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Elders Conference Minutes July 28-31, 1764

Protocol of the Committee July 30, 1764

This story, which unfolded between July 28 and July 31, 1764, is reconstructed here through a variety of administrative minutes. Although the events are somewhat obscure, it seems that Johann Michael Odenwald, a Single Brother and the master potter in Bethlehem, had been carrying on an affair with a black woman, probably named Ann Cherry. Ann Cherry was married to Christian Anton (or Anton), a free black man. Both Ann Cherry and Christian Anton had been baptized, but neither had become full members of the Moravian community. After Odenwald and Ann’s transgression was discovered, Odenwald left Bethlehem abruptly. Christian Anton then accused Andrew the Mohr, a fully communicant Moravian slave, and his wife Magdalene of having facilitated the liaison. The following records detail these events. The Elders Conference, the highest spiritual and governmental authority in Bethlehem, first addressed the issue, then handed the case between Christian Anton and Andrew over to the Committee–a governmental body that dealt with more mundane affairs. In addition, the Single Brethren’s Choir Diary also recorded the events, if somewhat obliquely, with an emphasis on repairing the breach of discipline and faithfulness in the community.

NB: For sake of consistency, Andrew the Mohr is always referred to with that name in translation, although some documents call him Andreas.

For more information on Andrew, Anton, and Ann Cherry, see:

Daniel Thorp, "Chattel With A Soul: The Autobiography of a Moravian Slave," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1988, 112(3), 433-451.

Katherine Carté Engel

Elders Conference July 28-31, 1764

Protocol of the Committee July 30, 1764

See also:

Ann Cherry's bill of sale
Andrew's death register entry
Magdalene's memoir
Magdalene's manumission

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