Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Records of the Moravians among the Cherokees

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Records of the Moravians among the Cherokees

Article excerpt

Records of the Moravians Among the Cherokees. Volume 5: The Anna Rosina Years, Part 3: Farewell to Sister Gambold, 1817-1821. Edited by C. Daniel Crews and Richard W. Starbuck. (Tahlequah, Okla.: Cherokee Heritage Press, 2013. Pp. [xxii], 2079-2710. $50.00, ISBN 978-0-9826907-6-5.)

Historians who study the South, American religion, women, and the Cherokees will welcome the most recent volume of this ongoing primary source series. Editors C. Daniel Crews and Richard W. Starbuck have made the documentary record created by the Moravian missionaries at Springplace between January 1817 and April 1821 available to English-language readers. (Earlier volumes cover the period from 1752 through 1816.) Originally written in German script, these materials, housed at the Archie K. Davis Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have not been fully utilized by scholars. This ambitious and valuable collection, which will include at least four more volumes, is changing that.

Moravians, a Pietistic Protestant group from Germany, settled in North Carolina in the mid-eighteenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, missionaries established a station among the Cherokees at Springplace (now northwestern Georgia). In 1805 missionaries John and Anna Rosina Gambold arrived there, and the two previous volumes documented their labors in the field. This volume includes additional material from the couple's letters and diaries interspersed with a report to the 1818 synod (the governing assembly of the Moravian Church), listings of their accounts, maps of the mission, a botanical guide to local plants, and an 1819 report on the state of their efforts to convert the Cherokees. The last letters record Anna Gambold's sudden death. Reflecting both the passionate engagement of the missionaries in their work and the complexity of Cherokee adaptation and resistance during this period, this is the most engaging of the volumes on the Gambolds yet.

This volume also contains an appendix of valuable documents created during this period. The first is a "Catalogue of Scholars at Springdale, Cherokee Country, 1804-[1821]," a roster of students who attended the mission school and demographic information about them, including ages at admission, years in attendance, place of origin, and the outcome of their education. …

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