My ancestor is William Dixon who was aboard the Irene on the first voyage cleared from London March 1st 1749 and arrived at New York May 12th 1749. Transcription for the Irene is posted separate. This transcription includes the other three vessels owned by the Moravian Church. There were four Vessels, the Catherine, Little Strength, Irene and Hope, owned by the Church and afloat at different times and, according to the research of John W. Jordan, their crews with but few exceptions were members of or connected with the Church. -- Betty Green,e-mail address:

Moravian Immigration to Pennsylvania


By John W. Jordan

Moravian immigration to the British Colonies of North America properly dates from the year 1735,, when in March, the ship,"Two Brothers," Captain Thompson, landed at Savannah, Georgia, Agustus G. Spangenberg, Anston Seyffert, John Toltschig, Gottfried Haberecht, Gotthard Demuth, Peter Rosa, Michael and George Haberland, Frederic Riedel and George Waschke. In February of 1736, the Brethren were joined by Bishop David Nitschmann, Christian Adolph von Hermsdorf, Henry Rascher, Andrew and Ann Dober, David and Rosina Zeisberger, David and John Tanneberger, David Jag, Augustine and George Neisser, John Michael Meyer, Rosina Haberecht, John Martin Mack, Matthias Seybold, Jacob Frank, Judith Toltschig, Gottlieb and Regina Demuth, Catherine Riedel, Anna Waschke, Juliana Jaeschke, John Bohner and Natthias Bohnisch, who arrived on the "Simonds," Captain Frank Cornish, and had his fellow-passengers General Oglethorpe, John and Charles Wesley, Benjamin Ingham and Charles Delamotte,2

Before taking up the immigration through the ports of Philadelphia and New York, for the settling of the Moravian estates in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, a brief reference to the Church lands at Savannah will not be inappropriate. In 1734, the "Trustees of Georgia," granted to Bishop David Nitschmann and Augustus G. Spangenberg two lots "in the new town," and two farm tracts, both situated in the Second Tything, Anson Ward, the former sixty foot front by ninty foot deep each, and toward "the lower end of Broughton Street," the farm tracts were forty-five acres, "more or less," each. By two separate instruments these properties, in June of 1784, were conveyed to Hans Christian Alexander von Schweinitz of the Provincial Helpers' Conference, at Bethlehem, Pa. and Administrator of Church estates, and a survey was made at the instance of Christian Lewis Benzien, the Administrator of the Wachovia estate, by the Surveyor of the city of Savannah, Isidore Stoup, who reported 106 A. 10 P in the two farms. Various attempts to dispose of the property through M. McAllister, James Habersham, George Woodruff, J. Lawson and other agents, owing to the trouble with squatters, failed for some years. Lawson, in Writing to the Rev. J. G. Cunow in July of 1804, states: "We have not yet been able to get the intruders off the lots. She is a perfect virago, and the Sheriff is really afraid of her." In 1801 the price asked for the properties was "3001b in dollars," and finally, after holding them about three-quarters of a century they were sold.

On July 21, 1740, Christian Henry Rauch, the "Apostle to the Indians," arrived at New York, and on December 15t' Bishop David Nitschmann, David Nitschmann, Sr., Christian Froehlich, Johanna Sopia Molther and Anna Nitschmann reached Philadelphia. During the Autumn of 1741, Gottlob Buttner, John C. Pyrlaeus and J. William Zander, and in December Count Zinzendorf, and his daughter Benigna, Rosina, wife of Bishop David Nitschmann, John Jacob Miller, the painter and Zinzendorf s secretary, Abraham and Judith Meinung, David Bruce and John Henry Miller, the printer, joined their brethren in Pennsylvania. Following closely after the first purchases of land by the Church, in the present Northhampton County, Pennsylvania, in the year 1741, two colonies were organized in Europe, which are known as the "First" and "Second Sea Congregations," (See Gemeinen), followed by the "John Nitschmann," "Gottlieb Pezold" "Henry Jorde" and Gottlob Konigsdorfer" colonies," the most conspicuous in that interesting period in the history of Moravian immigration to which falls in the interval between 1742 and 1767. Individuals and small companies occasionally arrived on vessels from England and Holland, through which country the Rhienland sent her Palatinates for transportation to the New World. When, however the Church organized colonies, she invariably provided vessels of her own, from considerations of economy and out of regard for their comfort, but more particularly from the reluctance to expose her members for which spiritual welfare she was concerned, to the hurtful influences of promiscuous association during the tedious weeks and months of a sea voyage; and they were thus enabled to continue to enjoy the services which prevailed in their congregations at home.3

There were four Vessels, the Catherine, Little Strength, Irene and Hope, owned by the Church and afloat at different times within the period of which my paper treats, and their crews with but few exceptions were members of or connected with the Church. In build they were snows, the nautical term for the largest of all two-masted vessels engaged in commerce, and the most convenient for navigation. The sales and rigging on the fore and mainmasts were similar to those of a ship. On many vessels of this build, however, there was a third, but much smaller mast, the foot of which was fixed in a block of wood on the quarter deck abaft the mainmast, and when the winds were favorable it would be raised, from which a try-sail extended to the stern. The ensign of the Little Strength, Irene and Hope was a lamb passant with a flag, in a blood colored field, and notwithstanding the peaceable character of these vessels, they carried an armarment of from two to four cannons and small arms.


was purchased in London, in the Spring of 1742 by the Bishop Spangenberg, who was then in England and on whom devolved the duty of providing transportation for the first colony organized and destined for Pennsylvania. The sum paid for her was 6001b and she was registered in the name of George Stonehouse,4 and placed in command of Captain Thomas Gladman. On her the "First Sea Gongregation," led by George Piesch, as Vorsteher, with Peter Bohler as Chaplain, sailed from London on March 15", and arrived Philadelphia June 7, 1742.5 The following day the German brethren were landed and taken to the Court House at Second and Market Street, where they took the usual qualification to the Government, and all signed their names but two single brethren, George Wiesner (who returned with Zinzendorf in 1743), and Matthias Wittke, who made their mark. The following is the list of the colonists:6

Henry and Rosina Almers,
David and Anna Catherine Bischoff, (Stewards.)
Peter and Elizabeth Boehler,
John Brandmiller,
John and Mary Barbara Brucker,
Paul and Regina Bryzelius,
George and Martha Hussey,
Adolph Meyer,
Michael and Anna Johanna Miksch,
Samuel and Martha Powell,8 Joseph and Martha Powell,
Owen and Elizabeth Rice,
Joachim and Anna Catherine Senseman,
Michael and Anna Rosina Tanneberger,
John and Elizabeth Turner,
David and Mary Elizabeth Wahnert,
Thomas and Anna Yarrell.


Andrew, a negro,
John George Endter
Hector Gambold,
John C. Heydocker
John Michael Huber,
George Kaske,
Jacob Lischy,
John Philips Meurer,
Joseph Moeller,
John Okely,
Matthew Wittke.
William Okley,
Christian F. Post,
Gottlieb Pezold,
John Reinhold Ronner,
George Schneider,
Leonard Schnell,
Nathaniel Seidel,
Joseph Shaw,
Christian Werner,
George Wiesner,

A number of the English colonists were first settled in Bethlehem, and then at Nazareth, from whence they were transferred to Philadelphia, where they formed the nucleus of the Moravian congregation organized in that city.

After the colonists were disembarked, Samuel Powell who had been appointed the agent of the Church in Philadelphia, disposed of the ship-stores and finally of the "Catherine," under the following letter of instructions and power of attorney executed by George Stonehouse to Peter Boehler:

"My Dear Brother Boehler,
The enclosed is a Letter of Attorney to you, whereby you become authorized to sell my ship the Snow "Catherine."
" the lowest value of the ship you know is already determined, namely 4001b, and this money is to be disposed of as follows, viz:
"1st" The wages of the Captain and the sailors and charges attending the ship are to be defrayed.
"2nd- 2001b are to be deposited in the Society to be instituted in Philadelphia for the Furtherance of the Gospel, there to lay till that Society be formed, and then to buy a vessel fit for the intended use and wholly to be employed in the service.9 "3dly. After these expenses have been discharged you are to pay the money remaining of the price of said ship, into the hands of Mr. Henry Antes, who is with it to buy such living cattle, as are wanted to stock and manure the 5000 acres, the lands purchased of me in Pennsylvania. (Signed)

"P.S. - You are desired to make use of Mr. [John Stephen] Benezet to direct you both as to the value of the ship, and the management of the sale on the occasion, and to venture nothing but by his advice., 10


"Know all Men" by these presents, that I George Stonehouse of Buttermeer, in the County of Wilts, have made constituted and appointed, by these presents do make constitute and appoint Peter Boehler, at this time being a resident of North America, to be attorney for me and in my name to sell assign and set over the ship vessel being a Snow by name "Catherine," being or supposed to be at this time in the harbor of Philadelphia in North America, whereof Thomas Gladman is Master, and also all and singular the anchors, cables, masts, sales, sale-yards, small arms, ammunition, etc., to the said Snow belonging, or in any wise appertaining; in such way and manner as to my said attorney shall seem meet and for me and in my name to enter into and execute any deeds or instruments for the purpose aforesaid and to do all and every other act and acts for making the said sale as free and effectual to all intents and purposes as I myself or might do if I was personally present. And I do hereby certify confirm and allow of whatsoever the said Peter Boehler shall lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue of these presents. In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of July in the year of our Lord 1742.

Js. Hutton Bookseller
Ch. Metcalf, Linen draper."

The subsequent history of the "Catherine," after she cleared from Philadelphia, we have failed to ascertain, but we do know, that the first spinet in use at Bethlehem was brought over on her, a present from Brother William P. Knolton, of the London congregation.

During the month of September, of the year under review, the following brethren and sisters arrived on vessels not owned by the Church:

Daniel and Hannah Neubert, with an adopted child, Jacob and Anna Margaret Kohn,
Christopher and Christina Franke,
Martin and Anna Liebisch,
Anna Liebisch Maria Brandner,
Michael Schnall,
Maria Dorothea Meyer, wife of Adolph Meyer sailed with them, died off the Banks of New Foundland, and was buried at sea.

For the transportation of the colony which was being formed at Marienborn, Hermhaag, Hermhut, and in England, in the spring of 1743, principally for the peopling of the settlements on the "Barony of Nazareth," and known as the "Second Sea Congregation,"" the


was purchased in England by Nicholas Garrison Senr.,12 who had been induced by Count Zinzendorf to accompany him to Europe. Captain Garrison was thereupon appointed her Master, and Captain Thomas Gladman (late of the "Catherine,") sailing master, John C. Ehrhardt was mate, with a crew of thirteen sailors, four of whom were not connected with the Church. Late in August she was dispatched to Rotterdam, where the German colonists, one hundred and two in number in temporary charge of Bro. Neisser, were taken on board, and on September 17', she sailed for Cowes, Isle of Wight, where nine days later, thirteen English brethren and sisters, who had been lodging in a house in Dartmouth Row, Blackheath, London, pending her arrival, joined the vessel. At nine o'clock on the following morning she set sail, and on the evening of November 26th, after a passage of eighty-seven days, anchored off Staten Island. The following are the names of the immigrants fitting out at Marienborn and Herrnhaag:

Gottlieb and Joanna C. Anders,
John Henry and Rosina Biefel, Martin and Margaret Boehmer,
John David and Gertrude Boehringer,
George and Anna Mary Christ,
Thomas and Agnes Fischer,
John C. and Anna Margaret Fritsche,
Peter and Anna Barbara Goetje,
John Godfrey and Anna Mary Grabs,
Matthew and Elizabeth Hancke,
Abraham and Anna Mary Hessler,
John Tobias and Mary Hirte,
John C. and Mary M. Hoepfner,
John and Anna Margaret Jorde,
Matthew and Christina B. Krause,
Andrew and Rosina Kremser,
George and Anna mary Kremser,
Daniel and Anna Mary Kunkler,
John and Barbara Michler,
John Henry and Rosina Moeller,
John and Mary Philippina Mozer,
John Michael and Catherine Muecke,
Jonas and Margaret Nilsen,
George and Susan Ohneberg,
John G. Susan L. Partsch,
David and Elizabeth Reichard,
Matthew and Magdalen Reutz,
John and Anna C. Schaaf,
John and Divert Mary Schaub,
Andrew and Hedwig Regina Schober,
Matthew and Anna Margaret Schropp,
John Christopher and M. Dorothea Weinert,
Matthias and Margaret Catherine Weiss.

The following are the names of the colonists fitted out at Herrnhut:
Andrew and Anna Elizabeth Brocksch,
Christopher and Anna Mary Demuth,
John George Sr. and Regina Hantsch,
Christopher and Elizabeth Hencke,
John Henry and Barbara E. Hertzer,
John and Rosina Munster,
George and Joanna E. Nieke,
Christian and Anna Dorothea Schutze,
George and Anna Dorothea Zeisberger,


John Jacob Doehling, Conrad Harding,
John George Hantsch, Jr.,
Christian Fredric Oerter,
John G. Nixdorf.

Anna Regina Hantsch. Names of the colonists who were fitted out in England:
Elizabeth Banister, widow,
David and Mary Digeon,
James and Elizabeth Greening,
John and Sarah Leighton,
Andrew and Jane Ostrum, Jasper and Elizabeth Payne,
Richard and Sarah Utley.
With Bishop David Nitschmann,
David Wahnert, (cook of the "Catherine") and wife,
George and Elizabeth Harten,
George Weber and wife,
and Samuel and Mary, (Indian converts who had been married at Bethlehem on February 16th, by Bro. Peter Boehler, as passengers, the "Little Strength" on March 24, 1744, sailed from New York for Amsterdam, - a port she was destined never reached. "About 10 o'clock in the morning of May 1st," writes Mate John Cook,13 in his narrative of her capture by a Spanish privateer, "when in the chops of the English Channel, we sighted a vessel under full sail bearing down on us. Suspecting her of being a privateer, Bishop Nitschmann ordered Captain Garrison to crowd on all sail, but she gained on us so rapidly, that by three o'clock she was only a mile astern. She then fired a shot and hoisted English colors, whereupon we lowered our flag in token of submission and resigned ourselves to our fate. When she came up with us, she hauled down the English and hoisted the Spanish flag, and Captain Garrison was ordered on board with the boat's crew. She then sent on board of us a prize crew of nineteen seamen, armed with pistols and cutlasses. On board they stripped us of our cloths, and gave us the rags on their backs in exchange. The chests on deck were then rifled. The privateer, having thus disposed of us, and our prize officer, who was a Dane, being ordered to take us into St. Sebastian, she sailed away.

"Our new captain at first proved to be civil, assigned the cabin for our quarters and permitted us to continue our daily services. On the evening of May 5' we celebrated our last love-feast on board the Little Strength. The next day land was sighted, and I composed the following verse, which I wrote on one of the beams in the cabin:

"Poor Little Strength, which once hath been
The arc of our Eternal King,
In which the servants of our God
Passed o'er to bear the news of Blood.
But since tho' took, yet will be bold
To tell to Spain and all the World,
That Jesus Christ Lord and God
Has bought them by His death and Blood!

"Early on the morning of the 7th we signaled for a pilot, after which the captain entered the cabin, demanded the keys of our chests, money and watches, and told us that we could only take with us what clothing we wore. At 3 o'clock we anchored off St. Sebastian, and later the brethren were confined in the prison (a stinking place), but Bro. Garrison secured lodgings for the sisters in the town. The following day we were examined by the naval officer and set at liberty.",14 After being exchanged the passengers and crew finally reached their destinations, some by land and others by water. The Little Strength proved a total loss to the Church. I George Boehnisch in September of 1734, accompanied the Schwenkfielders to Pensylvania, who had been given an asylum by Count Zinzendorf on their banishment from Silesia. He returned to Europe in 1737. He was the first Moravian to come to America.
2 [For biographical sketches refer to Memorials of the Moravian Church, Vol. I, p, 157 et seq.] The most of these colonists went to Pensylvania, when the mission in Goergia was abandoned.
3 Some idea of the treatment and extortions to which the German immigrants were exposed to, is narrated by Gottlieb Mittleberger in his "Reise nach Pennsylvania im Jahr 1750, u. Ruckreise nach Teutschland im Jahr 1754." Stuttgard, 1756. From Wurtemberg to Holland thirty-six custom houses had to be passed - the journey occupied four to five weeks, and the provisions and money were often consumed and exhausted before reaching ship.
4 George Stonehouse was bourne in Hungerford Park, Bucks, England, in 1714. Graduated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and in 1737 became Vicar of the Parish of Islington at Tollington. In 1740 he sold his living. His wife, from 1740 to her death, was connected with the Moravian Church, at one time being a Deaconess, but he inclined more to the Whitfield and Wesley school. She died in 1751, and but for opposition of her husband, would have made a handsome bequest to the Church. He died at Brystol in 1793.
5 Refer to the "First Sea Congregation," by John C. Brickenstein, Transactions Moravian Historical Society, Vol. I, p. 33, et seq. 6 For biographical sketches refer to the Translations Moravian Historical Society, Vol. 1.1, p. 331, et seq.
7 An Infant son of this couple, borne on board the "Catherine", died and was buried near New London, Connecticut, while the vessel lay off the shore, May 24th 1742.
8 They were the only colonists who paid any passage money.
9 In January of 1748, the Society received 3001b, which had accrued from the sale of the "Catherine".
10 John Stephen Benezet, was the first Treasurer in Philadelphia of the collections for the Furtherance of the Gospel, prior to the organization of the Society.
11 Refer to Transactions Moravian Society, Vol. l, p. 107 et seq.
12 For memoir refer to Transactions Moravian Historical, Vol. I, p. 337.
13 John Cook, painter, poet, and mariner, was born at Leghorn, Italy, in July of 1720. Originally a Romanist, we find him in 1743, registered among the members of the London congregation. He died in Germany in 1747. In the Archives at Bethlehem, there is a curious specimen of his handiwork, a manuscript octavo of 64 pages entitled, "The burden'd Pilgrim released and his journey to the New Jersalem on the ship "Little Strength," 1744," illustrated with four designes and portrait of himself, under which is written this allegory:
"On ye wide Ocean far from Land,
With cheerful Heart I first took Pen in hand,
On this dear Subject in few words to treat
Which was and is to me exceeding sweet; My style is simple - and my native Place Is ITALI - but my Home is Grace.
14 One year later Captain Garrison, who accompanied Peter Bohler, Anton Seyffert, Henry Almers and Paul D. Bryzelius to Europe, on the "Queen of Hungary," Capton Hilton, had the misfortune to be again captured, this time by a French privateer off the Scilly Islands

Of the history of the Hope, the fourth and last of the transport vessels of the Church, we have failed to develop much of details, but we do know that only two colonies were brought over on her, and that she was generally chartered for freighting purposes by Henry Van Vleck, merchant, of New York, for which she was well adapted. She was built in 1760 at New Haven, Connecticut, and Captain Jacobsen who arrived June 4, on the brig Concord, from London, made a number of supervisory visits while she was yet on the stocks. She was launched, and taken to New York in December, and January 10, 1761, in accordance with the law, Captain Jacobsen and Henry Van Vleck had her registered at the Custom House and filed their bond. The record describes her as being "plantation built, 120 tons burthen, mounting four cannon and navigated by thirteen seamen," and she is prohibited from taking out of the Province "any servant, debtor, or any person without a passport."

Securing a cargo for South Carolina, the Hope left her docks on her first voyage, Saturday, January 17, 1761, the day on which George III was proclaimed king in the Provence. Finding heavy ice in the lower bay and boisterous weather at sea, which preceded a notably severe snow storm, she put back, and did not again sail before the following Monday. Arriving at her destination after a quick passage, on February 20, she sailed for England under convoy. Again under convoy she arrived at New York October 19, after a voyage of ten weeks, having on board the following passengers and immigrants:

Nathaniel and Anna Johanna Seidel,
Frederick and Hedwig Elizabeth von Marschall,
Paul and Anna Muenster.


John Arbo (Warden of the Single Brethren),
John Angerman, taylor,
John Valentine Beck, gun stock maker,
John Brandmiller, baker,
Christian Christiansen, shoemaker,
Peter Danielsen, hatter,
Jeremiah Dencke, late Chaplain, Single Brethren at Zeyst,
Ferdinand Jacob Dettmers, (Warden of Single Brethren),
Ludwig Christian Grunewald, carpenter,
Philip Jacob Hoeger, taylor,
Christian Hornig, shoemaker,
Dominicus Krause, nail-smith,
Niels Lund, locksmith,
John Michael Moehring, farmer,
Niels Moos, farmer,
Emanuel Nitschmann, from the Seminary at Barby,
John Francis Oberlin, late storekeeper at Niesky,
John Henry Rauch, locksmith,
August Schloesser, saddler,
John Martin Schmidt, linen weaver,
John Ernst Schoepfel, miller,
David Dietrich Schoenberg,
A. Paulus Thrane, late Single Brethren's Chaplain at Gnadenfrey,
Matthias Tommerup, bell founder and brazier,
Frederick, Unger,
David Zeisberger, late Chaplain of Boys at Niesky,


Andrew Langaard,
Frederick Peter,
Juliana Benedicta von Gammern,
Anna Maria Philips, David Wahnert.


Theodora Anders, Mary Magdalena Meyer,
Maria Bechtel,
Anna Nitschmann,
Elezabeth Broksch,
Anna Seidel,
Dorothea Hammer,
Esther Wapler,
Elizabeth Kaunhauser.

Cornelius Tiebout, a member of the congregation in New York, generously provided a dinner for the colonists when they were landed. The sisters were lodged in the "Congregation House," and the brethren remained on the vessel, until their departure for Bethlehem, where the latter arrived October 25, and the sisters three days later.

Being unable to obtain freight for Europe, Captain Jacobsen secured a cargo for the Island of Jamaica, and sailed in December, from whence he was instructed to sail for England in the following Spring.

During the year 1763, the Hope made the following voyages: January 31, arrived at New York, and sailed for London April 24.

On August 11, she sailed from the Downs, and on the evening of October 21 arrived at New York, having on board the following passengers and immigrants, who reached Bethlehem November 4:

Nicholas Garrison and wife, John Frommelt (Economus, i.e. Sup't, of Single Brethren in America),
Paul Tiersch (Co-Director of Paedagogium in Nazareth),
Justina Erd,
Susan von Gersdorf (Spiritual Overseer of Single Sisters, Bethlehem),
M. Barbara Horn,
Dorothea Lefler,
Frederica Pletscher, Elizabeth Seidlitz,
A. Salome Steinmann (Spiritual Overseer of Girls at Bethlehem),

Maria Wilhelmina Werwing (Spiritual Overseer of Widows' Choir), whose husband died at Herrnhut in 1755.

The first fire engine for the Fire Department of Bethlehem, organized in May of 1762, which Captain Jacobsen, purchased in London at 431b 12stg. Was brought over on this voyage and given a trial November 22, four days after the destruction of the oil mill and bark mill at the tannery - a noble conflagration in the history of Bethlehem.

On November 23, the Hope cleared for London and March 28, 1764, arrived at New York, a portion of her cargo consisting of twenty puncheons of English Spirits, consigned to Barnet Lintol. She sailed on May 16, and was again in port in October, for Captain Jacobsen made a visit to Bethlehem late in that month.

On April 11, 1765, she arrived at New York, Rev. Frederick Schmidt and wife, who served the congregations in Rhode Island, West Jersey and elsewhere, being the only passengers. Clearing for London via Lisbon, May 9, with David and Rosina Nitschmann and Joseph and Rosina Neisser as passengers, she reached her destination on November 9.

The last authentic record we have of the Hope is that on January 11, 1766, she sailed from, and on August 28 was again in the port of New York. In June of 1767, Captain Jacobsen, with his wife, were visiting Bethlehem, but where his vessel was the records fail to state.

At a love-feast held in Bethlehem, June 6, 1762, in which Bishop Spangerberg announced his departure for Europe during the following month, he took occasion to review the Moravian immigration of the past twenty-six years, and stated that of the six hundred and more brethren and sisters, but one died - a remarkable instance of divine protection.

In a series of sketchy biographies of "Old Merchants of New York," the author in enumerating the names of the vessels owned by Henry Van Vleck, prior to our war for independence, gives that of the "Ship Hope" - in all probability the Hope whose history we have attempted to elucidate.

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