Moravian Diary Entries

Contributed by Annette Bramblett

The following data were taken from the loose papers in the Historical Society’s Garland Bagley Collection. It is believed that the material herein was obtained by Garland Bagley from translations in the Georgia Department of Archives and History.

Diary from January 1, 1805 - December 31, 1805

January

17. As Vann had returned from Charleston, Wohlfart went to see him.

19. Failing to accomplish anything at Vann’s, he returned today.

20. A certain Yardley came this evening. He had come to this country last fall and had stayed with us while he was ill and remained overnight. He now lives with a certain one named Parish at Austin about 30 miles from here and teaches school there for the Indians. Also a certain person named Stone who had hired himself to John Fahlins.

23. Today two Indians and an Indian woman who had returned from hunting stopped with us for the night.

28. In the evening an Indian came to us and demanded bread for himself and his family who were camped nearby. As we had no baked bread, we gave him some meal, to which he said: That would be good for tomorrow, but since bread was in the oven he would wait until it had baked to get some. As it was too long baking, he returned to his camp.

29. He and another Indian returned and demanded bread which we gave to them after which he said he was going home.

30. Two Indians came today. After they had received something to eat, they went to the blacksmith shop.

31. Today the Indian Big Halfbreed and another stopped on their way to Vann’s. Big Halfbreed had bought cloth for George Hicks. As Vann’s goods from Charleston had arrived, Wohlfart tried to buy from him because we were in need of different items. Not much was to be done with Vann because they had been drinking and fighting the night before and an Indian was seen going to his camp with his head bleeding.

 

February

1. Today an Indian from Goosawatty brought his child to attend our school. His name is Jikitihy, meaning Five Killer.

2. Today Wohlfart and Byhan went to Vann’s to purchase items which had been brought there some time ago, but all there were drunk and Vann was so vicious as we had never seen him before. Nothing was accomplished and we returned home. While there he said that he was our friend. As we had previously asked him whether he would loan us two cows and Wohlfart again reminded him of this, Vann said we might take and use some of his cows as much as we liked and that we might continue to do so. He said that he would make us a present of the larger two cows which we had had for two years. We had requested him to bring us a quart of wine and when we asked about it, he said that we had only ordered one quart, but that he would make us a present of five gallons. All of this he said while in a drunken state, so that we gave it little thought.

3. Our school children, who had learned the Lord’s Prayer, prayed along with us for the first time. In the evening Mother Vann came to us much disturbed and told us that Vann attempted to shoot her, but the shot pierced the neck of the horse he was riding. He had Crawford, his former overseer, given 100 lashes because it was reported to him that Crawford with Dan had slaughtered several of Vann’s hogs in the brush, which was not the truth. Dan had also been tried and tied to be whipped, but Mr. Parish ordered the Indians to release him. He also attempted to shoot Mr. Geiger, but the latter seized the gun and turned it on Vann, but the gun failed to discharge. (All of this happened today while Vann was in a drunken state.)

4. Byhan went to Vann’s on business (all was sober and quiet). Vann gave him a keg with five gallons of wine and said that he wished to make him a present of it. Five Indians came. After they had something to eat they left. In the evening three more came and remained overnight. We frequently have so many to feed that we hardly know what will become of us. This is especially the case since we have the children in our school. On one occasion we had 17 persons and our family to feed.

11. Many Indians came and several remained overnight and the rest, when they found that there was no place for them, left.

12. Again there were many Indians here, all of whom has to be fed and remained overnight. We heard they were all waiting to have work done at the blacksmith’s. Whenever he is delayed in doing work for them, he sends them to Vann, but when too many go there, they come to us and we dare not send them away, and all must be fed.

14. Byhan went to the mill with corn but he was unable to grind all of it because the mill was in ill repair.

18. When at Hightower, Byhan visited the school of Mr. Black. He had 14 children in his school, 11 boys and three girls, all of whom had learned to be well behaved.

19. Today Gentleman Tom came to Vann’s and sent him two horses to us to be fed. We heard that he was dissatisfied with us because of his son, who is in our school, is not being clothed by us. He remained overnight. (This is but a sample of the goings on with the Indians which the missionaries had to contend with day in and day out. Here I will let the matter rest, but should there be an improvement in the situation, I will surely take note of such an unusual occasion.)

 

March

1. Hearing that Vann returned from Southwestpoint yesterday, Wohlfart went to see him on business.

2. An Indian came to sharpen his ax. When he had finished, he had something to eat and left. In the evening, two came and remained overnight. One was painted red and seemed very tired.

3. While on business at Vann’s, Wohlfart was told by him that we might keep the two cows he had loaned us.

8. In the afternoon, Chief Chilcoa...with whiskey to sell and remained overnight. Vann purchased a quart from him at a dollar a quart, the usual price among the Indians.

9. Early this morning we heard that Vann had set two Negro houses on fire and would have set all on fire had not Mr. Geiger and others prevented this. At noon he set out for Charleston.

10. Mrs. Vann, Mr. Bohrins Taylor and Crawford’s wife’s sister visited us and expressed a desire for a religious service. We sang a few songs and Br. Byhan read several verses from the Bible and commented on them, after which we sang the song of praise to his Son.

14. Major Lovely moved from here and settled with a certain Mr. Rogers at Hiwassee River. The reason for leaving was said to be the difficulty of getting things at the settlement as meal, whiskey, etc.

24. Vann moved into his newly built house. Having whiskey, things were very lively toward evening. A drunk Indian came to us and said that Vann had sent to us for a bottle of whiskey. We gave him none because we did not believe it and later we heard this was the case.

31. Since Mr. Vann had sent us an invitation to hold a service at his house, we went there today. Wohlfart preached. After the service Vann accompanied us to our home and was very friendly.

April

3. Vann left for the Talk at Estanally.

6. Toward evening a white man stopped and asked the way to Vann’s place.

7. He returned early this morning and told us that he was a preacher and wanted to preach at Vann’s. He was on his way to Louisiana. In the afternoon we also went to Vann’s to attend the service. At first we sang, then he read from the 20th chapter of Exodus, and after a second song he preached on the Colossians 1, verses 12 and 13.

8. Several gentlemen who were staying at Vann’s visited us.

10. The preacher who had been at Vann’s wanted to hold a meeting at Vann’s for the Negroes. When they refused to attend a service there, we permitted him to hold it here.

11. The preacher who had been at Vann’s for eight days attended the service we held there.

15. Today an old white man on his way from Ky. to Ga. on foot stopped with us. Tired from traveling and wanting to earn some money we gave him the job of clearing some land. He had separated from his wife and left the family in Ky. He was a barber and hoped to do business about here.

17. Today the preacher at Vann’s left for Southwest Point and plans to continue from there to La. The old man who stayed with us went to John Fahlings where he hopes to find work. He said to clear land was too hard on him. Unable to cross the creek, he returned in the evening. We sent him to Vann’s, where he would find a countryman who was a cook for Vann.

18. Vann and a Mr. McDonald, who lives about 30 miles from here, had returned to Vann’s. The white folks staying at the Vann’s had killed a deer of which Vann sent us some.

 

May

2. Two Indians came this morning; a woman and a man spent the night with us. When they left early this morning the school children went with them without mentioning it to us: One returned this noon but the others did not return nor were they seen until after dark. They frequently leave without telling us and remain out until after dark, causing us to fear that they were lost in the woods, the cause of much worry to us. When we remind them of it, they say nothing.

7. We began planting corn. We have divided our field to enable us better to cultivate it.

9. We were unable to find out what was said at the Talk at Estanally.

12. We were pleased to have the following stop with us: Col. Meigs, Mr. Vann, Capt. Bayer from Ga. and a German from Switzerland who came with Col. Meigs and another man from Ga. After dinner Wohlfart had the children recite for them. Col. Meigs said that the children had made good progress and gave to each child a N. Carolina shilling. Afterward we all went to Vann’s where Wohlfart preached.

13. The above mentioned went for the Talk at Estanally.

16. Last night a white man named Murphy, who lives at Rabbit Trap, and an Indian, both of whom we knew, stayed for the night. At Vann’s, things were hilarious.

31. In the afternoon our children left and did not return that night. We thought that they might be at Vann’s or in the neighborhood for the night. When they did not return today, we feared that they might have got lost in the woods.

 

June

1. We went to Vann’s to report the incident. He showed little concern and said that they had probably gone home. The next day the three returned. They had gone to Rabbit Trap to the larger pupil’s home and stayed with his parents.

6. At three in the morning Vann sent for Byhan and his wife. As Mrs. Byhan was ill, Byhan went alone. When he arrived he found Vann writhing in pain. Some kind of creature had got into his ear and Vann believed that his end had come. Perceiving this, Byhan told him of the salvation of sinners through Christ. To this Vann responded that he did not believe this. When the creature came out and the pain eased, Vann left the room saying that he did not believe there was a Jesus Christ. Byhan was glad it was left at that. He believed that the Devil had so possessed and bound Vann, which had become evident over the years. Then he said to himself, may the Savior have mercy on him.

17. Today everyone at Vann’s fled, for he was so crazed by intoxication that nobody near him was sure of his life. He shot and burned things in the house. A white woman who had resided there for some time fled and spent the night with us. We believed it our duty to speak with him as soon as he had sobered.

18. We went to speak with him but found that there was nothing to be done with him. He did frightful things last night. The treatment of his wife was so shameful that it challenged a description. Vann was not at home so Byhan went to see Mrs. Vann in the afternoon. When he asked her if she did not feel like praying to the Savior, she said that she did, but for tears she could not proceed.

19. Vann came home today but he was so vicious that he knocked his wife to the floor, who fled as soon as she could to Mother Vann’s and both came to spend the night with us.

20. Br. Wohlfart again went to Vann’s to speak with him about his conduct. Upon entering he greeted Vann pleasantly; he said to him that we were sorry for him for it seemed that harm and misfortune had come to him. He then jumped from his bed, seized a bottle and drank as much as he could in one gulp and said in anger that it was his house and he could drink as much as he pleased, dance, fornicate and what not and that it was none of our business. Wohlfart responded that he did not intend to challenge his right, but that it was his duty as a friend to warn him of the danger in which he was getting involved. He told him that we regarded him as a friend and benefactor and that we were grieved to see his behavior such as to endanger his temporal and eternal well-being.

25. When we heard that Mother Vann was sick, Wohlfart and Byhan went to call on her and brought with them something to refresh her.

 

July

2. Mr. Vann’s overseer, Mr. Bohing, who lives at Vann’s old place, sent to us for medicine for his wife and children, who are in bed with a high temperature. Wohlfart went to see them. Mr. Bohing will move to the place formerly occupied by Maj. Lovely. Vann’s old place will be vacated as it was getting more unhealthful.

3. Vann went for the treaty Talk at Hightower stream about 40 miles from here. A treaty was to be negotiated tomorrow but we have not seen a single Indian going there in spite of the fact that they usually attend in large numbers. We were told that the whites are demanding the land across the Tennessee River. Thus one piece of land is taken after the other is taken from them until they will finally be completely crowded off their land.

7. Bohings moved to Lovely’s place. Anthony Syoels, a mulatto, who had moved here, moved from Lovely’s place and settled beyond the spring branch between us and the blacksmith’s.

8. A carpenter has been at Vann’s for some time and works there. He is from N. Carolina not far from Salem and is an industrious and capable person. We asked him to help us.

9. Mr. Vann returned from the treaty Talk. Br. Wohlfart went to visit and do business with him. We heard that few chiefs of the Nation and few Indians had attended. It is surmised that the outcome will not be too favorable for the Cherokees because they had promised to attend. The treaty session had been quite expensive for the U.S. Government. It had built several houses for the guests at the place where the treaty was negotiated and 200 head of cattle had been slaughtered for the occasion.

12. Today Vann again went for the Talk at Hightower.

17. We heard that the negotiations at Hightower ended today. They lasted 13 days but they were unable to reach an agreement because all the chiefs were not present. We were told today that the Government had offered the Cherokees $16,000 for the land across the Tennessee River, which they refused. They were told that since they had refused the offer, the Gov. would turn to the Chickasaws, who also had a claim on the land. In spite of their refusal, the whites would occupy the land. It was feared, however, that should the land be purchased of the Chickasaws, war between the two tribes might follow.

26. In a drunken state last night, Vann drove all of the occupants from his house. In recent days his conduct has been such that one is inclined to believe that he has gone insane. When in such a state, his wife finds refuge with us. She did so again last night. She told us that he had said that his wife had gone to the Germans for whom he had no use. If we did not watch our step, he would drive us from our place. We wish the Savior would help him. We know not what will become of him and will free him from the clutches of his enemy.

28. After we had gone to sleep, two drunk Indians came and spent the night with our school children.

 

August

1. A white man who lives in the neighborhood, Mr. Fields, ___of Mr. Ross spent the night with us.

11. It was again wild at Vann’s because of heavy drinking. We feared that we would again be unable to sleep tonight because of the many drunk Indians here about. Toward evening an Indian brought a horse for us to look after until the next morning because its owner was too drunk to do so.

13. We prayed today that the Savior might release Vann from the clutch of Satan. Not until today did the Indian come for his horse. He did not sober up until last night after drinking at Vann’s for two days and a night. For all that matters, in this vicinity things were wild. Nearly everyone was drunk. We thanked our Savior that he had protected us from harm and injury. Thus far they have not harmed us physically but we have lived in constant fear and many a night we had to listen to almost constant noise.

14. Two Indians came to us and after they had had something to eat they went to the blacksmith who had been drunk for four or five days.

15. Today Edmund Fahling’s son of Sumac came to our school for the first time. He will board and sleep at Vann’s. A number of Indians were here and gathered peaches from our orchard and then wandered on.

23. Last night four of Vann’s Negroes again ran away, but before doing so they robbed him of all the money he had in the house, about $3,500, emptied a chest containing silk and cotton mufflers and carried off some of Mrs. Vann’s wearing apparel and clothing of Vann’s. They chest with the money was under Vann’s bed where a white wench was sleeping at the time. This morning the chest was found in the brush but with one dollar left in it. This morning everybody chased after the thieves but returned at night without success. Someone was sent to Tellico to notify Vann of what had happened. All were in mortal fear of what would happen to them upon Vann’s return home. A few months ago $700 had been stolen of him over which he was so enraged that all had to flee from him for fear of what he might do to them. What will he do now after hearing of this? May the Savior grant that this affair will cause him to reflect about his own conduct.

 

September

1. Vann returned from Tellico and to our surprise he seemed quite calm. When Wohlfart and Byhan expressed their sorrows, he seemed very friendly.

13. Three of the Negroes who had a part in the robbery were caught. They admitted the theft, but said that a rogue who had been at Vann’s since last March named Spencer had forced them to steal the money. Spencer was immediately arrested and tortured to force a confession. He admitted that he and Mr. Bohing, Vann’s former overseer, and some of his Negroes had in mind to assassinate Vann and take all Vann had for their use. He admitted having stolen $40 from Vann in June and of giving the money to Bohing. It is appalling how things at Vann’s have been going for over a year. We often wished that we were 10 miles form here and would not be able to hear of the brutality and the noise going on at Vann’s house. We are more and more convinced that this is not the place for us where Indians were in the habit of congregating nor could an Indian congregation be gathered.

15. In the afternoon an Indian came with a rifle and a tomahawk, which was not unusual in the past week when it became known that Negro Peter, who had a part in robbing Vann, was in the area. Since he has a wife here, folks are afraid to stray far from home.

16. Yesterday we were told that Vann had burned alive his Negro, Isaac, who had helped rob and tried to kill him. To set an example to the rest of his slaves, he had them all assembled to witness the event. Wohlfart and Byhan, who wished to impress on Vann the seriousness of what he was about to do, arrived too late, for as they reached the scene, Isaac was already engulfed in flames. Vann was much disturbed over our action and said that we had come to plead for the life of the victim and to attempt to soften his and the onlookers hearts. We then told him that in all the world it was customary that persons who are sentenced to die should be given time to prepare to meet their God and to be executed the following morning. Bohing returned yesterday and was at once put in chains and lodged in Vann’s house. Bohing had a hand in the robbery.

17. In the morning Wohlfart went to Vann’s to see whether he might convince the criminals of their sin, but they were unable to speak with them for the crowd then at Vann’s.

18. We went to Vann’s to ask if we might not hold a service at his house and two prisoners be permitted to attend. This he refused and said that in four days the chiefs would meet at his place to decide on their fate. He said that they might speak with them before they were executed.

22. In the afternoon we had a prayer meeting at which Vann’s daughter was in attendance. She is 10 or 12 years of age and is to attend our school. Eighteen persons came to our meeting, Mulattos, Negroes, Indians and half Indians.

23. Vann’s daughter attended our school for the first time today. She comes after breakfast, stays for lunch, and returns home in the afternoon.

25. Mr. Ross, who had gone to Vann’s yesterday, came to visit us. At noon Chief Asiteoa, Sour Mush and another left their horses with us. While in this vicinity, they will stay with us. We were told by them that very many Indians were coming to Vann’s to decide on the fate of the two criminals, Bohing and Spencer. In the evening the three chiefs returned and brought others with them, so we had nine spend the night and feed them.

26. We heard the two were to be executed today, but in the meantime Vann had received word from Col. Meigs warning him not to attempt to execute them. He should send them to him and he would return some of the missing money which had been found, which was quite a sum, and that he would assume all the costs for sending the criminals to him. We were glad and pleased to hear the news. We were glad to know that the Indians were unable to carry out their vengeful designs. In the evening the chiefs who had been here last night and four others came. All of them had had too much whiskey. After entering, they demanded something to eat and were quite noisy.

27. Again many Indians came to spend the night. Today they set out with Spencer and Bohing for Southwestpoint.

28. The chiefs, who had been with us, went home. During the day they stayed at Vann’s and at night they came to us drunk and half starved. Late in the evening Vann sent two Negroes to tell Wohlfart that he is to make a coffin for the Negro Bob whom he had shot for the theft and for having attempted to kill his master Vann. It is impossible to describe how terrible this night was for us. Vann’s conduct is such that the Brethren and Sisters cannot bear to live here much longer. One hears one bad report after another about Vann, to which Satan drives him and has complete mastery of him.

29. Early this morning another messenger came to tell Wohlfart that he is to make a coffin. We went to Geiger to tell him that he could not do this but that he would hold a service for Bob if Vann wished. Geiger promised to tell Vann. At 10:00 Vann sent word that Wohlfart might hold a funeral service. When Wohlfart and Byhan reached Vann’s, the latter had severely punished two Negroes. Vann said that he did not object to a funeral service, but that he would not attend. We thought that no one was more in need of a service than Vann.

 

October

1. Joseph Vann came to our school today so we now have six children in school.

2. We told him to keep away from the other children because he had the itch and told him it would please us if he would remain at home until he was well.

3. Toward evening an Indian came to spend the night, but when he heard the noise at Vann’s he decided to go there for whiskey.

10. A number of Indians stopped with us on their way to Southwestpoint to get their annual award. Among them was Gent. Tom and others all of whom brought their horses to be fed on our corn. Every Indian who makes camp around here takes corn from our field for feeding his horse and we dare say nothing and be happy if they do not turn their horses loose in our cornfield.

19. In a letter from Br. Gambold, we were asked to meet his company with horses. Wohlfart and Byhan set out. The former went to Sumac and the latter to Will Hicks’ where the road branches off from the great road. Toward evening Byhan met the travelers at Sumac Creek 10 miles from here. It is impossible to describe the joy of seeing them. The party was made up of Brethren John and A.K. Gambold, John Hartmann, Joseph Lanius and a Negress with a three weeks old baby boy born on the way. Pleasant had been purchased to work for us. The entire party was in excellent health.

20. This forenoon Pleasant’s son, who was born on September 29, was baptized and named Michael. Vann and 25 Negroes were present at the service.

27. Wohlfart returned to Salem.

28. Today a white boy, who was adopted by Vann, named Agilla Charelswell, came to our school.

November

6. Vann sent a half Indian, Archibald Fields, to attend our school. He had assumed responsibility for him. Br. and Sr. Gambold and Br. Byhan, who went to Vann’s this afternoon to pay their respect to him, were kindly received. Vann had the Negroes, Peter and April, severely beaten for their part in the robbery.

7. Vann’s sister, Jerry, visited us.

10. Vann told us that he was leaving for Washington on Tuesday.

11. We had the pleasure of a visit by the former Nancy Vann, Mrs. Falling. She is still very fond of us and seemed quite worried.

14. Mr. McNair, whom we met at Hightower, visited us. We gave him letters to be mailed at Southwestpoint.

16. Toward evening two travelers, who had got lost in the woods, stopped and asked for lodging. This we could not deny them. They were very hungry for they had nothing to eat for more than a day while on their way from Nashville to South Carolina.

18. Vann’s son Joseph returned today after having visited at Tellico, where he had gone at his father’s request.

28. The brethren finished plastering their house.

 

December

8. In addition to Mrs. Vann and her sister Mary, two Negroes attended our meeting. Mrs. Vann seemed greatly disturbed, for while we were singing the song “My Savior Sinners Doth Receive, she could not refrain from crying. During Gambold’s talk a traveler from Yorktown, Pa. came in. He had come to do business with Vann. As he was not at home, he would find it difficult to find employment in this area. He was a skilled craftsman and wished to remain in this vicinity for awhile.

9. Mother Vann, her sister-in-law, our neighbor and her sister were here.

11. In the evening we---our pupils and Negroes---sang a few English Christmas hymns.

15. Mr. Vann’s sister Mary, who has moved into this neighborhood where the Bohings had lived, visited us. She was impressed with the talk by Br. Gambold on the passage from Jacob 3: 16-17.

21. Today we went three miles in our cart with our pupils to fetch a Christmas tree.

22. Mr. Geiger attended our afternoon meeting and Nancy Falling, our pupil, who lives with the Vanns, also attended.

26. Immediately after lunch we went to see Mrs. Vann who, for some time, has been suffering with a sore throat and was unable to attend our service yesterday. With the Negroes enjoying shooting nearby, we left to see Nancy Falling. In the house we found an old Bible, something quite rare hereabout.

28. The Brethren busied themselves cutting timber for building a smokehouse.

30. They finished cutting the timber.

31. Before Mr. Byhan was able to grind his corn, he was obliged to repair the mill. The Negroes are off through the holidays until after New Year.

Diary from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 1806

January

Nothing of importance pertaining to Vann and those associated with him until Jan. 20. We were sorry to hear that on Saturday night our dear neighbor Nancy Falling and all of her household effects were picked up by her husband and moved to his place. He probably did so out of fear for her brother Mr. Vann, who never approved of his sister’s marriage to Falling. This is expected to cause trouble.

22. We were glad to welcome Mr. Jac. Cravy, who had been quite helpful to Brother and sister Gambold when on their way to Spring Place. On their way from Georgia he loaded some of their goods and some of their Negress’ goods on his wagon and transported them for them. This afternoon he visited our school and told us that he once taught school and enjoyed teaching the children to read.

 

February

5. One of the chiefs who traveled to Washington to visit Congress with Vann visited us. We were pleased to hear through Mrs. Vann that the report of Vann’s death was false.

9. In the night Sister Byhan became seriously ill with a high temperature but was a bit more comfortable during the day.

10. Because of the severity of her ailment, Mrs. Vann sent her maid, Mona, to watch over her tonight.

13. We heard that Vann had gone to New York on business. We were glad to know this for his long absence without knowing where he was would have been the source of much concern to us. We thank our Savior that Sister Byhan seems to improve from day to day.

16. Mother Vann and her daughter-in-law were present at the service held by Br. Byhan.

 

March

1. Early this morning we were overjoyed to hear that Mr. Vann had returned from New York. Immediately the Brethren went to welcome him home. They found him ill. He proved himself very friendly toward us.

3. Toward evening Mrs. Hughes, Mother Vann’s sister, and son came on a visit and spent the night with us. Her son indicated that he would like to attend our school. Mrs. Hughes seems to be a very sensible and understanding person.

14. Mr. Rogers, who lives about 40 miles from here, brought his 12-year-old daughter to us. He is anxious to have her learn to sew, knit, read and write.

 

April

13. Mother Vann visited us today.

16. At our service we read the story of the creation of the earth and man from the Bible.

20. Mother Vann came for a visit and brought us some butter. At Vann’s on business, Br. Gambold had the happy surprise to find our friend Col. Meigs there. Toward evening Gambold returned to Vann’s to speak with him.

21. On his way to the Talk at Estanally, Vann stopped on business with Gambold. After conversing with the Brethren went in to greet our pupils.

27. We heard that Vann and Col. Meigs had returned from the Talk. Gambold immediately went to give the Col. a package for him to mail for us. We were sorry that Col. Meigs, who had been detained at the Talk, had to hasten home and were unable to confer with us. He told Gambold that he believed our efforts would in time be rewarded with success.

30. The Gambolds and Sister Byhan went to speak with Vann before he left for the Point. He read them a letter which he recently received from Georgia telling him that when on a trip last winter five men had trailed him with the intentions of killing him. We told him that his escape from harm could only be attributed to a providential God.

 

May

2. Vann left for the Point and carried our letters for mailing there.

7. With the help of our children we planted corn in our larger field. Mr. Tynor of Georgia, now overseer on Vann’s plantation, is an elderly person and is kindly disposed toward us. He attended our service. Later he told us that Mr. Vann had received a challenge from Mr. Falling and that Vann had accepted it. At heart Falling is a person of mean character. It is impossible for us to describe our feeling in the matter. We were particularly concerned about Vann, who had shown us so many kindnesses. Throughout the evening we lived in a state of fearful suspense and from sheer exhaustion we fell asleep. Then suddenly Gambolds were aroused by a hard knock at the door. Upon asking who was there, the response came, James Vann’s mother. When Gambold hastily opened the door, Mother Vann rushed in and threw herself about Sister Gambold’s shoulders and, amid sobs and tears, she said that her son had been killed. She then said that James had killed Falling. She then said that about a mile and a half from here, Falling met Vann. Upon seeing him, Falling dismounted and at close range shot at Vann. The bullet frazed [grazed?] Vann and the smoke from Falling’s gun choked Vann so that he thought that he had been shot. Vann’s shot penetrated Falling’s chest and he fell lifeless to the ground. Falling’s brother, who was with him, in the excitement, was able to get past Vann, concealed himself behind a pine tree, fired at Vann and missed his mark.

Mother Vann pleaded with Br. Gambold to go with her to her son and beg him not to go to the land of the Creeks in the morning. When they arrived at his home, they found him sober, alone and quite composed. He seemed pleased to see Gambold and was ready to give him a detailed account of the incident. He assured Gambold that he was fully aware of the fact that his life was in imminent danger. Toward midnight Gambold returned home.

16. Gambold and Byhan went to Mother Vann’s to comfort her. Before dawn, Vann, his father-in-law Clement Vann, and a companion had departed. The night before Gambold had asked him to stop with the chiefs in the vicinity and tell them the story. To this he agreed. This Gambold thought was most important as Falling’s relatives would attempt to find a chief who had been a sworn enemy of Vann for a long time. Mrs. Vann sent us a lovely portion of mutton. In the afternoon after Mother Vann had gone home, Sister sent [went?] to see Mrs. Vann. She found her in tears and greatly alarmed over the fate of her husband whose life was threatened by the murdered Falling’s relatives. Sister made the best of this opportunity to tell her comforting words spoken by the Savior. Mrs. Vann then grasped Sister Gambold’s hand firmly and said, “If I could only believe that God was a friend.” In the evening Mother Vann came. In the absence of her husband and so, she had gone to visit her daughter. She was deeply concerned over Nancy. She wondered whether she should have her brought from Falling’s as she feared for her safety. Negroes and Indians are afraid to go there. Today one of Vann’s Negroes was almost killed when following instructions to look for Falling’s body. He found him at the place where he had fallen and a group of Indians gathered about the corpse. One who saw him aimed a rifle at him. No sooner than he saw this he turned his horse and fled. While Mrs. Vann was still here, a young man named Marblestone, who had worked for Falling, asked whether we had made a coffin. We told him that we had received no such order nor had we received any measurements and that they would have to place the order elsewhere. Marblestone then departed. Mother Vann said that Nancy was very sad.

17. Falling’s body was brought home for burial. We prayed much for our friend Nancy and we hope that her present sadness will lead her to surrender her body and soul to the Savior.

25. At our Pentacostal service Mother Vann, Mrs. Vann, Mrs. McNair and many Negroes were present.

31. This afternoon we were pleased to have Nancy Falling and her daughter come for a visit. Others to visit us were Marblestone, who was still employed at Falling’s, a little girl, Falling’s daughter, whose mother is an Indian, accompanied Nancy and the child. Soon thereafter Mother Vann came. Nancy said that her reason for coming was that she had heard that we wanted to see her. After having coffee with us, they went to see her sister-in-law, Mrs. Vann, but at dusk they returned. She was exhausted and wept bitterly. Nancy then told us that in our company she found comfort. We comforted her and told her that the feeling of confidence had moved us greatly. She then told us she was always deeply thankful to be in our presence, for her heart was always at ease when in our presence. She spent the night with us.

 

June

1. After breakfast Nancy Falling went to Hall’s on business and later she went to see her mother and sister-in-law. After her noon meal, she and her mother dropped in to see us. We enjoyed a pleasant visit with them. Nancy said that she hated to return home, but that would be necessary if she wished to harvest her crops. She said that she eventually hoped to return to live here. We assured her that we looked forward to having her back here and that we were confident she would be quite a help to us in learning the Indian language. We then asked her whether she could give us an Indian expression for “God the creator of all things.” She then told us the Indians had no other expression for God than “Daddy above.” This she told us in Cherokee and we immediately wrote it. She and her mother then attended our service. For it we used the text “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavily laden; I will give you rest.” They seemed deeply moved, grasped our hands firmly and departed.

3. Some of Vann’s Negroes, men and women, came to offer to help us with our work in the field. On Sunday when they are not employed by Vann, this afforded them the opportunity to earn a little extra as they received clothing from their master once a year. They attended our service in which we spoke on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. John Miller also attended.

22. Nancy Vann came with her grandmother’s Negro maid. She told us that she wished to be baptized and her father and one of her sisters also wished baptism. She was told that before that could be done she must surrender her heart to her Savior and ask for his blessing. She was told she must change her life and only when this was apparent would baptism be appropriate. Mother Vann came and remained for the sermon. With her were Mrs. Vann as well as a number of Negroes.

29. John Miller and Marblestone, who now works at Hall’s, attended our meeting. Turkey Cock and his wife, who worked here today, were likewise present.

 

July

7. This morning Mr. Vann arrived home. Immediately the Brethren went to welcome him home. He was exceedingly friendly.

9. In spite of the very hot weather, we could not refuse Vann’s dinner invitation (noon). I will speak of the German “Mittagsessen” midday eating as dinner and “Abaddessen” as supper. He talked very excitedly and said that he would not venture visiting us at this time, for he had heard that the Falling family had said that they would burn down my roof from over my head. He said that he was not afraid but that he thought it wise not to leave his house unaccompanied for awhile. He told us that he considered us his most honest and trustworthy friends. He gave each of the Brethren and Sisters a small present and asked that they accept them as a reminder of his friendship toward them. To Byhan he gave a silk muffler and to each of our pupils a copy of Dilsworth’s Speller. In response to our request he talked at length in his Indian language. He likewise had a long talk with his cousin George.

13. In the afternoon Pearley came with five other Negroes to ask Br. Byhan to teach them to read the Bible. After an introductory talk, he read to them the story of the creation of man and told them that they were our first parents.

16. When at the mill, Ned, the miller, asked Byhan what had happened to Tony, that since he had been attending our Sunday meetings he seemed quiet and meditative. Byhan explained it satisfactorily. Ned told him that he was glad his work was being taken to heart by the poor Negroes. Such a thing is quite unusual in these parts. Tony was reared with the Indians and understands their language as well as he does the English.

29. Toward evening a small boy, Tommy’s brother, the Indian Five Killer and his wife visited us. Later Mrs. Paris and her two sons, Robert and Moses, came with Vann’s two children to enroll them in our school. They will board at Vann’s.

 

August

3. When Mother Vann came to our service, she said that she was very anxious to hear a sermon again.

6. A Mr. Anderson from Tellico and Mr. Wm. Hicks visited our school.

15. Toward noon the Indian, The Flea, came with a letter form Chas. Hicks that Flea’s grandchild would like to attend our school. We told him that we could not take his grandson to board but he might arrange to have him boarded at Vann’s. That he refused and said he would like to have him stay with us. We explained why it was impossible for us to take him to board. After we had departed, we conferred about it and Br. Gambold went to Vann’s with The Flea. In response to Vann’s offer to board the boy, his grandfather said that mostly Indian was spoken at Vann’s and that he wanted him to learn English. He firmly rejected the offer. We assured him that as soon as a vacancy occurred, we would let him know.

24. Mr. Geiger came to take leave of us as he was leaving this part of the country. He immediately set out. Mrs. Vann and all the school children staying at Vann’s came for the service.

September

1. We finished harvesting a good potato crop.

4. When the children who roomed at Vann’s came to school this morning, Joe Vann told us that he had found his lost book this morning. His sister said that he had asked God to help him find it, and then he went into the field and found it.

12. Gentleman Tom came this morning and had breakfast with us. At his request we gave him an assortment of seed. We were pleased to hear from him that the potato seed we gave him last spring had produced a good crop. He announced that he wished to take his son Tom home for a visit. He would take good care of him and return him in several weeks. As much as we hated to let him go, we