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Diary of the Indian Gemeine in the Barracks in Philadelphia (January 5 - April 3, 1765)

Transcription and translation by Katherine Carté. Permissions courtesy of the Moravian Archives of Bethlehem.

Diary of the little Indian Gemein currently in the barracks in Philadelphia 1765
† indicates where text has been omitted.

January 5: We remembered our trip last year to Amboy, and how the Savior had brought us back wonderfully. A few of our people were anxious because they heard that the pox is nearby the barracks, and they would therefore like it if they were brought away [from here] soon. Josua told each one of us what he had heard when he was last on the Susquehanna, namely, what the Mohawks or Indians from the Six Nations said to the Delaware and Menninising Indians when they burned their houses last summer, ruined their corn, [and] took away their horses and their belongings: "Now you can imagine how it felt to the white people when you perpetrated the same thing upon them, we want to give you the same feeling, so that you might have the right understanding of it."

January 12: Our dear Savior blessed us richly this whole week with the blessed watchwords and texts, and the gatherings were very busily attended.

January 17: Some of our Indians went to speak with Mr. Allen about their departure from here, because they feared that the pox would soon come among them. They also said to him that they would be very happy if only they might be in Nain this winter and be cared for with necessary provisions. But Mr. A. answered, yes, that would be good, but could you also attest for all your people, that they will behave themselves in an orderly way for so long so that there are no complaints about them? This, however, our Indians could not promise. Mr. Allen advised them to go to Secretary Shippen and speak with him regarding their concerns, which they ...

January 18: did. Mr. Shippen promised to inform the Honorable Governor about the matter. We are totally passive in this matter and leave it to our dear Father, who will direct everything according to his will. In the evening, we sang [the litany:] Head full of blood and wounds, and it was discussed with blessings.

January 20 [Symbol for Sunday]: Br. Schmick held the sermon.

January 21: Srs. Schmick and Grube visited the girl, Catharina Heath, who, a few days ago, returned from her nine-year imprisonment among the Indians on the Ohio and now is staying with her sister Hirst. She cannot speak either German or English, but can speak Delaware well. She told Br. Grube that she was the whole time with an old Indian woman who took her as her daughter, treated [her] very hard, urged her to work constantly, and never suffered that someone else had something to do with her. She did not gladly go away from the old woman, but now she is happy that she is here, [thus she told Br. Grube]. In the afternoon, Lieutenant Winter visited us, who came from the Ohio a few days ago. [He] was with the expedition against the Indians, received the first prisoners from them, and brought them to Fort Pitt. He recounted that the children were so naked and pale that he had to stitch them in pelts so they would not freeze. Mr. Israel Pemperton wrote to Br. Schmick and asked that he send Johannes Pepunhang to his sick cousin three miles from here, because [the cousin] will soon die.

January 22: Mr. Richard Penn, the Honorable Governor’s brother, as well as a few gentle people, bought various things from our Indians, shoes, for example.

January 23: Our dear Sr. Schmick celebrated her forty-fifth birthday and was very warmly greeted by the gathered Indian sisters.

January 24: At 6 o’clock in the morning Anna Rosina, Gottlieb’s wife, delivered a son. The two Indian brothers, Josua and Joh. Pepunhang, who previously made much effort to say their concerns to the Honorable Governor themselves, finally had the fortune to speak to him and to represent their circumstances. The Honorable Governor answered them, however: Everything that you said, I already know, and I have nothing against. There is only one thing that hinders your departure, namely, I must write on your behalf to Sir William Johnson, and as soon as I receive an answer, I will let you know.

January 26: Some of our Indians had to go to Mr. Fox to see if they could find out where the three white boys belong who were taken prisoner by the Indians eight years ago and have forgotten their names and their mother tongue. But our Indians could not find it out, because the boys spoke Shawnee.


February 2: Our widows had a blessed love feast for their festival and a heart band in which the Savior was right near.

February 5: Josua and Sem Evans went to the Secretary and Mr. Allen and said to them positively that they wanted to go and did not want to remain in the barracks, because an Indian already has the pox. Br. David Zeisberger came with letters to us from Bethlehem, and they were quite a propos. In the afternoon, Br. Nathanael’s letter was read to the Indians, and their hope to live in Nain again therewith completely changed, because the white people were still hostile, etc. etc. This made a Stop(1) so that our Indians, who were ordered to go to Mr. Allen again this afternoon, did not go. Atatchak, who is suspected to have the pox, was brought to the south side of the barracks, and Paul volunteered to care for him.

February 6: The Honorable Governor had the Commissioners come together because of our Indians, and he went in to the city to speak to Mr. Fox.

† [missing pages?]

1. The word "stop appears in the original.


March 3: Br. Grube preached in the Brethren’s Church because Br. Neusser was indisposed. We were very cheered today with letters from our dear Br. Joseph in Herrnhut. Br. Schmick held the sermon at midday and reported thereafter that we had received letters from our Br. Joseph, from which we saw what a great interest he and the Gemeine in Europe took in our circumstances. Our whole little flock, both during the preaching of the Gospel and while Br. Joseph’s letter was communicated to them, was completely melted and spilled many dear little tears. In the evening service, it was laid very close to each and every heart [that he should] perceive his blessed time well. This afternoon, Capt. Makintosch visited us. [He is a] Scot, whose company lay here in the barracks a year ago. He told us in great detail about the last expedition on the other side of the Ohio, at which he was present, and in what way Col. Boquet made peace with the Indians. Friedrich Post’s house on Beaver Creek is said to be still standing.

March 7: Some Indians, who had been in the Jerseys, came home. They had gathered one bushel pint apples from Mr. Allen, for which he gave them ten shillings.

March 11: Br. Schebosch, who last week went to Bethlehem, returned with letters, from which we saw that Br. Grube should go immediately to Bethlehem, he...

March 12: ... departed from here.

March 15: Br. Grube came back from Bethlehem and brought Br. Schmick a letter from the Conference, with the meaning that he had been named by the Savior, alongside Br. Zeisberger, to bring the little Indian congregation to the Susquehanna, which [task] he accepted with his full heart.

March 16: This [news] was made known to our Indian brothers and sisters, who were very glad and thanked the Savior very warmly for it. Br. Schmick notified Mr. Fox of this also, which was very dear for him for hear. We held conferences with several brethren regarding an Address to the Honorable Governor which...

March 17: ... was drawn up and...

March 18: ...handed over. The contents [were]: "We, the Indians in the barracks, now intend to move back to our land with our wives and children, come therefore to take leave of you and to give our heartfelt thanks. We all recognize your great love and friendship from our hearts, which you especially showed us in the recent time of war, when we were in great danger for our lives. You took us into protection and defended us against our enemies, so that we could live here in peace, in addition you have cared for us like a father with food and clothing. In our sickness you have nursed us and had our dead buried. To our joy, we have also heard that you will further care for us with grain, until we can eat our own corn. We are also particularly thankful that we can have our teachers, who have instructed us daily in God’s Word, with us in our difficult circumstances. It is they who showed us the right way to salvation, [and because of them] that we are acquainted with our Creator and can love all people. Yes it is very dear to us that some of our teachers, namely Br. Schmick and David Zeisberger, a brother from Bethlehem, will move with us into Indian land in order to teach us further in the knowledge of our blessedness. Your love, protection, and good deeds are great to us and will not be forgotten by us, rather [we will] carry it in our hearts and tell of it to other Indians. We will remain true friends of the English as long as we live. One more thing we ask, that you will give us some powder and lead for our long and difficult journey, so that we can shoot something for our maintenance. Finally, we wish that our God bless you. We the undersigned do this in all our names, men, women and children, and the rest[,] your true friends Johannis Pepunhang, Josua, Anton, Semy Evans.

March 19: We prepared for our departure. Br. Schmick took leave of Mr. Fox and thanked him for his faithful care and particular love for us. With wet eyes he said: I have done what I could because I knew these were innocent people. What concerns you, however, I would have gladly done more, but had no orders for it. Josua Sen. thanked him also in the name of all our Indians, which pleased him well. A few of the Indians who did not belong to us were given horses by the Quakers.

March 20: At midday, the departure occurred. Various brothers and sisters from the city visited us, in order to be present at our withdrawal. Eight wagons were loaded with baggage, women, and children. There was a great difference between our arrival and our departure. At the former there were surrounded by several thousand people, and at the latter it all went quietly, so that few people took notice of us. We came twelve miles today, but were much inconvenienced by some of Satan’s people.

March 21: We had comfortable weather and put twenty-two miles behind us.

March 22: It snowed hard and the road grew bad, and we had a hard time reaching Nain. Each family moved into its own little house.

March 23: It continued to snow, and it pleased our people well to be in their warm rooms. 100 pounds bread and so much meat were distributed. Br. Nathanael came from Bethlehem to welcome the Indians, as did many Single Sisters from Bethlehem.

March 24: Br. Grube held the sermon at midday. It was very unfriendly weather.

March 27 and 28: We had many visitors from the Single Sisters in Bethlehem, who were glad to see the Indians again. Mr. Apty sent an Express to Philadelphia to the Honorable Governor regarding our not getting through and an alarming report that we heard yesterday.

March 30: Our dear Br. Nathanael and Anna Johanna visited us, with various brothers and sisters from Bethlehem. The [church] services were held daily this week, and the Savior’s words were a great comfort to us. Some of our Indians sold their houses to the Brethren in Bethlehem.

March 31 [Symbol for Sunday]: At midday, there was a blessed sermon about the martyrdom and death of our God on the cross. In the afternoon, Br. and Sr. Nathanael came with the remaining workers from Bethlehem, and they brought many guests with them to the farewell Love Feast. Br. Nathanael expressed his and the Gemeine’s hearts very tenderly toward the Indian brothers and sisters, and he spoke with a moved heart about the today’s beautiful Daily Text: I am thy part and thy inheritance.(1) When I have you, then I have what will ever make me glad. At the end, he recommended the whole little brown Gemeine to its good shepherd’s further oversight and guidance, at which many tears were spilled. We had very many visitors today, particularly from the Single Brothers and Sisters, because it was a special joy to see and to great the Indians one more time in their houses. In the evening, there was a Singstunde, and with that was this month, which was so remarkable to us, closed with thanks from the heart and bending before our good Lord.

1. Numbers 18:20. English translation taken from the King James Version.


April 1: The Express that was sent to Philadelphia last week came back again. We learned that some magistrates are to accompany us to the border. Mr. Allen therefore also came from Philadelphia.

April 2: ___ [First part of entry omitted] In the evening service, Br. Grube held a heartfelt farewell band with his dear Indians, recommended them together to Jesus’ bloody wounds, and closed his thirteen-year work among them for the time being.

April 3: Early in the morning, the departure of our dear Indian Gemeine for their lands on the Susquehanna finally occurred. Eight wagons were used for their travel. They left their dear Nain not without pain and went at last to see their dear Bethlehem and to greet the Brethren there. Many tears were spilled on both sides. The impression and love of the Gemeine will remain unforgettable to them. Our Daily Text today is remarkable: There is still much land left to take in, Carry your Cross-prize through all the wide world, the word of Jesus’ death. Now our dear father, our most beloved Lord and our so faithful mother’s heart be 1,000 times praised and honored and thanked for the blessed and wise guidance of the Indian Gemeine to this instant. Amen.


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