Zeisberger’s Diary of the Shamokin Mission 03/04/1749-07/26/1749

Translation Shamokin Diary April 1749

Diarist David Zeisberger

On Monday 3rd, April 1749 our dear little heart Christel Rauch departed from Shamokin to Bethlehem and David accompanied him to his night camp. The Indian festival was concluded today with a dance, after they had made music and danced the whole night and straight afterwards whisky had to hold sway and then in a few minutes everything was mad and full of men folk and they tore about terribly that they almost killed each other.

On Tuesday, the 4th, David came home again and brought many cordial little greetings and kisses to Brother and Sister Smith from Brother Christel, whom he had left at the foot of the Thürnstein mountain, well and healthy.

The Indians continued with drinking today. Some were already so ill that they could take no more. But they left us quite undisturbed.

On the 5th and 6th everyone dispersed from here. Most of them went home, some to the hunt, and so Shamokin became quite empty again.

On the 8th, Saturday, we celebrated a peaceful and contented Sabbath and our hearts were much with our brothers and sisters in Bethlehem. We were also visited today by Logan and his wife who told us that he was thinking of going up the river to Womphallepang[112] to fetch Indian corn for his family because they had nothing more to eat and that Blackfish, who had lived last year in Womphallepang and who had often visited our brothers and sisters in Gandenhütten and who had even stayed there for a while, was going to plant there this summer. We gave them some Indian corn for the journey because they had none. He told David all kinds of historical matters that related to the Indians of several nations.

On Sunday, the 9th, Logan and Blackfish left here [deleted material] and there was no-one left at home but an old woman.

On Monday, the 10th an Indian came down from up north, a Cayuga by the name of Tianoge, who claimed to still remember seeing T’girhotondi[113] and Ganosserachen[114] in Onandago four years ago. He bewailed the death of the Swatane greatly who had been his great friend. He asked whether or not we wanted to visit them again? David told him perhaps soon. He was very pleased that David could converse with him, and said that he should make the effort to learn their language, which he also promised him to do. He recounted how he had heard much about us, that we loved the Indians, and that we were their brothers. David told him that, yes we did love the Indians and that they were our Brothers. At that he gave David his hand and said, “Oh’oh niawo n’twatathege,” “I am so happy that you are our Brothers.” David asked him, whether the Great Councils of the 5 Nations were considering coming down here this summer? He said, yes, as soon as the bark peeled from the trees so that they could make canoes, they would probably come. They would have come down a year ago, but they had been held up for a long time in Albany, that is why they had not been able to come, because it had become too late. He himself had been present there, that is why he had received the beautiful coat he was wearing, which was embroidered with golden embroidery work (Tressen). He also recounted how he had hunted with Henrich, of the Maqua lands, who had already lodged with David, this past winter on the Oztonwake Creek[115], only two days journey from here, where Henrich still was with his family. But he was thinking about making a journey to Conrad Weiser, whom he knew well, to speak with him and then he would return and travel home. He needed something done to his flintlock, which Brother Anton did for him for free.

On the 11th, Tuesday, he left here, and we gave him something to eat for the way. He complained that hereabouts there was such a famine and there was nothing to eat, and that when the 5 Nations finally came down they would have nothing to eat. He gave us all his hand and bade us adieu.

Today a Tuscaroras and a Shawnee came through, who were coming from a war. They had brought two scalps with them. The first one has come from Wahochquage,[116] a large city (as one says) of the Tuscaroras, two days journey from Tioga near Shohari.

There also arrived Swatane’s grandson down from Ohio and visited us, also brought work for the smith.

On Wednesday, the 12th, a Delaware woman, our neighbor, who visits us diligently, visited Sister Catherine today, and told her that Philip’s house was haunted at night and that she was afraid to be there alone because her people had all gone to Tulpehocken. Catherine asked her what she thought it might be. She said she did not know. Doubtless it is Philip’s brother who had drunk himself to death.

On Wednesday, the 19th John Shikellamy came home again. He told us that he had met Conrad Weiser on the way to Shamokin to bring them gifts from the Government. David asked him whether he had told Conrad that they were undertaking a journey to the 5 Nations, and he said yes. Whether he had also asked him that we would go along, he said yes, whereupon David asked him what he had to say to that. He had had nothing more to say to that, other than he had considered it a good thing that Ganosserarheri was going along because he understood the language. He also told us that Oztonawakin was going to be inhabited again by the Maquas and the Cayugas, who were coming down from up north. The one called Tianoge was going to plant there this summer, but only after a trip to Onondago. He also said that there were many Delaware on the West River (Branch), who would plant seed this summer.

On Thursday, the 20th John Shikellamy left again to go to Tgochari to his wife’s people (Freundschaft). He complained that there was nothing here to eat and when he came home he would be hungry. That is why he could not stay home a great deal and that he had had nothing to eat since he had been here. We gave him something for the journey. He was very friendly and cheerful.

On the 22nd it was very quiet here and we were almost completely alone, but we were quite happy and content in the Side Hole and the Lamb was among us with his most beloved Sidehole, so that we could feel it. Today one of our neighbors, Schaafman, visited us, a well-mannered Indian. He told us that the government had placed John Shikellamy in the Swatane’s place, because his father had died and that Courdeoerren had sent a Fathom of Wampum to the 5 Nations with Tiagone the Cayuga, who was travelling up to Onondago.

He complained greatly that the Indians here drank so much and drank away all they had. David said to him, yes, that was true, but the poor Indians could do nothing else because they were under the influence of the Evil Spirit, and that the Evil Spirit ruled over them. However, if one of them would come to know the Savior and love him, he would not think about doing evil anymore, and that is why we had great sympathy with the poor Indians, because they did not know God, who loved them so remarkably and had died for them and had spilt his blood for them so that they could be blessed, if they only chose to be, which they could not do, that is why they had to sin and do evil. He said to all this, “tegerge,” “that is true,” and was very friendly.

On Monday, the 24th Logan came home again and with him came an Indian from Melolamekok who visited us immediately and was very friendly to us. He told us that he had been in Bethlehem 9 days ago and had seen 9 Indians from Melolalomekok being baptized, whom Brother Cammerhof and another Brother had baptized. He also told us that he had spoken with Brother Christel in Bethlehem who had comforted him with the news that in a week someone would be leaving Bethlehem for Shamokin.

There also came another, Armstrong, a Delaware Indian, who had lived for a winter in Gnadenhütten and now lived some 40 miles beyond Wyoming on the Susquehanna. He was very friendly and modest with us. We took them in with friendship and gave them something to eat.

On the 25th John Shikellamy came back home again, visited us diligently. He is very friendly to us and carries himself with dignity. He is diligently teaching David to speak Cayuga. He has a good talent for teaching. There was also much dancing today, as the Indians from Melolalomekok sat among them and did not dance, he is different from the others.

On the 26th Logan visited us and had a long discourse with David. He pointed out a great enmity with the Delaware because he believes that they have the power of evil witchcraft and they bewitched his child and also his wife and that is why they are never well.  He thinks that they had forgiven them and that is why the Delaware all moved away from here and dispersed themselves like others because they were killing each other.

On Saurday the 29th, we looked carefully for our brothers and sisters from Bethlehem. David also went out to look for the brothers but did not meet with any.

On Monday, the 1st May, our dear hearts Christel and Andres arrived here. We rejoiced and were very dear to each other and spent the day listening to the joyous news that our dear hearts had brought with them and with love.

On the 2nd, Tuesday, we brought our business to Logan. The other brothers were not at home. He was content with everything that was proposed to him. We also began to plant our corn today.

On the 3rd May, Wednesday, Brothers Anton and David went down the Susquehanna to the traders to fetch iron. Because our horses had run away, Brother Christel went out to look for them and came back in the evening, but had not found them.

On the 4th, Thursday, two Indians arrived from Nescopeck, Nutimes’ two sons, and brought work for the smithy. They stayed in our house for quite a while and were quite friendly. They told us that their house and everything that they had had been burned by a bush fire because no-one had been home who could have extinguished it.

ON the 5th, Friday, Christian spoke a lot with Nutimes’ sons and told them about the Savior. They were very attentive and alert and very hungry to hear something of the little Lamb. They also had little in common with the local Indians but rather stayed with us for most of the time. Although there was much dancing and music, these two kept themselves apart. Armstrong, a Delaware, arrived here today also and Brother Christian preached to him about the Savior and his little Side Hole.

On the 6th, Saturday, Brothers Anton and David returned home again and just at the right time because the water was already so high from the heavy rains that towards the end of their journey they could not continue and half a mile from Shamokin had had to chop through a tree that lay across the water so that they could get away from the bank. Otherwise whisky clearly  held sway among the Indians.

On the 7th, Sunday, we told Logan that our horses had run away and asked if he could help us out of our dilemma and lend us a horse for Catharine. He promised to fetch one for us and to allow two Indians to accompany us who had to bring some things back from Tulpehockem for him on horseback. Our Brother and Sister Anton [Schmidt] and Brother Christian prepared for a journey to Bethlehem in the early morning.

On Monday, the 8th May, because the water was still very high, David rode to Eva Creek to see if it was possible to cross, but found that it was impossible. So the brothers and sisters had to stay here today.

On Tuesday, the 9th, our brothers and sisters left from here on their way to Bethlehem. Because Eva Creek was still very high, David and a Shawnee Indian carried a canoe on their shoulders to the Eva Creek and put our brothers and sisters safely on the opposite shore and waded across with the horses. The farewell was a little painful and David walked back home quite alone and in fact a little melancholy. Once he got home, whisky had once again become the master over the people. Logan and John had resolved not to drink and so they hid themselves the whole day. John locked himself in his store house and Logan camped out in our garden under the trees and also slept the night there. He told David that he was afraid of the drunken people as they set off looking for him and wanted to get him to drink but he did not want to do this.

On the 12th we received news through the Indians who had gone with our brothers and sister to Tulpehocken that they had arrived safely in Tulpehocken.

On the 13th and 14th it was quite rowdy in Shamokin. There were many people gathered and they continued drinking. David visited Tachnechtóris [John Shikellamy] in his store house, where he had locked himself in. He said that the Delawares had been tormenting him so much and had been working on him the whole week, that they wanted to get him to drink and that is why he had shut himself in. Because he knew that it came from the devil. David said, yes, that was really true, it was just a deception of Satan, because when they were all a little sober again then they would all be so sick that they had ruined their houses through drink. John said also that he was thinking of going to Philadelphia with the Five Nations and he wanted to visit T’girhitondy there. Sawonagarat, an Indian, our neighbor, came down from Wyoming and brought news that the messengers of the Five Nations were there in Wyoming and that they were expecting them there any day now. We were in Bethlehem in our hearts a great deal over today and yesterday and were quite blessed and content in the little Side Hole.

On the 15th, Monday, the Indian from Melolalomekok who wanted to find his sister, visited us again. But he had not met up with her and now wanted to go down the Susquehanna to Juniata on the hunt. David spoke to him a great deal about the Savior and told him that he should not forget what he had heard in Bethlehem. He said that he never wanted to forget it because when he was in Bethlehem he had felt something in his heart that he would never forget. He had also felt a great desire to be baptized and when he returned home again, which would happen in two months, he wanted to visit the Brothers and Sisters in Bethlehem again.

On the 20th Blackfish and Logan asked fervently that we plough a piece of land for them on which they could plant Indian corn, because they could not plough. They would like to pay us for this. We said, we would be happy to do it for them for nothing if only we had the time, but at the moment we were by ourselves that we didn’t have the time.

In the evening 3 Indians came to us from the Nanticokes at Juniata. They are moving up to Wyoming and more will follow. They stayed with us until late into the night, they were very hungry. We gave them something to eat for which they were very happy and grateful. They wanted to lodge with us, but we said that we did not put up any Indians, and had not ever done so yet. The Indians here had a big house and they would prefer it if they stayed there over night. They were shy however and did not want to go to the Indians, rather they said if they were not permitted to stay with us then they would rather go into the bush.[117] Because a heavy rain and thunderstorm came then we said that they should stay where they were, it would be rough sleeping in the bush, they would have no hut and no fire and on top of that it was very dark. They were very happy.

On Monday, the 22nd seven canoes full of Nanticoke came through here and many more on foot travelling up to Wyoming. They are very good people and can also speak English well.

On Tuesday, 23rd, Logan and Blackfish once asked David fervently that he should plough for him. David said he would go out with Blackfish and show him how to do it, he could learn it and would plough four acres for him and the rest he could do himself.

On the 24th Shamokin became quite empty again. Everyone was going off to hunt.

On Saturday, the 27th, most of them came back from the hunt and immediately everything was crowded and crazy and they raced around throughout the whole day and night like never before. Many of the young men came to us and wanted to sleep in our house, said they were afraid of the drunken people. We turned them away gently. The womenfolk camped out on our land to be safe. We were quite happy with each other in the little Side Hole and commended ourselves to the little Lamb.

On the 28th, quite unexpectedly, our dear brothers Kunz and Marks Kieffer arrived here. They had spent the previous night in heavy rain as they could not make a fire. Because they had got completely soaked by lying up on the top of the Spangenberg and had woven one tree through another to try to get some warmth because they did not know that they were so close to Shamokin, in the morning they had to cut down another tree over the Eva Creek that was quite high so that they could get across. They told us that they had got lost up on the Thürnstein and had taken the wrong path when they were about 30 miles from Shamokin and had come on the Susquehanna. We were so happy with each other and thanked the little Lamb that they had found their way. They also arrived at quite a bad time as it was quite stormy and troubled because of the drunken Indians. They brought us many joyous tidings from Brother Johannes from [St.] Thomas and also from the brothers and sisters who had come from Europe.

On the 29th David went up into the mountains to see if he could find the horses that we had lost last week and came back towards evening but had not found them.

A Delaware from Tgochari wanted to sleep here this evening. We tried to show him the best we could that he should go to the Indians, that they had a big house, and that our house was not for the Indians to lodge in.

On the 31st May, Friday, Brother Kunz left from here for Bethlehem. David accompanied him to his night camp. The drunken Indians ran around a lot this night, in the morning very early we heard straight away that David, a Delaware Indian had been killed this night by the Maqua, because he was supposed to have been a great magician and had cursed many Indians. His brother Daniel came and wanted to have a coffin measured up for him. We told him that we could not do it because we had never made one before.[118] And then they buried him according to Indian manners in the Delaware burial place.[119] He was very beaten and stabbed all over his body.

On Thursday, June 1, David came home and discovered his 2 brothers happy and content together. Everything was very quiet again in Shamokin and the one who had killed the Indian walked around very proud and boasted that he had been such a hero.

On Saturday, the 3rd, Logan came very early and said that they all wanted to go on the hunt today. The reason for this was that Blackfish wanted to make an offering of three stag.

On Sunday, the 4th, they returned home again and they brought four stag and three of them were sacrificed tonight, during which everything proceeded very solemnly. Even the bones were thrown into the fire so that no dog could eat them.[120]

On Monday the 5th Jeremias the Indian arrived here from Bethlehem to visit us. He said that he and Christoph had been on a hunting expedition in the mountains. He was quite weak, he said that he soon wanted to return to Bethlehem as he had already been in the bush too long.

On Tuesday, 6th Jun[121]e Jeremias left again. He was very content and was happy that he would soon be with the Brothers again. The Indians here wondered at him a great deal and could not take their eyes off him.

On Wednesday, 8th June, four canoes full of warriors arrived here [from the Flatheads—deleted matter]. They brought 2 scalps.

On Thursday, the 9th 30 more warriors arrived by land. They brought three prisoners with them, two men and a little girl. As they were still a ways from the town they called out in the war cry and made their presence known. The Indians here sent someone out to meet them and to invite them in and the whole of Shamokin collected in front of the houses and let the warriors pass and their prisoners. They took them off them and tied them to a stake, They had to do a little dance first and once that was over, they led them in here and everyone who could let forth a blow and wanted to, began to beat them in a quite barbaric fashion, some with sticks, some with their fists, so that blood flowed. One of them [the prisoners] was quite old and could not run quickly. He received many blows and as he ran he fell from the many blows. Once they were in the houses they stopped beating them. They did nothing to the little girl. The womenfolk took her and treated her kindly. Ones heart wanted to burst to see how they treated them. Once they were in the house they bound up their wounds again and soon after the Indians gathered who lived around here and made their prisoners dance around them and made fun of their enemies. In the evening the warriors danced with their prisoners. Three of the chiefs of the Five Nations came down here from Wyoming where they had been staying for a while.

On the 10th and 11th of June we were visited by many warriors. They behaved very nicely and well and most of them were quite gentle people and as big as giants. They discussed matters at length with David, asked a lot where we lived, what kind of people we were, then they asked at length whether we had anything to sell. We told them however that we were not traders but rather that the smith worked for the Indians whenever they needed something done. We loved them and liked to help them. Most of them were Onondago, even the prisoners who they had brought belonged to them.

On Monday, the 12th in the early morning Logan came and said that they would like the rest of the war party who were still down in the settlements drinking whisky to come up to Shamokin because they wanted to travel to Lancaster with the three councils of the Five Nations who had come down here. That is why they had agreed to send two messengers down to fetch them. That is why David, in the name of John Shikellamy, Logan and John Petty should write a letter to the settlements that they should not give them any more whisky so that they would leave. David did this and wrote a letter in their name.

The three chiefs of the Five Nations visited us also. They were very polite and modest. We gave them a meal and they also asked where we lived. They told us where they lived and that they were thinking now of going to Lancaster to hold a council with the government.

[deleted matter]

They also visited Anders in his smithy.

Most of the warriors left today. All in all there were about 50 of them.

On Tuesday, the 13th John left here with the three chiefs to go to Tulpehocken to Conrad Weiser’s.

On Wednesday, the 14th June some warriors visited us again and told David all kinds of things.

On Thursday, the 15th Logan and all of Shamokin, with the exception of the Delawares, left here for Lancaster and no-one stayed home except Blackfish.

On Saturday and Sunday, the 17th nd 18th it was very quiet in Shamokin like it hasn’t been in a long while. We were blessed hearts together in the little Side Hole and made ourselves quite comfortable in there.

ON the 1 and 2 July we were visited by many unknown Indians, who brought work to the smithy. They were not very happy that they had to wait for two days but rather would have preferred that the smith work on the Sabbath and Sunday and did their work for them.

On the 3rd the Savior protected David quite especially from a serious accident as an Indian was trying out his flint and David came to the Susquehanna at just that moment that it went off and heard the ball zoom past his head because the little Lamb had allowed it to so come to pass that he shot a few feet above the target otherwise he would have accurately hit the head or neck. The Indians were very surprised when they saw him.

On Friday, the 7th July warriors came here again from the war. They brought the news with them that one of them had recently been stabbed at the mill.[122] The Swatane’s eldest daughter, who had recently arrived here, visited us today, discoursed long with David, mourned her father’s death greatly, because they had now become pathetic people, as she said. She asked where we lived and whether we all lived so closely together like the people here in Shamokin. David also told her that the Swatane had been in Bethlehem the previous autumn and that he liked it very much. We gave her some beans. She said she had nothing left to eat because the Indian corn in the neighbourhood had all been eaten.

On the 13th the Nanticokes from Wyoming arrived here. One of them said, how could it happen that they were not visited this year by our brothers. We had otherwise visited them every year at least once. We told them that we thought someone from Bethlehem would come to visit them soon.

On the 14th of July some Cayuga from not far from Tioga arrived here. They brought work for the smith. They were very well behaved and modest people. They discoursed at length with David.

On the 15th, two traders arrived here [they accompanied—deleted] Shikellamy’s grandchild had a young stallion, which they wanted because they said it belonged to them, that’s why the traders wanted it. David was supposed to translate for them and help them strengthen their case, so that the Indian believed them. But David said he understood nothing of such things and did not want to get involved. The Indian understood Delaware, he could speak to him himself.

He gave the Indian a blanket and a pair of moccasins so that he should be content. Because we really needed salt and a few other things and we would really have liked to borrow a horse from the Indian we spoke to Shikellamy’s daughter’s husband about it. He was immediately willing and gave us his horse so that we could go to Tulpehocken to fetch some things.

On the 16th July, quite late at night, Brothers Henrich Frey and Anton Schmidt arrived here and brought us many glad tidings from Bethlehem.

On the 18th David and Henrich Frey went down to Thomas McGee’s to fetch our canoe, after we had lent it to some of his people and he had not brought it back although he had promised to bring it back in two days.

ON the 19th David and Henrich came home again but were not able to get the canoe as they had taken it down the Susquehanna. They met Logan on the way who was coming back from Philadelphia and who seemed very contented. He soon told us that he had seen T’girhitonty, Tecarihontiie, Gallichwio and any other of our brothers in Philadelphia and had spoken with them.

On the 20th July two of the Chiefs of the Five Nations arrived here and brought news that the others were on their way down here and that they had left them in Tioga, but they would arrive here in perhaps five days.

ON the 21st, because we were short of provisions, and the three Seneca who had been in Philadelphia did not arrive, our two brothers Andreas Bezold and Markus Kieffer went to fetch some from Tulpehocken with our two horses. John and his family arrived here and told David in a friendly fashion everything that he had seen and heard in Philadelphia.

ON the 22nd the two Chiefs of the Five Nations who had recently arrived came to visit us. One is an Onondago and the other a Seneca. They spoke at length with Ganosseracheri [Zeisberger] and told him many things.

On the 24th the three Seneca from Philadelphia arrived here. They were very cordial. They asked to be allowed to lodge in our house, which we did then permit; because there were many of them we said that we would now have little to eat, and that our stores of provisions had all been depleted. But we still had Indian corn and beans fow which they were very grateful and said countless times, “Niawo” for it and had great sympathy for us. The whisky began to show itself as important in Shamokin.

On the 25th July, our brothers Andreas Bezold and Markus Kieffer arrived from Tulpehocken and brought some provisions with them, but had both become slightly ill on the way and both got a strong attack of fever.

Four canoes full of warriors arrived here who were going into war. They were hardly her for more than a few hours than everyone was drunk and raged thourghout the night in a pitiful manner. It was a true Zottergeschrei among them. But we were left in good peace by them.

On the 26th July the drinking continued. The drunken Indians visited us often. But tried to be as polite as they could and spoke with us in a brotherly fashion for they all know that we are their brothers.

We also spoke with the three Senecas and gave them the presents [shirts] and said to them” this is what Brothers Tecarihontie, Gallichwio, T’girhonti, sent to you and they and all the brothers send their most cordial greetings and because they loved them dearly, they had wanted to show their love one more time. They told David various things, that they had been given a String of Wampum as a sign of brotherhood by Brother Tgirhonty, Tecariontie, and Gallichwio and they had given them a fathom of Wampum to take to the Council at Onondago, which was to say as much that the brothers should visit the Five Nations next spring. They were struck with gratitude and friendship and said that we should greet their brothers T’girhonty, Tecarihonie, Gallichwio and Anuntsche for them and say many “Niawo” in their names, which we promised to do and also told them that Brother Ganosseracheri and Rachwistoni were thinking of leaving tomorrow to see their brothers and they wanted to pass on their greetings at this time. They discoursed at length with Ganosseracheri and when they were done they pressed his hand surprisingly and said he should do the same, and to kiss and embrace Brothers T’girhihontie, Tecarihontie, and Gallichwio and Annuntschike also. Ganosseracheri said yes, that will most definitely happen and our brothers would be very happy about this.