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Travel Diary of the little Indian Gemeine (January 18 - 24, 1764)

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

Travel Diary of the little Indian Gemeine – 1764

January 18: We began our return journey from Amboy again. The Daily Text was: And Enoch walked with God.(1) The conversation with the Man of Pain, etc.(2) The company of Highlanders, which until now has been our guard, marched off for New York. Many of them took friendly leave of us. We happily followed our path [and] were accompanied by 170 soldiers. Captain Schlosser marched ahead of us with his company, and a lieutenant with his party behind us, so that we were completely enclosed. The soldiers had six baggage wagons, and we had seven. It was a very long train. Sr. Grube went ahead of us with a few Indians by the Stage Coach. Along the way, when the driver went into an inn and left the wagon alone, a malicious man with a stick came and stuck Elisabeth in her side so that she fell unconscious. When we came to this side of Brunswick, we had the luck, in our tight spot, to come over the ice at low water. The blind and weak crawled across on hand and foot. Many people came to look at us. We lodged again in the barracks with the soldiers; everything seemed to go along in order.

January 19: Br. Grube went with his wife and things by the Stage Coach to Trenton. Br. John Antes, who has accompanied us here from Philadelphia, left again for Bethlehem, and I sent our travel diary with him. The soldiers and Indians marched on also and came to Princeton today, where they remained overnight in their former lodging. The Indians had a watch of twelve men with them as there was once again a great crowd of men, and Br. David Zeisberger often had to explain our Indians and their trips back and forth.

January 20: We marched on again from Princeton and came to Trenton in the afternoon, where we lodged with the soldiers in the barracks. Along the way, Mr. Epdy welcomed an Express from Mr. Fox in Philadelphia indicating we should wait in Trenton for further orders. Mr. Epdy wrote to Philadelphia again with the Express, and in the evening he sent another one to the Honorable Governor and let him know that the Commando soldiers will not stay with us any longer than tomorrow, and that without protection we can hardly get through. In the evening, Br. Grube held services in every room over the Daily Text: and they that stumbled are girded with strength.(3) Jonathon, who still makes claims on a piece of land in the Jerseys, remained behind in Princeton. Mr. Lennert, a Justice, wants to act for him in this matter.

January 21: We remained quietly in the barracks. The soldiers, however, made a great commotion all day, and they are not much better than savages in the wild. One can easily imagine how oppressed our poor Indians are, who must remain so close together and have to watch and hear all kinds of inanity and Godlessness. In the evening, Br. David held the regular room-services in three rooms, and Br. Grube in the others. Late in the evening, the Express that we had sent yesterday to the Governor in Philadelphia returned, with the orders that we should march from here for Philadelphia on Monday in the company of the soldiers, and that we should be quartered in the barracks there. Br. Schmick also wrote a letter.

January 22 [Symbol for Sunday]: many people came and asked if the minister would still preach, they wanted to hear an Indian sermon and suggested the Presbyterian Meeting House. Br. Grube was not disposed to do it, however, and held only the services in the evening, along with Br. David. Br. Grube also visited Captain Schlosser today and agreed to a few things with him. A soldier also began to trade with our Indians and accused them of having stolen something from him, which was not true. Br. Grube took the part of the Indians and excused them, but the soldier was so mean that he pulled a Pagonett [Bayonet?] on Br. Grube and said: I will treat you just like an Indian because you take their side, at which other soldiers came and took him away and gave him the things back that had been taken from him.

January 23: We began our trip at daybreak. The Quakers with whom we Brethren had lodged showed their friendship and love for us at our departure. The wagon drivers nearly quarreled about who would drive Sr. Grube, [because] each one wanted to have the honor of having the minister’s wife. The Indian sisters and children, as well as the old men, were all driven. At the ferry over the Delaware we had to wait for a long time before the three companies of soldiers and the baggage were across. We had particularly good weather today, as we have on the whole return journey, for which we are very grateful to our dear Father. At 3 o’clock, we came to Bristol and were lodged in a cooper’s and a wagoner’s shop. In the evening, Br. Grube and Br. Rothe held the services. A soldier, who today had offended a junior officer, was whipped until he was bloody, which quite shocked our Indians.

January 24: We marched again in the morning. It began to snow and stayed so the entire day. We had it very hard, yet came nonetheless to Philadelphia at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and were immediately lodged in the barracks. Because it was such bad weather, there were not so many on-lookers as last time. Br. Grube, who had remained behind with his wife because the wheel was broken on the wagon, also arrived safely before evening. His wife went to the Brethren’s House, but he and Br. Schmick slept in the barracks. The soldiers now remain day and night before our lodging and allow no one unknown to come to us. We are very happy that we have finally finished this difficult trip once again. May the Savior be thanked that he has helped us through so mercifully, particularly as we constantly had to be among the soldiers, who are completely degenerated. They have told us much of what they endured in Detroit and in the remaining forts, which the Indians captured and killed the white people or took them prisoner. Several soldiers were at Green Bay, near the Mississippi. They could not describe what great Indian nations are still there. One nation is so strong that it can raise 15,000 men in a short time. They mostly go completely naked and have only bows and arrows. In the beginning, when the soldiers came to us, they were bitter. It seems, though, they now get a better idea of us. Now I hope the Gemeine will support us further with its prayers. Our most faithful heart will make everything well, and we recommend ourselves every hour to His bloody wounds.

1. Genesis, 5:22. English translation taken from King James Version.
2. 1764 Daily Text book hymnal citation: 1817, 4.
3. 1 Sam. 2:4. English translation taken from the King James Version.

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