In Memoriam: The 1766 Party
The Moravian Archives graciously provided access to the memoirs of the Single Sisters and Older Girls who migrated from Bethlehem to Bethabara in 1766. These memoirs were in some cases written by the woman herself; in other cases, they were written by other members of the congregation.
Buried in God’s Acre in Salem
Anna Maria Kraus, was 46 when she made the trip in 1766. She served as leader for the Single Sisters’ Choir. She never married, and throughout her life she took care of children. She died in 1798 at the age of 79. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 2I, row 1, grave 10.
Anna Marie Brendel, was 27 years old in 1766. She married the physician Jacob Bonn shortly after she arrived in Bethabara. They had 3 children. Jacob died in 1791, and she remained a widow for the rest of her life, serving as a midwife. She died in 1815 at the age of 76. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1I, row 3, grave 4.
Catharina Beroth was born in York, PA and had a twin sister who did not migrate to Bethabara. Catharina was 24 in 1766. She married Jacob Steiner in 1771. They had five children. Of special note to fans of the book Road To Salem by Adelaide Fries, Catharina provided spiritual care to Anna Catharina Antes Reuter, the main character in the book. She died in 1810 at the age of 68. (Anna Catarina Antes’ house is the green clapboard on 8 West Street in Old Salem. Perhaps Catharina Beroth Steiner visited there.) She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1I, row 4, grave 10.
Elisabeth Oesterlein, at age 17, was the oldest of the Older Girls Choir that migrated to Wachovia in October 1766. She served for eight years as the first teacher of the Girls School in Salem (now Salem Academy and College), leaving the school in 1780 to marry the potter Rudolph Crist. They had six children, two sons and four daughters, all of whom preceded her in death. She died in 1802 at the age of 53. She is buried in God’s Acre, square 1I, row 5, grave 9.
Maria Salome Meurer, our muse. The now famous diary keeper was 16 years old when she made the move to Bethabara in 1766. She married Tyco Nissen, a jack-of-all trades and wagon-maker, in 1775. They had four children. Nissen died in 1789, and she married Abraham Hessler in 1796, who died in 1800. As a widow she assisted at the Girls School in Salem, in operation for nearly 30 years by then. Her daughter Elisabeth was educated and taught at the Girls School for a number of years before her marriage to William Fries. Salome was actually looking after the girls when she died in 1821 at age 71. She was survived by three children and 12 grandchildren. Salome is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1I, row 2, grave 4.
Johanna Elisabeth Colver, from Dansbury, CT, was the only native English-speaking girl on the trip. She was 16 years old in 1766 and died in 1797 at the age of 47. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 2I, row 1, grave 8.
Maria Elisabeth Engel, age 16 in 1766, married Gottfried Praezel in 1783. They had two daughters, Anna Susanna and Johanna Elisabeth, both of whom taught at the Girls School (now Salem Academy and College). Maria Elisabeth taught the children at Bethania and worked with the younger children of the congregation at Salem. She died in 1821 at the age of 71. She is buried in God’s Acre, row 1I, row 2, grave 5.
Maria Magdalena Höpfner, was 15 in 1766. She served at the home of Frederic Marshall* She married Ludwig Meinung in 1772. They had five children. She died in 1803 at the age of 53. *Fredric William Marshall was chief administrator of the Wachovia settlement and considered the father of the community. He was married to Hedwig Elizabeth Von Schweinitz. Present-day Marshall Street in Winston-Salem is named for him. Maria is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1I, row 5, grave 10.
Anna Elisabeth Werner, was an orphan. She was 15 when she left Bethlehem in 1766 to migrate to Bethabara. She served the Marshalls* for 22 years and was a house supervisor at the Sisters’ House. She died in 1818 at the age of 67. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 2I, row 2, grave 6.
Maria Schneider, age 14 in 1766, died in 1801 at the age of 49. She married Jacob Beroth in 1774. They had nine children. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1I, row 5, grave 8.
Maria Elisabeth Kraus, age 14 in 1766, married Peter Goetien in 1785. They had no children. She died in 1788 at the age of 36. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1I, row 6, grave 11.
Maria Christina Jorde was 13 years of age when she traveled to Bethabara in 1766. She married Carl Gottlieb Opitz in 1781, and they had two children. She was the “youngest and the oldest”– youngest of the traveling party and survived the longest. At the end of her life she was the eldest resident in Salem. She died in 1838 at the age of 85. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1H, row 3, grave 1.
Richard Utley was 46 in 1766. He was a preacher from Yorkshire, England. Salome places him at the top of the list of pilgrims because he was the leader of the group, providing support to the girls on the trip in many ways. He was their spiritual guide. He spoke both English and German. He was married to Sally Utley. He died in 1775 at age 55. He is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1J, row 6, grave 2.
Sally Utley was from Shropshire, England. She was 59 when she migrated to Bethabara in 1766 and was the oldest of the group. She was married to Richard Utley and served with him as leader during the journey. She died in 1791 at age 84. She is buried in God’s Acre in Salem, square 1H, row 3, grave 1.
Buried in God’s Acre in Bethabara
Elisabeth Biehler, age 25 in 1766, was one of the 4 members of the Single Sisters Choir that migrated to Bethabara. She married George Holder in 1769. (He is perhaps the “Brother Holder” mentioned by Salome in her diary. He provided aid to them along the way to Carolina.) They had five children. She died in 1815 at the age of 74 and is buried in Bethabara grave 139. George Holder is also buried in Bethabara.
Magdalena Hirt, age 16 in 1766, married Johannes Micke in 1774. They had five children. She died in 1801 at the age of 51. She is buried in God’s Acre in Bethabara, grave 60.
Dorothea Schütz, age 16 in 1766, married Joh. Heinrich Stohr in 1774. They had five children. She died in 1816 at the age of 66. She is buried in God’s Acre in Bethabara, grave 140. Her great x4 granddaughter, Stephanie McCormick Goodhart traveled from Maryland to Bethabara on 10/26/21 to visit her grave and to take part in the walk to Salem Square. She was thrilled to find a rose on her ancestor’s grave.
Buried in Bethlehem, PA
Anna Rosina Böckel, age 14 in 1766, married Peter Rose in 1775. They had one child. She died in 1817 at age 66. She is buried in God’s Acre in Bethlehem. Second graders from Moravian Academy placed flowers on her grave on 9/27/21, the day before the Journey from Bethlehem to Salem began.
Buried in Nazareth, PA
Anna Maria Schrobb (Shropp). Was born in Basel, Switzerland. At age 47, she was the second oldest of the traveling party and was migrating to meet her husband in Bethabara. He died in December 1766 shortly after she arrived. Eventually she returned to Bethlehem and died in 1786 at age 67. She is buried in Nazareth, PA. Her grave is not accessible at this time (covered over).