Grube’s Diary of his trip to Quenischachachque 6/4/1753-6/10/1753

Brother Grube’s Travel Diary to Quenischachachque

After I had taken my leave from the Brothers I traveled with our canoe up the West Branch. About 4 miles from here I visited Captain Logan’s new place. But he was not at home. 1 mile further on I visited a Shawnee hut. There were many people there, also John Shikellamy’s wife who had planted here. I did not stay there for long but rather continued my travels. It was quite tough. There came then a great thunderstorm and I got very wet. In the evening I was very tired and as I was looking around for a place to put up my tent I heard Indians calling out on the other side of the river. I answered them, and as I went on shore to make a fire they came over to me and one of them called out “Brother, Brother!”. And this was our Christian Renatus[135] who had been out hunting with another Indian. He said, “Brother! I am happy to see you visiting! I thought of you already today, whether or not you would soon come to visit me, and as I saw your canoe from afar so I thought right away, that is the Brother from Shamokin. Come a little further with us to a better spot and then let’s stay together!” I traveled a little further from there with them and we found a good little spot for our night camp and I had a very good opportunity to tell them something of the Savior and we were quite contented together. They gave me some bear meat to eat and I gave them some bread; and so I slept very well with my dear Indians.

On the 5th June [1753] I rose early and departed. The Indians soon followed me. I had a hard job getting up the falls and I had to drag the canoe several times. At noon I waited for Christian Renatus and, as I was sitting on the bank and eating something, an Indian approached me from the other bank and asked where I wanted to go and, when I told him, he told me that he did not advise it, as it was impossible to get up there alone, as there were many falls and very fast water the whole way up. And when Christian Renatus came to me, he told me the same thing. I therefore resolved to leave my canoe with the Indian and to continue my journey on foot. It was about 10 miles this side of Ostonwakin.

I then continued my journey that was mostly on the right hand side of the West Branch, and as I got to Ostonwakin I relaxed on the spot where earlier the Indian Town had stood, and I refreshed myself with strawberries, and thought a great deal about our dear Disciple and his dear travel company that pitched their tents here ten years ago.[136] It is a pleasant area, but now no-one lives here any more. Now I could easily bathe in the Otzinachson, the last time however it was up to my armpits and the current was very strong.

In the afternoon, around 5 o’clock, I arrived at the first little town on this side of Quenischachachque, where the deceased Madame Montour’s daughter Margaret and her family live.[137] She is a very rich woman, has 30 horses, several cows, and 40 pigs. This year she planted 8 acres of Indian corn. I [manuscript corrupt]… The old woman cried and complained to me about her son and her daughter’s husband who were shot last year in the war. The latter was shot by a Maqua by mistake as he wanted to take an enemy prisoner, who however ran away from him and as he wanted to capture him, the Maqua shot and hit them both so that they both died soon after. In the evening I heard a great wailing and crying in the hut due to the murdered warriors. The old woman and her daughter were both wearing mourning clothes, brown and black.

On the 6th of June I went to Quenischachachque and, as I came into the town, an Indian by the name of Thomas Freeman came up to me and said immediately “Welcome Brother! I know who you must be and I want to take you into the Lodge.” And so he took me to James David’s house where Christian Renatus lodged, who also came out to meet me and was very pleased. Soon several Indians arrived and asked whether this was the Brother about whom they had heard so much and they were very friendly towards me. Then I was treated to bear meat. Thomas Freeman said, “The reason they wanted to see and speak to a Brother was that there were various Indians here who really wanted to know the way to blessedness and wanted to hear something about the Savior.” Then they took me into his house and told me much about his life story.

I went back into my lodgings and had to lie down because I did not feel well. [manuscript corrupt]… In the evening I had a contented conversation with my host, to whom I praised the love of the Savior towards us men and what He did for us on the cross, He wanted to make the poor Indians happy etc. I also read him some verses in Delaware and the people in the hut were all attentive.

This morning, I saw about 20 warriors arrive who were traveling home again through the great Wüste (wilderness, wastes). They had a boy and a girl with them as prisoners, the mother had been captured because of them. But they could not stay here, because last winter almost all the corn had been eaten by a great number of warriors and the people are badly dispositioned because of the many warriors who always pass through here. Many have not a single grain of corn to eat and have to fetch flour from Tulpehocken more than 100 miles away, and the old and weak have to suffer much hunger.

On the 7th of June the Chief of the town visited me, Christian Renatus’ eldest brother. After this I went to Thomas Freeman and had the opportunity to tell him something about our reason for being here, and why we love the Indians so much and wish from our hearts that they might get to know their bloody God on a Cross also. He cried at this and said, “I am already baptized by the Church of England in Maryland but my heart still knows no peace.” I spoke a little more with him and then returned home. In the evening I visited a sick man and spoke to him about the Savior, during which an old man with 2 children from Allegheny came to us in the house and many Indians gathered around him to hear news about the French movements there. I went into the bush for a while and was blessed and happy.

On the 8th June most of the Indians gathered in the old governor’s house and called me to them. As I got there I felt in my spirit that the enemy wanted to play some. The old man began and asked why I had come here. He did not want to hear anything about our journey. He had heard that we had transported many Indians onto an island and he had still more wondrous things to say. When he had finished I answered him and said, “My friend! I did not come here for myself, rather several Indians desired that I come and visit them. Your very own brother Brother Christian Renatus had desired this (who was there and said yes). Our method is to say nothing of our way to anyone who does not feel a desire in his heart and wants to go there too. I was therefore quite surprised that he wanted to forbid me from coming here again, to visit my good friends, and he had no power to do that for most of the Indians were not of his mind. I was pleased however that he had spoken his mind and he would not then mind me speaking mine, as I just had. I intended to leave tomorrow and did not know whether I would ever return here in my life. And so I went back to my lodgings. Soon several of the Indians came to me and were downcast about the old Chief’s words and told me that they did not think like him but rather that I should visit them more. Meanwhile I was quiet and happy and spoke some with the Savior. In the evening I visited Thomas Freeman. There were several Indians with him who were very friendly towards me. As I went back to my lodgings, the old Chief was in front of his house and he said, he had nothing against me returning and appeared quite friendly.

On the 9th June I made myself ready for the journey and spoke some more with Christian Renatus about his staying on here. I told the other Indians, who wanted to know, that he was going back to Gnadenhütten. I distributed my remaining rations and this was pleasing to them. I then left and several Indians accompanied me to Thomas Freeman with whom I was supposed to travel part of the way until I get my canoe. Christian Renatus asked me something and said, “Hey Brother! Do you still have the paper with you? I have to write a letter to my brothers in Gnadenhütten.” And so we walked a way together and he dictated it to me. He also said to me, “O Brother! Come back soon to me. I would very much like it.” I said, “I hope to see you soon at my home, on your way to Gnadenhütten.” My host also asked me to visit him again soon and they took me to Margaret. Thomas Freeman said that we should go a little onto land and say a prayer before we left, and so Margaret called me into her hut as several others had gathered there. Thomas Freeman knelt down and prayed for a quarter of an hour and everyone was very thoughtful during this. The old woman said repeatedly, “O Lord, o Lord!” We continued on, but it began to rain very heavily, and so we stayed the night with the Indians where I had left my canoe. We had very little room to lie down.

Sunday, the 10th of June I got up early and, as I went to the river to leave, I found that my canoe had gone. I asked one of the Indians who might have taken it. He said a Shawnee. But I should just go down river a little bit to the Shawnee town and I would find it there. And so I did this and I found it. Then I paddled hard because I really wanted to get home that evening; and towards evening I arrived happily in Shamokin again.   Brother Marx Kiefer had come to meet me and met me just as I came on land. We rejoiced together as though we had not seen each other for half a year. The brothers told me straight away how the time had been here and that they had been very plagued by the drunken Indians, especially two warriors from the Seneca country had behaved very badly. They had broken down the doors to the house and violently wanted to get food, grabbed the brothers by the chest and acted as though they wanted to kill them. The brothers gave them bread and milk but they were not happy with that and one especially acted like Satan. Here are patience and love especially needed. [138]

Conrad Weiser’s four sons had been here during this time but had not come into our house.