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Season 2, Episode 1

Friedberg, Friedland, and Hope

By Casey Landolf 

Wachovia went through a great period of growth in the 1750s, 1760s, and 1770s. During this period, three societies in Wachovia were established by those emigrating from the North, especially from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Various issues resulted in populations moving South, and many of these people who came to settle in Wachovia had previous relations with the Moravians. After settling, these societies were established as Moravian congregations.

Hosts

Casey Landolf

Kait Dodd

Cast

Announcer/Reader 1: James Landolf

Reader 2: Maggie Pelta-Pauls

Researched by

Casey Landolf

 

 

Transcript for Friedberg, Friedland, and Hope

Introduction

Announcer: This is Moravian Mornings, a podcast discussing the history of the Moravians who settled in Wachovia.

 

Kait: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our first episode of season two of Moravian Mornings. I’m Kait, the new co-host for season two. I’m really excited to be joining for this season. This is going to be a short season consisting of four episodes. This is also currently set to be the last season of Moravian Mornings. In season one, the establishment of Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem was discussed. Today we are going to discuss the establishment of three other Moravian congregations in Wachovia: Friedberg, Friedland, and Hope.

 

Casey: Wachovia really had a lot going, as these three congregations were developing around the same time as Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem. Before we get started, we are going to give a little bit more background on the Moravians and the development of the Wachovia Tract. Grab your coffee, and let’s get started.

 

Background info on Wachovia Tract

Kait: According to Jon Sensbach, the Brethren debated for years on what to do with the Wachovia Tract. We’ve briefly mentioned this before. One of the original plans was for it to contain a number of farming “villages of the Lord,” all centered around one town. Now, this next thing is something I didn’t know until I read Jon Sensbach’s A Separate Canaan: The Making of an Afro-Moravian World in North Carolina, 1763-1840. Planners were also considering the possibility of enslaved-worked plantations. These plantations would be owned by wealthy investors of the European-based group that backed the settlement called the North Carolina Land and Colony Establishment. The plantations would be managed by small groups of Moravians, with Spangenberg suggesting in 1755 that investors “situate two or three couples of Brethren” with a group of enslaved workers on their tracts. In 1759, a variation of this idea was proposed by Bishop Spangenberg; each investor settled half of their land with Brethren and on the other half of their land, they would allow a son – I didn’t find anything that specified so maybe a son of an investor – to occupy the land with a pair of enslaved workers to do his work.[1]

 

Obviously, these plans did not come to fruition. The Moravians ended up changing their ideas about land development and settlement in the 1760s due to a few things: few people were willing to move to Wachovia and settle on leased land or work for someone else, and the labor of enslaved workers “required an enormous initial cost of the investor,” so “large plantations were not yet financially viable.” To spur development, administrators of Wachovia began offering land deals, with advertisements being placed in Pennsylvania in the mid-1760s. This way, would-be migrants would “know that they could get farms on easy terms in a religious community endowed with abundant land, water, meadows, and woodland.”[2] This strategy worked, and settlers from parts of British America moved to the area. Many of these settlers already knew Moravians from elsewhere, and many of them came to North Carolina expecting to join the church when they moved, though they were not required to join. [3] There are a variety of reasons that drove these people to leave the areas that they were in, economics, religion, and lack of land being the major ones.

 

The settlers moved to areas of the southern rim of the tract as early as the 1750s, and Friedberg, Friedland, and Hope formed from the settlements. These congregations were laid out differently than Bethabara and Bethania: they were not compact. These towns were “dispersed groupings of farms loosely centered around a meetinghouse and school.” These three towns were first organized into “societies,” which are “religious communities affiliated with the Brethren and served by a Moravian minister.” After demonstrating proper commitment to Unity ideals, which took years, these societies would become full Moravian congregations.[4] Another difference is that migrants were not selected by the church to move to these areas and told when to move, like they were for Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem.[5]

 

Friedberg

Casey: Of these three congregations, Friedberg was established first. Before I discuss the settlement of that area in Wachovia, I am going to give some background on the migration to that area, and on a basic level, rising populations in the northern colonies, to an extent, led to a “massive movement of people south.”[6] So, between around 1760 to 1775, a large movement of migration took place from Europe to British North America, resulting in populations in the North dramatically increasing, especially in Maryland and Pennsylvania. This increase in population led to land shortages and land prices increasing. Obviously, these things caused multiple issues. The scarcity and expense of farmland in the north led many farmers to look to the south, as land there was more affordable and more plentiful. There was also a border controversy between Maryland and Pennsylvania when the Mason-Dixon Line was drawn between the two states. There was doubt concerning land titles in the areas, and this forced thousands of settlers to consider moving south.[7] Many settlers who came to live in the area that would come to be called Friedberg were from Pennsylvania, specifically the areas of Heidelberg, Conewago, and Yorktown.[8] Between the 1750s and 1770s is when most migrants left these areas for North Carolina.[9]

 

Reader 1: September 10, 1765: “A company of men were here from Virginia. They said they represented thousands more who wished to leave Virginia, and they were looking for land, and intended to go as far as Florida and Mississippi. The son-in-law of the elder Fiscus, and his father, with a wagon and cart, were in Bethania, coming from Maryland. They said that more than a hundred families there had lost their farms through the running of the line between Maryland and Pennsylvania, and that many would move to Carolina.”[10]

 

Casey: Now that I’ve discussed a little about what was going on up north in the mid-1700s to 1770s,  I’m going to move to Wachovia. The founding of Friedberg can really be pointed to a specific individual; a man named Adam Spach. Spach lived in Maryland in the early 1750s, and he actually heard Moravians preaching.[11] Hearing the Moravians preach actually prompted Spach to move to the southern branch of Muddy Creek, near the southern boundary of Wachovia.[12] Not even a full year after the Moravians settled Bethabara, Adam Spach, around August 1754, settled about three miles from the southern line of Wachovia so that he was able to attend Moravian Church services.[13] Just a few months after settling, he requested that the Brethren occasionally send one of their own to hold meetings in his house. I’m not sure why, but this request was denied.[14] This could be due to a few reasons: the Moravians had just months prior settled Bethabara, so they probably needed everyone assisting there. The French and Indian War, which started in 1754 in North America, which was the same year that Spach settled in the area, was also going on and could have played a role.

 

It took several years for the Moravians to follow through on Spach’s request. In November 1758, almost four years after the request was first made, Brother Bachhof preached in Adam Spach’s house, where eight German families had assembled.[15] After this, preaching at Spach’s house continued in intervals, and the number attending also increased, especially when those migrating from Pennsylvania around this time settled in the area.[16] The residents really wanted a meeting-house to be constructed, but they could not receive the promise that they would have a minister stationed with them. This would not happen for several years. The late 1760s to early 1770s is really where a lot of growth happens with this congregation. I couldn’t find many specifics about this, but I do know that a petition in 1766 was brought to the Moravians regarding a minister being stationed among them. The petition was accepted, and those in the area were assured that they would receive a minister among them, prompting them to immediately begin the construction of a meeting-house, and in 1769, the meeting-house was finished and consecrated. Services would now be held every four weeks, and pretty quickly fourteen married couples showed their support for a resident minister.[17]

 

Sixteen years after Adam Spach first arrived in the area, the growing settlement now had a meeting-house and Brother Bachhof, the Moravian who first preached in Spach’s home back in 1758, was made their resident minister.[18]  1771, 1772, more families arrived from Pennsylvania, and now the evolving society had 19 families, which together had 94 children. It was actually suggested by Moravian officials that since most of the people came from Heidelberg, Pennsylvania that maybe the society should be called that. It’s noted that the residents “saw little point to it, so on 21 October the Moravian leaders selected the name Friedberg,” and in December, that name proposal received “a more positive response” and Friedberg, meaning “Hill of Peace,” it was.[19]  Friedberg and Friedland were actually named around the same time.

 

Reader 2: “Dec. 19. In the Lovefeast Br. Marshall made public announcement that as the name of Heidelberg did not meet with the approval of the settlers here the Deputies and the Bethabara Conference had agree [Oct. 21, see Bethabara Diary] that the name of this Settlement should be Friedberg, and the Broad Bay Settlement should be Friedland.”[20]

 

Casey: Friedberg was constituted as a Moravian Brethren’s congregation around 1773.[21] 

 

Friedland

Kait: Friedland and Hope were both established as congregations around the same time, but I’m going to discuss Friedland first. This is the church where my grandparents are members! Many of those who came to form this settlement came from Broadbay, Maine.[22] There are a few things I want to state about this congregation in Maine. I believe many of the settlers are Protestants, either Lutheran or German Reformed,[23] and  there are a few issues in this settlement that really divided the residents, prompting some of them to move to North Carolina. The families began a relationship with the Moravians when Reverend George Soelle, a Moravian who had been a Lutheran pastor in Denmark before joining the Church, began occasionally visiting them when he was in the area.[24] Reverend Soelle’s tenure on the Maine Frontier turned out to be a difficult one as some of the society members actually hired a pastor from New York to minister to them. Based off the information that I came across, I think this society became somewhat split between denominations because some wanted Moravian minister Soelle to preach, while the pastor hired from New York was hired by society members “of the Reformed persuasion,” so when this pastor from New York arrived, he objected to Soelle’s presence. Things became so tense and vicious that the followers of the Reformed pastor actually had Soelle arrested in 1762.[25] To make matters worse, the land titles of the Broadbay residents were worthless, and their leases were nonbinding, so there was a lot of stress and tension going on in this settlement in the 1750s, 1760s timeframe.[26]

 

Come 1767, Soelle and other Unity leaders were discouraged with how things were going. They had tried to construct a meeting-house with the plan to have Soelle stay there as their resident minister. Obviously this did not work out, with some issues being the difficulties surrounding title deeds, and they were not able to enjoy full religious freedom,[27] so they began debating abandoning Broadbay and urging congregation members to relocate elsewhere in New England. Plans changed when Brother Ettwein of Wachovia visited in May of that year, telling congregation members of “North Carolina’s virtues, including ‘its genial climate and fertile soil.’”[28] Members were now determined to move to North Carolina “because of its powerful religious and economic attractions.”[29] Convinced that moving to North Carolina was in their best interest, Soelle advised the determined members to move cautiously and to plan carefully as the move south was a difficult one. Pressing ahead with their plans in 1768, six families began their journey south.[30] Soelle stayed in Maine with some of the remaining families.[31] I actually don’t think anyone told the Moravians in Wachovia about their departure as it’s noted that they arrived unexpectedly in November of 1769.[32] Since the Moravian Brethren in Wachovia had not been informed of the Broadbay members coming, no preparations were made for their arrival.[33]

 

Members of the Broadbay settlement found temporary housing in Bethabara and in Salem where some new houses were unoccupied. In the following year, Soelle and eight families came to join the original six families that first made the journey. Once these new families arrived, it was determined that they did not wish to stay in Salem, and some even considered moving back to New England.[34] Plans quickly developed for the Broadbay settlers to live on widespread farms seven miles away from Salem on the southeastern boundary of Wachovia. I really want to point out a major difference between the arrangement of Friedland versus the arrangement of Bethania. Bethania was laid out as a compact Germanic farm community, and it was surrounded by farms and orchards. Friedland is different in that it took on a more “American colonial aspect of individual families occupying large swaths of land.” Lots were sold, and each family had around 200 acres of land each. 30 acres were also reserved in the center of this land for a meeting-house to be used for church and school purposes. This is how the society that became known as Friedland was laid out.[35]

 

Reader 2: “The Broad Bay Settlement, now called Friedland was begun early in the year by 10 families who came last year from Broad Bay in New England, the settlement being located in Wachovia, on the South Fork, seven miles south-east of Salem. Each family bought a lot of 200 acres, the land being so laid out to form a long village. The Unity gave them about 30 acres for a school and meeting house, the site being selected during the visit of the Deputies.”[36]

 

Kait: A year later, nine houses were finished and occupied,[37] and in July of 1771, the Broadbay settlement, consisting now of around 10 to 11 families, was officially organized into a society. Later in the year, it received the name Friedland, meaning Land of Peace.[38] The meeting-house used for church and school purposes was finished and consecrated in early 1775, and a resident minister was introduced. Though a happy day for the residents of Friedland, their beloved Brother Soelle was not able to see the occasion as he had passed away a few years prior, in 1773. It’s stated that Sorelle’s usual routes and stopping places for preaching to non-Moravians were divided among two Brethren, and “they were received with thanks in most places, but no one was able to gain the place in these neighbors’ hearts that had been held by George Soelle.”[39] Come 1780, the society of Friedland had a population of 40 persons,[40] and on September 3rd, Friedland was organized into a congregation, “with a visiting representative from the Unity Elders’ Conference present.”[41]

 

Hope

Casey: The last town we are going to discuss is Hope. Obviously all of the settlements in Wachovia played large roles in the development of the area. Friedberg was an entirely German congregation,[42] and Hope would actually be the predominantly English-speaking Moravian settlement until the mid-nineteenth century, so it played a crucial role to the Moravians who looked to preach to those who did not speak their native language.[43] Hope was the “English-speaking” congregation in the area, so they were reaching new and different audiences.[44] Now to talk about the settlement of the area, the southwest corner of Wachovia was settled in the 1750s by Irish and Germans who had known Moravians in Maryland, and over the next twenty years, English Moravian families moved to the area from Maryland. At some point during the early to mid-1750s, Christopher Elrod and John Douthit settled on the southwestern border. I believe there are also a few other families as well, but Douthit seems to be one of the more important figures in Hope’s early history. These men developed a relationship with the Moravians, and I believe they took refuge at Bethabara during the French and Indian War. These men also expressed multiple times that they wanted to have a closer relationship with the Moravians, and between 1758 and 1763, they attached themselves to the Friedberg congregation.[45] I believe these two men also wanted to have an English Brother with them, which makes sense, since they spoke English.[46]

 

The creation of Hope can be attributed some to Douthit. Kind of similar to what happened with Adam Spach of Friedberg, so in 1763, Brother Ettwein “for the first time held a meeting for the English neighbors living between Wachovia and the Yadkin” at Douthit’s house. Skip forward almost a decade, and, in 1772, four English families from Carrol’s Manor, sometimes called Carrolton Manor,[47] Maryland, settled in the southwest corner of the Wachovia Tract and participated in congregation activities in Friedberg since there was no congregation where they settled, so similar to Douthit, who was living in the area and became involved with the Friedberg congregation.[48] More families do eventually join them, but before we discuss more about the development of Hope, let’s talk a little bit about the situation in Carrol’s Manor, Maryland, and why these families moved to Wachovia.

 

The English families moving from Maryland were already associated with the Moravians prior to moving.[49] The Moravian Brother, Joseph Powell, was the minister for those at Carrol’s Manor in the 1760s. By 1772, congregational life in this settlement in Maryland was declining. Powell wanted to retire and return to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as his wife was dying, and she wanted to see her home again. Brother Powell, who also was in bad health, tells Nathaniel Seidel, one of Spangenberg’s successors and who was one of the leading figures in Pennsylvania, “to let them return to Pennsylvania for their sake and the congregation’s.”[50]

 

Reader 1: “We not only are become(ing) quite Old, and near the close of our Days, but seem also to have become something Old to our hearers.”[51]

 

Casey: Their following in Carrol’s Manor had fallen off, and they had few listeners. “The dampening of congregational enthusiasm” along with the impending departure of Brother and Sister Powell was a crucial determining factor for those looking to emigrate. These families looking to leave really saw moving to Wachovia as “a chance to recapture the spark that had brought the founding families (of Carrol’s Manor) to Moravianism in the first place.” Preparations began for some families to move to Wachovia in early 1772. In February of this year, Daniel Smith and his wife discussed with Brother Powell the plans to establish an English-speaking settlement in Wachovia. Contact was made, and Frederic Marshall, assisted Smith in selecting tracts in southeast Wachovia and finance situations were arranged, allowing Smith’s and the other Maryland families to purchase land for farming. As cash was low, Smith took out an indenture with Frederic Marshall for 221 acres. The families would have 10 years to come up with the purchase price.[52] The decisions of the Smith and Goslin family to emigrate to Wachovia set off a chain reaction, and other families began looking to move.[53] The Smith, Goslin, Slater, and Masters families ultimately left for North Carolina, arriving in December of 1772, and other families followed in the coming years.[54]

 

With the departure of so many families from Carrol’s Manor, the already struggling congregation in Maryland grew progressively weaker. Membership and interest declined, prompting Bethlehem to not send a missionary to replace Brother Powell, and sealing the fate of the congregation. This disappointed the families who chose to stay, and “the demise of the congregation in 1773, in turn, forced others to leave, leading to some who had chosen to stay in Maryland moving to Wachovia.” Ok so, the two factors that allowed for the creation of Hope in 1780 is the moving of these first four families from Maryland that resulted in other families moving and the preaching at Douthit’s house.[55] Between 1774 and 1775, 10 more families moved from Maryland. In 1775, the construction of the meeting house began. It was completed in March of 1780, and a few months later, in August, Hope was fully constituted a congregation of the Moravian Church, with Brother Fritz being placed in charge.[56]

 

Conclusion

Kait: Hope was really different from Friedberg and Friedland in the fact that it was the first “English” congregation of the Southern Province. In the early 1800s, the Moravians realized that in order to function in society, they were going to have to adopt the English language. I’m sure Hope played a major role since it is the only “English” congregation.[57] The Wachovia Memorabilia of 1801 actually mentions that outreach to neighbors was done in English services at Hope, so it seems that having an English congregation really became useful for the Moravians.[58] Of course, I’m sure there were probably instances where English services were being conducted outside Hope as well.

 

Casey: It was neat being able to learn more about the creation of other congregations within Wachovia. Getting to learn their stories and the histories of some of the families that moved to the area is engrossing, and It’s also interesting to note the similarities and differences in their developments. Friedberg differs from Hope and Friedland as there were not really any internal congregational issues that led to its development. With all three of these congregations, religion and family really drove them to coming to Wachovia.[59] That’s all for this week. Thank you all for joining us for this episode of Moravian Mornings. Join us next week, where we are going to discuss the Regulator Movement that was taking place during this time.

 

Announcer: This has been an episode of Moravian Mornings, a Historic Bethabara Park podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Auf Wiedersehen.

 

Notes

[1] Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan: The Making of an Afro-Moravian World in North Carolina, 1763-1840 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 69.

[2] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise: Religion and Acculturation in the Southern Backcountry (AL: University of Alabama, 2005), 27.

[3] Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan, 70.

[4] Ibid.

[5] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 19.

[6] Ibid., 25.

[7] Ibid., 25-26.

[8] Ibid., 25.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ed. Adelaide Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Volume I: 1752-1771 (Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Print Company, 1922), 304-305.

[11] Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan, 70-71.

[12] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future: The Story of the Moravian Church, Southern Province (Winston-Salem, NC: Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, 2002), 23; Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan, 70-71.

[13] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 23; The Moravians in NC: An Authentic History, 69.

[14] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina: An Authentic History (Salem, NC: O. A. Keehln, 1857), 69-70.

[15] Ibid., 70.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., 71.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 71-72; Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 73.

[20] Ed. Adelaide Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Volume I,  450.

[21] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 90.

[22] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 23-24.

[23] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 73.

[24] Ibid.

[25] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 23-24.

[26] Ibid., 24.

[27]Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 74.

[28] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 24.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 74-75.

[32] Ibid., 74.

[33] Ibid.

[34] TLevin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 74-75; Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 68.

[35] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 68-69; Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 75.

[36] Ed. Adelaide Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Volume I, 436.

[37] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 75.

[38] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 75; Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 73.

[39] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 90.

[40] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 76.

[41] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 113.

[42] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 77.

[43] Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan, 72.

[44] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 55-56.

[45] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 77; Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 55-56.

[46] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 77.

[47] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 20.

[48] Levin Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, 78.

[49] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 86.

[50] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 20.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid., 21.

[53] Ibid.,  22-23.

[54] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 86.

[55] Ibid.

[56] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 23.

[57] Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan, 72.

[58] Daniel Crews and Richard Starbuck, With Courage for the Future, 196.

[59] S. Scott Rohrer, Hope’s Promise, 25

 

Bibliography

Crews, C. Daniel, and Richard Starbuck. With Courage for the Future: The Story of the Moravian Church, Southern Province. Winston-Salem, NC: Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, 2002.

 

Fries, Adelaide, ed. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Volume I: 1752-1771. Vol. I. Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Print Company, 1922.

 

Reichel, Levin, The Moravians in North Carolina: An Authentic History. Salem, North Carolina: O. A. Keehln, 1857.

 

Rohrer, S Scott. Hope’s Promise: Religion and Acculturation in the Southern Backcountry. 1st ed. Religion and American Culture. University of Alabama, 2005.

 

Sensbach, Jon. A Separate Canaan: The Making of an Afro-Moravian World in North Carolina, 1763-1840. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

 

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