Single Sisters' Diary - 1776
Note: below are selected entries from the Single Sisters'
Diary of 1776. The year in its entirety (source documents and German transcriptions)
is available for viewing by accessing the link above.
1st. We had a blessed entrance into the New Year with the Gemeine.
Br. Thrane held our Choir Quarter-hour service over the Loosung:
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create.(1)
What You do with Your People, etc. Sister Susel saw all the sisters in
Classes, and chose for each Class a very beautiful and comforting
Loosung. In the evening meeting, the communicant members bound
themselves together with the cup of the covenant. The Big Girl Cath. Elis.
Lemthin had to stay away, because of her bad behavior.
6th. In the Morning Blessing, we sang a verse of blessing to Sister Betsey
Leibert for her birthday, and in the afternoon, the Girls had a pleasing
Liebesmahl with her. On the 7th Sister Susel held the Girls Classes.
29th. Cath. Kromsern and Marie Lischern moved out of the Childrens
House, as there were changes in the rooms again.
30th. Br. Nathanael held a beautiful Choir Sermon over the Chorale
of the Loosung: You are the cause of Your people etc. Our Evening
Blessings [this month] were held by Sisters Susel, Esther, and Betsey,
and the Morning Blessing by Susel, Betsey, Christ, Langley, and Dorel
25th. The Saviour showed himself in a remarkable way to His dear Girls
Choir early in the morning, during the Morning Blessing, which the dear
Sister. Susel held with a prayer on her knees. At Eight Oclock Br.
Thrane held the church services, and also recommended this little Choir
to the Savior in prayer. At 10 Oclock, he held a Receiving Sermon
for the following six children: Elis. Krogstruff, Elis. Proskin, A. M.
Staubern, Sus. Langardt, Sarah Thorp, and Rosine Hubern, all of whom Sister
Esther unbound from the Childrens Choir, and Sisters Susel and Betsey
accepted [into the Single Sisters Choir] with the laying on of hands.
At the same time he held the Festival homily over the Loosung:
And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and
therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy on you.(2)
At noon, the whole Choir dined in the Bet-Saal.
At 2 Oclock was the Agapen [Lovefeast] where the Psalm from
1774 was held again. Br. Nathanael held it.
Afterwards was the worship service of the Single Sisters, Br. Thrane held
it also. In the evening, the communicant Girls bound themselves with the
cup of covenant to new faithfulness. Br. Thrane first gave a very beautiful
introduction and also ardently led the liturgy. In this way, this Blessed
Day, which was particularly outstanding, came thankfully and happily to
31st Sisters Susel and Esther spoke with some Classes for Abendmahl.
1st The Interviews with the Classes were continued. Sister Susel also
held these Classes for the Girls.
19th This was a most sad day for our Choir, when the Savior, who has
never yet made a mistake, called home His faithful and blessed Servant,
our tenderly beloved Br. Thrane, who will remain with us in unforgettable
memory. Many Tears were sent after him.
21st Today was the burial of our dear blessed Br. Thrane. The 23rd,
Br. Ettwein read us a Sermon from the Weeks.
3rd Our Sisters from Nazareth came, fourteen in number, with Sister
Juliane Wacklern. [Sisters also came] from Gnadenhütten, Emmaus,
and Schöneck, who were all spoken to by Sisters Susel and Esther.
In the afternoon, Sister Susel held a sinner-like Meeting(3)
with the received and unreceived sisters, with a prayer on the knees.
At 8 oclock, the communicant Choir came to the Meeting, when, after
a short Sermon, Sister Susel fell on her knees and poured out our request
to the Savior, that we be absolved of everything that could be found in
us, that was not pleasing to His maiden-like Heart, we find so much that
His Blood should wash away, and we would gladly be People of His Heart,
in reflection of His bitter Pain, His comforting and Blessed presence
was to be felt among us, and then the Washers stood up and attended to
the Choir [with footwashing?], under Sister Susels Liturgy, and
so the comforted sinners laid themselves blessedly to rest.
4th At five-thirty we had a blessed Festival Morning Blessing. Immediately
afterwards eighteen workers had a pleasing Liebesmahl together,
full of ardent expectation of receiving yet this year the results of the
outstandingly beautiful and blessed General Synod, when we hope for new
blessings for our Choir, when a Brother from the Unity Elders Conference
comes to us. For if one now wanted to judge the future, considering the
unrest in the country, one could not hope for much, and be worried that
the spirit of freedom seeks to creep in among us; in this we bound ourselves
together, to be of one mind, and watch, and to diligently lay it on the
heart of the Savior, that he will cut us from all the disturbances in
the world, and protect us from everything that could disturb our blessed
path. At ten oclock Br. Nathanael held the Receiving Sermon. The
following seven Big Girls were received: A. Krogstrop, Polly Russmeyer,
M. V. Vleck, Elis. Hubern, Verone Müllern, A. Schafin, u. A. M. Schleglin.
Sister Betsey Leibert released them from their former Choir ribbons, and
Sisters Susel and Esther bound the maidens with the laying on of hands.
Afterwards he recommended the entire Choir, and particularly the seven
sisters, to the Savior, in a heartfelt prayer for blessing. At noon the
Choir dined together very gladly in the Bet-Saal. At 2 oclock
Br. Nathanael held the Festival Liebesmahl. We had the Psalm from
74. At 4 oclock Br. Ettwein spoke over the Loosung and the
text. Finally, he briefly repeated the festival sermon in English, because
a few individuals from Gnadenhütten understood no German. At 8 oclock
Br. Ettwein held the blessed Abendmahl, under a powerful sense
of Grace. The Single Sister A. M. Yarrel remained away. On the morning
of the 5th, at eight oclock, Sister Susel held the Communion Liturgy,
and afterwards our Nazareth Sisters and other guests went home pleased.
7th. Sister Susel received a note from Philadelphia from the Commettee
of Savety, which read: The Sisterhood of Bethlehem having presented
this Board with a quantity of Linnen Rags, for the Benefit of Such as
may be Wounded with Service of their Country. Resolved that this Instance
of their Humanity be thankfully Acknowledged. Extr. from the Minutes.
Wm Govett. Sec:cy
18th In the House Conference the leaders were urgently begged not to
let the spirit of division, that can be seen here and there in the town,
come among our Sisters, to keep watch over themselves, so that they do
not give opportunity. We want to recommend the matter of the War diligently
to the Savior, without whom nothing can happen, we want ourselves not
to be infested by the affairs of the world, but rather to hold ourselves
tight to the Savior, and ever more become more deeply accustomed to communion
with Him. They testified with pain that one had already felt such [disturbances]
here and there among the sisters.
24th This week Sister Susel visited in the town, and brought the childrens
collection around. She asked the sisters not to bring into the House anything
that they hear here and there about affairs in the country, as through
this disturbances are created, and to let their Souls remain in communion
with the Savior.
1st In the House Conference, it was agreed, among other things, about
the Harvest, because some sisters, who are accustomed to it, would like
to go, and Br. Böckel will otherwise come to hardship, if we do not
3rd The harvesters came together, and were divided up as they will
stand in the field. Hädin was the lead-harvester, and M. Böckin
with the Girls.
4th At three-thirty Sister Susel held the first Harvest Morning Blessing,
and asked the sisters heartily to act and behave in the eyes of the Savior,
and to honor Him, and not to permit anything within themselves that could
sadden the Savior and was not befitting for maidens; she presented these
sisters to the Savior in a prayer for the protection of Body and Soul.
10th In our House Conference one noticed with discomfiture that the
feelings of the sisters are more concerned with the circumstances in the
land than is good, and we took it particularly to Heart to submit diligently
to the Savior in prayer.
13th The Gemeine had a pleasing Liebesmahl and Gemeinstunde.
16th Sisters Susel and Betsey had these days spoken [conducted interviews
with the sisters] for the Abendmahl, and Esther with the children.
17th The Little Girls had a blessed Festival. At five oclock,
five hundred soldiers arrived, who were to have their Rest Day here, and
in the evening the Gemeine celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord
in blessed stillness. The Single Sister M. Clausin participated in it
for the first time.
18th [On this day] there could be no Communion Liturgy, Br. Ettwein
gave the sermon, and the soldiers all assembled, so that few of our Brethren
could come into the Saal. The 19th, Betsey read a sermon to the
20th Br. Münster held our Choir Liturgy, Betsey Leibert visited
25th On Sunday, Sister Susel held all the Sisters Classes, and
Betsey held those for the Girls.
14th We had a blessed Abendmahl. Our Big Girls who live in the
House have all recently had the mumps, and today go again to the Saal.
16th. Br. Nathanael held a Quarter-hour service for the Girls.
7th The Single Sister Philipina Bömbern, who, through the visit
of her mother and bad brother suffered damage to her heart and does not
want comply with any discipline any more, and because persuasion did not
help any longer, explained that she would rather go to her mother in Philadelphia;
one must also worry that she could become detrimental to others in the
House, so we released her with the Text of the day: Every plant, which
my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up(4).
1st In the last month, Madgl. Peitzlin came into the kitchen again,
and Rosel Jungmann. Anna Marie Schleglin and Marie Hirtin came out. The
3rd Br. Denke read us a Choir Sermon from the Weeks. There was much difficulty
because of the unreasonable demand that we should take the military hospital.
They demanded at first that the largest houses should be emptied for this,
and also our Wash Houses. Through much discussion they satisfied themselves
finally with only a few Family Houses. Doctor Schippin demanded a sister
for the care of the sick, and expected us to wash the laundry of the sick
soldiers in our Wash House, all of which, however, the Savior averted.
Sister Mauin, with her daughter, took over the laundry. Yet the texts
for this day were very remarkable.
4th The first poor people came here to the military hospital, frozen
half dead, we sent them warm soup in the evening, and so we continued
until the 7th, when they were also cared for from our kitchen.
5th and 6th were interviews for Abendmahl. The 7th we had, for
comfort in many cares and needs, the most blessed enjoyment of the body
and blood of our Lord in Holy Abendmahl. Regine Fertigin looked
on as Confirmante.
9th Sister Susel held the Girls Quarter-hour Service. On the 10th,
Br. Denke held our Choir Liturgy.
15th In the evening, just when the sisters wanted to go to supper,
a reckless neighbor startled us, whom we did not know. He came into the
House with a gun, and, after a long interview, one first heard that he
wanted to enlist when Sister Susel showed him the way out. During the
Gemeinestunde, people came with much urgency, and took our Flatt
[raft] to Istown [Easton], in order to ferry over General Lees soldiers,
4,000 men who wanted to come to Bethlehem and have their Rest Day here,
and, as we afterwards heard, start all kinds of mischief. We did not know
what to do but to recommend our Body and Soul and Town to the blessing
of the Eye and Watch of Israel, who can protect us from all damage. On
the 16th, right after the Evening Blessing, Jane Burnet began spitting
blood. She had changed much from the day before, had to be brought into
the sick room immediately, and had several more attacks in the night.
On the 17th, at noon, General Gats arrived with 500 men. In the afternoon
he visited our House with several officers, when an Express arrived from
General Sulivan, with the order to Br. Ettwein to make space for his 4,000
men, who in a couple hours would be there. Br. Ettwein addressed himself
to General Gats, who immediately sent his Adjutant from the House with
the order, that if they were not already too near to Bethlehem, they should
take another path. It was already too late, however. Then at four oclock,
General Sulivan with his 4,000 men were in the town, which in actuality
[had been prepared] for General Lee and his men, he [Lee], however, the
dear God had allowed to be taken prisoner two days earlier, (which his
own Officers had said here in Bethlehem), so that nothing bad happened
to us. In this chaos, we asked for two guards, which he immediately granted.
We soon made accommodations so that our sisters and girls from outside
the town came to sleep in our House. Br. Ettwein soon brought General
Sulivan with his nearer Officers to us in the House, at first he appeared
very grand, but finally however was very modest. Our sisters had to sing
to him, and play on the zither. Our guard rotated every three hours, and
after each time they were relieved, they ate in Sister Liesels room.
At night an English sister always watched, so that she could give them
their warm wine or coffee at the window, along with something to eat.
They were so faithful for three days and two nights, and behaved themselves
so silently and orderly, that we could not thank the Savior enough for
18th From early until late in the evening there were continuous visits
from officers, which we counted at 300, and thanked the Savior that everything
happened in an orderly fashion. The many hundreds of fires that circled
Bethlehem made a very wonderful and magnificently beautiful view, and
also much concern, because they all burned the fences.
19th Early in the morning, General Sulivan and his men marched away,
Sister Susel took the twelve men who had been our guard around the House.
They thanked and assured many [that they would] never to forget the good
deeds that had been shown to them by our House. Reb. Langley made our
compliments to General Gats, and gave him a very beautiful pocketbook
as a present, which he gladly accepted. In the afternoon he marched away
very pleased towards the Brethren. Our sisters who live outside of the
town were very thankful that everything came off without harm.
23rd Sister Susel visited in the whole town. Lissy West, who served
with the Lindenmeyers and saw and heard everything that happened in the
military hospital, was sick with nausea, and caught the Soldiers
Memorabilia of the Single Sisters Choir for the year 1776
At the close of this year, we know nothing other than to praise pure blessing,
faithful love, and mercy, and to prostrate ourselves in the dust before
Jesus feet, give ourselves anew to Him, to do with us what is what
is pleasing to Him, and to take from us what saddens him. The beautiful
promise which at the beginning of this year was made by Unity Elders Conference,
When You Will Call etc, One has Him where man weeps for Him, has certainly
been fulfilled for us, as we have always receive comfort, help, and counsel
from Him, when we called on Him for them. To Him 1,000 thanks should be
said, for all inner and outward mercies shown, for His invaluable dear
presence, for the Sacramental embraces, and for His actions in our midst
day and night. And so we recommend ourselves to His Soul, and further
to his Mercy, that He will protect our Body and Soul from all injury.
The following are to be remembered as special days of blessing outside
of the Festival Days that we celebrated with the Gemeine with true
blessing: The Big Girls in their Choir Festival on March 25 bound themselves
to new faithfulness with the cup of the covenant, as the communicant sisters
did on their Teaching Day, June 10th. Our Choir Festival on March 4, when
we had a blessed Choir Communion; on November 23rd, and on our Teaching
Day, June 6th (5), the communicant Sisters shared
the cup of the covenant together.
3 Single Sisters have moved into the Single Sisters House: A.
M. Fritschin from Nazareth, Juli. Müllern from Litiz, and Barb. Everitt
3 Single Sisters were received into the Gemeine: Cath.
Seyfried, and Reg. Fertigin on April 8, and Christ. Stehlin on September
Participating in Abendmahl for the first time with the
Gemeine: 2 Single Sisters: Dorothea Schmidin, June 22; Marie Claussin,
Aug. 17. 6 Big Girls: Verone Müllern, Elisabeth Segnern, Christ.
Engelhardt and Johanna Schleglin, April 4; A. Ros. Kliestin, May 25; Magdalene
Schweishaupt, July 20.
6 Children were received into the Big Girls Choir: Elis. Krogstrup,
Georgin Elis. Proskin, Susanne Elis. Langardt, Rosine Hubern, Sarah Thorp,
and A. Marie Staubern.
7 Big Girls were received into the Single Sisters Choir: Anna
Krogstrup, Marie Russmeyer, Elis. Hubern, Marie Van Vleck, Verone Müllern,
Anna Schafin, and Anna Marie Schlegelin.
We have transferred the Single Sister Salome Neissern to Yorktown,
to take over the Single People there, and released Philipina Bömbern,
The Single Sister Jane Burnet went home [to God] on December 22.
At present the Choir includes:
142 Communicant Sisters
6 Received Sisters
2 Unreceived 150
19 Communicant Girls
3 Unreceived 36
Both Choirs together: 186
7 More than last year.
1 Isaiah 65:18, translation taken from the
King James Version.
2 Isaiah 30:18, translation taken from the King James Version.
3 This seesm to have been a decision-making meeting for all the Single
4 Matthew 15:13, translation taken from the King James Version.
5 According to the record of the diary, this should be July 6.