The Migration to
Prior to 1750, only a few counties
had been organized along the eastern coast on
The ownership of land presented some complicated problems for a potential purchaser. Although several surveys had been made, there was no general surveyor who recorded what land was vacant and what was taken. In addition, patents from the Lord Proprietors were not always registered, making land disputes relatively common. The General Assembly passed an act in 1748 requiring that all property owners should register their patents within one year or lose claim to the land. The act helped clarify the issue, but many questions of ownership remained unresolved.
The development of the Moravian
colonies closely paralleled the growth of
In Aug 1752 Bishop August Gottlieb
Spangenberg with four followers left
Zinzendorf asked that Lord Granville transfer
the land in the newly formed
On 07 August 1753, a price of ,500 sterling plus ,148 annual quitrent was agreed upon
and the 19 separate deeds signed. The
area was named after the Austrian estate der
Wachau, or Wachovia, which Count Zinzendorf's family owned.
The deed was made out to James Hutton of
The land was covered with forests and vegetation of all varieties which grew well in the rich soil. After clearing parts, the soil would grow the wheat and other products to support the colony. Most of the streams and rivers ran too rapidly, or were too shallow, to be used for transportation. However, they would provide water power for the new community.
Spangenberg warned that the early
colonists would require someone to remain constantly current with the laws of
the territory, many of which were new to the Moravians. Failure to record a marriage, birth or burial
with the county recorder or clerk of the church resulted in a fine of one
shilling per month. A settler was fined ,10 for allowing non-residents of
A fine of ,5 was assessed for killing a deer between 15 Feb and 15 Jul. Every third year, landowners had to have their land re-surveyed and registered. Anyone selling or buying goods from a slave without the master's permission was fined ,6 plus three times the value of the goods. Assisting a run-away slave resulted in the accused serving the master for five years. A poll tax gathered by the sheriff was collected for all white men and servants, age 16 to 60. In order to marry, the groom had to go to Clerk of the Court where the bride lived and pay a ,50 bond to assure that nothing should prevent the marriage. (This requirement proved to be a blessing for family historians.)
Though there was a county, it did not yet have an organized government. The construction of a jail and courthouse had been authorized, but no site had been selected. From the beginning, Wachovia was envisioned as a theocracy, with the church controlling most aspects of daily community life.
The first group of ten single men
Of these ten, only one had been born
In order to move to Wachovia, each
individual had to be selected. The
elders reviewed qualifications, and if they were agreeable, they then consulted
These early colonies kept detailed
diaries of all aspects of their lives, since they believed that they were
creating history. It was also important
to have correct records to facilitate communication between widely dispersed
settlements and with the central Church Boards in
By 1755 there were unmarried 33 men
A stockade of long stakes surrounded the community. The back walls of several houses formed parts of the stockade to save building costs. Because of the danger from hostile Indians, the stockade was often of great importance to community and to members who lived outside the stockade. In addition, non-Movarian settlers often flooded the town in times of Indian trouble.
The temporary community of Bethabara was shelter while they were build
the main community of
Later, contrary to prevailing tradition, a few selected non-Moravians were allowed to also settle in Bethania to help protect the community. Many of them eventually became members.
German was the predominate language of the two communities. The congregation diaries, most services and much daily interaction took place in German. Many members understood English, but for most, it was a second language.
Bethania was a rural congregation (Landgemeine) while
Most of the surrounding settlers
were subsistence farmers who had to depend on goods imported from
Typical crops of the settlements were beans, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, field and garden peas, rhubarb, turnips, garlic, lettuce, cress, pumpkins, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, horse-radish, watermelons, muskmelons, parsnips, radishes, mustard, peppers, chives, spinach, asparagus, salsify, onions, hops, grapes, currants, flax, hemp, eight kinds of grain, cotton, tobacco, and gourds (Fries, Adelaide, Road to Salem). Coffee, chocolate, sugar, spices and other exotic goods had to be imported.
The community of
Most shops were owned by the
community, but operated by members.
A guild system to train apprentices was the main vocational training program. The seven year apprenticeship in Wachovia guaranteed a very high quality of goods from its craftsmen.
Most communities had a public inn to isolate the outsiders from the members. Since trade was an important element of the Moravian prosperity, the inn was usually quite busy. Outsiders could purchase goods from the community establishment which offered a selection of all the goods from the local craftsmen, further limiting contact between outsiders and members.
The community was governed by the Aufseher Collegium [Board of Overseers] who were elected by the adult male members of the church. At the head of the board was the Deacon, called the "Warden," who oversaw the entire community. On business of importance, a general meeting of all the adult male members was called. The board was responsible for regulating craftsmen and trades, overseeing the finances of the congregation, controlling competition, and being watchful of the behavior of members. No one was allowed to build a house, change occupations, or even have an overnight guest without first having permission. People were expected to buy nothing outside the community that could be purchased there. In return strict rules against profiteering were enforced.
The community also provided day school for all children from an early age so that members could pursue their trades and crafts. The children attended at least five days a week, with schooling in the morning and supervised activities in the afternoon. Schooling was very important for the Moravians, who also provided schooling for children of outlying districts.
This tightly controlled community was necessary for the survival in the wilderness. However, as the area became more developed, the need for such a rigid lifestyle became less necessary and less desirable to the members of the congregation itself.
In 1771, it was decided to divide
In Apr 1772
Music was important to the church. The early members at Wachovia were overjoyed when a Single Brethren created a new trumpet from a hollow tree on 23 Feb 1754. They later added trombones, French horns, violins and flutes. The organ was also an important addition to the musical choir.
Life in the early colonies was indeed difficult. A typical household of 1750 might have contained the following:
cross cut saw
2 hand mills
1 pair mill stones
15 sides of tan'd leather
2 water pales
5 iron potts
1 pr of flesh forks
3 pr of pott hooks
2 pr of pott tramels
1 copper tee kittel
1 iron spitt
1 stone butter pott
1 new saddel
6 chyme sasors
1 flax hackel
1 pr of stillard
1 pr sheep shears
1 flack brake
1 weaving loom
1 small ink jug
3 old hogsheads
3 old barrels
1 sypering slate
1 large cannue
1 dowling stock and bitt
1 round shave
2 coopers joyners
2 drawing knives
1 pr cooper's compass
1 grubing hoe
2 hilling hoes
1 box iron
12 plates pewter
1 small supe dish
4 flatt dishes
3 linnen wheels
4 bed steeds
1 coffee mill
1 dozen black chears
3 feather beds
1 pr silver hoe buckels
1 old rackoon hat
1 caster (beaver-skin) hat
2 country cloath vests
2 old awgers
1 branding iron
1 metal sifter
1 whitne coat
1 pr Duroys breeches
3 gallon basons
1 pr warping bars and boxes