Omohundro Institute

1. We have written more broadly about the history of the Moravian missions to the Mohicans and the place of hymnody within the missions; see Rachel Wheeler and Sarah Eyerly, “Songs of the Spirit: Hymnody in the Moravian Mohican Missions,” Journal of Moravian History 17, no. 1 (2017): 1–25. 

2. Although hymns usually have multiple verses, it was a common Moravian practice in the eighteenth century to sing one hymn verse at a time, selecting individual verses that spoke to the particular spiritual needs at that moment: “According to our way of singing, the materials of instruction are both presented and reviewed through song. Hence we do not sing through entire hymns of ten to twenty verses, but rather separate stanzas or half stanzas from many hymns as the sequence of thought or the subject matter requires.” Christian Gregor, Historische Nachricht von Brüder-Gesangbuche des Jahres 1778, und von dessen Lieder-Verfassern (Gnadau, Ger., 1835), 33. 

3. Shekomeko diary, Nov. 26, Dec. 3–10, 1744, Records of the Moravian Mission among the Indians of North America (MissInd) 111.1, Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pa. (MAB). Unless otherwise noted, transcriptions and translations are by Rachel Wheeler. See also Wheeler, To Live upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast (Ithaca, N.Y., 2008).

4. Gerald Vizenor, “The Ruins of Representation: Shadow Survivance and the Literature of Dominance,” American Indian Quarterly 17, no. 1 (Winter 1993): 7–30; Vizenor, ed., Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence (Lincoln, Neb., 2008).

5. Attention to the distinctive development of Mohican-Moravian hymnody is important for understanding the complex history of Christian missionary programs. For recent scholarship on music in the context of early missions in the Northeast, see Olivia A. Bloechl, Native American Song at the Frontiers of Early Modern Music (Cambridge, 2008); Beverley Diamond, Native American Music in Eastern North America: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (New York, 2008); Patrick M. Erben, A Harmony of the Spirits: Translation and the Language of Community in Early Pennsylvania (Williamsburg, Va., and Chapel Hill, N.C., 2012); Glenda Goodman, “‘But they differ from us in sound’: Indian Psalmody and the Soundscape of Colonialism, 1651–75,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 69, no. 4 (October 2012): 793–822; Robin A. Leaver, “More than Simple Psalm-Singing in English: Sacred Music in Early Colonial America,” Yale Journal of Music and Religion 1, no. 1 (2015): 63–80. Christine DeLucia has argued persuasively for greater attention to the aural encounters of colonialism in DeLucia, “The Sound of Violence: Music of King Philip’s War and Memories of Settler Colonialism in the American Northeast,” in “Music and Meaning in Early America,” special issue, Commonplace, Literary scholars have looked at Samson Occom’s hymnody for what it tells us about Native authorship. See Joanna Brooks, “Six Hymns by Samson Occom,” Early American Literature 38, no. 1 (March 2003): 67–87.

6. A number of texts have informed our work. Patrick Wolfe’s work is foundational to the field. See Wolfe, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,” Journal of Genocide Research 8, no. 4 (December 2006): 387–409; and especially his introductory essay, Wolfe, “The Settler Complex: An Introduction,” in “The Settler Complex,” special issue, American Indian Culture and Research Journal 37, no. 2 (2013): 1–22. On the relationship of settler colonialism and Indigenous Studies, see J. Ke¯haulani Kauanui, “‘A Structure, Not an Event’: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity,” Lateral 5, no. 1 (Spring 2016), We have found the work of Native literary critics particularly helpful. See especially Craig S. Womack, “A Single Decade: Book-Length Native Literary Criticism between 1986 and 1997,” in Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective, ed. Womack, Daniel Heath Justice, and Christopher B. Teuton (Norman, Okla., 2008), 3–104; Lisa Brooks, “Digging at the Roots: Locating an Ethical, Native Criticism,” ibid., 234–64.

7. Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, Caroline Wigginton, and Kelly Wisecup, “Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Completing the Turn,” WMQ 75, no. 2 (April 2018): 207–36 (quotation, 210); simultaneously published in Early American Literature 53, no. 2 (2018): 407–44. 

8. After the 1782 destruction of Gnadenhütten, Ohio, by an American militia, there was never again a primarily Mohican-Moravian community. The son of Joshua/Nanhun, Joshua Jr., was away from town during the massacre and was likely one of the few surviving Mohicans linked to the early Moravian mission at Shekomeko. Mahican here references the specific communities who at the time were identified as Mahican/Mahikander and who joined together with Housatonic, Wappinger, and other peoples to form the town of Stockbridge and forge a new identity as the Stockbridge Mohicans. We have used Mohican throughout this article because it—along with Mohheconnuck—is how the community today refers to itself in common usage. The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans has federally recognized tribal status. For a history of the nation, see Dorothy Davids, A Brief History of the Mohican Nation: Stockbridge-Munsee Band, rev. ed. (Bowler, Wis., 2004); on the founding of Stockbridge, see Lion G. Miles, “The Red Man Dispossessed: The Williams Family and the Alienation of Indian Land in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1736–1818,” New England Quarterly 67, no. 1 (March 1994): 46–76. For the history of the formation of the Stockbridge Mohican community and the ongoing ties between Stockbridge and Shekomeko, see Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, chaps. 3, 9. For a discussion of the relationship among the Algonquian languages of the Hudson River valley, see Carl Masthay, ed., Schmick’s Mahican Dictionary (Philadelphia, 1991), 7–10. 

9. Groups of tribal youth and elders took at least twenty research trips beginning in 1969; see Davids, Brief History, 8. This particular visit may have been part of the 1972 trip made by a delegation of women from the Stockbridge Reservation and documented in Kristy Miller’s travel journal housed in the Arvid E. Miller Historical Library/Museum, Bowler, Wis.

10. If we had not consulted the Arvid E. Miller Library, we would have assumed that Carl Masthay had begun his studies of Mohican independently of the Stockbridges’ efforts at language recovery. We would especially like to thank Nathalee Kristianson and Yvette Malone for calling our attention to these sources.

11. Masthay describes his efforts to help make the Moravian records accessible to the Stockbridge community in the introduction to his volume: Carl Masthay, [ed.], Mahican-Language Hymns, Biblical Prose, and Vocabularies from Moravian Sources, with 11 Mohawk Hymns (Transcription and Translation) (St. Louis, Mo., 1980), 1. Masthay is a self-trained linguist who served as a Chinese translator in the 1960s with the U.S. Air Force and spent a career as a medical manuscript editor while working on linguistics projects related to Mohican and Kaskaskia-Illinois. On Masthay, see Matthew Everett, “Language of Love,” [St. Louis] Riverfront Times, Mar. 5, 2003,

12. In an email, Masthay expressed skepticism that the music could be reunited with the hymn texts (Masthay, email communication to Rachel Wheeler, Apr. 23, 2013). See also Masthay, Mahican-Language Hymns, 1: “Most hymns in this selection are often literal translations, but not quite. In some cases where I understood the Mahican words, I tried to modify the translation toward the Mahican meaning, but generally the missionaries adapted the German hymns to the needs of the Indians so much that some Mahican hymns are but pale reflections, especially when one compares an available English version.”

13. To the nonlinguist, the linguistic markings to guide pronunciation are a foreign language in themselves. This is not a criticism of Masthay’s work but a reflection of the fact that languages are not easily learned from a book alone.

14. Stockbridge-Munsee Community, “Help Save Our Languages,” 2017 IMLS Native American Library Services: Enhancement Grant, for the period Oct. 1, 2017–Sept. 30, 2019, pp. 2–3, accessed Mar. 9, 2018,

15. Reflecting the community’s heritage as both Mohican and Munsee, some members of the Stockbridge community have turned to long-standing connections with the Munsee community of Moraviantown, Ontario, whose language-revival efforts have benefited from a number of elders who grew up speaking the Munsee language. Another appeal of focusing on the Munsee language for some members of the community is that the project relies on living speakers rather than on missionary records. See especially Marlene Molly Miller, quoted in Robert S. Grumet, ed., Voices from the Delaware Big House Ceremony (Norman, Okla., 2001), xxii–xxiii.

16. Before entering graduate school, Chris worked with the Indigenous Language Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in that capacity participated in a 2006 workshop held by the Oneida Nation. While there, he was approached by Stockbridge Mohican citizen Larry Madden for help with pronunciation. That work led Chris to enter a doctoral program in linguistics, where he has continued his scholarship on Mohican. Christopher Harvey, “The Diachronic Phonology of Mahican” (Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, in progress).

17. Paul A. W. Wallace published two articles detailing the scope of the Moravian materials and the type of humanizing study they support. Wallace, “They Knew the Indian: The Men Who Wrote the Moravian Records,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 95, no. 3 (June 1951): 290–95; Wallace, “The Moravian Records,” Indiana Magazine of History 48, no. 2 (June 1952): 141–60. For archivist Kenneth G. Hamilton’s assessment of the collection’s importance for early American history, see Hamilton, “The Resources of the Moravian Church Archives,” Pennsylvania History 27, no. 3 (July 1960): 263–72. For mention of the grant, see Moravian Magazine 97, no. 23 (Dec. 19, 1952): 16. Mohican-language materials continue to be discovered in the Moravian congregational collections in Bethlehem. During a research trip in October 2017, archivist Paul Peucker brought to our attention additional Mohican-language hymns he had recently located elsewhere in the Moravian collections. During the same trip, we also uncovered significant new material related to the Shekomeko community within the Bethlehem Synod records.

18. The original card index, once turned into a book, totaled nearly 1,500 pages, about 450 of them an alphabetical index of references to Native individuals. Each page has roughly 20 index cards, and each card has 3–5 references, pointing to the box, folder, item, and date of reference, including a short description. Carl John Fliegel, Index to the Records of the Moravian Mission among the Indians of North America, vols. 1–2 (Woodbridge, Conn., 1970); Vernon Nelson, Guide to the Records of the Moravian Mission among the Indians of North America from the Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (New Haven, Conn., 1970). In 2012, the archives entered an agreement with Gale Cengage Learning to digitize the mission collection. This monumental scanning effort has made the collection more widely accessible to researchers, although it exists behind a paywall. The archives’ staff is continuing to work to ensure the reliability and completeness of the scanning.

19. Relevant works drawing from the Moravian Mission collection include James H. Merrell, Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier (New York, 1999); Jane T. Merritt, At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700–1763 (Williamsburg, Va., and Chapel Hill, N.C., 2003); Amy C. Schutt, Peoples of the River Valleys: The Odyssey of the Delaware Indians (Philadelphia, 2007); A. G. Roeber, ed., Ethnographies and Exchanges: Native Americans, Moravians, and Catholics in Early North America (University Park, Pa., 2008).

20. Versions of “Jesu paschgon kia” in Bethlehem are found in the following manuscripts: “Verse zum Gebrauch bey den Indianern in Scattigok” [Verses for the use of the Indians in Scattigok (Connecticut)], MissInd 331.2, MAB (an additional copy of this hymnal is located in MissInd 331.3, MAB); “Mahikandische Verse, verfertigt und übersetzt von unterschiedlichen Brüdern. Vom Johannes dem Ind[ianer] u[nd] Br[üder] Chr[istoph] Pyrl[a]eus revidirt im Febr. [1746]” [Mahican verses, compiled and translated by various brethren. By Johannes the Indian and Brother Christoph Pyrlaeus, revised in Feb. 1746], MissInd 331.3, MAB; “Cantata, welche bey der Abreise einiger Indianer Brüder nach Shekomeko gesungen wurde den 18. Martii st. n. [17]45” [Cantata, which was sung at the departure of some Indian brethren to Shekomeko on March 18, 1745], MissInd 331.3, MAB. “Jesu paschgon kia” is the first hymn in all three hymnals and the aria finale (closing aria) in the cantata. A fifth version can be found in a folder containing Delaware-language materials and was only discovered in the summer of 2018: unnamed booklet of hymns, MissInd 335.7, MAB. “Jesu paschgon kia” is the first hymn that appears in the Herrnhut manuscript (the sixth version): “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel vor die seeligen Herzel aus den braunen Nationen der Mahikander Delawares und etliche Versgen in der Sprache der 6 Nationen 1746” [Proof for a song booklet of the blessed hearts of the brown nations of the Mahican Delawares and some short verses of the language of the Six Nations (Mohawk)], NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität, Herrnhut. The photocopy of the Herrnhut manuscript can be found at MissInd 331.10, MAB.

21. In a letter to Dorothy Davids and Bernice Miller, Carl Masthay wrote, “Dorothy, I am sending this to you to let you know that I am glad to have talked to you finally, since your stimulating plea in Wassaja in early 1976 and letter then, which got me to hunt up the Mahican materials, but I also dearly hope that you will swiftly direct the enclosed material to Bernice, for she has been a constant contact with me thruout [sic] these past 4 years and wish her to know that without her mentioning to me the existence of these hymns in the Moravian Archives, she would not be perusing it now after my ‘wearisome’ translation. It took me one month to convert it to a usable state.” See Masthay to Davids and Miller, Feb. 9, 1980, Arvid E. Miller Library, Bowler, Wis. (quotation). The following month, Masthay wrote excitedly to Miller to let her know he had just received a copy of the hymn booklet from the Herrnhut archives; Masthay to Miller, Mar. 25, 1980, ibid. Our thanks go to Yvette Malone for calling our attention to these letters. See also the introduction to Masthay’s hymn volume, Mahican-Language Hymns, 1–3.

22. The baptism of Shabash, Seim, and Kiop at the synod signaled the importance of mission work within Zinzendorf’s vision of a multiethnic and multidenominational Christian community. Benjamin Franklin published the minutes of the synod in German in Authentische Relation. . . . (Philadelphia, 1742). On the synod, see Katherine Carté Engel, Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (Philadelphia, 2009), 76–78. Gottlob Büttner was born Dec. 29, 1716 [Jan. 9, 1717], in Silesia and came to America in October 1741. He was part of a failed Moravian settlement in Georgia before joining the community at Bethlehem. He died in Shekomeko on Feb. 23 [Mar. 6], 1745. William C. Reichel, Memorials of the Moravian Church (Philadelphia, 1870), 138.

23. George Henry Loskiel, History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America, trans. Christian Ignatius La Trobe (London, 1794), pt. 2, p. 37. Bethlehem was on Lenape lands that had been acquired in the fraudulent Walking Purchase of 1737. Although the Moravians were not a part of that transaction, they were among the beneficiaries, a contributing factor to significant Lenape opposition to the Moravian mission project. The circumstances were quite different for the Mohicans, who first encountered the Moravian missionaries in a context in which they appeared to be potential allies against exploitative white neighbors. Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, chap. 5; Engel, Religion and Profit, chap. 1. The two men from Shekomeko Rauch encountered were also known as Tschoop (a corruption of the Dutch for “Job”) and Shabash. They would take the names Johannes and Abraham in baptism. The spelling “Mamanetthekan” is from the Gnadenhütten diary, Apr. 5, 1753, MissInd 119.1.9, MAB. In the Stockbridge records, he appears as early as 1739, identified by missionary John Sergeant as Maumauntissekun. John Sergeant diary, Apr. 14, 1739, Ezra Stiles Papers, 1727–1795, MS Vault Stiles, Misc. Volumes and Paper Series, vol. 29: 1–16, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, Conn. See Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, chap. 4.

24. A number of Shekomeko Mohicans were proficient in Dutch. Shekomeko diary, Oct. 24, 1742, MissInd 111.1, MAB. For a more complete discussion of hymnody at the Moravian missions, see Wheeler and Eyerly, Journal of Moravian History 17: 1–25. For Anna Margaretha Büttner’s ability to speak to the women at Shekomeko in their language within a year of her arrival, see Shekomeko diary, Nov. 13, 1743, MissInd 111.1, MAB. Missionary Martin Mack’s wife, Jannetje (also known as Anna), was the daughter of local farmer Johannes Rauh and was already an able speaker of Mohican when she married Mack. Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, 168.

25. Gottlob Büttner’s diary, Nov. 20, 1744, contemporary English translation, MissInd 112.19.6, MAB (“King”); “Cantata,” MissInd 331.3, MAB (“König”).

26. For the first mention of singing in “Wildisch,” see Shekomeko diary, Nov. 26, 1744, MissInd 111.1, MAB (quotation); Büttner’s diary, Nov. 26, 1744, contemporary English translation, MissInd 112.19.6, MAB. Büttner’s diary mentions assistance only from the Holy Spirit in translating, but we can presume he also had help from Johannes and Joshua, both of whom had a close relationship with Büttner. Johannes and Büttner had been appointed by Zinzendorf in November 1742 to serve as evangelists to New England communities. See Reichel, Memorials of the Moravian Church, 138. Joshua named his infant son Gottlob in September 1746. The little boy, along with Joshua’s wife, Salome, and their other son, Gabriel, died soon afterward in the smallpox epidemic that ravaged Bethlehem in the late summer and early fall of 1746. “Names and Personal Notices of Christian Indians Who Lie Buried at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,” in Reichel, Memorials of the Moravian Church, 148. For mention of the visitors from Stockbridge (identifiable because of the mention of the “Gov[erno]r,” which referred to Umpachenee of “Westenhook,” or Stockbridge), see Büttner’s diary, Dec. 6, 1744, contemporary English translation, MissInd 112.19.6, MAB (quotations); Shekomeko diary, Dec. 3, 1744, MissInd 111.1, MAB. During the time of the Stockbridge visit, Büttner noted he was working on translating a few verses, but he did not mention if they were sung publicly. Shekomeko diary, Dec. 6, 1744, MissInd 111.1, MAB. For the murder, see Büttner to August Spangenberg, Dec. 19, 1744, MissInd 112.6.11, MAB. The Herrnhut version of the hymnal attributes just two verses to Büttner, so presumably these are the ones he was working on in December 1744: “Jesu dir alleine” (Jesu paschgon kia) and “Was höret alle Welt” (Gaquay npettamechnau). See “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” hymns 1–2, NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität. On his deathbed, Büttner requested the Shekomeko community sing “O close in the shrine of your holy wounds.” Missionary Martin Mack read the litany of wounds to him, and the Native congregation sang Mohican verses to him. Kenneth G. Hamilton and Lothar Madeheim, eds., The Bethlehem Diary (Bethlehem, Pa., 2001), 2: 233.

27. “Cantata,” MissInd 331.3, MAB. Uncharacteristically, Carl Masthay mistranslated the title of this document as “Cantata, which was sung at the departure of some Indian brethren at Shekomeko on March 18, 1745” (Masthay, Mahican-Language Hymns, 20), rather than “the departure of some Indian brethren to Shekomeko.” The Bethlehem diary confirms that the cantata was sung when a group of visiting Shekomekoans left Bethlehem to return to Shekomeko. Hamilton and Madeheim, Bethlehem Diary, 2: 246–47.

28. We will discuss this final revision in greater detail below. For the process of revision, see Gnadenhütten diary, Sept. 17, 24, 1748, MissInd 116.4, MAB.

29. One point of agreement among pro- and anti-revival ministers was their opposition to the Moravians, who appeared to both sides to be “Papists.” For Moravian accounts, see esp. Joseph Shaw’s account in his letter to Peter Böhler, Apr. 11, 1744, MissInd 223.4.2 (in English), MAB; “Mack’s Journey from Shekomeko to Bethlehem and Arrest at Esopus,” translation, Mar. 3, 1745, MissInd 112.10.1, MAB. For anti-Moravian sentiment among revivalists, see for example Gilbert Tennent, Some Account of the Principles of the Moravians: Chiefly collected from several Conversations with Count Zinzendorf; and from some Sermons preached by him at Berlin, and published in London. . . . (London, 1743). For a fuller discussion of these events, see Linford D. Fisher, “‘I Believe they are Papists!’: Natives, Moravians, and the Politics of Conversion in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut,” New England Quarterly 81, no. 3 (September 2008): 410–37. Colonial assemblies soon passed acts barring Moravians from preaching. For a discussion of anti-Moravian sentiment, see Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Jesus Is Female: Moravians and the Challenge of Radical Religion in Early America (Philadelphia, 2007). In May 1743, the Connecticut Assembly passed “An Act providing Relief against the evil and dangerous Designs of Foreigners and Suspected Persons,” which authorized local officials to arrest suspicious foreigners; see Charles J. Hoadly, [ed.], The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut. . . . (Hartford, Conn., 1874), 8: 521. For the ban on Moravians issued by New York, see Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, p. 63.

30. The Bethlehem diary for March 1745 records the arrival of Joshua with news of Büttner’s death as well as debates among Shekomeko residents about the future. It also mentions numerous visitors from Shekomeko. See Hamilton and Madeheim, Bethlehem Diary, Mar. 1, 3, 18, 1745, 2: 234; Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, pp. 69–70, 78–79. For mention of Christmas services and a love feast led by Abraham, see Büttner’s diary, Dec. 25, 1744, contemporary English translation, MissInd 112.19.6, MAB. A similar course of events played out at Pachgatgoch (Scaticook/Kent, Conn.) when Connecticut prohibited the Moravians from preaching in 1743. The Native leader of the community, Gideon, continued to lead services. Corinna Dally-Starna and William A. Starna, ed. and trans., Gideon’s People: Being a Chronicle of an American Indian Community in Colonial Connecticut and the Moravian Missionaries Who Served There, 2 vols. (Lincoln, Neb., 2009).

31. Shekomeko diary, June 20, 30, 1745, MissInd 111.1, MAB. This hymn text is the same verse that is attributed to Büttner in the Herrnhut hymnal, “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität. It was sung to the chorale tune of “Was höret alle Welt.” Singstunden were common musical services in Moravian communities and involved the spontaneous singing of various hymn verses, either composed in advance or improvised, related to a particular theological topic. For the improvisation of hymns in Moravian communities and the Singstunden, see Sarah Justina Eyerly, “‘Singing from the Heart’: Memorization and Improvisation in an Eighteenth-Century Utopian Community” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Davis, 2007); Eyerly, “Der Wille Gottes: Musical Improvisation in Eighteenth-Century Moravian Communities,” in Self, Community, World: Moravian Education in a Transatlantic World, ed. Heikki Lempa and Paul Peucker (Bethlehem, Pa., 2010), 201–27; Eyerly, Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early Pennsylvania (Bloomington, Ind., 2020).

32. For the impact of colonialism and the transatlantic upheaval of war on Native families affiliated with the Moravian missions, see Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, chap. 8.

33. On the troubles and debates in Shekomeko, see Shekomeko diary for June–August 1745, esp. July 11, 1745, MissInd 111.1, MAB; Hamilton and Madeheim, Bethlehem Diary, Mar. 1, 1745, 2: 234; Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, pp. 69–70, 78–79. Participants in the synod in August 1745 made numerous references to the challenging circumstances in the New York and Connecticut settlements. Some locals attempted to deter the Shekomekoans from joining the Moravians in Pennsylvania, aiming to “terrify the Brn before they set out from Checomeco, by telling them they would all be knocked on the Head in Bethlehem”; letter by missionary Christian Friedrich Post, included in Minutes of the 16th Pennsylvania Synod, Aug. 18, 1745, American Provincial Synods, MAB (quotation). Delegates were to “act . . . in their behalf, with their spirit, and supported by the prayers of the whole congregation: that if any one had a concern, of whatever kind it might be, he might entrust the deputy with it, who should mention it to the synod, which would be the same as though he himself were present. That the deputy would bring back the answers, with the blessing of the synod, and communicate to them what he had enjoyed.” Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, p. 75.

34. Bethlehem Helpers Conference, Aug. 31, 1745, Bethlehem Congregation, 1742–1851 (hereafter BethCong), 81, MAB (quotations). Johannes further stressed that he thought it would be better if the Moravians could preach without a translator. Bethlehem diary, Aug. 31, 1745, BethCong 3, MAB.

35. Pyrlaeus also committed to writing additional hymn verses, one with intermingled German and Mohican words and another to the tune of “In dulci jubilo,” the same tune used by Büttner to compose “Jesu paschgon kia.” Bethlehem diary, Aug. 31, 1745, BethCong 3, MAB; Bethlehem Helpers Conference, Sept. 1, 1745, BethCong 81, MAB. For the poem by Pyrlaeus, see “Beym Anfang der Indianischen Schule in Bethlehem,” MissInd 3500.20, MAB.

36. Minutes of the 17th Pennsylvania Synod, at Lancaster, Dec. 8, 1745, American Provincial Synods, MAB.

37. Joshua, Benjamin, Joseph, Bathsheba, Zippora, and Anna all signed up for the class, which Pyrlaeus agreed to teach. It was decided that classes would be held in Joshua’s house, with a black tablet donated by Zippora for use in the school. Gnadenhütten diary, Nov. 21, 1747, MissInd 116.2, MAB; Gnadenhütten diary, Jan. 4, 1748, MissInd 116.3.1, MAB.

38. Bethlehem became home to many, but not all, Shekomekoans starting in the late spring of 1746, but when a smallpox epidemic struck the town, both Native and white leaders pushed for the creation of a new separate settlement for the Native community, which led to the founding of Gnadenhütten. Records of regular visits from Shekomeko can be found in the Bethlehem diary. See for example an entry for January 1746, noting that there were eighteen Native residents residing in Bethlehem at that time. Bethlehem diary, Jan. 11, 1746, BethCong 3, MAB. Various reports of discussions and preparations in Shekomeko for departure to Bethlehem appear in the Bethlehem diary throughout the month of April. Bethlehem diary, Apr. 18, 24, 25, 1746, BethCong 3, MAB. Not all Shekomeko residents relocated. Some remained, some moved to Stockbridge, and others later joined the community at Gnadenhütten. Abraham’s reasons for not leaving are given in the Shekomeko diary. There was a large council held in Shekomeko including the leaders from Stockbridge, Shekomeko, Wechquadnach, and Pachgatgoch, at which Abraham seems to have been installed as a sort of deputy to the Stockbridge leader, Umpachenee. Shekomeko diary, Apr. 26, 29, May 10, June 1, 16, 25, 1745, MissInd 111.1, MAB.

39. “Verse zum Gebrauch bey den Indianern in Scattigok,” MissInd 331.2 (and copy in MissInd 331.3), MAB; “Mahikandische Verse,” MissInd 331.3, MAB.

40. There are some clues that the hymn booklets received considerable use. The Gnadenhütten diarist recorded a request by missionary Carl Gottfried Rundt for new hymnals at Pachgatgoch because the existing ones had become covered in smoke over the years. Pachgatgoch diary, Apr. 23, 1752, MissInd 114.6, MAB.

41. Gnadenhütten diary, Sept. 24, 1748, MissInd 116.4, MAB. Several of the verses in the Herrnhut hymnal are dated, sometimes carrying later dates than the hymnal manuscript itself: no. 20 is dated Sept. 7, 1747, and two focused on the wounds and attributed to Pyrlaeus, Joshua, and Bathsheba (nos. 34 and 36) are dated to June and July 1748. “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität.

42. Joshua was most likely carrying on the traditional leadership role of “runner,” responsible for conveying the wampum that solidified the words of the sachem, which in turn depended on both the sachem’s ability to collect wampum from the community members and the labor of women to make the words material via wampum. Gnadenhütten diary, Apr. 15, 1747, MissInd 116.1, MAB. Much has been written in recent years about the use of wampum. See esp. Lisa Brooks, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (Minneapolis, 2008), 9–13; Richard Cullen Rath, “Hearing Wampum: The Senses, Mediation, and the Limits of Analogy,” in Colonial Mediascapes: Sensory Worlds of the Early Americas, ed. Matt Cohen, Jeffrey Glover, and Paul Chaat Smith (Lincoln, Neb., 2014), 159–75. Hendrick Aupaumut, sachem of the Stockbridge Mohicans in the late eighteenth century, described the relationship between the diplomatic business of the sachem, wampum, and women in his history of the nation contained in Electa F. Jones, Stockbridge, Past and Present. . . . (Springfield, Mass., 1854), 21.

43. Gnadenhütten diary, Dec. 10, 1747, MissInd 116.2, MAB (quotation). This incident is discussed in Jane T. Merritt, “Dreaming of the Savior’s Blood: Moravians and the Indian Great Awakening in Pennsylvania,” WMQ 54, no. 4 (October 1997): 723–46.

44. Gnadenhütten diary, Sept. 17, 1748, MissInd 116.4, MAB.

45. Watteville dedicated the new meeting hall (Gemein Saal) in Gnadenhütten in September 1748. See Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, p. 118. The occasion left an impression on Sarah, the wife of Shekomeko leader Abraham, who remembered the ceremony more than a year later: Gnadenhütten diary, Feb. 6, 1750, MissInd 116.7, MAB. In 1742 Shikellamy, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) overseer at Shamokin, offered his consent for the Moravians to visit him at Shamokin. To seal this pact, Shikellamy gifted Zinzendorf a belt with 186 pieces of wampum. This promise and the belt of wampum itself allowed the Moravians to travel from the Blue Mountains and the Tulpehocken Valley into the Haudenosaunee lands south of Lake Ontario. Alexander Glitsch to John W. Jordan, June 2, 1885, MissInd 211.20, MAB. Also see Frederick C. Johnson, Count Zinzendorf and the Moravian and Indian Occupancy of the Wyoming Valley, (Pa.), 1742–1763 (Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 1904), 45; Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, pp. 30–32. The wampum belt gifted by Shikellamy to Zinzendorf is believed to be one of the two wampum strings owned by the Archiv der Brüder-Unität in Herrnhut and currently on display at the Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut (“Irokesen Wampum-Schnüre,” H.05 ES 404 b, Archiv der Brüder-Unität). See Christian Feest, “Wampum from Early European Collections, Strings, Belts, and Bracelets,” American Indian Art Magazine, Spring 2014, 32–41, 71. On Zinzendorf’s 1742 trip, see “Zinzendorf’s Narrative of a Journey from Bethlehem to Shamokin, in September of 1742,” in Reichel, Memorials of the Moravian Church, 85–93.

46. Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, p. 118.

47. Gnadenhütten diary, Sept. 17, 1748, MissInd 116.4, MAB (quotation). Pyrlaeus told the 24th Pennsylvania Synod that he could understand the “Mahikandische” language very well and that he had newly translated some verses to fix earlier flawed translations. Authentische Relation, Aug. 4, 1747, 24th Pennsylvania Synod, American Provincial Synods, MAB.

48. Already that summer, missionary David Zeisberger—having begun his study of Mohawk under Pyrlaeus—was at work in Shamokin with Shikellamy on a dictionary. The Herrnhut hymnal includes eleven Mohawk hymns dated to March, July, and August 1748. “Mohawk Verses,” in “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität.

49. The Moravians had founded a mission in Greenland in 1733 and in Berbice (what is now Guyana) in 1739. J. E. Hutton, A History of Moravian Missions (London, [1922]). For the 1742 and 1748 journeys, see Loskiel, History of the Mission, pt. 2, pp. 30–32, 112–17.

50. Erben, Harmony of the Spirits, esp. 301–24.

51. “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” hymns 22–28, 33, NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität.

52. On Mohican diplomatic strategy, see Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, 33–35; Tom Arne Midtrød, The Memory of All Ancient Customs: Native American Diplomacy in the Colonial Hudson Valley (Ithaca, N.Y., 2012). For a similar argument about Shawnee nationhood, see Sami Lakomäki, Gathering Together: The Shawnee People through Diaspora and Nationhood, 1600–1870 (New Haven, Conn., 2014). The example of Abraham, leader of Shekomeko and the first Mohican to receive baptism by the Moravians, is instructive. Abraham had initially remained behind in Shekomeko when most of the community moved to Bethlehem. His wife, Sarah, maintained close ties with the Moravian community. In 1752 Abraham was appointed chief of Mohicans by the leadership in Stockbridge, and he then settled, somewhat reluctantly, in Wyoming. He had initially been opposed to the move to Wyoming, preferring to stay with the Moravian-affiliated community. His change of heart may have reflected the extent to which kinship ties—biological and fictive—shaped decision making. Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, 269 n. 52. For an example of song’s use in the context of diplomatic meetings among non-Moravian Natives of the Northeast, see the accounts of two delegations from the Shawnees and the Nanticokes to the European and Native residents of Gnadenhütten in 1752 and 1753, available at “Gnadenhütten and Bethlehem Journals: Source Documents and Transcriptions,” Bethlehem Digital History Project, 2001, The original, “Ausführlicher Bericht von der Verhandlung der Bruder in Bethlehem und Gnadenhütten mit der Nation der Nantikoks und Shawanos,” can be found in MissInd 323.1, MAB.

53. Pachgatgoch diary, Mar. 9, 1749, MissInd 114.1, MAB.

54. Anthropologist and archaeologist Robert S. Grumet edited a volume bringing together a wide array of sources related to Lenape ceremony from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries, including several Moravian sources, with introductory commentary by Marlene Molly Miller of the Stockbridge community and by Darryl Stonefish, Munsee of Moraviantown, Ontario: Grumet, Voices from the Delaware Big House Ceremony. See also Robert H. Adams, Songs of Our Grandfathers: Music of the Unami Delaware Indians (Dewey, Okla., 1977); John Heckewelder, An Account of the History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations. . . . (Philadelphia, 1819), chap. 26.

55. Brent is a prolific and accomplished composer of concert music, film scores, and music for dance and theater. He is also a recording engineer and recently became a codirector of the Lenape Center in New York. His website can be found at

56. Bill is a singer-songwriter and Grammy-winning musician whose music spans multiple genres from traditional Native American flute to classic rock, blues, gospel, and sacred music. His website can be found at

57. Joshua Tanis, interview by Mark Vaughn for the radio program FSU Headlines, Feb. 27, 2018, aired Apr. 24, 2018,

58. Buddy Miller, personal conversation, Friends’ Day, August 2017, Lutheran Church of the Wilderness, Bowler, Wis.

59. The oldest chorale book in Herrnhut, H.2, has been dated to 1744. There are two undated copies of a chorale book likely prepared by the Moravian composer Christian Gregor, H.4 and H.4a, and also an older (undated) chorale book that contains tunes in use before Gregor’s standardization of the Moravian hymn tunes in 1784 (H.3). For the recording of “Jesu paschgon kia,” the tune “Herr Jesu Christ, dein Tod/In dulci jubilo” was adapted from the figured bass versions in H.3 and H.4. “Herr Jesu Christ, dein Tod” is hymn 1485, verse 9, in the supplements to the Herrnhuter Gesangbuch, the main German compendium for Moravian hymns. The hymn was written by Zinzendorf in 1741 for the birthday of the Moravian composer and musician Jakob Till and recorded in the diary of the community at Herrnhaag, Germany. Erich Beyreuther, Gerhard Meyer, and Gudrun Meyer-Hickel, eds., Herrnhuter Gesangbuch: Christliches Gesang-Buch der Evangelischen Brüder-Gemeinen von 1735, pt. 2, supplements 1–12 (Hildesheim, Ger., 1981). The earliest known extant copy of the melody of “In dulci jubilo” is preserved in the Leipzig Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. 1305. Other early copies survive in archives in Munich, Trier, and Copenhagen. For the history of the tune and the text by Heinrich Seuse, see Clytus Gottwald, “‘In dulci iubilo’: Morphogenese eines Weihnachtsliedes,” Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie 9 (1964): 133–43; Konrad Ameln, “Die Cantio ‘In dulci iubilo’: In memoriam Waldtraud Ingeborg Sauer-Geppert,” Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie 29 (1985): 23–78; Anne-Dore Harzer, In dulci iubilo. Fassungen und Rezeptionsgeschichte des Liedes vom 14. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart (Tübingen, Ger., 2006), 70.

60. The historically informed recording of “Jesu paschgon kia” involved a number of students and faculty from FSU. We would like to express our thanks to singers Vivianne Asturizaga, Rachel Bani, Laura Clapper, Drew Griffin (singer and conductor), Teodora Mitze-Cîrciumaru, Kevin Speer, Ryan Whittington, and Kaitlin Zardetto-Smith. We would also like to thank music theorist Joshua Tanis, who created the alto and tenor parts; recording engineer John Hadden; and the FSU College of Music for the use of their facilities and recording equipment.

61. For Moravian singing practices, see Eyerly, “Der Wille Gottes,” 201–27; Eyerly, “The Sensual Theology of the Eighteenth-Century Moravian Church,” in Christian Congregational Music: Performance, Identity, and Experience, ed. Monique Ingalls, Carolyn Landau, and Tom Wagner (London, 2013), 155–68; Eyerly, Moravian Soundscapes.

62. Greg Miller, welcoming remarks, rehearsal, June 23, 2018, Church of the Wilderness, Bowler, Wis.

63. Marlene Molly Miller translated the doxology into Mohican in the 1990s for use in the church. Miller, personal communication to Wheeler, Mar. 15, 2019.

64. Our current recordings and the musical editions shared with the Church of the Wilderness represent a selection of eight hymns. The choice of these particular hymns was driven by Sarah’s ability to identify the referenced hymn tunes from the Mohican hymn booklets. It is our hope to add additional hymns and their musical settings to the repertory of Native-language hymns available for community use.

65. Student participants were David Baker, Amanda O’Donnell, Dan Szelogowski, Dan Worsham, and Hana Worsham. In addition to Pastor Paul Johnson, Greg Miller, and Brent Michael Davids, participating community members included Patrick Bailey, Kora Burr, Kane Granquist, Elaine Jacobi, Caroline Lepscier, Katie Lewis, Yvette Malone, Douglas Miller, Linda Miller, Meryl Miller, Miles Miller, Barbara Stephenson, Starlyn Tourillott, Elsie Utke, and Clorissa Vele.

66. The one-day seminar included sessions by Native and non-Native scholars and community members. Presenters included Jeremy Mohawk, representing the tribal Language Committee; the Trustees of Reservations, who manage the Mission House in Stockbridge, Massachusetts; and community youth, who read aloud the words of their ancestors dating back to the eighteenth century.

67. Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican History, featuring Kimberly Vele, aired Aug. 24, 2015, Tribal Histories series, PBS,; Davids, Brief History, 1.

68. Miller, welcoming remarks, June 23, 2018 (“speaking”); Greg Miller, interview by Catherine Crouch, Cottonlover Films, June 23, 2018, Church of the Wilderness, Bowler, Wis. (“I just”).

69. Hendrick Aupaumut, recorded in entry for Sept. 2, 1805, Journal of John Sergeant, July 5–Dec. 29, 1805, Harvard Corporation Records of Grants for Work among the Indians, UAI 20.720, box 2, folder 42, Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, Mass.  Aupaumut’s philosophy was deeply pragmatic: “We don’t respect this party or that but we love them all alike. If you and we use both these means, then when one fails the other may stand.” Ibid. For more context, see Rachel Wheeler, “Hendrick Aupaumut: Christian-Mahican Prophet,” Journal of the Early Republic 25, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 187–220.

70. Miller, welcoming remarks, June 23, 2018.

71. For ties between Stockbridge and Shekomeko in the 1740s and 1750s, see Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, chap. 10. For Aupaumut’s mention of Joshua’s death, ibid., p. 243.

72. Katie Lewis, interview by Catherine Crouch, June 23, 2018, Bowler, Wis.

73. Greg Miller, interview by Catherine Crouch, June 23, 2018.

74. Bill Miller, interview by Catherine Crouch, Apr. 5, 2018, Indianapolis, Ind.

75. Scott Deal, professor of music technology, and Ph.D. student Harry Chaubey, both of IUPUI, served as recording engineers. Postproduction work on the recording was completed by Andy Nathan, Tallahassee, Fla.

76. On the notion of reprise, see Dennis Kelley, Tradition, Performance, and Religion in Native America: Ancestral Ways, Modern Selves (New York, 2015), chap. 1.

77. The hymns attributed to Joshua and Bathsheba mirror the form of the Litany of the Wounds but are distinctive in their language and imagery. “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” hymns 20, 22–28 (attributed to Joshua), and 21, 33, 34, and 36 (attributed to Joshua and Bathsheba), NB.VII.R.3.91 (1746), Archiv der Brüder-Unität. Spiritual empowerment through engagement with Moravian blood-and-wounds theology is discussed at greater length in Wheeler, To Live upon Hope, chap. 5.

78. Masthay, Mahican-Language Hymns, 7 (translation of “Probe zu einem Gesang-Büchel,” hymn 20, Sept. 7, 1747, NB.VII.R.3.91 [1746], Archiv der Brüder-Unität). Chris Harvey offers this literal translation of the verse: “Put us away in your side which is open (to) our souls away that which does us harm and take us out, Jesus. Show us the way you are crucified the way you bled to death your blood, that is a certain value.” Harvey, personal communication to the authors, March 2018.

79. Gnadenhütten diary, Nov. 25, 1747, MissInd 116.2, MAB. By 1752, Gnadenhütten community members were discussing better ways to support themselves, since success in hunting was declining, no doubt due to increasing white settlement. Gnadenhütten diary, Jan. 12, 1752, MissInd 117.3, MAB.

80. Gnadenhütten diary, Feb. 2, 1752, MissInd 117.3, MAB. The Pachgatgoch diarist reported in 1752 that Joshua was visiting and assisting with pronunciation. Dally-Starna and Starna, Gideon’s People, 1: 318. For the original, see Pachgatgoch diary, Apr. 21, 1752, MissInd 114.6, MAB.

81. Gnadenhütten diary, Dec. 3, 1750, MissInd 117.1, MAB.

82. “Report of the Brown Brethren in Gnadenhütten, 1753,” Apr. 9, 1753, no. 31, MissInd 319.4.17, MAB (quotation). One example of Nicodemus’s theological reflections is strangely resonant with Bill Miller’s words in the epigraph of this section: “I am now old and will soon go home [die] and my body will be planted in God’s Acre from which something wonderful will come. And when the Savior says the word, the brothers who have long been sleeping, and even my brother Jonas, will come forth beautiful and new.” Gnadenhütten diary, Apr. 24, 1748, MissInd 116.3.1, MAB. Jonas, another Shekomeko resident, was Bathsheba’s first husband and died in the same smallpox epidemic as Salome, Joshua’s first wife, and her two sons (Joshua Jr.’s younger brothers, Gabriel and Gottlob).

83. Masthay, Schmick’s Mahican Dictionary; Gnadenhütten diary, Jan. 26, 1754, MissInd 118.1, MAB.

84. Gnadenhütten diary, Nov. 24, 1752, MissInd 117.3, MAB (quotations). On another occasion, Schmick noted in a letter to August Spangenberg that Joshua, Anton, and Jacob preached and sang verses of the Savior to their people in the woods. Schmick to Spangenberg, July 20, 1755, MissInd 118.6, MAB.

85. Bill Miller, interview by Catherine Crouch, Apr. 5, 2018, Indianapolis, Ind.

86. Norbert Krapf, Facebook, Apr. 6, 2018,

87. Bill Miller, interview by Catherine Crouch, Apr. 5, 2018, Indianapolis, Ind.

88. On Native hymn traditions, see for example the Ojibwe and Kiowa traditions chronicled in Michael D. McNally, Ojibwe Singers: Hymns, Grief, and a Native Culture in Motion (New York, 2000); Luke Eric Lassiter, “‘From Here On, I Will Be Praying to You’: Indian Churches, Kiowa Hymns, and Native American Christianity in Southwestern Oklahoma,” Ethnomusicology 45, no. 2 (Spring–Summer 2001): 338–52; Lassiter, Clyde Ellis, and Ralph Kotay, The Jesus Road: Kiowas, Christianity, and Indian Hymns (Lincoln, Neb., 2002). On postcolonial narratives in musicology and ethnomusicology, see Thomas Solomon, “Where Is the Postcolonial in Ethnomusicology?,” in Ethnomusicology in East Africa: Perspectives from Uganda and Beyond, ed. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza and Solomon (Kampala, Ug., 2012), 216–51; Olivia Bloechl, Melanie Lowe, and Jeffrey Kallberg, eds., Rethinking Difference in Music Scholarship (Cambridge, 2015). On hybrid musical and worship practices in African Christianity, see Roberta King et al., Music in the Life of the African Church (Waco, Tex., 2008). On Inuit Moravian adaptations of European music, see Tom Gordon, “Found in Translation: The Inuit Voice in Moravian Music,” Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 22, no. 1 (2007): 287–314; Till We Meet Again: Moravian Music in Labrador, produced by Nigel Markham and Mary Sexton, directed by Markham (Lazybank Productions, 2012), DVD; Sarah Eyerly, “Mozart and the Moravians,” Early Music 47, no. 2 (May 2019): 161–82. For important works on more recent contexts, see also David W. Samuels, Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (Tucson, Ariz., 2004); Chad Stephen Hamill, Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau: The Jesuit, the Medicine Man, and the Indian Hymn Singer (Corvallis, Ore., 2012).

89. Timothy Pickering is well-known for his role in the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty, sometimes called the Pickering Treaty. Michael Leroy Oberg, Peacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794 (Oxford, 2016).

90. Brooks, Common Pot, xxxiv (“pieces”); on the process of rememberment, see esp. 241–45.

Rachel Wheeler and Sarah Eyerly, “Singing Box 331: Re-sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives,” digital companion version, William and Mary Quarterly, October 2019,

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