Bethlehem Journal - Spangenberg Account
Brother Josephs Report
on the Nanticokes and Shawnees
Bethlehem visit in March 1753
The Savior had given us so much joy in the past few days that it is impossible for us to hide it. The Chiefs of the Nanticokes and Shawnees have visited us again in Bethlehem with a fair number of Indian followers from their Nation and stayed with us for eight days.
During their first visit they had promised that they wanted to visit Bethlehem again in so much time, and negotiate something with the Brethren. Their visit did not take place at the time when they intended to, because my Carolina journey intervened from our side and several other things from their side.
Now that I came back from Carolina and had my Europe trip before me, my brown and white Brethren thought it good, to give the news of this to the Indians on the Susquehanna and to this end to send a striking [aparte] message.
As a result of this Brother Nathanael the Indian went to Wyoming with his son Joseph at the beginning of March 1753 and when he came to the Nanticokes and Shawnees, he gave the matter to the Chiefs to recognize and handed them a String of Wampum which was given to him to this end. They [the Chiefs] accepted not only the message with much love but also the messengers, and after holding a council, let me know through the messengers that they wanted to be in Bethlehem in twelve days from that day on. As a confirmation of their promise they sent with Brother Nathanael a four fold String of Wampum to me. I was in Lancaster then, when Brother Nathanael returned to Gnadenhütten, therefore the answer that he brought from Wyoming was reported through the Expression. And it came right before the Synod in Lancaster was coming to an end. Thus I could tell the whole Synod about the upcoming visit of the Indians and recommend it for the consideration of the congregation.
After I took leave from the Lancaster congregation, I hurried back to Bethlehem to prepare everything for their [the Indians] visit. But there I found that Brother Nathanael Seidel, bless his heart, had already made all the necessary arrangements for their reception. The Indian house that stands on the other side of the Monacacy right opposite of the mill was well prepared to house the guests, as well as a long cabin made out of boards, in which one could lodge 60 people. It was also made known to the community that the Indians would be coming and all the hearts of the congregation were open and ready for blessing.
Thursday, March 16th, we had the watchword: I also want to plant a tender shoot, that will produce the branches and bring the fruit and become a marvelous leather tree, so that all kinds of birds might live under it. One of them [the Indians] arrived in Gnadenhütten and reported to our Brethren there with a String of Wampum, that they are on their way. The word of the Savior was: I want the world to know what stirs your loyal heart, how it heaves and carries those who are in His service. This expressed the whole wish and the heart of the community for these poor people. The Brethren in Gnadenhütten sent them [the Indians] some bread immediately, because they heard from the messengers, that the Nanticokes and Shawnee have been traveling for four days now, because the high waters have hindered their passage and what is more, they have heavy loads to carry.
Translation by Rachel Wheeler & Irakly Chkhenkely