Travels Through North America, during the years 1825 and 1826

By His Highness,
Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach

Next morning I received another visit from parson Seidel, and went with him to Bishop Huffel; the bishop is a man of about sixty years of age, also a Saxon, and a very friendly man, who has traveled much and speaks pleasantly. He had a very handsome collection of minerals, particularly of American marbles; Mr. Seidel resides with him in the oldest dwelling of the town, which has quite the appearance of the house of a country parson in Germany, and has even German locks and bolts to it; in this house is a large hall, which formerly served the parish as a church until the church was finished. I visited the church, escorted by the two divines; the arrangements are quite simple, a white hall with benches, and a somewhat higher seat for the clergy, with a table before it; the church has a very fine organ, which was made at New York. The bishop, who is a good performer on the piano, had the goodness to play for me on the organ. From the steeple of the church is a handsome prospect of the surrounding neighborhood, the Lehigh, the mountains of the same name, and the Blue Mountains. In the church building, next to the large hall, are several chambers, where they formerly kept school, before the new school was built, but now the elders hold their conferences in it, and the smaller meetings of the parish. By building this new church, the parish incurred a debt; the building, however, is not very tasty. The burying place of the congregation is upon a small hill, and resembles a garden planted with trees. The graves are in rows, a simple stone lying on each, containing the name, birth, and time of death of the departed. This morning I observed by a circular notice, the death of a young lad who died last evening; in order to give notice of his death, they played with trumpets the tunes of three hymns from the steeple, early in the morning; certainly a very simple and touching ceremony! The corpse is put in the corpse-house, and the burying takes place, in presence of the whole parish. Not far from the burying place, upon an elevated spot, is a cistern, in which by means of a forcing machine, the water is carried from the brook, and thence all the houses and streets are supplied with water.

After that we went to the dwelling of the sisterhood; all the old maids, and some younger ones of the parish, who have no parents, live together. Heretofore, all the unmarried women were obliged to live in the sister-house; but this has been changed since, and those who have parents, live with their families. Those sisters who live together, have either each a separate room, or several have a sitting room together. They support themselves by selling female utensils, which they manufacture. There is no house for the brotherhood, because young industrious laborers in this happy land, where there are no taxes, can support themselves very well. The ground on which the houses stand, belongs to the parish, and every man, who wishes to build here, has to pay a certain ground rent. There is, however, here no community of goods; every one has to work for, and to support himself, and the parish only assists him when he has become poor by misfortune.

After this interesting ramble I visited Mr. Rice, who is a merchant, owner of a mill, and is particularly engaged in the flour business; he also keeps a store, where every article is to be found, which the country people are in need of; from cloth, and fine linen, down to common wagon-screws. After that, I dined at home in the lively company of six young ladies from Providence, who also came to finish their education here in the boarding-school; as in Germany, the brothers have boarding-schools, where children, whose parents do not belong to the society, are carefully educated. The female school is at Bethlehem, and the male school in Nazareth.



Quondam © 2007.04.17