Bethlehem Journal - Spangenberg Account
Friday, March 17th. As the Indians arrived in Gnadenhütten, the congregation received them with joy, and led them to their quarters and refreshed them with a good meal, for they went hunting several days ago, to get some game for their guests. They were so lucky that they shot deer as well as bear.
However tired after their journey, the Nanticokes and Shawnee went to the meeting in the evening anyway and witnessed the baptism of a child, during which they were very attentive and quiet. The watchword on the day of their arrival was remarkable: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Juda, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. [Ezekiel 37:19 ]
* This is the watchword that our dearest disciple from America received several years ago.
Sunday, March 18th, the watchword was: I want to rejoice for my people, that they rest in tents of grace [Gnadenhütten]. Towards evening they gave Brother Abraham, the current Captain of Gnadenhütten, a four fold String of Wampum with the following words: "Cousins! You know, that we promised to visit Bethlehem last summer, now we go to your fire and let you know our intention, because you are our cousins."
Monday, March 19th, they hurried to Bethlehem. The young people went by land and the elderly and the Chiefs went by water.
At dusk they arrived almost at the same time and with them quite a few Brethren and Sisters from Gnadenhütten, especially Abraham, Nathanael, Joshua, Bathseba, and others. From Meniolagomekah. Anton and Johanna and Augustus came a couple of days later, just in time.
We went to meet the Chiefs on the Manakesy, and led them to their quarters, where we welcomed them with food and drink and sat them at the fire, for they were wet, cold and hungry. They numbered nineteen, namely fifteen men, among them were four Chiefs called White, Partrik, Paxnouss and Wajnopom, the first two of the Nanticokes and the last two of the Shawnees. As they sat for a while, four women came (one of whom had a child) and they were so determined not to come in the house, that their men had to come and invite them inside. We had made three fires for the Indians and divided them up in order that they were all well lodged. At supper, one of the Chiefs made a division and their servants (excellent people) went to work. Everything went very orderly. When they had eaten supper, they heard noises and asked what it was. Answer: the call to the services. Almost all of them set out, they were also so tired. (For they had wind against them and they had much rain on their way. Their arrival in Bethlehem was certainly good. Eternal grace will rise. Oh, grace deep and high, oh long and wide grace! And the words of the Savior: Ye neither know me [John 8:18 & Hymn 633]. We let them spend the rest of the evening resting, after which they after which we welcomed them heartilyand wished that they for their part could do something good, which they did.
Tuesday, the 20th, they held their council day and did not bring up any business. However the Chiefs held a council among themselves, but also visited Bethlehem and looked at everything very carefully. The rest of them, who came with their company, did the same. Some of them came to our Single Brethrens house and looked very carefully at a painting of the Savior on the cross in Brother Nathanaels room. One said to another: Look at how many wounds He has and how much blood flows out. I have also heard this from the Brethren. He was very ill and had prayed, afterwards he sweat, sweat flowed like blood from the body etc. During this story the others stood full of wonder and one could see, that he fell into deep thought over it. Brother David Zeisberger was present there and he showed them around. He also had the joy to find three males and one female Indians from the Five Nations in the company of the Nanticokes and Shawnee.
He lodged in a hut, which belonged to a woman, who was absent, and it pleased them very well, that they came to Brother Davids house again. And they did not take it lightly that they found someone in Bethlehem who not only understood their language, but also spoke it.
In the Afternoon Brother Joseph invited the Chiefs of the Nanticokes and Shawnee for a cup of coffee. The Brethren from Gnadenhütten Abraham, Nathanael, Joshua and Anton from Meniol. were also present. He [Br. Joseph] told them about the Catawas and Cherokees he had met in Carolina, and also about the Tuscarores, whom he visited in their town. They listened with pleasure. But they rejoiced even more at the fact that he comes happily back and that they will be able to see him in Bethlehem with their own eyes before his departure over the big water. Hereupon they said: We are here now, and have words for you. When and where can we bring them up? Brother Joseph said: Early tomorrow. They were happy about it and so they went back to their quarters. Our Brother Healy was buried in the evening.
He passed away with the watchword: I will rejoice over my people, who You have repossessed into Your eternal Peace through Your Suffering. And as he was brought to his final resting-place the watchword was: I will win my right, when death and hell are past. It was truly a beautiful burial. All the Brethren and Sisters, big and small, went to Gods Acre. Many Indians also followed and went up to Hutberg in pairs. The pervasive feeling of the close presence of the Lamb could not be described in words. Hereupon we went again to the hall, and Brother Joseph talked a little bit about the death of those people, who believed in Jesus. He said that it is their delivery from alltrials and the beginning of a great salvation, where one can greet and kiss His eyes, mouth, His pierced hands and feet. He spoke about it in English, because part of the Indians who were there understood English.
Translation by Rachel Wheeler & Irakly Chkhenkely