(Zeisberger’s) Diary of the Shamokin Mission 01/08/1750-03/05/1750

January 1750

On the 8th o.s. Brother David arrived in Shamokin again and met with Brother Anton and Marx, who had been looking out for the brothers for a while, healthy and content. It was very quiet and lonely here because no-one was home of our neighbors except the Delaware.

On the 15th a trader came here from Thomas and lodged the night with us.

On the 19th David was unlucky and scalded his leg with a kettle of boiling water.

On the 22nd Thachnocktoris’ wife[123] came to our house in the evening and said she had left him because they no longer thought as one. She complained that she had frozen both her feet before last night she had lain in the bush and could not make a fire because it was already so late.   We had to let her into the house to sleep.

O the 23rd we told John’s wife (Thachnocktoris’) that she should go over to the Delawares and lodge there because it was not seemly that she stay in our house. When the smith’s wife was here than it would be more appropriate. However, she said that she did not want to go to the Delawares because they were a bad people. Rather she got her things together and went to Sgochari. We gave her matches.

Shawonogarati came here from John and lodged overnight.

On the 25th we sent Brother Marx to Tulpehocken because David’s leg began to get really bad and we did not know what to do and we had no medicine for it, in the hope of meeting Brother Rauch along the way.

On the 29th Brother Marx came back from Tulpehocken and had met Brother Rauch at Peter Kuchern’s who sent us a good plaster.

On the 30th the Cayuga, Hahotschaunquas, came from John’s hunting cabin here with his wife and child. They would have liked to see us allow them to stay in our house, but we showed them to the Big House and gave them something so that they could cook for themselves. He said to us that John had gone up to Sgochari and would soon be here.

On the 1st of February a trader came here from Thomas and stayed with us overnight.

On the 2nd John arrived here from Sgochari and brought his wife back with him.

On the 3rd John and the Cayuga visited us. John complained that everything in his house had been burned, boards and everything. Who had done it? We said to him, the Indians who were here a while and who traveled through. Delaware and Shawnee and Tutelos had stayed in there and because they had no wood at night so they had burned the boards and also the planks from our fence occasionally.

On the 5th John visited us and discoursed at length with David. He also said to him that Shawonogarati had said that David had said another man had gone with his wife to Sgochari. David said that was not true, as there were no Indians here when she left. At this, John said that he had often found that Shawonogarati told many lies. David asked him also whether his wife had not said anything to him of us? He said, yes, we had told her she should go to the Delaware, it was not seemly that she lodge here with us because we are all men and the smith’s wife was not here. David told him that we allowed her to spend one night here because she had come late and because her feet were almost frozen because she could not make fire. He seemed quite satisfied with this and was very relieved.

On the 8th February John and the Cayuga traveled to Thomas’. John said that he had head that Thomas had beaten his wife and needed to go to see whether this was true. A Delaware from Jacob Vorsinger’s circle came by here in the evening and stayed with us overnight. He is a good man and very friendly towards us, he loves us. One should visit the people sometime, they live on the flats this side of the Long Island in the West Branch.

On the 10th we had a peaceful and contented Sabbath. We were quite alone.

On the 11th one of Thomas’ servants arrived here and brought a letter from Thomas to Brother Anton to fetch the things of a trader which he had left in our house and had gone to Tulpehocken and Thomas demanded in the letter that Anton should send a list of the things because he thought that he had gone through them. However, Anton answered him through the man that he could send him a bill because he did not understand the things but rather he preferred it this way.

On the 17th February we had a quite blessed Sabbath and in the evening a sweet Meal of the Lamb (Communion) with each other. We felt as though the Savior was among us with his bloody little Side Wound, and we were quite content together.

On the 18th four traders arrived here and lodged with the Delaware and got into an argument with each other. Three of them came to our door in the night as we were already sleeping and asked that we allow them to come in and sleep the night in our house. They could not stay together. We allowed them to spend the night here then. One of them was the one for whom the things were being fetched and had come from Tulpehocken. Before this he had lived in Lancaster and had heard Brother Nyberg preach. He told us he had been with one of our brothers, Robert Ehrs, on the Swatara, and praised him greatly. Brought us some tobacco from him. He said he had read the Greenland Diary at his house.[124]

On the 24th February John Petty returned home from the hunt with his whole family. He visited us soon and asked how much he owed us, he wanted to pay. We then told him, and he complained bitterly that the previous smith, Andreas Bez had written more on his bill than he remembered having asked to be done. He knew what he owed Brother Anton, but the other smith had lied. David spoke to him very earnestly and said he knew very well that the other smith had not lied, and he knew well enough that we were not that kind of people who would try to deceive him, to try to get many skins off him, but rather that we loved them and really tried to help them. But in return they should really try to deal with us honestly and not blame us like this. But in the future we would act accordingly and not lend him anything. Other Indians paid right away when they had work done, but because they were our neighbors and brothers, we had until now given them credit until they could pay. It had been an old debt, perhaps he had forgotten it. At this he said that he wanted to pay everything. It might be the case that he had forgotten something. He didn’t know that Andres had done something for him. God knew it, he wanted to pay so that he could be at peace with his conscience. David told him that he could well believe that the other smith had not deceived him because he was our brother, and we all knew him very well, and we knew very well that our brothers did not lie. Yes, he said, he knew very well that we did not deceive, we were too good a people to do this, he had probably forgotten something. David said to him that we wanted to keep things with him in the future so, that we would write him a bill when they had something done, and they would have to hold on to it and when they paid it then they needed to find it again. Yes, he said, that would be good if we did it like that, and so he was quite happy again.

ON the 25th Shamokin became quite tumultuous again and everyone began to drink whatever was there. That was something quite new to us because this winter we had seen hardly any drunken Indians, rather they were so quiet here, like we had never before experienced, but now the whisky would find its way in again.

On the 26th February in the morning, John Petty came into our house half drunk and complained again about the smith, that is about Andres, that he had tricked him so. David said to him that he did not want to talk to him about it now but rather save it for another time and let him leave again.

David traveled up the river to Nescopeck to visit the Indians there.

On the 29th he came home again and had met up with the old Nutimes and two of his sons in Nescopeck, who had welcomed him very cordially. David gave them greetings from the our brethren, especially from Brother Cammerhof, who had visited them this winter and told them that he had been in Bethlehem seven weeks ago and that there he had seen old Nutimes’ sister.[125] She had been very ill and had a great desire to be baptized in the Savior’s blood[126] before she died. She had asked the brothers that she should drip with the blood and Brother Cammerhof had then baptized her [Rahel.] David said he would have liked to come to visit them long ago and would have brought the news to them, but when he got to Shamokin he had burned his leg and had not been able to walk. Now it was quite healed, but not completely, and so he had set off on his trip again. There were several other Indians there who were very friendly and the house was full almost the whole time, because he was there. On the way he also visited Labach Peter and had slept for two nights in his hunting lodge, and he had welcomed him cordially and had hosted him well. He had also had the opportunity to talk to him about the Savior. He is a very wise man and cares for us greatly.

On the 3rd March we had a contented Sabbath. We were almost alone in Shamokin.

On the 5th everyone fell to drinking again and in the evening there was a huge tumult among the Indians because they were beating their wives, so that they had to endure.