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The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740   By: (1871-1949)

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1735 1740

by Adelaide L. Fries

(Note on text: Italicized words or phrases are capitalized. A few obvious errors have been corrected. Many German names with umlauts have had the umlaut replaced with an 'e' following the vowel (according to standard form) due to the limitations of ASCII. These names are noted in the Index.)

Winston Salem, N. C.


In the life of any individual, association, or nation, there will probably be one or more occurrences which may be considered as success or failure according to the dramatic features of the event and the ultimate results. Of this the Battle of Bunker Hill is a striking example. On the morning of June 17th, 1775, a force of British soldiers attacked a small body of raw, ill equipped American volunteers, who had fortified a hill near Boston, and quickly drove them from their position. By whom then was the Bunker Hill Monument erected? By the victors in that first engagement of the Revolution? No, but by proud descendants of the vanquished, whose broader view showed them the incalculable benefits arising from that seeming defeat, which precipitated the great struggle, forcing every man in the Colonies to take a position squarely for or against the American Cause, convinced the timid that only proper equipment would be needed to enable the American army to hold its own against the foe, and taught the British that they were dealing, not with hot headed rebels who would run at first sight of the dreaded "red coats", but with patriots who would stand their ground so long as a charge of powder remained, or gunstocks could be handled as clubs.

Very much the same line of argument may be applied to the first attempt of the Moravian Church to establish a settlement on the American Continent. The story is usually passed over by historians in a few short paragraphs, and yet without the colony in Georgia, the whole history of the Renewed Church of the Unitas Fratrum would have been very different. Without that movement the Moravian Church might never have been established in England, without it the great Methodist denomination might never have come into being, without it the American Moravian provinces, North or South, might not have been planned. Of course Providence might have provided other means for the accomplishment of these ends, but certain it is that in the actual development of all these things the "unsuccessful attempt" in Georgia, 1735 to 1740, played a most important part.

In preparing this history a number of private libraries, the collections of the Georgia Historical Society, the Congressional Library, the British Museum, were searched for data, but so little was found that the story, in so far as it relates to the Moravian settlement, has been drawn entirely from the original manuscripts in the Archives of the Unitas Fratrum at Herrnhut, Germany, with some additions from the Archives at Bethlehem, Pa., and Salem, N. C. For the general history of Georgia, of the Moravian Church, and of the Wesleys, Steven's History of Georgia, Hamilton's History of the Moravian Church, Levering's History of Bethlehem, Pa., Some Fathers of the American Moravian Church, by de Schweinitz, Strobel's History of the Salzburgers, Tyreman's Oxford Methodists, and Wesley's Journal have been most largely used.

The history of the Moravian settlement in Georgia falls into that period when dates are much confused through the contemporaneous use of the old style, or Julian calendar, and the new style, or Gregorian calendar. As the latter is now current everywhere, except in Russia and the Orient, it is here employed throughout, old style dates being translated where they occur in the records.

Special thanks are due to Rev. A. Glitsch, Archivist at Herrnhut, for courtesies extended while the author was examining the invaluable collection of papers entrusted to his care, and also for his supervision of the copying of such documents as were selected; to Mr. Isaac Beckett, of Savannah, for information respecting the Moravian lands; to Mr... Continue reading book >>

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