Berne Biography Detail

Pastor John Peter Resig

Born:   Died:  
Fifty Years in the Wilderness Preface This narrative is a translation of the German book Der Waldpfarrer am Schoharie, by Dr. Friedrich Mayer, which book in tern is the publication of the Diary of Reverand John Peter Resig, ofunder, and Pastor for over fifty years, of the German St. Paul's Evangelical Church "on the Schoharie," in the State of New York In his PREFACE to the Waldpfarrer Dr. Mayer says: "As a young Minister I was sent by my seminary to New York State. During the hot days of July I roamed over the hills and through the valleys through which the Mohawk and Schoharie Rivers run. I was in quest of clews that might lead me to information concerning the German settlers who came to this region in the beginning of th eeighteenth century. An old man took a seat beside me on a stone bench under a basswood tree. 'Grandpa,' I addressed him, 'can you tell me where, in colonial days, the village of Weisersdorf was?' "Weisersdorf? No, I could not say. The people here speak of one Weiser. Have you heard of Weiser's dream?" When I answered I had not he continued: "Konrad Wiser came to America with his father in the year 1709. He grew up to be an able man. Benjamin Franklin employed him as interpreter and agent in dealings with the Indians. Now it so happened that Weiser had a good gun which the Chief Schekallamy coveted very much. The Indians believe in dreams. One day Chief Schelkellamy came to Weiser and said to him, "I dreamt you gave me your gun." Without saying a word Weiser handed him the gun. Several days later the two met again. "Big Chief," said Weiser, "I dreamt you gave me the island in the Susquehanna River." The Indian didn't like that, but because it was a dream he did not wish to refuse. "Very well," said Schekellamy, "the island is yours, but let's stop dreaming." With Indian-like shrewdness the Chief thought he had outwitted Weiser, but Weiser showed him that the white man can "dream" too.' "As the conversation waxed warmer the old gentleman went on to say: "Therefore May, the adopted daughter of the Stone Parson, was my grandmother. - What! you mean to say you don't know anything of the Stone Parson and the Stone Church? of Herkimer and the Battle of Oriskany? of the two hundred heroes who are sleeping the last, long sleep on the Schoharie Mound? "'But such are the present day Germans in Aerica. Last year I visited my daughter in the city. In the schoolbooks of their children no mention is made of Herkimer and his victories. At their gatherings here the Germans make high'flown speeches about German ideals, but when it comes to commemorating the patriotism and heroic part their forefathers played in making this country a free land, they seem to be oblivious of that splendid history. Come, Pastor, I want to show you something. Our ministers are interested in the history of their fathers.' "I followed him to his home. He produced a small tin box that had begun to rust. Then, carefully, as if it were a rare treasure, he drew forth small, closely written, yellow-tinged leaves. The first pages bore the firm handwriting of a young man, the last ones that of a trembling old hand. They were the dumb witness of a life filled with privations and indefatigable labor, but also of love to his countrymen and trust in the Father in heavn. The Forest Parson, John Peter Resig, had written it. On the margin of some of the pages were drawings, the one the picture of a battle, in which the minister, adorned in his sacred vestments, with a crucifix in his hand, marched a the thead of his church memebers and several baptized Indians, to defend his log hut. On another pages was a log house, the picture of the first church of these German settlser. A third repreented the Forest Parson instructing his adopted dumb boy in the orest. A fourth, Herkimer's death. I read all night. I was so excited I forgot to go to bed. When I read the last pages the sun rose in the east. Under the powerful impression of their thrilling history it seemed to me as if the whole region were alive with these brave, valiant men. Over there, from the Catskill Mountains they come, carrying all they possess, on their backs. I hear the trees fall under the powerful blows of their axes. I see the wilderness transformed into smilind fields of grain, and green pastures with herds of cattle. I hear from the Schoharie Mound the Easter choir. From the forest; from the battlefields; from the burning fields and homes crashing under the raging flames, I hear the mighty strain: "'Ask ye who He is? Jesus Christ, it is, Of Sabaoth, Lord, And there's no other God, He holds the field forever.' "Like a mild corona of sunshine there rests over this whole region the spirit of the Waldpfarrer. His prayers filled the barns of the farmers; his bravery created heroes; his willingness to sacrifice and his heart's purity gathered around him a royal priesthood, a holy people. "Take this book and read it! 'Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God' whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.' "Dr. Friedrich Mayer." * * * Der Waldpfarrer was published by a Young Men's Christian Association in Germany in 1911; many copies of it have been distributed in the united States. The American reader, however, will perceive at once that this narrative should be made accessible to the whole American People, for that matter to the whole world. There is a no greater, no more heroic and thrilling story in all American literature o the Revolutionary War and pre-Revolutionary times than this volume offers. It has an all-powerful appeal for the liberty-loving American; it is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Apart from being a most important historical find, a Quellenwerk, as the German would call it, Resig himself felt his Diary might be the beginning of a history of the whites and Indians in the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys - its value is enhanced by the fact that he himself was the eye-witness of oall he recorded. We have here a graphic description of the pioneer life of these early German settlers and of the cuases that led to the Revolutionary War by one who ived through it all in his own person. Of the five leaders of these people: the two Herkimers, the two Weisers and Pastor Resig, Resig was the towering intellect of them all. From the University of Tubingen he had graduated with honors. The critical reader will discern the keen, finely balanced mind, the good judgment, the firm decisions of this scholar. While he greatly distinguished himself as the founder and Pastor of the large Schoharie Church, he was also all-around advisor, physician, patriot, hero on the battlefield, author, and - humorist! No man found so deep a place in the hearts of this people as the Forest Pason of the Schoharie. His memory will endure to the end of days; and with reference to the American people as a whole, he ranks with the Fathers of this great Republic. May this volume go forth and stir up holy passion for liberty and justice! May it be a voice in the wilderness of present day political and economic oppression to cry against the tyranny of commercial "ambition, cupidity and gree" an all they stand for! May it imbue us with the Spirit of '76 never to relinquish the fight for freedeom, however overwhelming the opposition may be - "For Freedom's battle once begun Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son, Though baffled oft, is ever won." * * * There remains one more word to be said. Two criticisms have been made of Pastor Resig's Diary which call for answers. The first is the incoherence of the narrative; the other, the racial prejudices it stirs up in some minds. As to the breaks and gaps in the story, Pasto Resig did not write a diary in the sstric sense of that word. He selected leading events form his life and the history of his people, and phases of everyday life as he found it. Far from being a daybook, his Diary is compsoed rather of pen pictures, any of which were written years apart - they may be called a necklace of literary gems, loosely strung together. The German edition o the Walpfarrer has twenty-two chapters, whereas this book contains thirty-one. The change was made to remedy the disconnectedness as much as possible. Chapters VIII and X were not taken from the Diary, they represent original findins of the translator. With respect to the racial animosities which so strongly characterize Pastor Resig's Diary, there is this to say. We the people of the United States are preparing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birthday; even now, a year in advance, we are attuning heart, mind, and sould to sing the praises of our first great Leader, the Father of our Country. But how can that be done without referring to the Revolutionary War and the causes that led to it? Should we, because we now have amicable relations with England and sincerely hope they will enure permanently, close our eyes to the momentous history that made us a free people? It cannot be done. That history has been made and written, and is known to the whole world. While nothing could be farther away from me than to publish the WALDPFARRER's Diary in the English language from the sinister motive of taking a fling at England, nevertheless, I am thankful for the detailed account Pastor Resig gives, showing anew WHY the Colonists revolted against the English Government; and I deeply feel it be my duty to my Country to transmit this information in the English language. In matters of such far-reaching history as that of the Revolutionary War period we should not allow ourselves to be swayed by feelings of sentiment, but with candor look the truth and facts in the face, facts that deal so vigorously with the fundamental principles of Liberty and Justice. Moreover, the study of all history calls for an open mind. To desire to know the truth, regardless of whether it pleases or pains, is the attitude in which to approach the study of history - "the truth shall make you free." George Washington deeply appreciated the heroic and victorious part General Herkimer and his German army took in the Revolutionary War. He was their friend. Why should not we do the same thing? Los Angeles. August Wm Reinhard Chapter 1 THE ARRIVAL ON THE SCHOHARIE "This, Pastor, is the parsonage.' "Rows of roughly trimmed logs laid one on top of the other in the form of a square; the cracks filled with mortar; on the front side a low door; over the whole a single sloping roof - that, a characteristic American log house, was the parsonage. A piercing cold wind blew the snowflakes in wild confusion and drove them into my face, a fortunate circmustance to mislead my guide that he could not guess why I wiped my eyes. "My God! this miserable hut certainly does not deserve the dignified name of parsonage. "Phantasy and reality - what contrasts! What not all, since my flight from the fatherland, has phantasy, the wizard of a thousand arts, conjured up to me what my new home would be! A stately residnce with high gables, entwined with ivy; now standing in a garden of laughing flowers; now in the midts of green fields; now on the summit of a hill, surrounded by rows of lofty shade trees: a landmark to be seen far and wide - and here this hut! By a high board fence, erected as a protection against the Indians and wild animals, the outer world is shut off. "We walk into the house. The snowstorm prevents any view of the surroundings. "Careful, Pastor, there is a table here.' "It is dark in the room, only through one small window the daylight trembles feebly. Today I am thankful for my small stature, I shall not have to walk stooping in the parsonage. "'Here's another room, Pastor; quite roomy after all.' This one will do as bedroom and study, the other as kitchen', dining', and reception room ' sounds reel genteel! "My guide departs. I sit down on my chest of books, there being no chair in the house, and stretch out my legs. How good that feels after the long horseback gride from New York to the Schoharie. On the hearth there crackles a cheerful fire; after all, life may not be so bad in the log hut. "But on the outside is all forest, virgin forest, only a trail leads through it. Well, it really seems I am the Forest Parson on the Schoharie. "My library I had rescued. What great comfort these books will afford me amid these primeval conditions, in a community barren of all literary influences, I can well foresee. I shall read and write, and who knows, perhaps this Diary, I am now beginning, may form the basis of a historical work of the Indians and whites who now occupy this region. "Thus far I had written last evening when an old woman entered my room and served supper. "'What is your name?" I asked. "I had to repeat the question. "'Ursala,' she answered. "'Married?' "'I am a widow. My husband was scalped by the Indians. "Raising her apron, she wiped her tears. "'You must speak loud,' she continued, 'the hardships of this frontier life, with all its suffering have made me deaf.' "She said this in the whispering tone of voice comon to most deaf people. "With quick steps she spread a cloth on the table and served food. "'Will you please come to the table, and may God bless the meal to you.' So saying she left the room. "After I had finished the repast, I began to write, but a great weariness came over me; I went to bed. One sleeps well here. The pungent odor of the pine and fir trees stimulates deep breathing and generates a pleasurable and restful feeling. "I slept soundly until the bustling about of Ursala in the kitchen awakened me the next morning. It was daylight. The snow bluster had subsided, although heavy clouds overcast the heaven. I know nothing better to do than to resume the writing of my Diary. My thoughts revert to my home in Swabia, to my mother, and the experiences that induced me to come to the New World." CHAPTER II DRIVEN FROM HOME AND FATHERLAND "Two years ago I little dreamt that I would become acquainted with the Schoharie and the country through which the little river flows. At that time I, a young candidate of theology, had entered upon my duties as pastor of the desirable parish Echterdingen. I well remember as though it had happened but as yesterday that I could hardly believe my eyes when I received the papers from His Highness that I, John Peter Resig, had been appointed Pastor of the church at Echterdingen. It is true I had passed my examinations CUM LAUDE, but I had a rival, Henry Osterdingen, the talented son of the eminent divine, the Pastor of the church at Echterdingen. After his father unexpectedly had been pensioned, it was generally believed the son would be his follower. But instead he became a poor tutor in the capital and I received the highly coveted parish of Echterdingen. I could not comprehen it, and when at my installation I asked the prelate for an explanation he simply shrugged his shoulders - my eyes, however, were soon to be opened. "Now it is true I had heard that our duke is leading a dissipated life; his court swarmed with French and Italian women; but the expression, 'I'll meet you at the Hirsch in Echterdingen,' I could not understnad. As Pastor I should soon learn its meaning - it deprived me of pastorate and fatherland. At times when His Highness was hunting in our vicinity and met a pretty girl on the highway, he would hand her a ticket to deliver to the landlord of the Hirsch, and press a goldpiece into her hand. On that account my predecessor, the Minister of Echterdingen, refused to give the landlord the sacrament, with the result that he was forthwith removed from office. "One of my parishioners was the farmer Christopher Weisenberg. He had an only child, Katharine, a sixteen year old girl of striking beauty. On Sts. Peter's and Paul's holiday she had gone into the forest to pick flower for the fresh grave of her mother; on the way home she met the duke. "It so happened a few moments later I came along the highway to administer the sacrament to my dying churchmember Laible. "'O SAVE ME, SAVE ME, PASTOR!' SHRIEKED THE GIRL,wringing her hands. "So much tender beauty and innocence I had never before seen. I immediately espoused her cause. 'Give me the ticket', I said, 'and hurry to your father; this day you must leave the duchy.' "Like a hunted gazelle she flew to the fillage. "Just then there came along the road the homely old hunchback Barbara - I gave her the ticken and the gulden, and told her to take them to the Hirsch. Later I was gold the landlord opened his eyes when the old woman came. His Highness, furious that the tender morsel had slipped away from him, and still more angry because I had held him up to public derision, ordered me sent to the prison Hohenasperg, to learn there, on a diet of bread and water, the necessary reverence for a duke. "But I eluded him. My visit to the dying Laible was my last pastoral function. I hastened to Welsenberg's. They were ready to leave. 'THERE IS NOTHING LEFT FOR US BUT FLIGHT' cried out the old man. 'THE DUKE HAS TAKEN EVERYTHING ELSE FROM ME - MY DAUGHTER I WILL SAVE.' "'Have you enough money for the voyage?' "'we have not much, but I think it will be sufficient for both of us. "'Pastor, God is my witness, I speak the truth. Twenty years ago when Weiser and many Swabians and inhabitants of the Palatinate left for America, my brother-in-law Christian Merkle wanted to join them. The duke had taken everything from him, only one pig was left. His wife, the sister of my deceased wife, refused to go. It is hard to forsake the homeland. But a princess married and new taxes were levied. Because my brother-in-law had nothing else, the officers took the pig. "MAN, I'M GOING!" my sister-in-law exclaimed. "'To her my daughter and I will no go, but I feel as though my heart should break. Here we were born. Here my forefathers lived, good, honorable farmers, as the old church records show. Over there under the linden tree the noble Duke Christoph often rested when he rode on horseback to Tubingen. My family has ever been loyal. There is an old tradition that when the Duke Ulrich fled to the Black Forest my great-grandfather showed him the way. Alongside of the church are the gravestones of my father. There lies my wife. Alongside of her I hoped to sleep the long, last sleep, and - now - now -' "'Don't curse the duke!' "'I am not cursing. God be merciful to my beautiful fatherland!' "His bosom rose and fell. He clenched his fists and cried out: "'DRIVEN AWAY! - BANISHED! - EXILED!' "The daughter embraced the father. 'I think you,' she said to me with feelings of deep emotion, tears flowing down her cheeks. "I attempted to speak a parting blessing, but the words were choked in my throat, speechless I pressed their hands. After I had dried my eyes, I saw at a distance a bowed man, leaning heavily on his staff, tottering away from the village with the tender form of a maiden close to his side, both disappearing in the dark. I listened - I thought I heard footsteps. Then again it seemed like sobbing - now all is still. "O homeland! how rich are thy valleys; how fertile thy fields; how majestic thy forests; how glorious thy hills; how fearless and loyal thy people. WHY SUCH A DUKE? "A strange feeling of homelessness took possession of me. Why had I not flown with them? I do not know. In the following night I hastened through the Schonbach and Boblinger Forests to the Black Forest. A fearful thunderstorm was raging. Once more my mother embraced me in my home. "'You want to go to America? The wild Indians will kill you there,' she shrieked. "'Mother, perhaps the Indians will be more merciful than our sovereigns are.' "'Do not curse your duke!' "'I have no duke, no homeland, no fatherland - I am cast out!' "'But you have a mother, my son. Oh, my heart is breaking!' "We embraced each other for the last time. "As I am writing this my tears are mingling with the in. Let it be so. The holiest should not be written on paper; may it remain a sanctuary of the hear! "The snowstorm is over. It may be very pleasant to live here during the open season. Behind the log house is a valley through which the Schoharie flows to the Mohawk. On the opposide side is a sawmill. I am therefore not alone. But on all sides is virgin forest. In the distance blue hills rise - they are the Catskill Mountains. To the south one sees the region through which the Susquehanna River courses; many Germans live along its banks. The resinous odor exhaled by the firs is the same as that of the Black Forest. So I have something to remind me of my homeland." CHAPTER III KONRAD WEISER "Four days I have been here, but apart from my housekeeper I have met no one, although a large German population lives in the forest and small villages. I hope the people are not like this climate. A heavy rain fell on the deep snow this morning. The sky is now clear, but it is turning bitter cold. The fields and woods have frozen into a mirror-like ice sheet. Toward the west, as the sun is sinking, the white expanse of frozen snow glistens in indescribable brilliance in the sun's rays. To the eye, blinded by the bright reflection of the icy mantle, the line of demarcation between the sun and earth disappears. As though a fiery chariot had flown over the earth, setting everything afire, but now suspended on the horizon, the sun is reflecting itself with gleeful self-satisfaction by the entrancing mirage - thus shines and surges a vast ocean of fire in spite of the stinging cold. "Hark! On the path to my hut foosteps are nearing. A man is coming to the open door. "'Hans Gerlach is my name. You are the new Minister? "'No, no, I'll not sit down. I have come to offer to take you to Weiser's barn this evening where a large meeting of farmers will be held, the ocasion will give you the opportunity to become acquainted at once with the Germans of this vicinity.' "In the evening I went down with him to Weisersdorf. "'It will be a noisy gathering,' remarked Gerlach. 'The delegates who were sent to London to lay our grievances before the king have returned and will report at this meeting. It will not be a favorable report - a new, hard blow for the colony.' "'What complaint did the delegates make?' "'You will hear everything this evening, Pastor, the whole story of our experiences will be told. As I size up old man Weiser, the meeting will be loud. He is a right-thinking man, has a warm heart for the settlers, and has done a good deal for them; but he stands too hard on his own opinions, for me. "'Here we are. Do not take offense at the rough appearance of the men. Life in the woods makes callous hands, at heart they are kind.' "'Will you introduce me this evening?' "'I advise not. Their minds are too excited. The proper time will come. Much is spoiled in life by bringing up matters of importance at an inopportune time.' "A long building made of logs stood before us. Into this a stream of men were pouring. On long, rough benches, closely huddled together they sat, smoking their home-made pipes - the tobacco almost took one's breath away. A stove stood in the middle of the room which served less to warm the building than to afford a means of lighting the pipes and to ignites the resinous chips that sent forth a pale light. A loud babel of voices fell on our ears as we entered. "'Look at these men carefully,' I said to myself. 'You are going to live and labor among them.' "Several hundred men had met here, clad in rough garments, many with deer- and bearskins flung around their shoulders; hands and faces blackened from handling pitch; arms and hands calloused by hear labor; all sturdy, powerful forms; the whole presented a picturesque but strange spectacle. ''Are these my countrymen?' I asked myself. 'Or have I come not only to a foreign land, but also to a strange people?' "The proceddings had already begun as we entered. In the front part of the room, on a platform, several men sat at a table. They were the leaders of this people, the heads of this gathering. "'Our greatest difficulties have been overcome. I admit there remains enough to complain about, but one thing is certain, we shall remain in possession of our land; no one, not even the Governor, can drive us away. Therefore, I say, let us hold fast what we have acquired. For all else the toil of our hands and God's blessing will provide. "Thus the words resounded through the barn. A concerted stamping of the feet expressed the approval of the men. A small man had spoken, he appeared to me to be the chairman of the meeting. "'Why shall we emigrate once more?' he continued. "It is true we have suffered much injustice here; but every day has its own trouble, every region its own difficulties, and down in Pennsylvania things may not be as smooth as many here perhaps imagine.' "'Good, good, Kreishorn,' was heard from various parts of the building, as the speaker took his seat. "A short pause ensued. Everyone began to converse with his neighbor, when suddenly, as if by command, the large gathering becamse silent. All eyes were fixed on the man who appeared on the platform, the men even laid their pipes aside, as if a solemn church service were about to begin. "'Neighbors and fellow citizens: I agree with the speaker that without a cross there is no crown, without work no prosperity; but the inmost recess of my heart rebel against the outrages that have been committed on us, and I wish to say, without liberty and justice there is not life. Patience is a virtue, but if exercised at the expense of what is right it may become an abhorrent vice.' "A deep hush fell on the audience. On every face was inscribed the tenseness with which every man followed the speaker. A large, firmly built man, about sixty years of age, stood before them. His grey eyes looked intelligently from under the powerfully arched forehead. His attitude and gestures disclosed assurance, self-relaince. It was not a rhetorician to whom the men listened so attentively, it was a man of action. He was John Konrad Weiser, the spiritual leader of the Germans in the State of New York, from 1709 - 1734. "Stay here if you will, but let me and my family depart in peace. For twenty-five years, from the first beginning of the German colony here, I have been with you, it is the last time I stand before you. Let me speak. We are Swabians and men from the Palatinate. After our sovereigns became renchmen - ' "'Thirty Years War!' interrupted a voice. "'For aught I care. Our schoolmaster Heim wishes me to refer to the Thirty Years War. By that war and the invasions of the French guerrilla in southern Germany our homeland was devastated and its citizens reduced to utter destitution. We would have recovered from all that if our princes had remained German men, but they had no sense of German integrity and respectability. My forefathers were village magistrates in Grossaspach in Wurtenberg, I myself filled that office for seeral years. But the pressure from above became intolerable. The sovereigns' mistresses devoured enormous sums of money that were pressed out of the poor peasants. To fill the bitter cup of sorrow, the winter of 1709 was so intensely cold that the birds froze to death in their flight. Our vineyards and fields were destroyed, but our sovereigns remained unmoved. "'For these reasons we left our homes and fatherland. We from Swabia and the Palatinate, traveled down the Rhine to Holand, thence to England. More than 2,000 Germans camped in London. Expelled by Germand dukes and princes, Queene Anne and the brave Duke of Marlborough cared for us. All of us respectable people, who shunned no labor, must now subsist on charity and allow ourselves to be gaped at by a curious populace. "'Coincidentally three chiefs of the Mohawk Indians came to London at that time. That circumstance diverted the attention from us. The papers were filled with descriptions of the three kings from America. The admiration rose to such a pitch as to speak of them as "Their Majesties".' "Loud laughter interrupted the hitherto deep silence. "'The three Indians visited our camp. Never will I forget, when, for the first time, I saw the copper-colored, filthy faces, their wild, war-like pretentiousness with tomahawk and battle-ax. "'When they heard we had left our homes for want of fields and gardens, they burst into loud laughter and ofered to give us all the land we could cultivate.' "'Am I stating the facts?' Weiser questioned. "'Yes! Yes!' the men thundered from all sides. Apparently the recollection of these Indians was still fresh in their memories. "'Of us Germans the English Government sent all Catholics back to Germany. We well remember the picture of anguish and despair these unfortunates presented. A large quota of Protestants was taken to Ireland to counteract Irish Catholicism. Others were sent to Virginia and the southern colonies. We, the remainder, about 3,500 were taken to New York. We were laden on ten ships, packed together like so much merchandise or cattle. On the Lyon, the ship on which I sailed, 470 died of the ship fever and privations, while 250 succumbed to the results of the voyage after we had arrived in New York. All told, as I reported to the King of England, 1700 persons died on the way. However, we were poor, we could make no demands, we were compelled to suffer all. "'To the Schoharie we wanted to go, there to clear the virgin forest and make the soil arable. But the Governor of the colony had decreed otherwise. We shoauld not be free colonists. Step by step we were watched as if we were prisoners of state. We should not be indepedent and responsible citizens. But take aman's liberty from him, what else have you made of him but a slave? "'Governor Hunter did not understand us. He sent us up the Hudson where he had acquired land through the most despicable man in America - Robert Livingstone, a friend of the notorious pirate Kidd. In these forests we were ordered to make tar and turpentine for the English Government. During the winter we arrived half naked in these parts. Livingstone had been commisioined to supply us with food. He cheated us in measures and weights. he forced spoiled foods on us, causing our children to become ill. He overcharged us. What did our complaints avail? He was rich, we poor; he an Englishman, we Germans. For such people there is no redress here. "'Neighbors and countrymen: We did our duty to the British Government. We felled trees and prepared them for the extraction of tar. We faithfully fulfilled what we had promised Queen Anne. We remembered her for keeping us while in England and providing for our passage over the sea. We suffered hunger and sickness, and saw our brethren die before our eyes. Their bodies lie buried along the Hudson. More than that, the Governor took my boys from me, their father, and pawned them as sers to the Indians. My son Konrad was given to the Indian Chief Quaquant. He lived with these wild men in caverns and dugouts. In coldest winter they dragged my child almost naked through the forests. He was often in peril of death, because the Indians were poisoned and inflamed with the whiskey Hunter and his people had given them. "'Your sons and daughters were sold like mine. How many never returned to their parental homes? I can forget all else, but that Governor Hunter took my children away from me. I SHALL REMEMBER THIS AGAINST HIM BFORE THE JUDGE OF THE QUICK AND THE DEAD ON THE JUDGMENT DAY.' "With increasing tension the men had followed Weiser's words. In these moments they lived over the years of their distress and deep humiliation. But when the speaker literally screamed out the last words there was enacted a scene which impressed me as impossible for human nature to portray. "The long pent-up feelings of these men broke loose with elemental force. Some sprang up on the benches, balled their fists and shrieked out their imprecations. others, unable to find language for their emotions, trembled with deep excitement. Many held their heads in their hands and wept with pain and rage. Still others pressed their lips tightly together, their eyes glistening uncannily, like a tigress when she defends her young. 'I felt as if I were petrified. Several times I pressed my hand against my heart. I thought my blood would curdle in my veins. "The storm of emotions swayed to and fro. At times it seemed as though it had spent its force, but only for a moment, when it would break loose with renewed fury. "It was a long time before Weiser could make himself heard again. In a strain of irony he continued: "'We were required to intermarry with the Indians. Such a hybrid people, it was insinuated, would form a bulwark against the advancing Canadian-Frensh. Such low opinions the English have of the Germans. Although we fought under the English flag against the French along the Hudson, and the blood of our brethren flowed in these engagements, Hunter refused to listen to us; on the contrary, he sent his soldiers to compel us to work. "'Then we declared our independence. We left for the Schoharie where we bought land from the Indians whome we met in London and who had promised to supply us with enough for our needs. Free, independent men we would be; for that reason we came to the New World. "'In the middle of the winter we broke camp. The snow lay three feet deep. Instigated by Livingstone, the Indians had carefully covered the forest trails. But now we repaed the benefit of my son Konrad having lived with the Indians. He knew their tricks and became our guide. Thus, trembling with cold and hunger, we penetrated the great forest and finally descended half dead into the Schoharie Valley. :;How wretchedly poor we were. We were allowed to take with us only what we could carry on our backs, else Hunter would have indicted us for grand larceny and had us brought back by force of arms. During the first few weeks four children were born. The Indians had compassion on the mothers, giving them furs to protect them from the cold. We lived on grass and roots. What God had ordained to be a punishment to man proved a blessing to us. How often we prayed "Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, and let us not fall into the hand of man." "'Spring finally arrived. We had no farm implements, no cattle, no horses. A deserted place where the Indians at one time had pitched their wigwams was the only clearing - all else was wildwood. Our good neighbor Lambert Sternberg bought in Schenectady the first bushel of seed wheat, which he carried on his shoulders the long distance of twenty miles This wheat we sowed and it sprouted. Every stem bore an ear, every ear betn down from its weight, and when in the fall the wheat was threshed the one bushel had yielded eighty =three. God blest our fields and labor since that first beginning. Last year we sold 25,000 bushels of wheat!' "'Then you should be satisfied,' a voice exclaimed. "'Pss-st!-pss-st! Don't interrupt - hear Weiser!' came the answer from various sides. "'The Governor and the wealthy Dutch neighbors would not let us alone. As soon as Hunter observed that we were making headway he sold our land to the Seven Hollanders, known also as the Seven Partners. Could a man with any sense of integrity, with any feeling of compassion for his unfortunate fellowmen, do a thing meaner, viler, more despicable than this? It was an infraction of the colonial law. It was an illegal encroachment on our property. We protested, but in vain. Hunter sent the sheriff from Albany with soldiers. An uprising ensued. The men and their wives went into the fields agains the solders and gave both sheriff and soldiers a beating thy did not soon forget. For a long time no one could leave the settlement, we were waylaid on all sides. A year later, when my son Konrad and several others went to Albany to buy salt, they were attacked, beaten, and thrown into prison. "'To make an end of this state of uncertainty we sent a deputation to the king in London. But although we kept this matter secret, the Seven hollanders gained knowledge of our departure. We were attacked by the pirate Kidd, Livingstone's friend. For three months we were bound to the mast of his ship. Our friend Wallrat succumbed to the inhuman treatment. William Scheff and I finally escaped and reached London, but without funds. Because we were compelled to borrow money, we were cast into the Debtors Prison. If the two German ministers, the honorbale Pastors Bohm and Robert, had not interposed on our behalf we would be incarcerated this day. May I say here, if it had not been for the German ministers and teachrs there would be no more Germans. Oh! if Germany had princes and dukes like her ministers and teachers America would become a German colony. "'In London the king received me, but would not believe my report. Hunter had arrived and prejudiced the king before I saw him. For us Germans the king has no justice. If we stay here we will have to keep on struggling and contending; I am tired of this constant strife. In Pennsylvania there is liberty and justice for the Germans in the same measure as for other nationalities. To Pennsylvania the stream of German emigration has been flowing for years. In the old fatherland they have been apprised of our sad lot among the English, French and Indians. One more journey I shall make - then die.' "His voice trembled. His whole frame shook. His powerful address had come to an end. The chairman Kreishorn now rose and spoke: 'We have labored and suffered, let us now hold fast to our poessessions. no one can drive us from our newly acquired homes; we are stronger than Hunter or even the government.' "'But,' interrupted Weiser, 'I want to be free of the yoke of the driver before I die. I am going to a region where the law applies alike to the low as to the high; to the English as well as to the Germans; where no one will encroach upon my family and take my children away. On the same ship on which I came there was a man with a beautiful, barely sixteen year old daughter. He fled because he wanted to save his child from disgrace. The old man died on the voyage. In New York they sold the maiden. NO, NO, I'M GOING! Not with a light heart do I leave these parts. Here I used up my best powers. On the Schoharie Mound several of my children lie buried. An old tree cannot easily be transplanted. But let me go! I have done my part here. In the stance I shall remember the brave Germans on the Mohawk and the Schoharie.' He had spoken slowly; there were tears in his voice. "The men pressed to the platform; many stretched out their hands to him; others tried to speak. Even the schoolmaster beat about with his hands and cried with a loud voice for the privilege to speak. But in vain; all order was now gone. :Gerlach took me by the arm and led me to Weiser's home. "'So, you are the Pastor from Echterdingen. God bless you. I have heard good things concerning you. "These words from the lips of this man who has suffered whippings and imprisonment, did me more good than if a duke had uttered them. "'Katharine Weisnberg? She is now in Albany, sold for a seven years service. My son Konrad will remain here for the present. Here, Karl Herkimer, I introduce to you the Pastor, Reverend Resig. He is a good man; hold him in high esteem.' "The old man was exhausted. Other visitors pressed forward. I desisted from asking further questions. "It was far past midnight when I climbed up the hill. I was excited. Men, on whose faces were written integrity, diligence, fidelity must leave their homes. Why? Because there was not enough land? Not at all; rather because there dwelt in this wilderness, men, who through greed, had become inhuman. These Germans along the Schoharie - the poor, orpphaned maiden sold into servitude - God pity, God protect them!" CHAPTER IV In the Wilderness "Spring has come. Fearful storms have raged. A cyclone has swept over the hills and through the forest into the Schoharie Valley. My log house trembled as though it would go to pieces. Centenarians of the forest were torn up by the roots. Bears and wolves skulked around my house last night, less afraid to be in the neighborhood of man than in the jungle in this storm. "How comfortable it feels to sit in my room and peer into the darkness, and listen to the storm's howling. How it wails and whines. It sounds like the clamor or battle; then again like the sighing of the sick; like nature's accompaniment to the stirring scenes of the meeting in Weiser's barn. "There it is again! The thunder rolls. Blinding lightning flashes from the pitch-black clouds. Louder and louder the thunder roars. The lightning forks dart from cloud to cloud. The whole firmament has become a whizzing ocean of fire. A crashing streak of lightning strikes the earth. Has it set the forest afire? "The old Ursala has become attentive. 'Spring has come,' she remarks. "A sharp thunderclap - the log hut quakes. "'That's the icebreaker,' she continues. "She looks up to the clouds. the rapid lightning flashes blind the eyes. "'That forces the grass from the ground.' "She spoke this with an air of nonchalance, as though she were saying, 'Dinner is ready.' "Now the rain is pouring down. Like the storm-beaten ocean it falls on the roof, drowning the peals of thunder. Thus it rained all night. At last it ceases, like a wrestler regaining his breath. "I step out-of-doors to look down the valley. I stand in the midsty of clous. It is lihtning about me, electric sparks fly from the earth to the clouds of fog. "Warm spring zephyrs pla about my face. Snow and ice have disappeared. The little Schoharie has flooded the valley. It has become a raging torrent. "'Ursala, come out see the dam and sawmill. Both have been swept away by the current. See how the water tosses and raves in the woods. "'What have you, Ursala?' "With a pail she had drawn two large fish from the Schoharie. "'Fish, large fish, in this small stream?' "'Only in the spring, in times of high water, when the fish become restless they go astray and come to us.' "Restless? - O the unrest of my soul! Whence does it come? I cannot stay in my hut; I cannot preach or attend to the duties of my office; I am distracted by an unsettled state of mind. The fresh odors of spring; the pungent pine and fir; the bright green mosses; the new, stirring life in the woods and fields - I storm through the settlement. The farmers are turning fresh furrows in the fields and awaken the slumbering powers of the soil to activity. The fields are already sprouting, the wind is gently fanning the young wheat. In the warm spring sunshine the log houses lose their grey, gloomy aspect. In the fields the men and women stand still and gaze at me, the odd young man who is hastening toward the dense forest. "Forest! Primeval, majestic forest! Whence thy rapture? Deep, dark retreat of all manner of life - here my sould seeks seclusion with itself and God - here is the temple of God - in thy virgin shades I bow before His majestic presence - here my soul finds rest, peace, freedom. "I have taken barely a thousand steps since I left the last fence with which a German settler protects his fields and home from the wild animals, and yet it seems as if thousands of years lie between. On the outside of the fence, fields and gardens - here the terrors of the wilderness. No path leads through the jungle. With my ax I hew a path through the bushes and undergrowth. I press on to a clearing. Here the storm had laid the old trees down, and before I was really aware of the sudden shift in my surroundings, I stood in the midst of a vast flower garden. Shall I pick a bouquet? For whom? Katharine Weisenberg in Albany? Perhaps later. For Ursala? - there, suddenly I sink deep down. I had stepped on the rotten trunk of a giant oak; with difficulty I extricate myself. "The shades grow darker. The flowers disappear. The storm did not rage here. The forest is thickly wooded. I work my way through aromatic herbs - thyme, mints, catnip. The forest becomes darker and darker, through the intertwined branches of the trees the sun's rays tremble feebly. Dew and rain drip on the clay soil. The air is becoming oppressive. Overhead the insects hum their monotonous song. Only isolated blades of grass appear on the ground. Has ever a German foot touched this place? Has ever a man planned deeds in this jungle, or a human bosom poured out its sorrows to these trees? If Homer had been driven to this wilderness would the world, notwithstanding, etol the immortal bard? "Slowly I drag myself farther. It is impossible to keep a straight direction. I may as well be a thousand miles from the nearest human being as a thousand feet. On the hill before me the forest is not so dark. A lake lies between the hills. Who formed the bottom to keep this water from flowing away? How high may this lake lie above the Schoharie? "There is a break in the underwood. A herd of deer gallops by me, closely followed by a pack of dogs. The hunter probably is not far away. I hold my breath. No human appears. Near-by a deer lies whose hind legs are gone. Now I understand, I am witnessing a forest war. Hungery wolves had lain in wait for the deer as they came to drink. Forest peace - forest war, how closely they are allied to each other. The ani9mals have no fear of man. The deer look at me wonderingly, as though they had never seen such a creature. At the same time squirrels are playing about me, apparently unmindful of my presence. "Forest stillness - forest solitude, how restful are thou to my soul1 Here the conflict of men ceases. What seems important to me elsewhere is now insignifiicant. I could live here. A grave with a mound of stones - what a monument1 For thousands of years it would remain undestroyed and undisturbed. "'BUSHO!' "I startle. That was a human voice. Against a tree there leaned carelessly a man. His copper-colored face instantly betrayed the Indian. He was almost nude. His smooth-shaven head, on which there was no hair except the unfailing scalp tuft, was decorated with a long eagle's feather, which dropped down to his shoulder. His quick movements led me to believe he was a young man. "'What white medicine man seek in forest?' His eyes turned restlessly to and fro as the hunter's lying in wait for game. "How does the brave Mohawk know me?' "'You were in Weiser's barn.' "'True, but I did not see brave chief.' "'Indian's eye never sleeps. See everything. Can find ashes of his fathers.' "He was silent. To induce him to further conversation I remarked I wished to get acquainted with the big forest and its inhabitants. "'Paleface is wise, knows much more than Indian. But paleface on Schoharie is stupid.' "'Why does great chief insult my countrymen?' "'Indian insult no man - speak truth. Your people came over big creek (Atlantic Ocean) because no gardens and fields; here much land. Indian give land, sell land. But your people not love Indian - your youg men not marry squaw - your squaw not marry Indian. Therefore much quarrel. The great Father (king of England) want your squaw for Redman, my squaw for whiteman - make strong people - then Frensh in Canada bury war-ax. But Germans not want squaw. French marry squaw and smoke peace pipe. Therefore big Father angry at you and has dark face at you.' "Have I a prophet before me, or a philsopher of history? I now see, Weiser sized up the situation correctly. "'I think Weiser will change his mind about going to Pennsylvania,' I continued. "'Change nothing,' the Indian answered. 'He gone, I his guide' "I looked at him interrogatively - he continued: "'Three hundred palefaces, men and women, horses, cows, wagons gone away south. Much weeping - twelve horses break away in forest - no more catch - on fifth day at Susquehanna - pitch tent - make canoe-ride to Tupelhook Creek - there wilderness like here - must begin all over. Foolish people Marry Indian squaw. We much land. Great Father make friendly face.' "'When did Weiser leave?' "'Snow-in-the-Face [John Konrad Weiser] gone. Fire-in-the-Face [the blond son] stay here. I, the guide, left them since sunrise ten times. My father, Big Chief, wanted to give Fire-in-the-Face young squaw - Fire-in-the-Face not want her - marry white squaw.' "He stopped speaking. I could not get another word out of him. In this hour the respect for my countrymen rose high. Where is there a generation that has to fight harder to maintai its character than these German farmers in the jungle of America? "For hours I trudged through the wildwood with the Indian. He easily found a trail everywhere. My ax became burdensome to me. The question, How is it possible to find a path in the wilderness? he would not answer. All of a sudden he stood still, uttered a short exclamation of surprise, and pointed with his finger to the earth - the footprints of a horse could distinctly be seen. "'Weiser's horse,' the Indian said. "'But it might possibly be someone else's,' I interjected. "Weiser's white horse,' he dryly replied. "Is lame on front foot - blind on left eye - lacks one front tooth.' "'The footprints might have originated from some other horse,' I answered. "'Medicine man has bad eye. Look here, the one foot sinks deeper because horse is lame and favors sick foot - is blind on left eye, eats grass on right side - lost one tooth, on every place where horse eats, a tuft of grass remains untouched - is Weiser's white horse. "It must be evening. My feet burn. The forest is getting darker. Suddenly we stand at the shore of a mountain lake. "'Spider Sea!' the Indian exclaims. He utters a suppressed 'Hu!' which is answered in the same tone of voice, and then my Mohawk disappears among the wigwams and dugouts which comprise the Indian Children play at the water's side. Indians hurriedly pass by me without as much as casting a glance at me. Blue columns of smoke rise - the smell of meat and herbs comes to me from the cooking places. "A hand touches my shoulder. It is man who beckons me to come. I follow and sit down on the grass before his hut. A woman, evidently his squaw, lays a piece of bear meat before me. I am hungry and will not let the ugly, dirty woman spoil my appetite. This Indian seems to be much more friendly and talkative than the one I met in the forest. I asked him how a stranger might find a path in the dense jungle. "'It is not hard' he answered. 'One needs only to scrutinize the trees carefully. On the north side the bark is rougher and stronger than in other places, and the tree tops incline in a southern direction.' "With feelings of gratitude I tell him of life in the Black Forest in Germany, and amuse him with reminiscences of my student days. "To my utter astonishment the Indian begins to speak French, and so perfectly as I have never heard it spoken. All of a sudden he springs up and says 'ICH AUCH DEUTSCH SPRECHEN, HAB' IN LIEPZIG MEDIZIN STUDIERT UND POETIC GELERNT -- "'MENESCHLICHES WESEN, WAS IST'S GEWESEN? IN EINER STUNDE GEHT ES ZUGRUNDE sOBALD DIE LUFTE DES TODES DREIN WEHEN.' "He holds his breath. His bosom heaves. He hastens to the forest. Here I have the illustration of the French of whom my Mohawk said, "French marry squaw and smoke pipe.' "For a long time I lay awake on the grass plot. Yes, indeed, the German wants a home, a space he can call his own. He wants to raise a family, but could not be satisfied to rest in the arms of these nauseous Indian Woman. "What a beautiful summer night in this immense forest. The starry heaven above, the motionless lake beneath reflecting the soft beams of the moon. Thousands of bright fireflies illumine the night. The Indian children amuse themselves by feeding the lightning bugs to the frogs, who devour them with avidity. The fireflies stay alive in the frogs and shine through their bodies - a strange spectacle. The luminous flies are so numerous that the air seems to be full of flying stars. CHAPTER V THE BUSHWACKERS "I sat on the banks of the Mohawk and watched the waterfalls. Presently I heard a rustling noice as if someone were breaking branches from the trees. It was a mother bear with her three cubs, in quest of honey. One could hardly imagine how agile and sure-of-foot these clumsy animals are in climbing trees. Cautiously they approach the beehive and with a quick push, knock it over. The bear, on which the furious bees descend, runs to the river and dives under, and dripping with water she now rushes upon her prey, no longer molested by the beers. A long time I sat at the stream, a silent spectator, observing movement of the bear and her cubs. But now, as I arise, she becomes attentive, she discovers the intruder and flees to the nearby thicket. There must be men in the neighborhood whom she has reasons to fear. A short mile up the river and I am in the camp of the bushwackers, men who make tar and turpentine. "Large, coarse-boned fellows they are, who, with their pitch-black fists, can easily break a board in two. Their work is hard. They divide the long trunks in four equal parts, in the direction of the four points of the compass. When, in the spring, the sap rises, they peel the northern quarter two feet long, there where the sun has the least force, and thus extract the tar. In the fall they peel the southern quarter, and the next year the other two parts. Then the part saturated with turpentine is cut into pieces and prepared in ovens. One smells the pitchmaker and his home for miles. No wonder Weiser and his Germans found no pleasure in this work which had been forced on them. Alongside of the pitch workers were the coopers pounding and hammering away, making tar barrels. Close-by is the lumber camp. The saw howls and whines, and with a crash the trees fall under the heavy blows of the axes. "They are a rough set. They do not speak in ordinary tones of voice, but rather 'holler' at one another - when they curse their voices resound far through the forest. Not one is without scars. The card tables, beer and whiskey account for that, which the women brew in large caldrons. "Women? Yes, they have women. God only knows where their cradles stood. Red-headed Irish, black eyed French, mongrels from Louisiana, very young girls - a motley crowd, all fitting into the picture. "I ask one of the girls, not fourteen years old, with a baby on her lap, 'Where's the mother of this child?' With a shrewd twinkle she answers, 'That's my baby, if you want to know, and I'm the wife of Big Bill.' "A group of wild, unwashed boys cluster about me while I am showing the picture of 'Joseph, Sold by His Brethren' But hardly had they begun to listen to my story when sounds like the rattling of grasshoppers interrupted us. "'RATTLESNAKE!' they yell, and jump aside. With sticks and stones they attack the reptile, fully four feet long. The snake darts into the underbrush, but big Hans follows and kills it. Quickly he springs back, for he discovers another rattler that has coiled itself ready to attack him. But he immediately recovers his presence of mind, returns, and slays this one also. We examine the venemous fangs and cut out the rattles, of which the one had seven, the other, nine. But because the girls laud Hans's heroism there ensues a quarrel with the other boys, who claim appreciation of their help, and before I am aware of what has happened a lusty fist fight is going on. "BEHAVE YOURSELVES, YOU RASCALS!' thunders Red Peter, and commands them to go their way. "In the evening I enter a conversation with Peter and his wife. "'Are you a real preacher? asks the raven-black Barbel. "'You can easily see that,' rejoins Red Peter. 'Why do you ask such a stupid question?' "'Weiser has left for Pennsylvania, I understand,' he remarked to me. 'I suppose there are farms for sale now along the Schoharie?' "I answered by asking him, 'Why do you want to leave the Mohawk Valley?' "'To make tar is no proper business. We do not know for whom we are working . The barrels are filled and then sent down the Mohawk and Hudson to New York, and who knows where else.' "'Doesn't the Governor pay you?' "'O, yes; but I want a home. I want to send my children to school and have them brought up as Christians - these people here - well, they are just the Devil's outfit.' "Neighbors and others began to file in the room until a fair representation of the camp had gathered. "'Land costs money,' I continued. "I have a bank account in Albany,' replied Peter. "Loud laughter followed this declaration of Peter. "'BANK NOTES ARE BETTER THAN LAND,' cried the French. 'Land must be worked; bank notes buy women and wine.' "The derision heaped on these simple Germans knew no bounds. "They are a frivolous people, these Frenchmen. We Germans want our own homesteads. A year hence I hope to buy a farm." CHAPTER VI "The valleys, in which the farmers dwell, are fertile. Every kernel of wheat sprouts and on every stem there hangs a heavy ear of grain. These people understand the cultivation of the land. They till the soil savingly, even in the forest they sow wheat in patches where the sun strikes the ground, ad reap the harvest in the summer. "It is harvest-time. From early morn till late in the evening men, women, and children are in the fields. Busily the scythe glides through the wheat. Women and girls bind it in small sheaves and lay them in heaps. The scorching July sun drives many a mower to the nearest tree to escape sunstroke. Finally the last wheatfield disappears and great stacks await the day of threshing. "'Look at these kernels, they are as big as beans,' so saying, Gerlach holds a handful of the mealy grain before the face of his wife. "They have scant time for holidays, these pioneer farmers, but the harvest Home they will celebrate. The people pour in from the farms and villages, even the tar- and lumberjacks join in the festivities. They come from all parts of the forest with their wives and herds of children. Huge piles of fresh-baked bread, hams and sausages are consumed. Surreptitiously the shrewd Brandyweiner, regardless of strict orders to bring no alcoholic liquors, smuggles brandy in his basked to the festival grounds. "A fir tree, smoothly peeled, is planted as maypole. On its top hang the prizes - pistols, harmonicas, knives, moneybags, dolls, necklaces, and many other tempting things. Nimbly the boys climb up the pole and bring down the tropies. Then begin the games of the boys and girls - sack- and foot- and egg-races. "The festivities are in full swing. Loud and noisy the voices ring on the air when suddenly a long defile of Indians emerges from the forest, picturesquely adorned, marching silently, one behind the other, in their soft moccasins, to join in the gladness of the day. "The contests of the adults are now staged. They fling horseshoes, play ball [it is in this region where in 1839 the first baseball diamond was laid out by General Abner Doubleday, and the first game played]. The last great event is a race in which four nations compete. Politely bowing, the Frenchman and Irishman enter the racecourse. The applause, with which they are greeted, is answered by deep bows and repeated removal of their torn hats from their heads. The German follows. He returns the acclamations with a smile. Finally, in slow, measured steps, the Indian approaches the runners. With a shout the crowds greet him, but Indian-like he pays no attention to them. The Indian is the stoic of America. "The umpire gives the signal. With the fleetness of a deer the Kelt and the Frenchman start off, but in a quarter of a mile they weaken. Slower, but in longer strides, the German follows, and similarly the Indian. A quarter of a mile - the Frenchman and Kelt are in the lead; a half mile - both are overtaken; three quarters of a mile - only the German and the Indian remain in the race. Breathless the spectators follow the two, even among the Indians a certain restlessness is noticeable. They reach the goal. Who won the race? Loud confusion ensues. Everybody takes sides with his nationality. The result was a tie; they must run the race once more - such was the decision of the umpire. "The German was none other than Konrad Weiser, who, as a child had been sold to the Indians. He had learned not only their language, but also their endurance and tenacity. A high pitch of tension had by this time taken possession of the olookers. Both Germans and Indians consider it a matter on which the honor of their respective nation depends. "Again the umpire gives the signal - the two contestants speed over the track. They leave a cloud of dust in their train. A half mile - now the one, now the other is an arm's length ahead. The excitement rises - the specatators hold their breath - not a word is spoken. They are nearing the goal - the outcome is uncertain. All of a sudden Weiser springs against the Indian, whether accidentally or intentionally, no one knows - the Indian falls - a few more steps - Weiser wins the race. Wild jubilation breaks forth from the Germans. They throw their hats and coats high in the air. But the Indians are embittered. Many utter threats and clench their fists against the German settlement. Konrad Weiser had not lived in vain among the Indians. He knew their nature and revenge. 'My hide is dearer to me,' he remarks, 'than the bearsking which had been set apart as the prize for the winner of the race.' He walked over to the Indians, and with a woebegone face gave one after the other his hand, expressing his deep regrets over the accident that had happened to him. The bearhide, which the umpire had handed to him, he forced on the Indian, remarking, 'My brother is the fastest runner.' That allayed all hard feelings. The Indians in turn did not wish to be less magnanimous than the Germans - they compelled Weiser to keep the bearskin. O! he's diplomat, this young Weiser. "As an expression that all wouds had been healed, the brandy bottle was passed around, and when the sun went down the Kelts and Frenchman, Germans and Indians all lay peaceful alongside of each other - the firewater had won the victory." CHAPTER VII wedding Bells "In the German colony the harvest formed an inexhaustible subject of conversation. "'Is the wheat sweating under the heavy matnle of snow?' is the question asked in winter. "'The hard frosts may have ruined the crops,' fears the farmer at srpingtime. "'Rust may have set in,' and they shake their heads dubiously at one another. "At last the glad word is spoken, 'A good year, a good wheat crop is assured.' The young men look wistfully in the distance; embarrassed, the maidens cast their eyes to the ground, the crimson flush covering their virgin cheeks. "'Good sheat this year,' signifies from the lips of a young man, 'I have saved enough for two. When shall the wedding be?' "Forthwith the happy bride is no longer seen in the fields. So much faster the needle flies. They tailor and fit, count the number of pieces of linen finished - the wardrobe is the most retless place in the house. The preparation for a rural wedding is hard work, but the women look upon it as a sweet joy, every workday is a holiday to them. "The wedding day is fixed. If only the corn were cut, an early frost might undo everything. No sooner had a September morning dawned than a pretty girl's head protruded form the window - 'It's only dew. My! but I was frightened when I saw the earth white as icy frost,' she murmured to herself. Once more she looks at the roofs - 'It's really nothing but dew, it can do the corn no harm.' There has been full moon during the night. When that is gone there is little danger of frost. "In the fall the life of these jungle farmers is delightful. When the foliage changes its color and the red-cheeked apples shine through the leaves; when the wagons return heavily laden from the fields; when the sun's mild rays fill the fields and forest in these lovely Indian summer days; when the boys trudge over hill and dale with sacks of chestnuts and hickorynuts; when in the evenings the young men press the juice from the apples - then is life a joy! "But the winter is severe. Cutting cold wind whips about the hut. Snowdrifts as high as a house blockade the paths and roads, preventing communication with the neighbors. For that reason the young farmer marries his wife in the fall. May the storm howl and rage; may the sun hide itself behind the clouds; in his room a cheery fire is crackling on the hearthstone, and the bright, laughing eyes of his young bride seem to the young husband more than all the sunshine in the world. Therefore - no wedding in the spring when the farmer must go out and labor from morn till night. No! Fall is the time to get married, for during the raw, cold winter he enjoys the sweet happiness of his first love and builds his heaven on earth. While he feeds his cows, and sheep, and horses, his heart rebounds with an exuperance of joy -'MY WIFE! MY HOME! - O, HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THIS WORLD!' 'it is the first marriage I solemnize. I am well acquainted with the young people. Christian Schell is the bridegroom's name; Greta Merkle, the bride's. "The HOCHZEITSBITTER, the man employed to invite the guests, went through the German settlement and announced his invitation: 'A courteous request and invitation, and you shall come to the wedding of Christian Schell and Gretha Merkle, at the home of the parents of the bride, Thursday after Martini.' If at some place he found no one at home e drew with a piece of chalk the picture of a wedding bouquet on the door. He did his work conscientiously, with the result that on the day of the wedding the guests arrived from all sides. The men wear a wedding bouquet on their coats; the women have adorned themselves with bright ribbons. Not only German folk live in these forests, also German customs and manners have been established. "Twelve o'clock was the appointed hour of the wedding. Such was the wish of the bride. If at the moment the clock strikes twelve when the minister speaks the words, 'I now pronounce you husband and wife,' that will bring good luck, for then Christ and His twelve Apostles will be present. As a precautionary measure, however, a trustworthy man had been stationed at the clock to move the hands so as to make the clock strike twelve when the magic words are spoken. "The bridal pair steps forward. The well-groomed Christian Schell displays a wedding bouquet in the lapel of his coat. The bride wears a white veil, on her brown hair the tender green of the myrtle, from under which her beautiful face peers forth sweetly. At their sides stand the fathers and mothers of the bridal couple, and in a semicircle the bridesmaids and groomsmen. "They stand before me. The request had been made that I read the 127th Psalm, the beautiful hymn of faith of God's Ancient People. The sacred volume lies open in my hands. I am on the point of reading the words: 'Excpet the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,' when unexpectedly a concelaed band begins to play. Almost all the men of the Palatinate are violinists or players of wind instruments. They had hidden behind the guests and in that way sprung the surprise. They struck up the choral, 'IN ALLEN MEINEN TATEN, LASS ICH DEN HOCHSTEN RATEN' (In all of life's affairs, I supplicate in prayers, for council of the Lord). "The men and women all join in singing, for they all know the hymn by heart. Under the coarse exterior of these farmers and bushwackers there dwells the living faith in Almighty God. Only Christians can sing as these people do. They sing with their whold soul, as if the hymn would banish the evil spirits in the air and as if they desired to extend a hearty, exalted welcome to Christ HImself. This expression of their deep spiritual life overwhelmed my feeling. "I read the Psalm: 'Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrow: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an inheritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.' "My premeidations concerning the evergreen of immortal fidelity, the rosiness of tender love, of which I had read in the books of the poets, forsook me after hearing this song. I spoke extemporaneously about building homes, of man's toil and sorrows; I thought of old father Weiser and his farewell address - of these things I spoke and worked myself into a fervor, in which I pointed to the mercy and succor of God, when suddenly I noticed old father Weber moving the hands of the cloc; I then knew it was time to stop. I announced the hymn: "'With might of ours naught can be done, Soon were our loss effected; But for us fights the Valiant One, Whom God Himself selected. Ask ye who He is? Jesus Christ, it is, Of Sabaoth, Lord, And there's no other God, He holds the field forever.' "This battle hymn of Martin Luther they sang with such power that the echo resounded from the hills. A hush of devotion followed. The men folded their hands; the women dried the tears from their eyes. They had understood my words better than I had. "I now began to read the service. Mother Merkle presses the groom and bride closely together that no one may blance between the two, a superstition that their married life may be spared of strife and discord. I now bid the two to give each other the right hand, and as I am about to speak the words, 'I now pronounce you husband and wife,' father Weber adroitly moes the hand of the clock forward, which strikes twelve as the binding words are spoken. The intrigue was a 'pronounced' success. I now speak the benedition - the foundation of a new home on the Schoharie are laid. "The guests sat down to the wedding banquet, to tables that groaned under all that heart could desire. With GEMUTHLICHKEIT the occasion was celebrated as only Germans know how to do. After the repast was over the old schoolmaster Heim brought in rhyme his greetings, as had been his wont for many years. He declaimed his own verses: "'Since Christ turned at a wedding-time, In Cana, water into wine, He comes to every marriage-fest That they who bid him may be blest. For in this vale of pain and care, The married have their share to bear. So when the clouds o'er you do form, Trust that He'll keep you from all harm. To Christian now, and Gretha Schell, The glasses raise and wish them well; Their home and fields, their sheep and kine, May God bless to them for all time. May there be added, too, the joys Of girls like Rachel and of boys, Life's toil and burden may assuage. Who to their parents in old age That their posterity may tell The fame of the house - Christian Schell.' "The schoolmaster had recited his poem with a mixture of earnestness and humor. The women listened attentively, the men clapped their hands. "The congratulations and presentation of gifts followed. The gift PAR EXCELLENCE was given by Konrad Weiser. He made the presentation with these words: "'A valuable book I give you. Not because of its price, but because I walked all the way to New York, two hundred miles, and back, to buy it. Therefore, use this book diligently, it will beirng you blessings.' So saying he handed them Arndt's 'True Christianity.' He really had walked to New York for the sake of purchasing this volume and on the way encountered a pack of wolves. He is a brave man, this young Weiser. The incident made a deep impression on all present. "The band now struck up a lively air, which suddenly changed into wild music, and into the room came dancing a young woman, masqueraded as a gypsy. Around her bare neck she displayed a necklace of pearls, on her arms rings and ribbons. "'THE FORTUNE-TELLER!' a number of voices exclaimed. "She had already grasped the resisting hand of the bride, and rapidly she spurted forth the words, 'THERE'LL BE NO LACK OF WHEAT AND CORN; NO LACK OF BRAVE MEN WHO WILL CHARGE THE BEARS AND KILL THE WOLVES; NO LACK OF SOLDIERS WHEN THE TREACHEROUS INDIANS FALL UPON THE HOMES - HU!HU! WHITE SPOTS ON THE FINGERS! THEY MEAN BOYS AND GIRLS - ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE - TWINS - TRIPLETS' - now Gretha wrenched her hand loose and tried to stop the mouth of the witch, but in that moment strong hands seized her feet. In the excitement Christian had forgotten that simultaneously with the etrance of the fortune-teller several young men crept under the table. Whichever one should succeed in pulling a shoe from the foot of th bride would have the first dance with her. But Gretha fought them off; in fact, no German bride on the Schoharie ever lost a shoe. "The hilarity by this time had risen to a high pitch. Not until after continued loud hammering could so distinguished a man as Karl Herkimer be heard. After order was restored, he said, 'An old acquaintance of my family wishes to say a few words.; "Beside HERRN Herkimer stood a man, stooping somewhat, his hair unkempt, and wearing a thread-bare coat. "'I amd DAITSCH [German] too,' he began. 'Am I no Christian man, am I an honest German Jew, what much has traveled from the Hudson to the Susquehanna; what knows every German from New York to Germantown and Philadelphia. Shall I bring greetings from Katharine Weisenberg, what lives in Albany; her mother was a sister of Frau Merkle. Shall I greet and wish in her name much happiness and blessing to Christian Schell and what is his new wife, Gretha Schell. And if you will not laugh at a man what is aJew, what is an honest Jew, and what HERRN Karl Herkimer has done the honor to call "an old acquaitace of his family," then I also would like to wish the bridal pair happiness and blessing.' He then raised his hands, and, in a solemn tone of voice, said: 'The God of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob, bless you as He blest the patriarchs, what were wanderers as we are. May He protect you as He protected David when he fled before Saul. May He give you wisdom, richest and longn life, as He gave them to Solomon. May He give you sons, God-fearing as Joseph, faithful as Jonathan, and daughters beautiful as Rachel and intelligent as Ruth. That wishes with his whole heart, Jonathan Schmul.' "The wedding guests were deeply moved by these words. They had listened with marked attention. I pressed his hand and wanted to commend his remarks, but he warded me off with the words, 'ISS GUTE, ISS GUTE!' "The shades of night had fallen. I wended my way home. But I could not sleep. The greeting from Katharine Weisenberg had upset me. I rose and walked down the hill and gazed long in the water. My heart was heavy. There is a murmuring and whispering in the stream as if the water sprites were having a rendezvous. I felt very unhappy - Katharine! - Katharine! "Suddenly I heard close by the call: "'HEAR YE PEOPLE AND LET IT BE KNOWN, THE CLOCK STRUCK TWO, ALL SHOULD BE HOME. TWO WAYS OF LIFE TO WALK MAN HATH, O! LORD, LET ME CHOOSE THE NARROW PATH.' "What! nighwatchmen in this wilderness of America? But I called to mind that as a rule one member of every household serves as watchman against the attacks of the Indians; in this night special precautions were taken. At this late hour he shall not meet me. I retrace my steps up the hill to my home." CHAPTER VIII The Captive The Canary in his cage warbles his sweet song. He is well cared for. Daily his cage is cleaned. New paper is spread on the bottom. Fresh water and birdseed are put in the cups. A slice of apple is pressed between the wires. His cage is hung in the sunshine. The various members of the family speak in affectionate tones to him, a language he well understands. But - there is a deep longing in his breast - he longs for the freedom of the woods and the fields. He would mingle with other birds; choose his mate; sip at the brooks; pick up his food from the ground; find worms; catch insects, and above all, fly through the wide domain of heaven - FREIHEIT, DIE ICH LIEB!" (freedom which I love) that is his heart's gladdest song. Such a captive was Katharine Weisenberg. Two years she had been with the wealth, proud, Van der Heids in Albany. She had a good home; wholesome food; a warm bed; appropriate clothes, and the Van der Heids were church members - she could go to church occasionally. One day Katharine noticed a familiar picture in the Albany paper. Picking it up she discovered it to be a woodcut of her rescuer, PASTOR Resig. The article gave a description of his missionary labors among the Germans on the Schoharie. She clipped it from the paper and laid it in her Bible. Daily she would look at that picture. "Yes," she confessed to herself, "I love him. He saved me from a life of shame and through him the whole course of my life was changed. But who am I that I could ever hope of becoming his wife? I am an orphan, a poor, imprisoned girl. A 'redemptioner' I am called in polite language. Why not say in plain English, a slave, for that is all I am. Why does the English Government tolerate such wrongs? Why not let me work at regular wages where I please, and collect these until my debt is paid, and let me keep my freedom? Even the clothes I wear and the few coins my mistress gives me in her best moods are not mine. Five more years I must labor here before I shall be free, that is a long time. There is no hope of seeing him before these five years are up. Besides, he is a cultured man who towers high above me in education and social standing; as a wife I would often embarrass him. But I love him." She opened the Bible, looked at his picture, and wept bitterly. "O, if I were only free! If I could go to Weisersdorf and visit my aunt, who knows, there might be a contact with the HERRN PASTOR, but I cannot go, I am sold, I am a chattel - O God! why this bondage?" There was a knock at the door. Katharine hurriedly dried her tears and hastened to see who it might be - it was her aunt and cousin Gretha who stood before her. She was most happily surprised. They had come to tell her all about the wedding. From time to time her aunt Merkle and cousins on the Schoharie would come to visit her but these visits were permitted only with the consent, in the presence, and under the surveillance of the Van der Heids. No confidential affairs could be discussed, although Katharine and her aunt and cousin had so much to say that other ears should not hear. But they did tell Katharine all about the great and happy wedding, and Katharine elicited from her aunt that the young HERRN PASTOR had no heart alliances with any girl on the Schoharie and that he always inquired of Katharine when he came to their home, which latter information quieted Katharine's heart. CHAPTER IX The Pedlar "The day after the wedding, while I was visiting with the Gerlachs, Jonathan Schmul came into the house, set down his boxes and bundles, and drew a long breath. "'What to buy, madam what in need of? he betan, 'and how's the man and the children? Fine, healthy looking kids, cheeks like -' "'Call father, Fritz,' interrupted Mrs. Gerlach. The boy stormed into the field, and yelled as loud as he could, 'THE PEDLAR, FATHER, COME HOME, THE PEDLAR!' "In the meantime Schmul opened his packages, the children scrutinizing the contents with exclamations of wonder, and as the Jew displayed the glorious things before their eyes, they drew nearer. 'BUY ME THE KNIFE, MOTHER, WEBER FRITZ HAS ONE LIKE IT,' cried Fritz. "'ME THE EARRINGS, MOTHER,' screams little Elizabeth. ''I MUST HAVE A WOOLEN SWEATER FOR THE WINTER,' says Andrew with emphasis. He is now fifteen years old and may demand things. "'GET AWAY! HIT THEM ON THE HANDS, PEDLAR,' commands the mother. But Schmul is too shrewd to do that, he knows the children are his best customers. "Gerlach, who had entered and washed his hands, now sits down and opens a conversation on the weather and wheat. But the Jew adroitly turns the subject to business. "'Anything I can please you with today? Here is medicine, iss gute for fever, iss pure extract rom roots, I have secreat from an old Indian. Or these pills? Iss gute for cough, especially for children what cannot sleep. Have you any left?' "'Not much,' replies Gerlach. "'Have I not said the truth? Iss gute medicine for colic in calves and young pigs. Man, you have tried it, answer, if I have said the truth.' "'It isn't bad,' replies Gerlach, who is afraid that if he praises the remedy the pedlar may raise the price. "Gerlach now begins to bargain, and haggle, and finally buys. Fritz, overjoyed, is running around the house with a new mouth organ. Lieschen is crying loud because the earrings pinch her. The big boys are examining the wares with the eyes of a connoisseur, they buy knives, whetstones, and powder, the father the while examining a pipe. "'NOW, THAT BEATS ALL - DON'T YOU DARE,' the wife exclaims and shakes her fist at her husband Christian. 'But while Mrs. Gerlach is inspecting the rugs, cotton, calico, and thread, she does not observe the bargaining of the men. Her spouse stealthily draws a wallet from his Sunday and hands the pedlar silver and copper coins. Schmul assures him, it is the most beautiful pipe on the Schoharie. "They are laying in store for the winter - woolen underwear - the blouse costs only $3.00. 'I sell cheaper than the stores in Albany and have carried it to your door. I am satisfied with a small profit - live and let live is my motto.' "Gerlach is beginning to feel uncomfortable. The tables are stacked high with clothes, toys, medicine - he scratches his head, bargains and haggles anew, but all in vain. "'Jonathan Schmul do an honest business.' "The farmer plays his last trump: 'Schmul, I really don't need anything. I did not want to send you away without buying something, but your prices are too high. I'll buy nothing today, perhaps when you come again - do not feel offended.' "But Gerlach does buy; goes to the bureau and draws forth his leather 'cat,' and pays the Jew's price. "'What shall I say,' continues Schmul, 'this shawl, look at it, it is the last I have.' So saying, he unfolds a really beautiful shawl with rich black fringes. "Gerlach wards of the Jew's new advances, shakes his head; but the shawl has captured the eyes of his wife - she feels the texture. "'Wool, pure Portuguese wool, spun and woven in Paris, what iss the capital of France, where iss the newest mode; have sold one to Herkimer, his wife. Iss beautiful, but not so fine as this. Was made in Lyon, what is also in France. This one comes from Paris, what is the center of fashions.' "He lays the shawl about Mrs. Gerlach's shoulders - the girls look longingly at the cloth- "'WHAT ARE YOU GAPING AT? NOW, THAT BEATS ALL! I HAVE WORKED MORE AND HARDER THAN YOU ALL TOGETHER HAVE IN YOUR WHOLE LIFETIME, HAVE GOTTEN TO BE OLD AND NO ONE HAS EVER BOUGHT ME A SHAWL LIKE THIS.' She sputters, and gulps, and flurries about; but Gerlach is a sensible man, he tells Schmul he will take the shawl. "'HAVE YOU MONEY TO THROW AWAY?' Mrs. Gerlach flares up. She noises around the stove, lays wood on the fire, pushes pots and pans to and fro, and all that with a fierce, threatening mien, to all of which Gerlach pays no attention - he quietly pays the Jew for the shawl, this time with bank notes. "You will stay and have dinner with us,' says Gerlach to the Jew. 'It will soon be ready. Tell me something about what is going on in the settlement, and of affairs in the world.' "Jonathan Schmul accepts the invitation. The pedlar answers the purpose of anewspaper. He knows almost everybody in the two states; he can give you the names of the families of large relationships, and carries messages from one to the other. After dinner he takes a prayer book from his pack and hands it to the old grandmother. 'It is a Christian book, printed by my friend Christian Sauer, in Philadelphia. When you read it, think of Schmul, what is a Jew and does an honest business.' So saying, he takes his leave. "I followed him and invited him to my house. I listened to his narrations the whole afternoon. Concerning the strangers from Echterdingen, he informed me that Weisenberg died of seasickness on the voyage, after which the SEELENVERKAUFER (thieves) riddles the dead man's pockets, and after arriving in New York, there being not enough money left to defray his daughter's traveling expenses to the Schoharie, she was sold to a wealthy Dutch family in Albany where she must serve seven years. She has a good home. Her beauty tempted the son of the family, but the girl knows how to handle such situations. She is not only attractive, she is also a young woman of fine discretion and knows how to hold her own. No one need worry about her. Whether or not she mentioned my name, Schmul could not recollect. 'Schmul asked me whether I knew Sir Johnson. He is a young Englishman who possesses large areas of land where the Schoharie empties into the Mohawk. This young man associates much with the Van der Heides. 'If you wish me to deliver a message to Katharine, I shall be pleased to do so.' "'Does Sir Johnson know Katharine?' "'I saw,' answered Schmul, 'as he passed the girl, that his eyes were riveted on her.' "'O, my!' - the words escaped my lips. "'Be without care, HERRN PASTOR, he will never marry her, and in any other way she will not yield herself to him.' "More I could not elicit from him on this subject. "'HERRN PASTOR, do not take offence at a poor Jew if I take the liberty to say a frank word to you. Stay with this people on the Schoharie. They are noble men and women, even if they do wear beggars' clothes. The wandering preachers are a low class; you are the man for this region.' "'But the whiskey, Schmul.' "'That is true. But the Hollanders are to blame for that. With the firewater they bought the friendship of the Indians. With my own eyes I saw how they treated these wild men. Persistently they supplied the Indians with brandy until they redeeded the land which the Germans had bought and cultivated. Hunter subsequently approved of this imposture, an outrage that broke old man Weiser's heart. The people are in need of a leader - you are the man. You are wise and faithful, which is as a true as I am an honest Jew.' "'But the whiskey,' I repeated. "'Can't be helped,' answered the pedlar. 'The Germans must give the Indians brandy as the Dutch do; Konrad Weiser, what is a wise man, adopted this policy also - he was compelled to do it.' "'Jonathan Schmul, where do you live?' "'Have revealed that to no one, but since you are a minister and can keep the secrets o the confessional I'll tell you. Ten miles west is a creek named after the German, Kobel, that is Kobelscreek. There I found a cave when the Indians were after me. I call it Howes Cave. That's my home. But be mum about this. Should war break out, then flee to this cave and you will be safe. I fear the worst, for the Redskins covet the cattle of the Germans.' "He arose and was about to depart. It pained me to see him leave. I take him to be a faithful man. After opening the door, he returned once more and said, 'HERRN PASTOR, I thank you that you have ofered a man, what iss a Jew, a chair and given him salt and bread. If ever you are in need of a friend in this great forest, then call me, I will help you, and give for the Germans and the HERRN PASTOR my money and my life, as sure as my name is Schmul.'" CHAPTER X HOWES CAVERNS To the Californian who revels in the natural wonders of his state it is a happy surprise to tour through scenic New York State. The meandering drive around the Five Finger Lakes, thence over the historic Cherry Valley Turnpike from Syracuse to Schenectady, and from Albany down the Hudson to New York, is an inspiration. It is a country of hills and dales; of mountains and forests; of rivers and lakes; of beautiful cities and villages with lawns well kept and streets planted to full-grown shade trees, under whose arches it is a delight to pass. The motorist is ever reaching new summits from which glorious panoramas greet his eyes, especially on such high elevations as in Schoharie County where vistas open to the Adirondack Mountains to the north, the Catskills to the south, th region of the Susquehanna to the southwest. Once seen, these landscapes remain a lovely picture on the mind. The Hudson - it is not less beautiful than the Rhine. But the outstanding attractions are Niagara Falls at the western portal of the state and Howes Caverns near the eastern boundary. Howes Caverns is second only to Niatara Falls in the Northeast of the United States. Near Cobleskill, one mile from New York State Route 7, stands a stately lodge, which commands a twenty mile long view of the valley and mountains beyond. This building may be seen far and wide, and tells you, Here is Howe Caverns. The imposing edifice comprises "a spacious lounge, a huge fireplace, an attractive tea room, and and elevator tower." The elevator runs one hundred and fifty-six feet under the ground. "These elevators, the good walks, and electric lights make the visit easy, comfortable and pleasant. The temperature is about 56 degrees the year around. For nearly a mile and a half the visitor winds his way through Caverns high and wide in which he finds a beautiful lake, galleries, and halls. It is fascinating to stand in one of the chambers and view the mysterious stalactites and stalagmites looming like spectral giants or flaring in delicate veils like floating fairies' wings. "In Howes Caverns there are many such curious, beautiful and colorful formations, among which are Juliet's Balcony, the Hand of Tobacco, the Fish Market, the Flying Boat, the Climbing Turtle, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Golden Cascade, the Home of the Kissing Bridge, the Glacier, and yet more wonders. "In addition to the beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone, there is a crystal-like stream singing its way through the Caverns ond over little waterfalls and finally flowing into the beautfiful Lagoon of Venus, which is nearly six hundred feet in length and two hundred feet below the surface. A marvelous curious example of erosion by water, called the Winding Way, is a tortuous series of 'S's,' about five hundred feet in length. This Winding Way is from ten to one hundred feet high and is so crooked that one can barely see the person ahead."* *By kind permission of Mr. Virgil Clymour, treasurer, Howes Caverns, Inc. After waling almost the whole length of the passage, the guide turns off the light, giving the visitor a taste of what it is to be buried alive, or at least, to be in "outer darkness" for several moments. Short as this experience is, the gruesome feelings of the Shades of Virgil will never be forgotten. It took our company one hour and a quarter to go through the Caverns. According to the Diary of Pastor John Peter Resig, Jonathan Schmul was the first white man to enter these caverns, some time between 1709 and 1734. Here he lived, and, as wee shall see later, the cave played an important role in the Revolutionary War. Chapter XI The Decision "Two years I have been here and have accomplished nothing. I have roamed through the wilderness and followed the streams as if I were in quest of great discoveries. I have sought human beings, have induced them to tell me their life stories, in the hope of finding in their unrest peace for my storm-beaten heart. They have been very kind to me, these Germans on the Schoharie. Most graciously they have opened to me, the odd stranger, their doors, and shown me their warm hospitality. The manifold questions concerning me and the objects I have in view often embarrassed me. "Why don't you preach for us?' is their almost constant greeting when they meet me. I may thank old Herrn Weiser for recommending me so heartily, else they might not have had patience with me so long. “This day I made the decision. I shall take up the work among this people. Up to this time I hoped it would be possible for me to return to the State Church in Germany. I had written to influential men and friends of my youth – the answer has finally arrived: miserably I have been disowned. Like a notorious criminal I have been excommunicated from the church and deprived of my citizenship. “Serves you right,” wrote one ‘friend,’ ‘sovereigns are the anointed of the Lord, to oppose them is not becoming a servant of the Gospel.’ There I have it! Lord, why does thou chastise my dear old home and with such men? As I read the letters my mother sent me, I became furious. I struck the table with my fist, so that Ursala startled; it being cloudy, she looked out of the window to see whether a thunderstorm was approaching. My God! I did not know whether I should rave and condemn, or weep and laugh. “But the saying is here, ‘The darkes cloud has its silver lining.’ There are still men of honor in Germany. One of my professors in Tübingen transmitted greetings to me by my mother; he is afraid to write me direct lest the spies of the Duke should intercept the letter. I feel very sorry for such timid souls. But the prelate and court-preacher Ulsperger is a whole man. A monument should be erected to his honor right in front of the Court Church, as a sermon to posterity that honor and fidelity of man has not yet perished from the earth. “Serenissimus (reigning sovereign) requested that his first mistress be remembered in the regular Sunday prayers in the Court Church! The army of the courtiers, court councilors, medical councilors, and suckers bow and acquiesce in this preposterous demand. But the court preacher hurls the words into the face of the Duke: ‘Your Majesty, for your mistress the Church has been praying right along. For every time the Lord’s Prayer is offered and the petition is uttered, “Deliver us from evil,” the whole country thinks of her.’ “If I were the Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire I would, for the sake of this one Ulsperger, elevate all Ulspergers to the rank of nobility. I stormed into the forest with this letter; when I had read the words of this man, it seemed as though a storm were sweeping through the forest. A manly word awakens manly feelings, above all – courage. “I have come to a decision. Our times need men who will deny themselves and bring sacrifices; men who will stand up for truth and the right; men who are not afraid, not even of those in high places, to rebuke and punish. ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it.’ If I desire not to kill my time, I must deny myself, suffer, and plod on in patience. But after I shall no longer be in the land of the living there will be those who will thank God that I was driven to America. Therefore, John Peter Resig, the Forest Person on the Schoharie, by that name I shall be known, either to accomplish something worthwhile or to go under.” Chapter XII “I preached my first sermon on Easter. The service was planned to be held in Gerlach’s barn because it is the largest in the vicinity.
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Submitted Date:  April 23, 2016