Zeisberger’s Account of the Shamokin Mission 11/30/48-01/31/49

Journal of the Shamokin Mission,

Diarist David Zeisberger

November 30th, 1748

Shikellamy’s Death[93]

In the valley of the Heathen

Brothers Martin and David visited the Swatane[94] who was very ill. We made him some tea,[95] for which he was very grateful. We also told him that Brother Martin and Boehler were thinking of leaving for Bethlehem tomorrow. In any case, Brother Martin and Boehler were preparing for a journey.

In the evening, we had a blessed love feast. Brother Martin shared much news with the Brothers and Sisters about Bethlehem, about the little Lamb there at the Synod and who was then later made into an Elder at the festival,[96] and also in the whole land, which was very emotional. We were happy about this and took part in the blessing that had poured itself out over the people. Brother Martin spoke then a great deal about our little Lamb’s office of Elder, and that even here in Shamokin. He had declared His news as Elder, which was for us all an astonishingly great and weighty matter, that the Little Lamb even here in this place, where it has always been so dark, wishes to be recognized as Elder, and thanked him with many tears, that He makes room for us even here, and has given us a place, where He can be worshipped. After this, Brother Martin conducted a very emotional and blessed Quarter Hour[97]at which he blessed and absolved Brother and Sister Anton in the name of our Eldest. Thereupon we had a very dear meal of our little Lamb, and our Elder allowed himself to be felt in our hearts, that He was among us and fed us with His Body and quenched us with His Blood. Our hearts melted in many tears about our Husband, and fell to His bored through feet and worshipped Him for his Closeness and for His News, and then we went to our rest as blessed and happy

Cross‐Air‐little Birds in his Sidehole. [98]

On December 1, in the morning, Brother Martin held another anointed Quarter Hour and recommended to the Little Lamb those who were to stay here, as well as those who were to leave, and in general the whole mission here, as well as the Swatane’s family. He offered them up to the Little Lamb’s heart and then with a tender Kiss of Love they took leave from each other, and when Brother Martin took his leave from the Swatane, who was still very ill but who could still speak freely, Brother Martin and Boehler happily and blessed set on their path into the Side Hole.

On the 3rd we had a very quiet and contented Sabbath in the Side Hole.

On the 4th Brother Anton and David visited the Swatane and found him to he so weak that he could no longer walk by himself and could no longer hear well. In other ways he was very friendly and watched us with love, but could speak very little. We brought him some tea and bread, which he enjoyed greatly.

On the 6th, David visited the Swatane early in the morning and brought him something to eat and drink. He said, however, that he could eat and drink nothing, and that he could no longer hear anything, only speak a little. We saw that he would not live much longer. Around midday an Indian woman came and said to us that he was close to going home.[99] David went to him and stayed with him. But there was a terrible wailing of lamentations, for everyone, old and young, wept incredibly about their old father. He spoke no more, and looked at David with friendship and smiled, and finally passed away quite contentedly. We now felt in our hearts that we should plead with the Little Lamb that He should grant a place in his Side Hole for him, and were able to believe that He would do the same. None of his sons were at home, only his daughter and a few women. Brother Anton was sickly and had to lie down, but soon recovered.

On the 7th we went out and split shingles to improve our house.

On the 8th, James Logon returned home from the hunt, because they had sent for him. He soon visited us and David told him that his father had become very ill on the way back from Tulpehocken. He looked very sad. He asked us to make him a coffin, which we did.

On the 9th they buried the Swatane. Almost everyone in Shamokin was present. In his grave, they gave him 2 new blankets, a tobacco pipe, and 3 bags with tobacco and flint as an honor, and other things too. We also went to the burial and helped to bury him. They did not fire their weapons while he was dying or at his funeral, rather everything proceeded very quietly.

On the 10th, things were pretty unruly in Shamokin, because whiskey gained the upper hand among the Indians. But they were very peaceful with us and did not prevent us from going about our business and we were alone with each other peacefully in the Side Hole.

On the 12th, Logon came and asked David to write him a letter to Conrad Weiser to tell him that his father had died, which he also did. He did the same to Brother T’girhitonti.[100] Otherwise we had many visits from Indians. Swatane’s daughter, who is very sick and can hardly eat anything, also visited us. Sister Catherine gave her something to eat of which she took a lot. She repeated “niàwo” many times9 and

carried herself with great modesty and politeness.[101]

On the 14th, Logan visited us with his wife and discussed many things with David. He asked all kinds of questions, among other things, why Brother Powell had gone away from Shamokin, and whether another Sister could come here because it was very difficult for Catharine to take care of everything by herself. David also told him that we were soon expecting a Brother from Bethlehem, namely, Christian Rauch, whom he knew. He also said that he wanted to go on the hunt tomorrow a few miles over the river with his whole family. David should visit him there sometime, and if he had meat, then he could bring some meat back home with him. He is very modest and carries himself towards us with great friendship and loves us.

On the 17th December it became rather empty in Shamokin. Logan and his whole family went hunting again so that we were left alone. Logan gave us the key to his Store to take care of and is thinking of staying out on the hunt until John returns, which he is expecting as soon as the bucks lose their horns. We were quite alone in the quiet and had a contented and blessed Sabbath and were happy to see the dear heart Christel again soon. Sometimes we looked out down the path to see if someone was coming.

On the 23rd it was quite rowdy in Shamokin because everyone was full of whisky. They were as modest in their behavior towards us as they could be.

On the 24th we were much in Bethlehem in spirit and the little Lamb permitted us to feel something of the communal blessing of his congregation.

On the 26th we were visited by many Indians, Maqua and Delawares. Logon and his family came home from the hunt and visited us, also cooked themselves something to eat at our fire because they did not want to go to the drunken Indians in their huts. Logon also had received a letter from Conrad Weiser that David translated for him. They soon left again though and Logon said he wanted to visit us again soon.

On the 28th and 29th various of our familiar neighbours came home from the hunt and visited us soon also. One sees that they love us and are truly good people, if only they didn’t occasionally indulge in their weakness and were tempted to drink, for if they resolved not to drink then they would be required to wait a long time before they did.

On the 31st we had a blessed Sabbath and we were much in our hearts among our brothers and sisters in Bethlehem.

IN the year 1749 (old style)

ON Sunday January 1st we waiting with longing for our dear heart Christel. But he did not come. We gave up thinking he would come.

On the 2nd our dear hearts Christian and Henrich Frey arrived in Shamkoin to our great joy and contentment and gladdened us with many juicy little letters and news from our dear brothers and sisters in Bethlehem, for we had waited longingly for someone for a long time.

On the 3rd we spent a contented and very blessed day and our dear and precious heart Christian told us many happy tidings from our dear congregation and we were quite blessed and content together in the little Side Hole.

On the 5th David and Henrich Frey readied themselves to travel to Bethlehem to the Synod. Brother Christian wrote letters to Bethlehem. A few Indian women from Logon’s family came to the house and visited us ad we let Logon know that Brother Christian had arrived here and that David would soon go to Bethlehem. We also sent him many greetings from T’girhonti, Johannes and Gallichwio and all our brothers because we could not easily get over the river.

On Wednesday the 6th our two dear little hearts, David Zeisberger and Henrich Frey left in the morning for Bethlehem, quite blessed and content and our dear little spirit left with them too. The few Indians who were left in Shamokin began to get into the whisky and the latter held such powerful sway over them that they reveled the whole night as though they had lost their minds.

On the Sabbath, the 7th, we were surrounded by a great tumult and the drunken Indians visited us much and complained to us of their sorry state that whisky had become their master and also cried a little as well. The poor tormented hearts wailed to us greatly and we showed them our sympathy. We, for our part, held a blessed and contented Sabbath and we were much with our two hearts on their journey and also with out precious hearts in Bethlehem and felt among us a gentle peace.

On Sunday the 8th we visited the Indian huts and sent one little sigh of concern after another silently to the little Lamb. Christian especially felt how his heart burned for them. In the evening Brother Christian held a blessed and anointed quarter of an hour with the Antons.

On Monday and Tuesday nothing much else happened.

On Wednesday the 11th the three sons of Shikellamy came home from the hunt with their wives and various others of their extended family [Freundschaft]. They came straight to our house, visited with us and were very friendly and neighborly to us. Brother Christian conveyed his greetings to them from his brothers that were sent with him to them and assured them thereby that when the Brothers and Sisters heard from David that their father had died they would be very downcast and that they believed also quite earnestly. James Logon and his younger brother asked if they could sleep the night in our house. Brother Anton S. permitted them. Towards evening, the others all began to get into the whisky and spent the whole night drinking and carousing and also around midnight came rushing into our house so that we, poor hearts, had to spend them whole night without sleep.

On Thursday the 12th we were much visited by drunken Indians. They brought their little whisky barrels with them and would very much have liked to have moved in with Logan and his younger brother. But Logan and his older brother held themselves like men, however the younger one succumbed to weakness and maintained the loudest rumpus throughout the day and Christian and Anton fetched themselves firewood today for the house. For ourselves and in ourselves we were very blessed and our hearts tended in al blessed a burning love towards Bethlehem today and we were in spirit present at the Synod.

On Friday, the 13th Logan with his wife and several other Indians left again for the hunt. 2 of his brothers with their wives and those that had not yet had theor fill of whisky stayed here. Our whole heart hung and cleaved to Bethlehem today with tender and burning feelings of love and we noticed in our hearts some little airs of blessing that wafted from our dear hearts to us and were contented even amid all the noise that we were surrounded by.

On the 14th, the Sabbath, our dearest Husband was indescribably gracious. We felt most heavenly blessed in our hearts and rejoiced half to death over his beloved little Side Hole, from which so much blessing comes to us, three poor little things in Shamokin, and we sang it from morning to late night.

Today a few more Indians left from here to go to the hunt. In the evening Brother Christian and Brother and Sister Anton held a sweet and blessed Quarter of an Hour and after that we went to sleep in the arms of our Husband and our bodies enjoyed the first peaceful night for a week.

On Sunday, the 15th we had had Shikellamy’s eldest son, John, here for breakfast. He was friendly and modest, he told us that we would leave here today around midday to visit his wife’s friends. And everyone else who was still here left today also and so Shamokin became quite quiet and homely. We were quite content and blessed among us today. Brother Christian read the most favorite sermons from the Homilies on the Wounds and that was our Confect today that has a taste of strength and his body for us. Brother Anton went visiting and Christel spent the time in prayer.

ON Monday the 16th Shikellamy’s daughter arrived here with 4 children and soon after her arrival she came to visit us in our house and she showed herself to be very friendly towards us.

On Wednesday the 18th an unknown Delaware came to us by the name of Labachpeter[102] and he showed himself to be very friendly towards our Brother Anton and all of us.

On Thursday, the 19th, Labachpeter visited us with another 3 Delaware Indians.

On the Sabbath, the 21st, we had a blessed and quiet Sabbath. In the evening an unknown Delaware came to us from Thomas McGee. He was very hungry. We gave him something to eat. He behaved very well in our house. In the evening Brother Christian and Brother and Sister Anton held a blessed Quarter of an Hour.

On Sunday, the 22nd Shikellamy’s daughter visited us. She also ate at midday with us and was very friendly. We were especially blessed among ourselves and spent most of the day reading various sermons from the Homilies on the Wounds. In the evening we waited in great expectation for our dear heart David Zeisberger to return from Bethlehem. Three Delaware Indians came to visit us and gave us a present of a quarter of venison.

ON Monday the 23rd two Shawnee Indians had some work done for them by Brother Anton in the smithy. In the evening two traders arrived here from Lancaster and brought with them two horses laden with goods.

On Tuesday, the 24th Thomas Ton from Shikellamy’s extended family [Freundschaft] arrived here with his wife and brought another Indian along. The traders visited us today and were very modest, also wanted work done by Brother Anton. This evening our neighbors dwelled on rum and spent the night drinking and making noise and it was impossible for us to sleep as they were raving so insanely.

On Wednesday the 25th our neighbors misbehaved beyond all belief. One of the traders fell into the folly of drinking for a bet with them, but because he behaved very coarsely with his company, they covered his back with blows and that in a pretty tough Indian fashion on top. In the evening two warriors arrived here from the Catawbas.  They came first into our house and warmed themselves by our fire. They could both speak English and had dressed themselves completely in Bear skins and colored their faces black so that they could look quite terrifying like the devil.

On Thursday, the 26th James Logan and his wife and John Betty with his wife arrived here with several other Indians. We were soon visited by them. They had hoped that David [Zeisberger] would be back from Bethlehem, as they very much desired to see him.

On Friday, the 27th Logan and his party departed from here again to go hunting across the Susquehanna and his brother John Senior came home today from visiting his wife’s Freundschaft [extended family] and brought several Tutelos with him. Also, an unknown Indian arrived here, who had owed Brother Anton 3 Thaler a long time ago and paid him and her was very friendly.

On Saturday, the Sabbath, the 28th January Shikellamy’s eldest son John visited us early on. Various unknown Indians arrived here today of different sorts—Macqua, Shawnee and Tutelos. We had a blessed Sabbath among ourselves. Our dearest Husband was very close to our hearts the whole day and our thoughts turned to Bethlehem a great deal. We also waited with great expectation our dear heart David today. We hoped for his arrival until late into the evening. But we gave it up with pain.

On Sunday the 29th we had some external disturbances. Some of the unknown Indians behaved very badly and senselessly and attempted to do burning sorrow to us. Several times we thought that they would tear our house down. Chrsitian took this very to heart and went away and thought about it a little in peace and felt great sympathy for them and from this feeling began to sing:

Mein Gott du siehst die weiden

Breit aus die Flügel beyde

Suddenly everything went quiet and they all went away from our housse and for the rest of the time we were left in peace from by them. Otherwise we were happy, blessed, and comforted little doves in the Side Wound and the little Lamb did all things beautiful with us whenever things go crazy here. The Antons met up with David Zeisberger today and Christian was a happy house down here but especially with his little heart [Jesus] in the little Side Wound.

On Monday the 30th of January, Thomas Dunn came home from the hunt and visited us several times. He was very friendly to us and so was Schaafman, a dear Indian whose friendliness shines out of his eyes. He told us that he would go back on the hunt in the morning.

On Tuesday the 31st January several went out on the hunt and Shamokin became once again quite empty and quiet.