESENT DAY.

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

CHAPTER II.

BEYOND THE COCALICO.

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

CHAPTER III.
ADVENT OF THE PALATINES, ly^

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

CHAPTER IV.

GERMAN PILGRIMS.

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



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X Contents.

CHAPTER V.

THE WEAVER'S APPRENTICE.

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

CHAPTER VI.
THE LABADISTS ON THE BOHEMIA MANOR.

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

CHAPTER Vn.
THE HUT IN THE FOREST.

Instruction to Children. Observing the True Sabbath.
. / The Newborn or Baumanites. Matthias Bauman. Pemi-
^ dous Doctrine. Rev. Muhlenberg's Reports. Beissel as
an Evangelist A Germantown Awakening. Dissension
on the Muhlbach. Sale of the Cabin. Beissel Retires to
the Schwedenquelle 71-83

CHAPTER VHL
THE GERMAN BAPTIST BRETHREN.

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



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Contents. xi

CHAPTER IX.
THE NEW DUNKERS ON THE CONESTOGA.

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

CHAPTER X.

THE CRADLE OF GERMAN LITERATURE.

Credit Due Wissahickon Brotherhood. Beissel and Wohl-
farth. Two New Bradford Imprints. Mystyrion Anomias.
German and English Versions. Curious Features. Beis-
sel's Preface. Michael Wohlfarth. Naked Truth. George
Michael Weiss. First German Reformed Book. De-
nounces Newborn Sect. Nine and Ninty Mystical Prov-
erbs. Early Franklin Imprint. Specimen Page. German
Hymn-book of 173a Beissel's Book on Matrimony.
John Philip Boehm . 141-168

CHAPTER XI.

ALEXANDER MACK>/

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

i CHAPTER XII.

KOCH-HALEKUNG,— THE SERPENTS* DEN.

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



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xii Contents.

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

CHAPTER XIII.
A RETROSPECT.

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

CHAPTER XIV.
AN EVENTFUL YEAR.

Arrival of the Schwenkfelders. BeissePs Visit. Leonard
Heidt Welfare's "Wisdom of God." Death of Alexander
Mack. Pettikoffer House. B^garstown. Preparations
for the Funeral. Curious Customs and Services. Burial
by Tordi Light Upper Burying Ground. Manuscript
Hymn-book of 1734, Unique Title. .... 214-226

CHAPTER XV.
THE AWAKENING ON THE TULPEHOCKEN.

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

CHAPTER XVI.
KEDAR.

Dedication. BeissePs Experience. House of Prayer.

Zion and Kedar. Spiritual Virgins. Ephrata. . . 252-259



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Contents. xiii

CHAPTER XVII.
JACOB'S KAMPFF UND RITTER-PLATZ.

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

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE MONASTERY ON THE WISSAHICKON.

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

CHAPTER XIX.
UNITAS FRATRUM.

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

CHAPTER XX.
THE HABITS OF THE ORDERS.

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

CHAPTER XXI.
ROSTER OF THE CELIBATES.

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



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XIV Contents.

CHAPTER XXII.

THE WEYRAUCHS HUGEL.

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

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE ZIONITIC BROTHERHOOD.

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

CHAPTER XXIV.

THE AMWELL DUNKERS.

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

CHAPTER XXV.
THE HOUSE OF PRAYER.

Important Accessions. Zephania and Obadiah. Dr. Witt's
T'ower Clock. Houses on Zion Hill. A Piece of Vandal-
ism. Patent for Kloster Property. Great Saal of Zion.
Consecration of Conrad Weiser. Rigorous Discipline.
Chiming of Bells. A New Project. A Severe Winter.
Brother Agonius. Sketch of. London Cofifee House.
Franklin's Tribute. Death of Agonius. Epitaph. . 377-398



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Contents. xv

CHAPTER XXVI.



PENIEL.



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

CHAPTER XXVII.
A CELESTIAL VISITANT.

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

CHAPTER XXVIII.
THE SKIPPACK BRETHREN.

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

CHAPTER XXIX.
THE PENNSYLVANIA SYNODS.

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

CHAPTER XXX.
THE ORDER OF THE MUSTARD SEED.

Religious Awakenings in the Province. Influences of Mystic

Fraternities. The Order of the Passion of Jesus. Order of

the Mustard Seed. Slaves of Virtue. Professors of Jesus ^

Christ. Ritual of the Mustard Seed. Extension of the

Order. Insignia. Grand Cross. Indian Baptism. An

Indian Order 457-4^7



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xvi Contents.

CHAPTER XXXI.
HEBRON.

Ananias Sin. Cunning Scheme. Hebron. Ground Plan.
Dedication. Letters of Divorce. Failure of the Scheme.
Legal Interference. Weiser vs, Onesimus, Cremation of
Articles of Separation. 46S-474

CHAPTER XXXn.
SARON.

Order of Spiritual Virgins. Hebron Becomes Saron.
Domestic Arrangements. Bemice 475-478

CHAPTER XXXni.
BETHANIA.

A Great Conception. New Brother House. An Ephrata
Raising. A Strange Episode. Cabalistic Speculations.
\ 99 versus 100. Cammerhoff 's Account Plan of the Build-
ings. The Brother Saal. Description. Interesting Story.
Mystery Solved. Peculiarities of the Great House. . 479-487



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LIST OF PLATES.



(Negatives and Reproductions by Julius F. Sachsb.)



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

A German Baptism

Baptistry on the Wissahickon .
Old Pennsylvania Post- Road— Schaeferstown
Menno Simonis— Portrait ....
Mennonite Meeting House— Germantown
Dunker Meeting House— Germantown .
Postlewaite's Tavern— Conestoga .
Ancient Ephrata Cabin . . . .
Dunker Graveyard at Germantown
Monastery on the Wissahichon, 1899
Haunted Ravine on Monastery Grounds
Monastery Sixty Years Ago
Rev. August Gottlieb Spangenberg
Governor John Penn (the American)
Saal and Sister House, 1898. .
Within the Saal (Interior Views) .

Count Zinzendorf

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



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