Moravian Artisans in North Carolina: A Brief Study Relative to the Firearms Trade (cont'd).



VALENTINE BECK


     Johan Valentine Beck arrived in New York on October 24, 1761, and like Albrecht had also been trained in Germany as a gunstock maker. He was thirty years old at the time of his arrival. According to his "Lebenslauf," or a memoir which each congregation member wrote which was to be read at his passing, his background was thus: John Valentine Beck was born in 1731 in Suhl to gunsmith/gun factory manager Johan Nicholas Beck, Nicholas having some relation with the Moravian Church. [Valentine's father died the following year, however, so his son certainly did not receive any training from his father.] It is not stated exactly where or to whom he apprenticed but it is assumed he was trained in Suhl itself. In 1752, his twenty-first year, he states that he began his travels as a journeyman - the 'Wanderjahre', or wandering year - and went first to Frankfort am Main. He there visited his brother [also a Moravian?] in Herrnhaag, and when he arrived "...the Gemeine had already gathered in the Saal, and the singing of the Gemeine sounded heavenly..." (Moravian Archives, Southern Province) It would seem he was then in the midst of a spiritual awakening. He next traveled to Wurzburg for a short period, but then upon the journey home he was robbed and left with no money. Beck states that "This event took place in 1753 during the Passion season, at Rothenburg on the Taube." (MASP) Several weeks later he visited a Moravian congregation at Ebersdorf, but though seeking permission to live there did not receive it. He continued on his journey but felt strongly the urge to turn back, and so apparently returned to Rothenburg and "...adhered to the awakened ones there." (MASP) He was subsequently sent to Darmstadt, and next to Mainz, and at that point he states that he was suffering some manner of internal conflict and was told by his brother via a letter to return home [to Suhl], which he did. He visited "meetings" in Neudietendorf and Barby, and in June, 1755 went to Neudietendorf to live where he stayed until October, 1756 at which point he finally was permitted to live in Ebersdorf. In May of 1757 he was admitted to the Gemeine - the congregation - at that place. [Throughout this entire period of travel there is no mention of his trade, although surely he must have been working to support himself.] It was in November, 1760 that he "...was called to Herrnhuth, where it was proposed that {he} go to America with a company of Brothers and Sisters. {His} heart was willing, of course, to do so." (MASP)


     Beck arrived in New York but very shortly thereafter traveled to Bethlehem. He states that he "...worked at {his} profession for a while there, then went to Nazareth to serve the children in the Anstalt [boarding school]."  (MASP)  It was Albrecht's position as gunstocker in Bethlehem that Beck initially filled [Albrecht having left for Nazareth and thence Christian's Spring], then subsequently Albrecht's position as a teacher at Nazareth that Beck likewise took over following the completion of the gun shop at Christian's Spring and Albrecht's installation as master of the shop with Oerter as apprentice. This occurred in Spring or early Summer of 1762, so it would appear that Beck could not have worked in Bethlehem for much more than few months at most. Any work would have most likely been performed within the locksmith shop, a portion of it throughout the 1750s having been ‘set-up’ for a gunstocker. He apparently was not too fond of his work with the children in Nazareth, at least not initially: "This work was burdensome for me in the beginning, but thereafter I came to know and understand that it was a blessing for me." (MASP) As a single man, he hypothetically might have lived or spent some time at Christian's Spring [Nazareth being a 'Gemeine Ort', or congregation town for married couples] although it is generally believed that those individuals who were teachers lived with the students - performing the function of guardians - in the boarding school at Nazareth.


     Beck was not long in Northampton County, however, and in 1764 traveled with a group of boys to Bethabara in North Carolina. [Bethabara was the 'base of operations' whose sole purpose was provide living space and income while Salem was being built.] "A couple of days later [previous entry: "...at the end of October...."], the Bethlehem wagon arrived safely, bringing 12 Older Boys, who are here to learn trades from out master-workmen. Most of them have already been in training, the rest are ready for it. They have walked all the way from Bethlehem and have been well and happy, to the pleasure and amazement of all who met them. With them came...the Single Brother Valentine Beck, who will here establish himself as gunsmith." (Fries v1, 282) It is not known if he immediately began work as a gunsmith, for the primary purpose of all the residents of Bethabara was the construction of Salem and all of the Bethabara artisans did what was necessary and required of them; however, an entry in the Bethabara Diary of Dec. 8, 1766 noted that "Valentine Beck moved into the third room in the New House [in Salem], his quarters at Bethabara not being suitable for his work as a gunsmith." (Fries v1, 328) Does this indicate that he had been working as a gunsmith there with smith Andreas Betz? [Johanna Miller Lewis notes that permission was granted (from Bethlehem) in 1758 to establish a gunsmith's shop, and accordingly a volume of quality steel was sent to Bethabara "...as an inducement to start work." (40) She also notes that in 1761 a boy named Joseph Muller, a non-Moravian, was apprenticed to Betz as he "...would perhaps like to be a gunsmith, and would...be well adapted to this" This apprenticeship was approved despite Bethlehem's specific notation that "It is not at all our policy to accept non-Moravian boys as our apprentices." (82)]

Was there a conflict between Beck and Betz, and Beck's move in late 1766 purposely due to him not being able to effectively practice his trade in the same shop as Betz? Lewis notes that, "If the church leaders discovered their artisans were not producing competitive goods, they remedied the situation as soon as possible. For instance, even though Andreas Betz had worked as a gunsmith since 1758, gunstocker John Valentine Beck's arrival six years later signals that the Moravians required a more specialized artisan to help create a higher quality product to compete with the firearms being produced by the Bruner family and others in Salisbury." (Lewis 75-76) This is an interesting interpretation by Lewis, and an unsupported one, although Beck - having been specifically trained as a gunstocker - would probably have been possessive of a higher degree of skill at this aspect of the trade than would Betz. There are no notations in the North Carolina records, however, to indicate that a conscious selection of Beck was specifically for this purpose. The only indicator of this interpretation by Lewis is that Beck was destined for Salem (still under construction), this being the North Carolina Moravian's carefully-planned 'city on a hill' which they intended to be self-supporting and a magnet for 'strangers' in the role of consumers only. Freidrich Marshall, letter from Bethlehem, July, 1765: "This town [Salem] is not designed for farmers but for those with trades, but until the town has so grown that each resident can support his family with the money earned by his handicraft or profession it will be necessary, as in Lititz, for each to have an out-lot..." (Fries v1, 314)


     It is not known what type of relationship Beck may have had with Andreas Betz, he having been well-established in Bethabara since 1754 [after leaving Bethlehem, locksmith Betz and blacksmith George Schmid arrived together in 1754]. Within a "Catalogue of the Inhabitants of Bethabara in Wachovia" dating to April 1766, George Schmid and Daniel Hauser are listed as blacksmiths; Andrew Betz and Joseph Miller were Gun-Smiths; Valentine Beck was Gun-Stocker and Tin-Man. (Fries v1, 344) Finally, in February, 1767, Betz - who had instigated the occasional headache amongst the church elders in both Bethlehem as well as Bethabara - secretly married Barbara Bruner/Brunner, a daughter of George Bruner in Salisbury and not a member of the Moravian church. Betz left the congregation and moved to Salisbury, where he eventually operated a successful mercantile [it has been noted that he sold a number of Bethabara and Salem-made products, serving somewhat as an ‘outlet’ for the Brethren] as well as continued gunsmithing. (Fries v1, 357) [Brothers George and Henry Bruner were from Lancaster County, PA, and had moved to Salisbury ca. 1750. Henry and George were both gunsmiths.]


Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, February 11, 1752:


"The ordinary Day of our sitting Present the same Members as above J. Brownfield related, "That he had been this morning informed by Br. Kleist that some Weeks ago Br. Andreas Betz made himself a Wolf-Trap in the Lock-Smith's Shop & promised Br. Kleist to pay for the Iron he used therein.—After a while he brought a Piece of Iron & said it was given him by Br. Richter (the Shepherd) It seemed to be a part of such an Iron as we use in breaking Stones & might probably belong either to Bethlehem or John Jones. — We fear'd if 'twas the latter's property, it might bring the Congregation into some Trouble or at least Suspicion, there- fore desired we might consider of it. Br. Kleist being sent for, came & bore Witness to the same effect. We then Agreed that Br. Pezold, speak with Richter (the Shepard) about this Matter & acquaint us of the Issue thereof." (MAB)


Moravian Archives Bethlehem, March 4, 1752:


"Br. Richter the Shepherd's Case, was again considered of. Br. Pezold reported, that he had reproved Richter sharply for having not enquired of John Jones whether the piece of Iron he found by his House belong'd to him or not? Also for suffering And:s Betz to cut off some of it. That he had sent Br. Richter with the said Iron to J. Jones (who said it was his) ordered him to beg Pardon & say that the Brethren were exceedingly displeased with him for his Misbehavior & took not the least Part in it. Therefore we Agreed 1st That as Br. Richter hath been obliged to do Penance in the manner afore- mentioned, we will proceed no farther in it & especially as J. Jones declared himself quite satisfied..." (MAB)


     Betz's departure from Bethabara left a void which Beck was utilized to fill: "In February George Holder went from Salem to take charge of the sawmill near Bethabara and Beck moved back to that village, the departure of Andres Betz necessitating his return to the gunsmith's shop there." (Fries v1, 351) Beck, who had just moved from Bethabara to Salem two to three months previous, was thence sent back. Joseph Muller did not leave the congregation with his master Andreas Betz, so it would appear that he continued to work in Bethabara, possibly under Valentine Beck, possibly in the smithy with George Schmidt or possibly in his own gunsmith-shop. By 1766/67, it would appear that these various trades were permitted their own separate shops, for a 1766 map of Bethabara (Fries v1) indicates buildings for the gun-stocker, gun-smith and black-smith. Unfortunately, the Records... are somewhat silent in regards to Joseph Muller's work. Lewis paraphrases a letter written to Bethlehem from Br. Lorenz Bagge in which he (Bagge) noted that Muller had not seemed to have learned much along the lines of gunsmithing from Betz (Lewis 91), so perhaps Betz himself was more repairman than capable of actually constructing a gun. Or perhaps he was irresponsible or lazy: a letter from Br. Gammern in Bethabara to Nathanael Seidel in Bethlehem noted, "The gunsmith trade makes great talk but has turned out only two guns since I am here. The smithy is practically still..." (Lewis 83) Muller seemingly stayed on in Wachovia - first at Bethabara and then ca. 1771/72 at Salem - until January of 1774, when he followed Betz's lead and married outside of his faith: he left the Moravian congregation and relocated near Bethania. (Lewis 91)


BECK (cont'd) and JOSEPH MULLER


     Beck meanwhile stayed on in Bethabara until he married Anna Leinbach in 1771 and the following year bought a house in Salem: "Br. Valentine Beck and his wife moved to Salem. Br. Peter Christ, who works with him, moved into his Choir House." (Feb. 19, 1772, Diary of the Salem Congregation - Fries v2, 670) This mirrors Beck's memoir, wherein he states that "On 16 December 1771 I married my first wife, Anna Leinbach, moved to Salem on 18 February 1772, and established myself in my profession. Moreover, the Saviour blessed the work of my hands." (MASP) On April 15 of 1772, the Aufseher Collegium met and among the minutes it was noted that "The Brn. Beck and Bonn wish to buy the houses in which they are living...What Br. Beck owes for the stock in his gun-stock-making business and what the Brothers House owes for the gunsmith business, shall be entered in the Administration books at the figure at which they were taken over from the Bethabara Diaconie." (Fries v2, 695) This is an indication that Beck was buying his business from the Oeconomy, much in the same way that Daniel Kliest in Bethlehem had bought the lock shop ten years earlier.


     It would appear that once Beck had married and moved to Salem, though, he began to express an increasing interest in the ministry, for the next month on May 19, the minutes of the Aeltesten Conferenz note that "Br. Beck shall go to Friedland the first time with another Brother, so that he may see how services are conducted there." (Fries v2, 716) Later that same year [1772], on November 8, the Salem diary noted that "Br. Valentine Beck held the services in Friedland today for the first time." (Fries v2, 690) From the "Wachovia Memorabilia" for 1774, the following statement can be found: "The Society in Friedland has been visited every fourteen days by Brethren from Salem, especially Br. Valentine Beck, and these Brethren have held services for them." (Fries v2, 813) In 1776, the "Salem Memorabilia" noted that "On Sept. 21st the Saviour called Br. Bachhof from Friedberg to Himself; his place was filled in November by Br. Valentine Beck..." (Fries v3, 1042) and likewise in the Salem Diary for that year it was written that "Br. Valentine Beck went to Friedberg, and held services there for the first time as their pastor." (Fries v3, 1078) This decision had been made on October 8 by the Aeltesten Conferenz. (Fries v3, 1077)


     Throughout the entire year of 1776, it is very evident from entries in the Salem Diary that the North Carolina militia was frequently passing-through or spending a good deal of time - much more time than the Moravian elders seemed to have been comfortable with - around both Salem and Bethabara. It would appear that the smithy in Bethabara was indeed engaging in repair work, this being acceptable as Bethabara being home almost exclusively to single brethren; however, great pains were taken to keep - or attempt to keep - the soldiers away from Salem. Some have concluded that Beck was ordered to cease gunstocking activity in Salem as the church elders were apprehensive that such work would draw soldiers to the town, although supporting evidence to this effect does not seem to be blatantly present within the extant records. Certainly by the autumn of that year, however, his move to Friedberg and new vocation as pastor was a very convenient one indeed. It would not appear that Beck ever resumed gunsmithing - there is a good body of evidence pertaining to his work as a minister at Freidberg [and subsequently Bethania] however absolutely no documentary or physical evidence to indicate that he worked as a gunsmith following his departure from Salem in 1776. As early as September 21, 1776, the Friedberg Diary was being kept by Valentine Beck and on July 14, 1778, Br. Valentine Beck was ordained Deacon in Friedberg. (Fries v3, 1275)

Beck's first wife Anna died in Friedberg on June 11, 1782. (Fries v4, 1794) He remained a widower for a year, continuing to serve in Friedberg, until July of 1783 at which time he traveled to Bethlehem [Pennsylvania] to remarry: he married Maria Boeckel on August 26. (MASP) He then returned to Friedberg where he and his second wife continued to serve until the decision was made in March of 1785 that Br. and Sr. Beck should move to Bethania and serve the congregation in that settlement. (MASP; Fries v5, 2108) There they remained for the next five years, although it would appear that his health was beginning to fail. Within Beck's memoir, his own account ends with his move to Bethania in 1785. The remainder was noted by a helper, as was typical, who mentions that "Our blessed brother was destined to suffer much pain, especially during his final years, because of an injury he had sustained during the first years of his life." (MASP) What, exactly, this injury and subsequent cause for pain was, is not made clear. However, in Beck's own words within the Bethania Diary [which he, as Minister, kept] of December 11, 1790, he states, "I had felt weak in my chest for several days and today was much oppressed, and could hold no services on the next day." (Fries v5, 2316) It would appear that he was suffering from a coronary ailment, and his memoir notes that "...he gradually grew so weak and received so many attacks at once that he had indeed a great deal to bear."

(MASP) Johan Valentine Beck died on March 7, 1791.


     One curious note regarding Beck's time at Bethania regards Andreas Betz's old apprentice, Joseph Muller, who in 1774 had left the congregation in Salem to marry an outsider and had settled near Bethania where he apparently continued to work as a gunsmith in addition to farming [see letter from Bagge to Cary]. Beck arrived at Bethania on March 15, 1785, and only four days later on March 19 the Bethania Diary (kept by Beck) notes that "The married Br. Joseph Muller, who formerly lived in Bethabara and in Salem, was re-admitted to this congregation." (Fries v5, 2108) A few months later on July 9, Beck states, "At the lovefeast it was announced that Br. Joseph Muller had been re-admitted to the Communion, and that his wife Catharina would partake for the first time." (Fries v5, 2110) Was it mere coincidence that Muller, a gunsmith and formerly well- known to Beck during his time at Bethabara and Salem where he (Beck) had been 'Gun-Stocker,' was received back into the church only four days after Beck too over as pastor at Bethania? It does seem a bit too coincidental, but nothing more can be said with any certainty. No further mention of Muller can be found until March of 1789, at which time the Bethania Diary mentions that "Joseph Muller and his wife were asked about the report that they are going to move to Cumberland, and he told us frankly that he planned to do so; his wife said nothing, only looked at him and smiled." (Fries v5, 2287) During this period of time - the latter years of the 18th century immediately following the War - there was a very large movement of people westward into Tennessee and Kentucky. Mention of this can be found variously throughout the Records... for this period, where it was also noted that the congregations (the outlying congregations of Bethania, Friedberg and Friedland particularly) were losing communicants somewhat noticeably to this westward drift. It would appear that Joseph Muller likewise was planning to take this course, although he did not do so immediately. As of April 29, 1793, he was still present as his daughter Sarah [Muller] was baptized there (Fries v6, 2489); on December 23, 1802, one Joseph Miller remained yet at Bethania as the Diary notes that "By request we visited our sick neighbor, Joseph Miller." (Fries v6, 2718) [Note: was this the same man, the name slowly being anglicized from Mueller to Muller to Miller?]


     Sometime between 1793 and 1804 Muller/Miller must have finally moved, however, for there is no additional mention of him through this period until 1804. During that year, Brother Abraham Steiner made a trip to the northwest into the mountains, and a record of his trip was included in the Records... as the "Report of Br. Abraham Steiner of his Visit to Deep Creek in Surry County, and to the Mountains in Ashe County, in the month of May, 1804." Steiner's diary entry for May 8, 1804, notes: "I rode with Daniel Happus to Joseph Miller, who formerly lived in Salem and then near Bethania, and who had belonged to the Brethren. He received me with love and friendship, and was happy to see a Brother again, which he had long wished, that he might open his heart to him. His family circumstances are pitiful, because of his wife." (Fries v6, 2965-2966) The following day, Steiner stated: "After the service Joseph Miller had a confidential conversation with me. He regretted that he had lost the happiness of belonging to the Brethren, which at the time he had not recognized or appreciated..." (Fries v6, 2966) This is all that can be found in the Records... regarding Muller's whereabouts, however Adelaide Fries inserted a footnote at this point which reads as follows: "Ashe County deeds show that Joseph Miller had bought five hundred acres of land on New River, of which he sold 159 acres to his son Joseph Miller, Jr., in August, 1802. [Author's note: it is not clear whether or not he was actually living on this land at the time, hence the confusion above re: the 1802 Bethania Diary entry. However, the 1800 Federal Census shows a 'Joseph Miller' of age 45 or upwards in Ashe County, North Carolina (M32 Roll 29, 83) so it is probable he had already relocated and the sick 'Joseph Miller' of Bethania in 1802 was a different man.] The younger Joseph Miller moved back to Stokes County, North Carolina, and from there sold the 159 acres to Abraham Mitchell in 1811. The elder Joseph Miller sold the rest of his Ashe County tract to William Edwards in May, 1806. The Ashe County records give no clue as to his further movements." (Fries v6, 2966) It is currently believed that Muller moved further west into either Tennessee or Kentucky, and subsequent census records do in fact note a small number of individuals named 'Joseph Miller' [no Muller or Mueller names that I could find] in Kentucky and Tennessee of the right age. I have opted to leave this trail for future researchers.


JACOB LOESCH JR.


     The Salem Diary on December 18, 1781, noted that "Br. Jacob Loesch arrived, having been met by Br. Krause seven miles this side of Halifax." (Fries v4, 1707) As has been mentioned elsewhere, Loesch traveled to Salem from Christian's Spring where he had been master of the gun shop for approximately a year and half to two years prior to his journey. This could have been considered something of a homecoming for Loesch, in a way, as his father Jacob Sr. was among the first group of men sent to found Bethabara in 1753. Jacob Jr. was born there in 1760 but in approximately 1768 the family was sent back to Bethlehem. (Lienemann) It is unclear exactly by whom Loesch was trained, but standard practice of the time would dictate that he was bound into an apprenticeship at approximately twelve to fourteen years of age, or 1772-1774. If at Christian's Spring, this would have been under Christian Oerter and if in Bethlehem, probably Daniel Kliest who was master of the lock-smith shop. [Note: Bob Lienemann has informed me that Loesch was indeed trained by Christian Oerter.] What is most interesting is that ca. 1779/80 Loesch was put in charge of the gun smithy at Christian's Spring (Lienemann), which would indicate certainly a good level of accomplishment of most if not all aspects of gun stocking and gun repair. However, upon his arrival in Salem in 1781, the Aufseher Collegium noted that "The Single Brethren report that Br. Jacob Loesch, who recently came from Pennsylvania, will work as a lock-smith for their Diaconie, and the former grind-stone mill can be fitted up for his work-shop. It will be well for the present that he does as little work as possible on guns." (Fries v4, 1738) The reason for the demand that Loesch refrain from working upon firearms is further clarified within the minutes of the Helfer Conferenz a few months later [March 5, 1782] wherein it states "Br. Jacob Loesch shall not do any more gun work at present, as otherwise he will be constantly called on for work for the public and it will draw too many soldiers to the town." (Fries v4, 1802). It would not appear that there are any surviving, signed rifles or other arms built by Loesch. He finally was granted permission to commence gun work by the Aufseher Collegium in March of 1783 ["Br. Jacob Loesch asks whether he may now begin his gun-work. At present there seems no danger that his work would be required for regular troops, or lead to quartering in the town, and at most there would be need only for the repairing of arms for the militia if they should be called out. The Collegium therefore has no objections. The shooting range can be in the back part of the street between the store and Heinzmann's, but there must be no betting on shots." (Fries v4, 1849)] but it would appear he was already raising eyebrows amongst the elders; the minutes of the Aeltesten Conferrenz of the previous year [1782] noted on August 21 that "Br. Jacob Loesch is not satisfied with his circumstances, and he shall be advised to carry on the business on his own account." (Fries v4, 1806) This indicates that he no longer wished to work for the diaconie [and in fact many of the elders were probably in complete concordance with this desire]. Tradesmen who followed this course gave up much of the support of the church, but at the same time allowed more profit to be made as well as a greater freedom in terms of production.

While there is some question as to just how diligent a tradesman Loesch was, there is no doubt that he was quite the capable individual: in September, 1782, it was noted that he would run the evening school for boys (Fries v4, 1807) and that he both sang and played the organ (Fries v4, 1825); later, in 1788, he was noted as playing the flute (Fries v5, 2251) and ran an "English school" for youths and boys (Fries v5, 2289). During the period from December 1781 through March of 1783 whereupon he was encouraged not to engage in gun work, he was [in addition to his locksmithing duties] apparently initiating a bit of a conflict with Beck [at Friedberg] concerning who should have the rights to making pewter spoons: "Br. Valentine Beck prefers that Br. Jacob Loesch should not pour pewter spoons, but leave it for him. If Br. Beck will improve the form and make a good alloy there is no objection to his proposal, but he should keep some in Salem for sale at all times." (Fries v4, 1803) One possible interpretation of the wording within this notation [Aufseher Collegium, March 14, 1782] is that Loesch's spoons were better and undercutting Beck's sales. [At the least, it can be said that Beck was doing something along with his ministerial duties.]

     

     During a meeting of the Aeltesten Conferenz on August 18, 1784, the issue of an apprentice for Loesch was raised: "It is suggested that Christopher Vogler might be placed with Br. Jacob Loesch to learn the trade of gunsmith; the matter will be further considered." (Fries v5, 2036) This followed an ill-fated trial of another boy named Gottlieb Fockel. An interesting point regarding Vogler's consideration is that he himself was 18/19 years of age and already had been variously apprenticed to other trades. By December of that same year, the Conferenz noted that "Christopher Vogler has now been with Jacob Loesch for three months, and an agreement should be signed for the remaining time of his apprenticeship. Br. Loesch suggests taking him for five years; and that he pay him 14 sh. a week the first year, and 15 sh. a week thereafter, in place of any other demands, which meets the approval of the Collegium." (Fries v5, 2044) During this period, and in the years to come, the Salem Boards' opinion of Loesch apparently varied between hope and exasperation, and it would appear that he did not particularly care to bend very much to the will of the elders. By March of 1787, another conflict was brought to the attention of the Aufseher Collegium, again involving Jacob Loesch: "Br. Koffler reports that Jacob Loesch is repairing clocks, and thereby injuring his income. Jacob Loesch has already been asked about this, and claims that he is only taking clocks which Br. Koffler does not want to work on, or clocks which people do not want Br. Koffler to fix." (Fries v5, 2180) A month later, Loesch was discussed yet again: "For a long time the conduct of J.L. has distressed us, but we have had patience with him in the hope that would improve, but this hope is failing, and since he has an air rifle he is doing more harm to himself and others. The officers of his Choir have advised him to give it up or put it away, but he has declared that in spite of everything he intends to keep it. Under the circumstances it looks as though there was no other way except to send him from the town." (Fries v5, 2181-2182) [When discussing serious situations, it would seem that the elders preferred to use initials rather than one's name. Possibly this was done in order to focus upon the undesirable actions or behavior, and a remedy, rather than the individual. Looking back upon this particular situation, there was no other individual present in Salem with these initials who would have fit the parameters given.] At that point, it is not clear exactly what was done with Loesch. On May 8 of 1787, the Collegium met and "The question was raised as to whether Christoph Vogler, who has taken over the gunsmith business from Jacob Loesch, should conduct it on his own account or for the diaconie of the Single Brethren. Collegium believes it will be best for him to take it on his own account, especially as he has not fully learned the craft and is not anxious to undertake it for a diaconie." (Fries v5, 2182-2183) Vogler had taken over the gunsmithing shop from Loesch, but where was Jacob? It would seem he was to be sent from Salem, but it is not now clear if this action was actually taken. Only four days later, a meeting of the Aeltesten Conferenz occurred and Loesch was again a topic of conversation: "J.L. has begged that he may have another trial, and suggests that he will work for Br. Koffler or Abraham Loesch. After careful consideration the lot was tried, and the affirmative was drawn: The Saviour approves that J.L. may stay here on trial, if he can be provided for." (Fries v5, 2183) Later that same year, in November, it was noted that Loesch was sent to Hillsboro on business for F.W. Marshall, so it would appear that he had indeed been permitted to remain in Salem and was worthy of some degree of trust. (Fries v5, 2190-2191) As Vogler had taken over the gunsmith shop, however, it can be safely assumed that Loesch was no longer engaged in gun work. If, as the aforementioned Conferenz memorandum noted, he was working for his younger brother Abraham Loesch, he would have been engaged in masonry work as Abraham was a master mason ["There is no objection to paying somewhat more to Abraham Loesch, who is an experienced mason and does more and better work than others..." (Fries v5, 2182)]; conversely, if he was working for Adam Koffler it is not exactly clear what he would have been doing. Koffler had come to Salem from Bethlehem where he was noted upon the 1759 trade distribution list as being a 'linen-weaver.' (Moravian Archives) There subsequently are numerous references to him throughout the Records... as performing a large variety of tasks, and as been previously mentioned he had already run into somewhat of a conflict with Jacob Loesch over the right of clock repair. For the present time this must remain something of a mystery.


     On August 10, 1789 that the Salem Diary mentions that "With the approval of the Aeltesten Conferenz nd the Bethania Committee, the single Br. Jacob Loesch moved to Bethania to live." (Fries v5, 2269) The Bethania Diary for the same day noted that "Jacob Loesch moved hither from Salem, and will have a small room to himself in Joseph Hauser's house." (Fries v5, 2288) Apparently his attitude had changed for the better, and shortly thereafter [February 28, 1790] he married Susanna Leinbach and on May 10 "Jacob Loesch had his house laid up, many people being present." (Fries v5, 2314) He was probably engaged once more in clock repair - amongst other pursuits - for an entry in the Bethania Diary of August 30, 1792 states that "Last night a thief broke into Jacob Loesch's house and stole five clocks. It was not discovered until this morning, when the thief was pursued. He was caught on August 31 and brought back, and Jacob Loesch recovered his clocks." (Fries v5, 2375)  There has also been persistent mention over time that Loesch was a silversmith, although there does not seem to be much primary documentation to support this notion. From the Aufseher Collegium minutes of August, 1789, "Br. Stotz mentioned that he had taken some silverware from Jacob Loesch to apply to his debt, and that he had given it to Br. Hanke to sell. It will not be wise to hang out a sign concerning it, since the craft is not carried on there, but some of the pieces can be placed in the window for people to see." (Fries v5, 2280) It is not clear whether this was silverware that Loesch had made or simply owned, but the entry clearly states that the trade of silversmith was not carried out in Salem. [What Loesch may have been doing at Bethania is anybody's guess.] A few years prior, in fact, one of F.W. Marshall's letters to the Unity Elders Conference for July, 1786, lamented the lack of this trade: "In this neighborhood we are greatly in need of master workmen, and would rejoice if now and then a Brother would come from Europe...A clock-maker and silversmith could find work enough; a coppersmith and pewterer the same." (Fries v5, 2147-2148) As many of the aforementioned documentation has shown, it can be seen that Loesch was dabbling in clock work as well as pewtering. It would not be surprising if he was engaged in silversmithing, however I am currently unaware of any additional information which could bring more light to the matter.


     According to a listing in Early American Tower Clocks by Frederick Shelley, Johan Jacob Loesch is credited with building a tower clock for the community house - or Gemein Saal - in Salem in 1797. The North Carolina Records... verify this, as the Aeltesten Conferenz noted on August 2 of that year that "The house-fathers in Bethania have decided to repair their Gemein Haus...They will place on the steeple a small town clock made by Jacob Loesch." (Fries v6, 2592) Unfortunately, this clock has not survived. Loesch was obviously a man of many talents, and the following year [1798] it was not clockwork but rather work upon an organ that drew the attention of the Aufseher Collegium on April 3: "When our new organ is set up there shall be a raised platform for the musicians. It is considered necessary that someone help Br. Bachmann set it up, and Jacob Loesch was proposed, so that in case repairs are needed he can assist." (Fries v6, 2609-2610) A few years later, in 1804, Christian Ludwig Benzien noted within his letter to the UEC yet another facet of Loesch's expertise: "Probably the news has not yet reached Germany that for several months gold has been mined in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, about seventy miles southwest of here. I have myself seen a piece of ore which was sent to Br. Jacob Loesch, in Bethania, to be smelted, and it was very rich." (Fries v6, 2785) A notation within the Bethabara Diary for October 10, 1804, again mentions Loesch relative to organ repair, and the Salem Diary entry for October 6, 1809, states that "Br. Jacob Loesch, of Bethania, and his son Heinrich Jacob, left today with an organ which Br. Loesch has made. It has been bought by Pastor Storch, and will be set up in his house near Salisbury." (Fries v7, 3085) Tragically, Jacob's son mentioned in this instance, Heinrich Jacob, became ill during this trip to Salisbury and died upon his return. (Fries v7)


     There were a few reports of "...unpleasant disorder..." in Bethania through 1813 and 1814 and it would seem that Loesch was at the center of the storm, although the nature of the 'distressing incidents' is not specifically mentioned. (Fries v7). The Records... are then largely silent concerning Loesch until an entry in the Salem Diary for May 5, 1819, states: "The Single Sr. Susanna Elisabeth Losch entered the Boarding School as a teacher, having received permission to become a resident of Salem. Her father, Jacob Losch, two or three years ago moved with his family from Bethania to Raleigh, to build a waterworks system there, but now he desires to return to a congregation here." (Fries v7, 3399) It is not clear whether Jacob Loesch had spiritually (as well as physically) left the congregation, but apparently he was permitted to return for the Collegium Minutes in 1820 mention that he was present and tuning organs. (Fries v7, 3449) The last mention of Loesch then is found within the Salem Diary on October 31, 1821: "On the 8th of this month the married Br. Jacob Loesch, resident of Bethabara, passed away in Fayetteville, where he had been for some weeks on business connected with waterworks for that city..." (Fries v7, 3474)



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