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"A Separatist Song": A Newly Discovered Poem about Zoar's Beginnings.

In 1833, two years after he arrived in Zoar, Separatist Daniel Ulrich Huber (1768-1840) sat down to pen an account, in the form of a fortyone-stanza poem, about the Separatists' trials in Wurttemberg and their emigration to America. This newly translated poem is the only comprehensive account we have of these happenings from a contemporary, but even Daniel Ulrich did not experience all of the events himself.

As one of the ringleaders of the rebellious Separatists in the town of Rottenacker, the center of Radical Pietist sentiment, shoemakers Daniel, his brother Stephan, father Stephan, and cousin Johannes, a tailor, were among the first to turn against the established state Lutheran church. Johannes had traveled to nearby Switzerland to hear a visionary, Barbara Grubermann (also Grubenmann) of Teufen, who advocated separating from the church. While preaching, she would deliver "prophetic sermons, ecstasies and visions" and enter trances that could last for days. (2) According to historian Eberhard Fritz:
Allegedly she saw the spirits of heaven, and she was convinced that all
things returned after the souls had been cleansed in heaven so anyone
could be saved. She thought that even the devil would be saved some day
and believed that she knew which of those deceased were in heaven and
which still stayed in hell. She encouraged people to do penance and
dismissed the church, its ministers and catechism. When she experienced
states of trance she did not feel any pain. (3)


After several years of preaching such borderline blasphemy, Grubermann fled from Teufen, hiding in several locations, and was briefly imprisoned. The three Huber men met Barbara Grubermann after she had escaped from prison in 1792 at the Zurich home of a prominent Swiss Pietist minister, Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801), who was sympathetic to Radical Pietism; the Hubers invited her to come and stay in Rottenacker. (4)

After her arrival in Rottenacker, Grubermann held semisecret meetings in believers' homes, even while attending church and taking Holy Communion. It was only around 1800, with a new minister and local governor/bailiff in town, that the rebellion broke out into the open and the dissenters began provoking the authorities.

Political and military events also contributed to the unrest--Napoleon Bonaparte had declared himself the French emperor, and the Wurttemberg ruler Duke (later Elector, and still later King) Friedrich II was caught up in the turmoil, needing soldiers for the war effort. What he did not need was a group of pesky religious dissenters to upset the status quo still further.

Let us let Daniel tell his story. He first thanks God for his deliverance to a place such as Zoar:
Verse 1
My heart, soul and spirit [Gemut]
[Give] laud and praise, day and night;
God's grace, loyalty and goodness
Has brought us this far,
Into a land where calm and quiet [prevail]
And addition, noble freedom. (5)

Verse 2
Yes, how could I hope for more,
Yes, how could I thank more
That this way stood open to me,
That after my fall
I might also come here,
To all the Separatists.


Daniel then looks back thirty years to the Separatists' beginnings:
Verse 4
Noble freedom, noble fortune
Here in the liberated land,
Yes, when I think back now,
To the sorrowful condition
Where the countryman's goods and blood
Belonged to the brood of tyrants.


"Tyrants" is how the Separatists thought of all of the authorities--from the local Kirchenkonvent, who oversaw the morals of the town and supervised the church-run schools, to the ruler himself, who threw them, including Daniel, into prison for years on end.
Verse 5
If a father had four of five sons,
And they were forced [to enlist],
Father, son and marriages were told:
Don't you know that are mine,
Take the sword and rifle
And protect my [the ruler's] honor.


Pacifism was a bedrock belief of the Separatists, enshrined in their Separatist Principle IX: "We cannot serve the state as soldiers, because a Christian cannot murder his enemy, much less his friend." When they refused to enter the draft lottery or pay for a substitute, they were jailed.
Verse 6
Even as the Separatists
Perceived the tyranny,
And wished to live as Christians
And speak the truth freely,
The war and battle raged
Far and wide throughout the land.

Verse 7
This battle continued long,
Yes, it lasted many years,
One recognized its fierceness,
It put the clergy in danger,
Who believed and were fearful
Another kingdom might arise. (6)


Huber refers to the entire struggle conducted against the church and state as "a battle," which it was in many ways, but the authorities possessed all the weapons--jail, fines, land confiscation, and removal of Separatist children to orphanages. One way the Separatists flouted authority was to keep their children away from the church-run schools, and for this, their children were taken to orphanages.
Verse 13
Children were violently abducted
And placed into the orphanage
In order to direct their souls
Away from their inner foundation;
They were forcefully taught
Ceremonies and hypocrisy.


At Christmas 1802, Elector Friedrich II (as he was known at the time), "an energetic and authoritarian ruler who showed little tolerance against whatever opposition... be it political or religious," (7) issued a series of decrees against the Rottenacker Separatists, which were read to the entire village. After the ringleaders were taken to prison, and initially agreed to obey, the Separatists broke their promises, and their meetings continued. Other non-Separatists felt free to imitate the Separatist lawbreakers. Finally, on May 6, 1804, military action was ordered. (8)
Verse 8
The officials and the priests,
Came forth in total anger.
It was decreed that [the Separatists] should be punished
Until they took off their cap and hat.
Troops would be sent to them
Until they gave [the authorities] honor.

Verse 9
The people were not compensated.
The [troops] destroyed our country
With flags, weapons and drums,
And marched [resisters] off,
To execution quarters,
Thirty men and officers.


Fourteen male Separatists from Rottenacker were arrested, and twenty soldiers, led by a Lt. Seybold, were quartered in the homes of Separatists. (9) So generously were they treated by the Separatists that the soldiers were told by Seybold not to accept extra food and drink, but the cost of quartering the soldiers for the four weeks of occupation cost many Separatist families dearly; some would have resorted to selling property if the authorities had not ended the occupation.
Verse 10
But also for this scourge,
Its days were determined-How
long it should last-It
lasted probably a month,
And then despite all effort,
They withdrew without a victory.


Withdraw they did, but they took the fourteen arrested male Separatists to the Hohen Asperg Fortress, where many remained for years. At the fortress, the approximately sixty Separatists housed there from all over Wurttemberg were regarded as model prisoners. Often, they were entrusted to travel from place to place with large sums of money. They were forced to work on the royal estates, carving faux marble in the Stuttgart Palace's Marble State Room, where even the king himself was pleased with their work. They participated in backbreaking labor at the king's country home, Monrepos ("my rest"), where they dug by hand an ornamental lake under cover of darkness because the king did not wish to see the prisoners working. (10) Two Separatists died after being severely beaten. (11)

At the end of their prison sentences, the Separatists were asked if their attitudes had changed, if they would no longer rebel against the state. If they did not assent, they were imprisoned for another year. Some prisoners continually refused to recant, including Johannes Breymaier of Rottenacker, who spent twelve years there. (12)

The wives and families of those prisoners had to make do as best they could, keeping businesses and farms running and the children fed. Even with such hardship, many Separatist women continued to defy the authorities, withholding their children from school, despite the fines and imprisonments in the Tower and workhouse. Some marriages did not survive such stresses, with couples divorcing or leaving their partners behind when they emigrated. Stephan Huber, Barbara Schoch, and Christine Striebel from Rottenacker all left their spouses to travel to America. (13)

In 1811, a group of Rottenacker Separatists purchased the vacant home of the governor, whose office had been abolished when Wurttemberg became a kingdom in 1806. Their aim was to live together communally, but such arrangements were not recognized by the government, so they continued to hold their private property. (14)

Emigration might have seemed to be the way to rid the country of these troublemakers. But in 1807, Friedrich, having been made king by Napoleon in 1806, forbade emigration, ostensibly because the country needed its young men to serve in the army, which was now fighting with Bonaparte's Confederation of the Rhine.

The imprisonment of the ringleaders of the Separatist movement tamped down much of the conflict with the authorities and had the desired effect of essentially stopping its growth, both in numbers and in philosophy.

In the disastrous 1812 Russian invasion by Napoleon, Wurttemberg lost 11,500 soldiers--only 500 returned. (15) The next year, King Friedrich changed sides to fight with the allies and participated in the Congress of Vienna in 1815, which allowed him to keep the lands he had acquired during the years of war.

The year 1816 saw terrible crop failures due to the effects of Mt. Tambora, an Indonesian volcano halfway around the world, which had erupted the year before, spreading ash and air pollution throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including America. In what was called "the year without a summer," the weather played havoc with agriculture. It snowed in June in Albany, New York, for instance. Wurttemberg was hit especially hard, with grain prices almost doubling. Returning soldiers seeking work added another drag on a fragile economy recovering from war. People thought the end times were upon them. (16) Faced with this disaster, King Friedrich lifted his ban on emigration in 1816. Many Separatists took advantage of low-cost land offered by Czar Alexander I of Russia and traveled down the Danube to settle in southern Russia, in what is today's Ukraine. Included in this group were some Separatists from Rottenacker. (17) Prisoners at the fortress petitioned the king to be released if they would emigrate to America. But that didn't happen just yet--some Separatists had another idea.
Verse 15
Finally, another attempt was made
By Brandenburg, to ransom them,
To find out if perhaps
A better place of rest were there,
But Pharaoh's army
Never gave them any rest.


In order to remain in Wurttemberg and not risk the voyage to America, an attempt was made to settle together. The estate of Brandenburg near the Bavarian border (not to be confused with the eastern German state of the same name) was being auctioned. It had belonged to Countess Caroline of Fugger-Blumenfeld, who had gone bankrupt. At the sale, it was bought by Prosecutor Christmann of Ulm, probably a "straw purchaser" who allowed the Separatists to be anonymous and offered it to them at the price he paid. Since the location was "in the most remote part of the country," (18) it was hoped that the Separatists could live there in peace as a group, a "united fellowship." (19) On April 28, 1816, they petitioned King Friedrich to allow them "to unite themselves into a community in that place... in industry and unity." (20) Anticipating their request would be granted, a deposit was made, and four Separatist families moved to the estate, which had three hundred acres of fields and one thousand acres of woodland, including the estate buildings, which were "wrecked... and now standing empty." (21)

Despite their efforts, a subsequent petition to Friedrich (now nonextant) was torn in half and returned to the Separatists. (22) In October that year, the king died suddenly, which was looked on as "a sign from God that their worst enemy had perished." (23) He was succeeded by his son, Wilhelm I. Undeterred, the petitioners tried again, flattering the new king ("A day of common joy was received through the Kingdom by the accession to the throne of our much loved Crown Prince... on whose kind heart we lay our request."). Somewhat disingenuously, the Separatists claimed to have lived "peacefully & obediently" and said they wished "to unite with each other more closely in a larger more spacious dwelling place." They asked that legal red tape be cleared up with the district court at Wiblingen, "which opposed our religious principles," "had described the record of purchase erroneously," and had even gathered signatures from the surrounding community against their settlement. The Separatists asked that this latest petition be granted, as they were "loyal citizens." (24) This Wilhelm refused to do.
Verse 17
Yes, who could believe it?
You furtive band of robbers
First robbed us of all we had,
Then drove us from our fatherland.
They wanted nothing more
Than to rob us of God and honor.


Not only God and honor, but they were robbed of the funds used for their deposit to purchase the Brandenburg estate, which were never returned. Their only recourse was to come to America.
Verse 19
Previously, by God's order from above
Lot, the pious man
Also went out of Sodom
Before judgment began,
Fled to the village of Zoar
Where he, too, found his rest.


It is not known why Daniel Ulrich Huber did not leave Rottenacker in 1817 and waited until 1831 to emigrate. So his account of the sea voyage, the reception by the Quakers in Philadelphia, and settlement in Zoar are necessarily secondhand. However, his brother Stephan and ten neighbors from Rottenacker did join the other sixty-seven men and seventy-eight women (plus many children) who arrived in Antwerp, Belgium, in April 1817.

The Separatists sailed down the Neckar and Rhine Rivers to the seacoast and boarded the ship that one of their leaders, Johann Gottfried Banzhaff, had arranged for them. (25) Banzhaff had earlier contacted the Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, in northern Germany and England for financial assistance in emigrating. The English Friends, in turn, wrote and asked their brethren in Philadelphia to meet and care for the Separatists upon their arrival.

Their Russian ship, the Vaterlandsliebe ("Love of the Fatherland"), remained in the harbor until sailing in mid-May. This delay, according to one account, depleted their stores of food, which became critically low. Illness, crowded conditions below decks and the misery of seasickness tested the resolve of the Separatists. Scrofula, a bacterial infection of the lymph glands, probably caused by breathing the fetid air aboard ship, affected some of the passengers. (26)
Verse 21
Ninety-two days
The journey across the sea lasted,
But their leader and traveling companion
Was their king, sovereign and Lord,
To whom, already for many years,
Wind and sea were obedient.


The ship was buffeted by northerly winds that took it near the shores of Nova Scotia, where, according to the one account of the voyage, they met fishermen off the Grand Banks and bought fish to supplement their dwindling supplies. The ship's captain went ashore by longboat to find food and failed to return. After waiting several days, the ship was driven by a strong wind to Halifax, where the governor there welcomed them and offered land to settle. Finding the land "somewhat barren," the Separatists declined his kind offer. Instead, they departed, still with no captain, and sailed with a favorable wind to Philadelphia. (27)

During this difficult voyage, the Separatists were comforted by their religious faith and in particular by one man, Joseph Michael Baumler, who emerged as their leader by the time they reached Philadelphia. Baumler (later Anglicized to Bimeler) had been converted to Separatism around 1804 by Konrad Schacher and Georg Striebel of Rottenacker. (28) Originally from Merklingen in the Swabian Alb, he had been a teacher and a pipemaker, and in 1804 had recently moved to Ulm and, like his father, was working as a master weaver. Little is known about just how Baumler insinuated himself into a leadership position with the Separatists, only that by the time the group's ship landed in Philadelphia in August 1817, he was inarguably their leader. Not only was he well versed in their Radical Pietistic teachings but he also had some homeopathic medical training and was said to have tirelessly tended to the sick onboard. (29)
Verse 22
And before arriving in this land,
Already at this time
The Quakers all together
Had prepared a house for them,
Where they could enter in,
Old, young, great and small.

Verse 23
Eighteen hundred and seventeen
On the fourteenth of August
They arrived, being well
And with heart's delight, in this land,
In Old Philadelphia,
Free in North America.


The Quakers received the Separatists at their August 14, 1817, arrival with efficient kindness, renting a wing of a hospital--"a more comfortable situation"--for their housing "as the weather [was] very warm." The Quakers cared for those who had become ill on the long voyage, found work for those who were able, and raised funds to provide food for them, at an estimated cost of three hundred dollars per week. The Separatists, impoverished by the need to purchase more food on their detour to Halifax, "could not even come up with funds to pay the duty to get themselves and their baggage off the ship. Philadelphia Friends intervened on their behalf at the customs house paying the tonnage duty so a baggage permit could be issued." (30) This work was done by a committee of fifteen "weighty Friends," of which Thomas Pym Cope was the secretary. (31) The committee also petitioned other Friends' meetings from as far away as New York and Baltimore for funds to support the refugees. (32)

The Friends assisted in the location of nearby land parcels upon which the group could settle, (33) even accompanying those who were investigating the properties. But the Separatists found nothing suitable nearby. (34)

The relationship with the Quakers, complicated as it was by language difficulties, religious differences--the two religions were not as similar as both had been led to believe--and the age-old problem of the supplicant being beholden to the donor, led to frictions between the groups. Baumler, for one, seemed to annoy the Quakers in his insistence on doing things his own way.

The situation was complicated further by the Separatists' relationship with the Harmonists, also a German Pietist group from Wurttemberg with similar beliefs, who were living at this time in southern Indiana. They had emigrated in 1803, before the edict that forbade it. The two groups had corresponded over the years, and some Separatists had relatives who were Harmonists. Their leader George Rapp's adopted son, Frederick, was in Philadelphia upon the Separatists' arrival there and may have introduced them to Godfrey Haga, a German Moravian land dealer, who had 5,500 acres in the Tuscarawas Valley of Ohio for sale. He had tried to sell this land to Rapp upon the latter's arrival, but Rapp thought it was "too far west" and settled in western Pennsylvania instead. (The group had moved to New Harmony, Indiana, in 1815.) (35)

Baumler, acting for the Separatists, decided to buy Haga's land, sight unseen. He did not tell the Quakers, causing a rift between the two groups. "These people appear to have dealt rather disingenuously with us & B[aumler] in particular is thought to be an artful man," said Cope in the minutes of the committee. (36)

The terms from Haga were generous: fifteen thousand dollars for the 5,500 acres (less than three dollars per acre), with three yearly payments, the first not due until 1828, and no interest for three years. Baumler signed the deed on behalf of the Separatists, but it was made out to him only. (37) Baumler's lone signature on the document proved to be an obstacle, not only with dealings with the Quakers, but for the rest of his lifetime. The land was only transferred in trust to the Society of Separatists on his deathbed in 1853. (38)
Verse 28
Each can now worship God
How and when and where he wishes,
So as not to burden his conscience,
Pursuing the true goal,
Entirely according to understanding of his heart,
In Pennsylvania.

Verse 29
Still, that was not yet the place
Or the determined location
Where the people were to remain
As destined by their God.
Here in the Ohio valley
Was the suitable place.


Baumler also wanted to control the funds the Friends had raised for the Separatists' welfare. "He seemed anxious & determined to get the people speedily away, & wished to have the money which had been raised in London, no part of which had been expended--& also such other sums as remained on hand, & had been collected for their use. The Committee had become so dissatisfied with this Individual, that they were not easy to pay to him alone the money which had been raised for the general benefit. The sum was therefore divided into equal portions for each and given to them separately." This amount worked out to be eighteen dollars per person. (39)

By the end of October, 125 of the 250 Separatists had left Philadelphia; the rest made their way in the spring of 1818. The first winter was very hard. Sometime during that season, they were visited by Thomas Rotch (1766-1823) of nearby Kendal, Ohio, a former New England whaler, land developer, and Quaker abolitionist. A friend of Cope's, he had been asked to check on how the Separatists were faring in Ohio. He was curious about the new settlement, had heard "some tales about Bimeler's character and policies, and that he was treating his former close associate J. G. Banzhoff very unfairly." (40) (Although he did sign the articles of agreement that created the communal society in 1819, Banzhoff later left the Society, and in 1822, brought suit to recover what he had contributed to its welfare. He lost the case.) (41)
Verse 30
There was offered to them
Six thousand acres of arable land, (42)
But naturally questions arose.
They were poor yet rich,
Their till was almost empty,
What could they show for all the years?

Verse 31
Still, Bimeler dared to try it,
Bought the entire mighty land
God gave him fortune and blessing.
Quickly, and to dissolve their debt,
He was able, from the blessing,
To hand over all that was theirs.


In order to release the remaining funds they had collected (Baumler had requested six hundred dollars from the Quaker funds to build a grist and saw mill in 1818), the Friends asked that Baumler sign a Declaration of Trust, essentially giving up all personal interest in the lands and entrusting them to the group. In a letter to Baumler, Philadelphia Quaker John James gave a report on the Separatists still remaining in Philadelphia, while exhorting him to sign the Declaration: "Our mutual friend Thomas Rotche [sic] informed me that you had a conference together and thou had signed the Declaration of Trust[.] It afforded me much consolation, but I was very sorry when I understood thy friends objected to its being put upon Record[,] which I consider a great mistake and hope they have come to see the impropriety of it but as thou assured me it shall be done. If not I hope you will [not] let one day pass over without having it finished as it be the means of quieting many minds and it will be of very great advantage of the company[.]" (43) Other extant letters state that Baumler was ready to sign but that "at the alleged insistence of the members of the society, this declaration was torn up and never registered legally." (44)

The minute book does not state what ultimately happened to the remaining funds. One historian presumes they were used to support individual Separatists when they came to Philadelphia on business, which they did throughout their long seventy-nine-year history as a communal group. (45)
Verse 32
By group effort they began to build,
Laying out the little city of Zoar,
Gardens, grasslands, green meadows:
The promised Canaan
In which milk and honey flow
As promised by God to his people.

Verse 33
What God promised his people
Already many years ago
Has become evident in fullness,
The petitions and wishes:
Lead me out of danger and pain,
Into Thy peaceful Zoar. (46)


Less than a year after their arrival in Zoar, in a final missive to the Quakers, Baumler defends the observation that he is acting "like a despot." Stressing that the Zoarites and the Friends are "very close to each other in their religious beliefs, closer than to any other [group]," he gives a detailed description of their land and its promise and, in his own way, thanks the Friends and asks for their blessing: "In short, there can't be any doubt that we are in the place where God will grant us happiness and dry our tears.--Now offer us your hand and we will in future times praise you as the fountain head of our happiness and say: The Lord has done that through the Friends." (47)

And such has proven to be the case through the years. It speaks volumes for the "kind-hearted Quakers," (48) as local historian Hilda Morhart called them, that they would render such aid and succor to a group of persecuted immigrants they hardly knew. Even Thomas Cope, for all his difficulties with the Separatists, finally admitted in his letter to Thomas Rotch that "most of them, while here, conducted [themselves] soberly & steadily--and we are of the opinion that there are among them many innocent & valuable people." (49)

The next two years were difficult ones, which led to the ultimate decision to become communal in 1819. The winter of 1818-1819 tested the mettle of the party. Although they still acted in many ways as a unit with collective decision-making, they had intended, in a somewhat hazy plan, for each family to obtain enough capital through their own farming to purchase a plot of the common land for itself. But at that point, just surviving was paramount. Jacob Sylvan, an original Separatist who led the group after Baumler's death in 1853, described the situation:
Throughout this year of 1818, there was as yet no communal sharing of
goods, and each individual lived for himself. But it was found that
this would not work, since there were destitute old people who were too
poor to buy a little piece of land, and too weak to feed themselves.
Others capable of work were forced to work for the Americans in order
to get by, and this impeded the work at home, which was not making
headway. (50)


How the idea of a communal society came about is not well documented. Communalism was not an original stated goal of the group--freedom of worship was their aim. Obviously, the example of the successful Harmony Society played a part, due to their German nationality, common religious backgrounds, the contact with Frederick Rapp in Philadelphia, and the correspondence of Baumler and other Separatists with the Harmonists. The mutually shared experiences of the common house in Rottenacker, the aborted land purchase in Brandenburg, the ocean voyage, the travel overland, and the eighteen months of working as one allowed the Separatists to see that they were stronger together than apart.

Baumler was reluctant to consider the idea; he thought the members might not be unselfish enough to work for the good of the group, nor want to remain as tied together as a communal society must be. In later years, he reconsidered his opinion:
Nevertheless, affairs progressed, and those who have lived according to
these principles [the Articles of Association] have profited thereby,
for they are the principles of justice, and, in truth, Godly
principles. (51)


Baumler did not himself sign these first Articles of Agreement (nor did he sign the second Articles of 1824, but he did sign the third Articles in 1833). (52) Despite this, he gave the fledgling Society of Separatists of Zoar his wholehearted support and the benefit of his vision and leadership.

By the time of Daniel Ulrich Huber's arrival in 1831, the Society of Separatists of Zoar was on its feet--it had paid off its land debt, thanks to the arduous labor of building by hand seven miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal in 1826-1828, and the communal system it forged was working well. He compared Zoar to the story of Jacob's blessing on his twelve sons (53):
Verse 35
May Abraham's and Jacob's blessing
Rest here upon the land of Zoar,
Given by God to his people,
Sent to His little cohort;
Jacob's blessing enriches you,
[Through] Joseph's being sold.


Huber then cites the New Testament parable of the sower of seeds (Matthew 13:1-23), requiring the hearer to determine what sort of believer he or she is; are they open to the true word of God, as the Separatists undoubtedly were, or would his word fall on the "stony ground"? Their profound beliefs, forged through persecution in Wurttemberg, had allowed them to become successful in America and yield "sixty to one hundredfold":
Verse 39
Surrounded by the Spirit's power
The sower is sent out,
And whenever he goes forth,
It is to sow the land,
And he wishes that all his seed
Will fall upon good ground.

Verse 40
Not to be trampled upon the way,
Not [to land] on rock or stone,
Not on thorns or hedges
That will choke its sprout,
[But rather] upon good land
Yielding sixty or one hundredfold.


Finally, Huber, near the end of his long, eventful life, celebrates Zoar's success and his part in it.
Verse 41
So here I come to my conclusion,
My heart's beloved friend,
With thanks for the pleasure
That I enjoyed in the Community,
May God requite this pleasure,
And with that I conclude.


Daniel Huber's Poem (54)

Daniel Ulrich Huber (1768-1840), 1833.

A Song about the course of the Separatists, in which is composed [i.e., compiled] something of their persecutions that they suffered for the honor God and the truth in the Kingdom of Wurt[t]emberg.

Secondly, the departure and trip, [accomplished] by God's leading and direction, from their fatherland to North America.
August Baumler (55)

Verse 1
My heart, soul and spirit [Gemut]
[Give] laud and praise, day and night;
God's grace, loyalty and goodness
Has brought us this far,
Into a land where calm and quiet [prevail]
And addition, noble freedom.

Verse 2
Yes, how could I hope for more,
Yes, how could I thank more
That this way stood open to me,
That after my fall
I might also come here,
To all the Separatists.

Verse 3
Still, out of the depths,
For a second time, the Lord,
Out of sheer grace called to me:
Stand up from your fall,
Stand up and do not tarry,
See, judgment hastens.

Verse 4
Noble freedom, noble fortune
Here in the liberated land,
Yes, when I think back now,
To the sorrowful condition
Where the countryman's goods and blood
Belonged to the brood of tyrants.

Verse 5
If a father had four of five sons,
And they were forced [to enlist],
Father, son and marriages were told:
Don't you know that are mine,
Take the sword and rifle
And protect my [the ruler's] honor.

Verse 6
Even as the Separatists
Perceived the tyranny,
And wished to live as Christians
And speak the truth freely,
The war and battle raged
Far and wide throughout the land.

Verse 7
This battle continued long,
Yes, it lasted many years,
One recognized its fierceness,
It put the clergy in danger,
Who believed and were fearful
Another kingdom might arise.

Verse 8
The officials and the priests,
Came forth in total anger.
It was decreed that [the Separatists] should be punished
Until they took off their cap and hat.
Troops would be sent to them
Until they gave [the authorities] honor.

Verse 9
The people were not compensated.
The [troops] destroyed our country
With flags, weapons and drums,
And marched [resisters] off,
To execution quarters,
Thirty men and officers.

Verse 10
But also for this scourge,
Its days were determined-How
long it should last-It
lasted probably a month,
And then despite all effort,
They withdrew without a victory.

Verse 11
How often they tried:
They searched outside the house,
To discover some hiding place,
They looked in every corner,
Searched for what a blind man
Is unable to find.

Verse 12
Owing to an awful event,
The evil brood quickly found us,
And delivered hard blows
Venting their wrath upon us,
Breaking down the door of the house,
And fiercely bringing the people out.

Verse 13
Children were violently abducted
And placed into the orphanage
In order to direct their souls
Away from their inner foundation;
They were forcefully taught
Ceremonies and hypocrisy.

Verse 14
Just like murderers and thieves
Many were arrested,
Pushed around back and forth,
And imprisoned.
Pharaoh did not let them go,
His pride and arrogance were too great.

Verse 15
Finally, another attempt was made
By Brandenburg, to ransom them,
To find out if perhaps
A better place of rest were there,
But Pharaoh's army
Never gave them any rest.

Verse 16
Wherever we attempted to flee,
The Leader of Israel spoke
Go forth from this land.
Quickly the order sounded forth:
Get up, hurry, for we all wish
To go forth out of Sodom.

Verse 17
Yes, who could believe it?
You furtive band of robbers
First robbed us of all we had,
Then drove us from our fatherland.
They wanted nothing more
Than to rob us of God and honor.

Verse 18
Just as they did in Sodom
To righteous Lot,
When he spoke of punishment:
They ridiculed him
Until upon that despised brood
Fire and sulfur rained down.

Verse 19
Previously, by God's order from above
Lot, the pious man
Also went out of Sodom
Before judgment began,
Fled to the village of Zoar
Where he, too, found his rest.

Verse 20
Just as God, from ancient times,
Led the children of Israel
And also allowed them to be led
By his mighty host of angels,
[So now] as in times of old He leads them
Happily [glucklich] over land and sea.

Verse 21
Ninety-two days
The journey across the sea lasted,
But their leader and traveling companion
Was their king, sovereign and Lord,
To whom, already for many years,
Wind and sea were obedient.

Verse 22
And before arriving in this land,
Already at this time
The Quakers all together
Had prepared a house for them,
Where they could enter in,
Old, young, great and small.

Verse 23
Eighteen hundred and seventeen
On the fourteenth of August
They arrived, being well
And with heart's delight, in this land,
In Old Philadelphia,
Free in North America.

Verse 24
And because they came their way
Out of such hard slavery,
From which they completely escaped,
Away from all tyranny,
All cruelty and war,
The yoke of the [slave] driver was broken.

Verse 25
Tell, where are the high councilors,
Those learned in Scripture,
Clerics who perverted the world?
Freed from legal process,
From the priests' clerical guild,
We were completely unbound and free.

Verse 26
Taxation has ended,
There is no longer any constraint,
Father, Mother and children
Are free from the Ash-Mountain [Asch-Berg] (56) and the penitentiary,
And whatever had to be hidden
Now stands in the open.

Verse 27
Freedom of conscience adorns
Those intelligent men
Who introduced freedom
With the laurel wreath
That long liberates a people
Entirely from constraint of conscience.

Verse 28
Each can now worship God
How and when and where he wishes,
So as not to burden his conscience,
Pursuing the true goal,
Entirely according to understanding of his heart,
In Pennsylvania.

Verse 29
Still, that was not yet the place
Or the determined location
Where the people were to remain
As destined by their God.
Here in the Ohio valley
Was the suitable place.

Verse 30
There was offered to them
Six thousand [sic] acres of arable land,
But naturally questions arose.
They were poor yet rich,
Their till was almost empty,
What could they show for all the years?

Verse 31
Still, Bimeler dared to try it,
Bought the entire mighty land
God gave him fortune and blessing.
Quickly, and to dissolve their debt,
He was able, from the blessing,
To hand over all that was theirs.

Verse 32
By group effort they began to build,
Laying out the little city of Zoar,
Gardens, grasslands, green meadows:
The promised Canaan
In which milk and honey flow
As promised by God to his people.

Verse 33
What God promised his people
Already many years ago
Has become evident in fullness,
The petitions and wishes:
Lead me out of danger and pain,
Into Thy peaceful Zoar.

Verse 34
There Aaron's lament is silent,
Where God's blessing flows,
Joseph's stock-rooms,
Are filled up with fruits
From the seven fat years,
Placed before his brothers.

Verse 35
May Abraham's and Jacob's blessing
Rest here upon the land of Zoar,
Given by God to his people,
Sent to His little cohort;
Jacob's blessing enriches you,
[Through] Joseph's being sold.

Verse 36
Not to be rich on this earth,
Not to be rich in this time,
Eternally rich and blessed,
You could also be in eternity
If you truly desire it with sincerity,
And follow what is taught to you.

Verse 37
O mind of a pure spirit,
You can hear eternal truth,
Words that to high choirs
And lead to eternal life,
Words full of spirit and power,
Words that create new life.

Verse 38
The Spirit leads to new life
In the land of the ancient fathers
For those who also seek God
Upon the souls' inner foundation
[Who is] their treasured Immanuel.

Verse 39
Surrounded by the Spirit's power
The sower is sent out,
And whenever he goes forth,
It is to sow the land,
And he wishes that all his seed
Will fall upon good ground.

Verse 40
Not to be trampled upon the way,
Not [to land] on rock or stone,
Not on thorns or hedges
That will choke its sprout,
[But rather] upon good land
Yielding sixty or one hundredfold.

Verse 41
So here I come to my conclusion,
My heart's beloved friend,
With thanks for the pleasure
That I enjoyed in the Community,
May God requite this pleasure,
And with that I conclude.
Daniel Hoober [Huber]
Written in Zoar, June 17, 1833
                     S. B. (57)


Translator's note: I have tried to balance the need for fidelity to the original text with the requirement of producing readable English. Occasionally, the order of lines within a stanza was changed to achieve better clarity in English. Philip Webber, May 2017.

Kathleen M. Fernandez, a graduate of Otterbein College with a BA in history, is the former site manager at Zoar Village and Fort Laurens State Memorials for the Ohio Historical Society (now the Ohio History Connection); she retired in 2004. She worked as the executive director of the North Canton Heritage Society from 2006 to 2016. She has been the executive director of the Communal Studies Association since 2004. She is the author of A Singular People: Images of Zoar (Kent State University Press, 2003) and has written numerous papers and articles about the Zoar Separatists for journals and conferences. She is currently at work on a general history of Zoar to be titled The Society of Separatists of Zoar, A History (Kent State University Press, slated for 2019 publication) as well as a new exhibit at Zoar's Number One House.

(1) A modified version of this essay will appear in the author's forthcoming book The Society of Separatists of Zoar, A History, slated for 2019 publication by Kent State University Press.

(2) Eberhard Fritz, "Roots of Zoar, Ohio, in Early 19th Century Wurttemberg: The Separatist Group in Rottenacker and Its Circle--Part One," Communal Societies 22 (2001): 31.

(3) Ibid., 32.

(4) Ibid., 33.

(5) The poem in its original German script can be found in the Zoar Papers, MSS110AV box 93, folder 3, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH. My grateful thanks go to Philip Webber for his translation. The entire translated poem appears at the end of this article.

(6) This may refer to Napoleon's incorporating Wurttemberg into the French Empire, or to some other political or religious event where the clergy would lose special privilege.

(7) Eberhard Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar: Origins of a Separatist Community," paper presented at the Communal Studies Association conference, Zoar, Ohio, October 6, 2017, 6. Fritz says the ruler regarded the Separatists as "enemies of the state."

(8) Eberhard Fritz, "Roots of Zoar, Ohio, in Early 19th Century Wurttemberg: The Separatist Group in Rottenacker and Its Circle--Part Two," Communal Societies 23 (2002): 30.

(9) To quell Separatist activity, soldiers were also quartered in 1804 in the towns of Dettinger unter Teck and Boll. Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar," 10.

(10) Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar," 10-11. Today, one can visit the grounds of Monrepos, a popular resort, but it gives a visitor pause to think of the arduous labor required to dig this midsized lake with its islands. The grounds of the Hohen Asperg prison can also be visited. It still serves as a minimum-security prison.

(11) Fritz, "Roots of Zoar... Part Two," 35.

(12) Eberhard Fritz to the author, August 1998.

(13) Fritz, "Roots of Zoar... Part Two," 39.

(14) Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar," 14

(15) Ibid., 14.

(16) Ibid., 15; Robert Selig, "O Gieb Mir Brod Mit Hungert: The Great Famine of 1817," German Life (December 2015-January 2016): 45-46.

(17) Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar," 15.

(18) Ibid.

(19) April 28, 1816, Petition to the King, Adamson Papers, MSS1276AV box 1, folder 1, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH. Both this and the petition to Wilhelm I were signed by Separatist Kaspar Vetter (also Fetter), a vintner of Murr. In 1820 and 1823, Vetter would later return to Wurttemberg on the Separatists' behalf with powers of attorney to settle the estates of individual members and bring the money back to the community's coffers.

(20) Ibid.

(21) November 14, 1816, Second Brandenburg Petition, Adamson Papers, box 1, folder 2, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH.

(22) "We reiterated to the departed king for the immediate support to the acceptance of our plea to Brandenburg, but our petition [was sent] back torn, without decision, probably because of some imperfection therein." The word "reiterated" leads the author to believe that there were two petitions to Friedrich, not just one. Ibid.

(23) Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar," 15.

(24) Second Brandenburg Petition.

(25) Donald Durnbaugh, "'Strangers and Exiles': Assistance Given by the Religious Society of Friends to the Separatists Society of Zoar in 1817-1818," Ohio History 106 (Winter/Summer 2000): 76.

(26) Edgar Nixon, "The Society of Separatists of Zoar" (PhD diss., Ohio State University, 1933), 19.

(27) P. F. D., "Harmony Builds the House," 1832 essay about Zoar, contained in the Peter Kaufmann Papers, MSS 136 AV, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH, p. 9 of translation. Although not firsthand, this is the only narrative account of the voyage I have found that explains the extreme four-month length of the ocean crossing, which usually took just two. The author, whose detailed descriptions of Zoar in 1832 are invaluable, may or may not be a credible source detailing the voyage, but I can see no reason why he would make up this information. Recently, a document was found (Society of Separatists of Zoar Papers, MSS 1663, Western Reserve Historical Society Library, Cleveland, OH, container 1, folder 5) that mentions Halifax and lists the family names of those who paid for bread ("brot") at Halifax and serves to confirm the Halifax story.

(28) Fritz, "From Wurttemberg to Zoar," 11.

(29) Nixon, "Society of Separatists," 18.

(30) Neva Jean Specht, "'Constrained to Afford Them Countenance and Protection': The Role of the Philadelphia Quakers in the Settlement of the Society of Separatists of Zoar," Communal Societies 24 (2003): 98.

(31) Thomas Cope to Thomas Rotch, February 6, 1818, Rotch/Wales Collection, Massillon (Ohio) Library.

(32) Dunbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 79.

(33) The lands offered lay mostly in Pennsylvania counties to the north and west of Philadelphia. Thomas Stewardson and his partners offered four thousand acres in Potter County "gratuitously" but to be held in trust. Other proposals included land in Tioga, Lycoming, Wayne, McKean, and Jefferson Counties, all of which were in northwestern Pennsylvania. The one exception came from Jeremiah Warder and Sons, who proposed a ten-thousand-acre tract in the southwest corner of Virginia along the Clinch River; the proposal made clear this area had few slaves "that work land." Nearly all the proposals made generous terms for purchasing, and many like Stewardson offered land gratis. At the same time, however, the descriptions of the land explained how much of it was second rate and unimproved, and almost all stipulated the Germans' permanent settlement was a condition for receiving the grants. Specht, "The Role of the Philadelphia Quakers," 99. The submitted proposals can be found in the MSS Cope Collection, Quaker Collection, Haverford College.

(34) Thomas Cope to Thomas Rotch, February 6, 1818, Rotch/Wales Collection, Massillon Public Library, Massillon, Ohio; Durnbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 80.

(35) Ibid.

(36) Minutes of the Committee, quoted in Durnbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 82.

(37) Nixon, "Society of Separatists," 21; E. O. Randall, History of the Zoar Society from Its Commencement to Its Conclusion: A Sociological Study of Communism, 3rd ed. (Columbus, OH: Press of Fred J. Heer, 1904), 6.

(38) Fernandez, "The Society of Separatists of Zoar v..." Communal Societies 26, no. 1 (2006): 106; Zoar Papers, box 3, folder 6, Ohio History Connection. One historian speculates that Haga did not want to deal with multiple signatories on the deed, but this doesn't account for Baumler not transferring the land over once the Separatist Society was formed in 1819. George Landis, "The Society of Separatists of Zoar, Ohio," Annual Report of the American Historical Association (1899), 173.

(39) Durnbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 83; Fernandez, "Society of Separatists v...," 110. A receipt for this $2,200 can be found in the Zoar Papers, box 29, folder 1, Ohio History Connection.

(40) Durnbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 87.

(41) Fernandez, "The Society of Separatists of Zoar v...," 106.

(42) The actual acreage was 5,500, not 6,000.

(43) John James to J. Michael Baumler, November 30, 1818, Society of Separatists of Zoar Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH, Microfilm, Reel 1, folder 1.

(44) Durnbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 88, summarizing several letters in the Rotch/Wales Collection. A letter from Zoar Society attorney C. Expich states he is holding the Declaration of Trust "until you and the Society decide on something else." Zoar Papers, box 1 folder 2, Ohio History Connection, (translation in Nixon, "Society of Separatists," 25).

(45) Durnbaugh, "Strangers and Exiles," 88.

(46) This verse is very close to the verse of a hymn, "Meine Seele sehnet sich" ("My soul longs"), written or copied by Joseph Michael Baumler around 1804: "My soul longs for quietness. / Lead me out of danger and pain / Into your quiet Zoar. / It is your will." Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart, Germany, LKA A 26 Bu 482, Nr. 86. This hymn was also number 31 in the Geistlicher Lieder ("Spiritual Songs") hymnbook printed in Zoar in 1855.

(47) Zoar Papers, box 1, folder 2, Ohio History Connection (translation by Philip Webber).

(48) Hilda Morhart, The Zoar Story, (Dover, OH: Seibert Printing, 1967), 14.

(49) Thomas Cope to Thomas Rotch, February 6, 1818, Rotch/Wales Collection.

(50) Philip Webber, "Jakob Sylvan's Preface to Die Wahre Separation oder die Widergeburt as an Introduction to Un(der)studied Separatist Principles," Communal Societies 19 (1999): 120.

(51) "Johannes Breymaier's Leichenworter," August 17, 1834, quoted in Nixon, "Society of Separatists," 30.

(52) "Articles of Association, 1819, 1824, 1833" Zoar Papers, box 1, folder 4, Ohio History Connection.

(53) Genesis 49:1-27.

(54) Zoar Papers, MSS110AV, box 93, folder 3, Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH, translated by Philip Webber.

(55) This appears in a different hand. August Bimeler (1837-1878) was perhaps a later possessor of the manuscript.
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Title Annotation:Daniel Ulrich Huber in Zoar, Ohio
Author:Fernandez, Kathleen M.
Publication:Communal Societies
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jun 1, 2018
Words:8054
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