The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740


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Adelaide Fries (1871 - 1949) was a scholar who devoted her life to the study of the Moravians in the southern United States. The Moravians in Georgia covers the period from 1735 to 1740. In 1911 Fries was appointed archivist for the Moravian church and continued this work until her death. Her best known work was The Road to Salem (1944) which was the story of Anna Catharine Ernst. This autobiography was based on diaries and records kept by church leaders. The Moravians in Georgia is an excellent reference book for those interested in Southern history and the contributions of the Moravian church.

The Moravian Brethren are one of the most notable of the pietistic sects to emerge from the Protestant Reformation. Persecuted during the religious wars of the 17th century, the Brethren left their native Moravia, and later their protected status under Count Zinzendorf of Saxony, in favor of the more tolerant environs of England, Holland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and, in the instance of this work, the settlement of Savannah, Georgia. Mrs. Fries here documents the brief history of the Moravian community in Georgia, commencing with an overview of the sect and continuing through the negotiations between Brethren leader August Spangenburg and Georgia founder General James Oglethorpe, establishment of the Brethren community in Savannah, discussions with the Wesley brothers (founders of the Methodist Church in America), missionary work among the Creeks, and the departure of the Moravians for England, Pennsylvania, and other locations.

The Moravians ultimately vacated Savannah because their pacifist credo prevented them from serving in the colony's defense against a threatened invasion from Spanish Florida. In addition to the author's running account of these developments, genealogists will find numerous references to transfers of land involving the Moravians, settlement maps, passenger lists of Moravian arrivals, a brief list of Moravian deaths in Georgia, and a name index to the persons mentioned in the text.

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