William Cornelius Reichel.

A history of the rise, progress, and present condition of the Moravian seminary for young ladies, at Bethlehem, Pa online

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corner-stone, that there were a few persons still living who were
present at the laying of the corner-stone of the former bouse.
Will you, gentlemen, permit me further to trouble you by request-
ing you to forward to the brethren at Bethlehem this intelligence?
In the writer of these lines, I introduce myself as the little girl
sent from St. John's, — Margaret C. Vriehuis.

With the best wishes for your welfare, here and hereafter, I am,
with much esteem, gentlemen, your sincere friend, M. C. V. K.
MoNGAtJP Valley, August 10, 1857.

^ Nurse Mintji had an apartment provided her next the school-
room. Long after her return to her master's plantation, it bore the



only made the long voyage with her mistress, but
also remained at Bethlehem until the latter had be-
come reconciled to, strange faces and her new home.
Miss Vriehuis was soon followed by others, who for a
season exchanged the equable temperature of the
tropics for the vicissitudes of the Pennsylvania clim-
ate. Some of this number have at all times been in-
mates of the school, tender exotics who need careful
shelter from the rude blasts of the North, and to whom
the novelties of a winter, with its sudden treasures of
snow and ice, furnish a source of delight than which
perhaps none greater was ever conjured up by the
magic wand of the enchanter in Oriental story.

The few survivors of this first inspectorship speak
rapturously in its praise, and revert to it with feelings
of exquisite pleasure, telling us it was a time of purest
enjoyment, when religion sanctified their humble ef-
forts in search of knowledge, and innocence lent a
charm to their hours of harmless healthful recreation.
They tell us they were taught to esteem industry as
honorable, to prefer simplicity to ostentation, and in
early youth to seek for happiness elsewhere than in

name of "Mintji's room." Here she was wont to sit on her high-
backed chair, her head turbaned with a gay cotton kerchief, plying
her needle as she prepared the warm clothing for her little mistress
in prospect of the coming winter. In October she returned to the
West Indies. Miss Peggy came well provided with the delicacies
of her tropical home, — among these a barrel of sugar, sweetmeats,
and forty cocoanuts, — gifts from parting friends, doubtless given
in the hope of reconciling her to so distant and long a separation
from father and mother, and soothing the sorrows of thrt last adieu.


the gratification afiforded by the perishable things of
the passing hour. Granting their review is biassed by
the fondness of old age, which clings with tenacity to
the recollections of childhood, coloring the vividly
returning scenes with hues brilliant as those that deck
the gorgeous sunset clouds, yet we are constrained
to believe that happiness such as fell to their lot could
not be purchased in our own day at so trifling a

Brother Jacob Van Vleck, assistant pastor of thC'
congregation, succeeded Brother Hijbener in the in-
spection of the Seminary in January, 1790. On the
17th of the month he was welcomed by the pupils in
a love-feast according to the custom of the time ; and
on the same occasion his predecessor formally resigned
his charge. The following circular was now issued by
the new Principal : —

Conditions of the Boar ding-School in Bethlehem for the
Education of Young Misses.

Children are admitted between the ages of eight
and twelve years, and may remain at school, if parents
desire, to the age of sixteen, unless their deportment
should be such as not to admit of their longer continu-
ance. Every possible attention will be paid to the
health and morals of the children. On admittance,
one guinea entrance-money is to be paid.

The price of boarding and common schooling is
£20, Pennsylvania currency, per year, payment to be


made at entrance quarterly in advance, and so con^

Under common schooling are comprised reading,
writing, grammar, history, geography, arithmetic, plain
sewing, and knitting.

For instruction in music, if desired, two guineas per
year is charged.

For instruction in fine needlework, including draw-
ing, also two guineas per year.

Clothing, medicine, books, paper, and other contin-
gent expenses, are a separate charge, and to be settled
quarterly. In bedding they may be found for twenty
shillings per year. The dress is to be decent, avoid-
ing excess and vanity.

It is desired that such as are applied for should
have had the measles and smallpox,

Application, informing him of the age and character
of the child, to be made in writing to the

Rev. Jacob Van Vleck.

P.S. — As many parents and guardians have signified
their desire that their children might also be taught
the French language, we have now the pleasure to in-
form them that a lady^ well versed in this language has
arrived from Europe, with the intention to give lessons
in the same. As the maintenance of said lady, as

^ Miss Maria de la Fontaine, who came to America late in 1789 in
company with the Brethren Ettwein, Van Vleck, and others, on
their return from the General Synod at Hernnhut.


well as the expenses of her voyage and journey from
Europe, will fall upon the school, we trust it will not
be deemed unreasonable that an extra charge of five
Spanish dollars per annum should be made for instruc-
tion in French.

At the close of schools in April of this year, among
other exercises, original compositions in prose and
verse were recited by nine of the pupils. A few
extracts are subjoined.


As some of my companions tave attempted compositions on divers
themes, which they intend to speak before this worthy audience, I
will, in the name of all, commend them to the indulgent ear of
those who are so good as to honor us with their presence.


'Tis sweet Contentment sings my humble muse,

Aid me, celestial flame, thy charms diffuse !

This virtue is the calmer of the mind.

Softens our reason, and our sense refines,

A mind resign'd and cheerful is the best,

We then shall in this world find peace and rest.

The peasant's happier in his humble cell

If sweet content does in his bosom dwell,

Than all the riches India can cement.

If they're not heighten'd by a sweet content.

Ask not of Heaven more than he does bestow,

But think the Sovereign Lord of all does know

How to dispense his gifts with liberal hand.

Which o'er the universe he does expand.

This worthy audience will excuse

The feeble efforts of my cbildlike muse.

I know with truth that goodness e'er befriends

The first attempt of early youth to mend.



How beautiful the landscape whieli nature presents to our view this
delightful season ! I think we can never tire of contemplating its
beauties. It reminds us of that great Being whose divine goodness
has created all that is desirable to contribute to our happiness.

The primrose and the violet's hue,

The rose just opening fair to view,

The lily's modest bending head,

Which seems not in the art of vices read, —

The yellow cowslip and the blooming field, —

Whene'er we're melancholy, pleasure yield;

The little warblers' cheerful lay

Invites us each to be serenely gay.

The trees in lively colors bloom.

And with their sweets the country round perfume.

The sportive lambs their gambols play,

And join the songsters' lively lay.

Each object new and pleasing still appears.

And various charms enrapturing always cheer.

This honorable audience will excuse

My humble, my imperfect muse :

My feeble efforts them to please

Most willingly produced these.


Fain would my muse in rapturous strains indite,
Or sing of art and science which invite 1
A nobler genius occupies that theme ;
Thales first explored astronomy supreme.
Athens, that seat of learning most refined.
Produced jSlschylus, whose fine writings rhymed.
Anaximander's merits claim our praise,
His name forever shall our annals grace.
Of Webster^ sure each one can say with truth,
That he's a friend and generous guide of youth.
To him we owe our knowledge of good style,
And those amusements which our hours beguile.

' Noah Webster, whose spelling-book was then universally in use.


In what retreat, inglorious and unknown,
Did Genius sleep when Ignorance seized the throne ?
In our time's we're favored with good schools :
We're taught geography and grammar rules.
Should we not then improve our talents well,
And each be striving always to excel ?

As the work at the new building had been resumed
with the return of spring, and the foundation-walls
were now completed, Sunday, the 2d of May, was
designated for the solemnities of the corner-stone

At three o'clock in the afternoon of the day ap-
pointed the pupils and congregation assembled in the
chapel, where they were addressed by Brother Hiibe-
ner^ in reference to the interesting transaction in view.
He next read the subjoined document, and the com-
pany repaired to the site of the new building. The
Elders' Conference and College of Overseers, along
with the pupils and children of the congregation,
ascended the mound of earth which had been exca-
vated, and the rest of the spectators arranged them-
selves in a semicircle in the rear.

After the singing of German and English hymns
to the accompaniment of musical instruments, the Prin-
cipal placed a box, containing the inscription and
records of the school, within the corner-stone. The
ceremonies being concluded. Brother Hiibener implored
God's blessing on the undertaking and expressed the

* Brother Hiibener had been consecrated bishop on the 11th of
April, and as such presided at the ceremonies of the occasion.


hope that its accomplishment might redound to his
glory in the salvation of many youthful souls.


In the Name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST,

who willeth that the children should come to Him,

and be brought up in the nurture and admonition

of Him,

with the approbation of the Reverend the

Directors of this and all other Brethren's Congregations

in Pennsylvania and adjacent States,

with the benediction and concurrence of the

Reverend the Directors of the Unitas Eratrum,

and with the blessing and prayers of the whole congregation

of this place;

(in order to enlarge the Girls' Boarding School

instituted in this place in the year 1785,

and which within 5 years increased so much

that the present number of pupils amounts to 69.)

In full reliance and confidence that this

undertaking will be graciously owned and prospered

by our Lord Jesus Christ,

the great Friend of Children,

by His and our dear Father in Heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit,

The Foundation Stone of this Building

is laid.

^ This building was a stone structure, fifty-two by forty feet,
crowned by a heavy trip-roof, whose lower pitch, overhanging the
eaves almost vertically, gave the building on the north side, where
it was of one story only, an air of uncommon strength and solidity.
In 1815, it was vacated by the Seminary and let for family resi-
dences. In the early part of this year (1857) it was removed for
the purpose of erecting on its site a building for a day-school of the
children of the Moravian congregation. The laborers, when tearing


Bethleheai, the 2d day of May, in the year
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety.

The daily word of the congregation is :

'^ Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness

He is gracious & full of compassion & righteous." Ps. 112. 4.

What splendid rays of truth and grace,

All other light excelling,
I perceive when Jesus Christ

Makes my heart his dwelling. No. 375 — 1.
The Institution of the Boarding-School for the education of girls
of different ages from other parts, in combination with the then
existing Grirls' CEconomy and Town School, was resolved on in the
General Helpers' Conference on the 2d day of March, in the year
1785, in the presence of the Reverend Bishop of the Brethren's
Church, Johannes de Watteville, then on a visit to the Brethren's
congregations in North America, at the same time when the insti-
tuting of a Psedagogium in Nazereth Hall was concluded upon.

In May, 1786, the first child from other parts, viz. : Miss Eliza-
beth Bedell, from Staten Island, came into this school, and in May,
1787, Miss Aurelia Louisa Blakely, of Baltimore, arrived here, and
was followed ia the same year by five others from Baltimore, one
from St. Jan, and two from St. Croix ; so that, at the end of
the year 1787, the CEconomy consisted of fifteen children, who, to-
gether with the Town School, were under the care of four Sisters.
In the year 1788, eleven in number from Baltimore, Connecticut,
and other parts were admitted, and at the end of the said year the
number was twenty-four, under the care of five teachers.

At present, the whole number of boarders and those that attend
the school amounts to eighty-eight, under the care of ten Sisters.
The names of all who came in the Boarding-School since the year
1786 are as follows : —

down the structure, reached the corner-stone, six feet below the sur-
face, — a coarse grit sandstone, containing the lead box in which
the dedicatory document had been placed for a memorial. The
latter was in an admirable state of preservation, — a vellum sheet,
twenty-eight by seven inches, inscribed in fair round characters,
clear and fresh as though just from the hand of the penman. The
leaden receptacle is about ten by four inches, with a depth of one
inch. This was somewhat corroded.



Elizabeth Bedell,
Caroline Sophia Reichelt,
Aurelia Louisa Blakely,
Hannah Langdon,
Margaret Catharine Vriehuis,
Ruth Cockej,
Maria Cox,
Martha Stone,
Maria Beaumont,
Eliza Beaumont,
Lydia TTinchester,
Deborah Owings,
Maria Arndt,
Ann Maria Hickley,
Ann Wilson,
Lydia Palmer,
Eliza Palmer,
Helen Margaret Kip,
Martha Washington Greene,
Cornelia Lott Greene,
Ann Van Vleck,
Elizabeth Monerieff,
Catharine Attwood,
Rachel Schneller,
Mary Howard,
Mary Owings,
Elizabeth Lawrence,
Dorothea Sophia Reichel,
Helen Brashier,
Jane Byvank,
Sarah Ten Broeck,
Eliza Van Cortland,
Agnes Bindelinger,
Eliza Howe,
Jemima Campbell,
Elizabeth Piatt,
Jane Walsh,

Children and girls living in
quenting the school at present,—
Maria Barbara Kornman,

Ann Currie,

Eliza Willet Bardin,

Agnes Boyd,

Elizabeth Ireland,

Sarah Buxton,

Mary Allen,

Maria Elizabeth Kummer,

Louisa Kummer,

Mary McLachlaa,

Eliza Chester,

Esther Margaret Bull,

Sarah Hubbard,

Hannah Philips,

Ann Van Zandt,

Ann Maria Heyliger,

Ann Polhemus,

Lucretia Tooker,

Eliza Tooker,

Susan Read,

Lydia Read,

Sarah B. Jarvis,

Esther 3Ioore,

Frances White,

Ann Maria Van Home,

Eliza Faesch,

Eliza Attwood,

Adriana Van Beverhoudt,

Maria Furman,

Elizabeth Leedom,

Rachel Leedom,

Melusina Ferrers,

Ann Eliza Berwick,

Margaret Bayard,

Maria Bayard,

Ann Maria Wood,

Ann Smalts,

Patty Hammond.

the town of Bethlehem, and fre-

Hannah Warner,


Salome Vetter, Maria Christina Heckewelder,

Ann Catharine Weineke, Magdalene Knauss,

Johanna Elizabeth Hall, Anna Salome Heckewelder,

Kebecca Louisa Hasse, Anna Dorothea Warner,

Maria Salome Knauss, Benjamin Elizabeth Ebert,

Johanna Maria Heckewelder, Johanna Elizabeth Stotz,
Anna Eosina Kornman, Elizabeth Kampman,

Anna Wilhelmina Boehler, Anna Schmick,

Polly Broadhead.
Tutoresses and attendants in the Boarding-School were, and are
at present, —

Maria Elizabeth Beroth, Maria Elizabeth Kunz,

Susannah Elizabeth Langaard, Elizabeth Krogstrup,
Anna Sulamith Nyberg, Christina Stehlin,

Maria Pyrlaeus, Anna Maria Levering,

Anna Rosina Kliest, Caritas Benigna Pyrlaeus.

The direction and inspection was committed to John Andrew
Hiibener and Drudea his wife, and at present to Jacob Van Vleck
and Lisetta his wife. As Stewards and Cashier have acted Fre-
deric Peter and Anna Maria his wife, and at present James Cruik-
shank and Agnes his wife.

The Elders' Conference in Bethlehem is at present- -
Johannes Ettwein,

Johannes Andrew and Drudea Hiibener,
Frederic and Anna Maria Peter,
Paul and Barbara Mtinster,
Adam Bernhard and Sarah Grube,

Hans Christian Alexander and Dorothea von Schweinitz,
Jacob Van Vleck,
John Christian Reich,
Nathaniel Brown,
Juliana Gammern,
Catharine Lembke,
Elizabeth Lewis,
Anna Dorothea von Marschall,
Verona Schneider.
And the College of Overseers in Bethlehem —

Hans Christian Alexander von Schweinitz, Praeses,

Paul Miinster,

Johannes Christian Reich,


JohaQnes Andrew Borheck,
Christian Frederick Oerter,
Wilhelm Boehler, Sen.,
Joseph Horsfield, .

, Heinrich Lindemeyer,

Matthew Witke.
The General Helpers' Conference of the Congregations in Penn-
sylvania and adjacent States consists of the

John Ettwien,
John Andrew Htibener,
John August Klingsohr,
. Frederic Peter, Sen.,
David Zeisberger,
Paul Miinster,

Hans Christian Alexander von Schweinitz,
Carl Grotthold Beichel,
Jeremiah Den eke,
The Unity's Elders' Conference, whose seat is at Herrnhut, at
present consists of

August Gottlieb Spangenberg,

Jeremiah Risler,

Christian Gregor,

John Frederic Reichel,

Martin Gottlob Sternberg,

John Lorez,

Samuel Liebiseh,

Jonathan Briant,

Heinrich XXVIII. Count Reuss,

Frederic Rudolf von Watteville,

John Christian Quandt,

John Renatus Verbeek,

John Frederick William Koelbing.

Althougli the new building was so far completed in
the fall of the year as to allow of its being in part
occupied, it was deemed advisable to postpone the
removal of its intended inmates to the ensuing spring.
In the mean time, several rooms were taken in, the Sis-


ters' House to furnish accommodations for the daily
increasing number of pupils.

At the semi-annual close of the schools in the spring
of 1791; the 12th of April was announced as the day
on which the new house would be consecrated for
school-purposes and festively entered.

The journal of the time furnishes the following par-
ticulars in reference to the occasion : —

Tuesday, A^ml 12, 1791. — In the morning we re-
hearsed the dialogue which had been composed in view
of the consecration of the new house. After break-
fast some Brethren and Sisters carried our beds, trunks,
&c. over, and we had the good fortune to remove most
of our things before dinner. In the afternoon we
made preparations for entering the new house. We as-
sembled in the chapel to learn the order of the proces-
sion; and here we remained until the music of trom-
bones from the new house gave the signal. We walked
two-and-two in our room-companies, with our respect-
ive tutoresses, to the large sleep-hall in the third
story, where we found a respectable number of Breth-
ren and Sisters already assembled. The Messrs. Van
Zandt and Moore, of New York, were also • present.
After singing some suitable verses, we fell on our knees,
and our dear Inspector implored the Saviour's blessing
on both houses, praying that He would always manifest
His gracious presence there, and enable those who were
concerned in their education to bring up their youthful
charge to His glory and their individual salvation.


Bishop Eltwein then rose, and enlarged, in a touch-
ing manner, on the daily words^ of the Brethren's
Church. We then recited our dialogue, and the so-
lemnities were concluded with a love-feast, during
which an ode was sung, ourselves as well as a select
choir of Brethren and Sisters participating in the same
to the music of many instruments. Brother Van Yleck
finally introduced us and our tutoresses into our future

After our return from a short walk we supped for
the first time in the new house, and spent the evening
in hearing the regulations of our rooms. We had
evening prayer in the hall, and retired much fatigued.

ING, APRIL 12, 1790.

Eliza M. Huntingdon. My dear companions, permit me to ob-
serve, that in hearing the noble and laudable intention of the Breth-
ren in commencing this institution, it appears they were not actuated
by selfish motives, but wished to contribute something to the glory
of Grod and the benefit of their fellow-creatures.

Adriana Van Beverhoudt. Your remark is just; and, as I judge,
the undertaking was a very important one.

Jane Van Vleck. May our Saviour bless all the Brethren and

^ Ever since 1731, the Church of the United Brethren has pub-
lished a ''small and unpretending annual," containing two texts
of Scripture for every day of the year, which are designed to be
read by the heads of families in the morning, as aifording matter
for religious meditation throughout the day. This manual of devo-
tion consists of two parts, — the former containing texts from the
Old Testament, which are drawn from a numerous collection and
styled "Daily Words," and the latter selections from the New


Sisters that have been, and are at present, engaged in the arduous
task of training and instructing young persons.

Jane Bi/rhanck. May He crown all their labors with success !

Fanny Whiting. I am at times apprehensive that we do not
show that gratitude which their goodness merits, nor that we always
rightly consider the advantage we might derive therefrom if we
attended more closely to their advice.

Cornelia L. Greene. Oh, my dear companions, I believe in
this respect we are all great debtors. Our conduct towards our
teachers ought to plainly testify that their assiduity and care towards
us merit our gratitude, and satisfy them that their labor is not in

Ann Currie. Most certainly ! As we are at present under their
guidance, as they watch over us in the place of our dear parents,
they are surely deserving our love, confidence, obedience, and

Ann Van Zandt. Our late Inspector and lady, the Rev. Mr. and
Mrs. Hubener, who, in founding this institution, underwent num-
berless difficulties and inconveniences, are likewise entitled to our
warmest affection and gratitude, and with such they shall be revered
by us this day.

Esther Moore. By the blessing of God they saw this school in a
flourishing condition on their departure from here, and our dear
Mr. Hubener concluded his faithful labors among us with the
solemn act of laying the corner-stone of this new building, — on
which occasion he commended this institution to the Lord in a fer-
vent prayer.

Ann Maria Hicldey. May our dear Lord bless them for our
sakes, and reward them plentifully for all their care and fidelity !

Helen Brashier. May He likewise shower down his blessings on
our present Inspector and lady !

Elizabeth Bleecker. May He impart to them day by day new
strength to bear their heavy charge, and give them a lively sense

Testament, styled "Doctrinal Texts," with the addition of a few
lines from a hymn by way of antiphon and personal application.
The selection of texts is made by the Unity's Elders' Conference,
and sufficiently early in the preceding year to be forwarded in time
to the congregations and missionary-stations of the Church scat-
tered over the four quarters of the globe.


of our filial affection and willingness to prove an honor and pleasure
to them !

Hannah Philips. We shall never be able to thank our Saviour
sufficiently for directing our steps and ways to this place, where we
are not only taught useful sciences, but also receive instruction in
•the ways of true and everlasting happiness, which surpasses all
worldly wisdom.

Mary MclUienny. May we all attend eagerly to the word of God,
and obtain a lasting impression thereof in our hearts, — an impres-
ision which may never be erased, but follow us throughout our whole

Ann Jones. I beg leave to remark, that, although we shall in
future be divided with respect to the two houses, we ought still to
consider the whole school as one family and strive to live together
in the strictest friendship and connection.

Ann E. Berwick. Oh, yes ! every thing that has hitherto dis-
turbed our peace and harmony shall, from this day, be forgiven and

Online LibraryWilliam Cornelius ReichelA history of the rise, progress, and present condition of the Moravian seminary for young ladies, at Bethlehem, Pa → online text (page 6 of 41)