Copyright 1912 D. L. Miller and Galen B. Royer Copyright 2005 A. Wayne Webb (Index added)
On July 27th, they journeyed from this place to Messinutty* [Massanutton], where Germans of all kinds of denominations live—Mennonites, Lutherans, Separatists and Inspirationists.† Bro. Joseph spoke to some of them, but they are very bad people. It is a dead place where their testimony found no entrance.‡ On July 28, they crossed the South or Blue Ridge, which are the mountains opposite Bethlehem, extending continuously through Pennsylvania and Maryland. They found an awfully wretched road, and it was a neck-breaking undertaking to descend the mountains. Below the mountains is a strong settlement of German and English people. It is called the "Great Fork of the Rappehannock."§ A regular Lutheran congregation is there, whose pastor, Magister Klug, is a disciple of the * As the missionaries make no reference to crossing the Massanutton range of mountains on their journey to the Massanutton district, they evidently passed near the present site of Harrisonburg, Va., traveling around the Peaked Mountain, which is the southern end of the Massanutton range. † Inspirationists are the members of a sect which originated in Germany, among people who had separated from the State Church. Their main leaders were E. L. Gruber at Himbach, near Hanau, A. Gross in Frankfort, J. F. Rock at Himbach and E. C. Hochmann at Schwarzenau, near Berleburg. In 1716 they took the name "Truly Inspired." A number of them, under the leadership of Gruber, Gleim, Mackinet and others, emigrated to Pennsylvania, where they settled at Germantown. From here they spread to other settlements. Their name was derived from the fact that they claimed to receive direct divine communications through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. See McClintock and Strong, Theological Cyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 616. The term Separatists refers more generally to all who had separated themselves from the established State churches. tThe diaries of other missionaries, to be published later, show that the people pf this district were strongly prejudiced against the Moravians, which fact may in some degree account for the severe judgment passed upon them by Bishop Spangenberg. § This is an error. The Great Fork of the Rappahannock was the name applied by Gottschalk to the old settlement at Germanna. The Bishop is referring to the German Lutheran settlement in the present county of Madison, mentioned in a previous note.
and, as we heard that there was no house for twelve miles, we stayed there over night. On November 18th, it snowed the whole night. We started early in the morning and went along on our way which was quite narrow and very wet on account of the snow. Moreover, we had to cross the Catawba Creek and a branch of the Roanoke, more than thirty times. There was no house for the first twelve miles and then none for the next fifteen miles. But although we we were in the water nearly the whole day, the Lord helped us through and brought us in the evening to an English house, where we enjoyed the comforts of a good fire. We had also a pleasant conversation with our host. On Sunday, November 19th, we were glad in anticipation of seeing the New River* to-day and asked the Lamb for a favorable reception among the Germans. Towards noon we arrived safely at the New River. We were taken across the river to Jacob Hermann,† who, together with his wife, received us with great joy and love. We had hoped to preach to-day, but as it was late the sermon was appointed for to-morrow. There we enjoyed a spiritual and physical rest. I firmly believed that my visit to this district, for which I had longed for four years, would not be in vain. On November 20th, I preached on the words of the Saviour: * A number of German families resided then on New River within the limits of the present county of Montgomery, then Augusta. The origin of this German community is involved in obscurity. The large German element in the Shenandoah Valley came almost entirely from Western Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania, and it is difficult to believe that any number of settlers would traverse the entire Valley of Virginia in order to locate on the New River. Maury, in his Physical Survey of Virginia (1878), states that a number of Swiss from North Carolina located in this region, and it was probably these settlers who were visited by the missionaries. † Jacob Hermann (Harman) and his son, living on New River, were killed by the Indians in March, 11156. In 1755 a number of other German settlers in the same region were also killed, and it is probable that nearly all the people visited by the missionaries along the New River were exterminated. See the Preston Register, Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, pp. 154-158 (1902).