2. Adam Spach
Lebenslauf of Adam Spach
The life story of the widowed Brother Adam Spach, Sr.,
who fell blessedly asleep in Friedberg, August 23, 1801.
He has left the following written account of his passage through Time:--
I was born January 20, 1720, at Pfaffenhofen, in Lower Alsace, where my father was a citizen and a weaver of damask. In my fifth year my mother passed away, so my father alone brought me up, holding me firmly to church and school. In 1733, that is in my thirteenth year, I was confirmed for the Holy Communion, and enjoyed this high privilege for the first time in the Lutheran Church, though with fear and trembling because of my unfitness, of which I was much aware.
At that time there was much talk of war, (which indeed broke out soon after), so my father decided to leave that country and go to America. When we reached America my father was not able to pay in full for our passage, so a Mennonite gave the Ship £7 for me, for which I had to serve him six years.
At the close of my years of service I went to Manakosy, in Maryland. At that time there was no protestant minister in Pennsylvania or in Maryland, and no Lutheran Church services were held, (and I had no liking for the sects that did exist there). When the spark of good, which had been lighted in my heart by my first communion, ceased to glow I fell into a state of indifference, sought bad companionship, and drifted into sin and shame.
About the time that Brother Nyberg came to Lancaster a preacher from Albania traveled about in our neighborhood, held a service for the three congregations on the Catores, Cananake, and Manakosy, and we accepted him as our preacher; but he died in half a year. At the request of the leader of the three congregations Brother Nyberg held the funeral of this man, and, soon after they asked him to help them secure another minister, and called him as the "Inspector" of the three congregations. We built a church in Manakosy, and when it was finished the Brethren Nyberg and Matthaeus Reuz came and solemnly consecrated it. They brought Brother Herzer with them, who spent the winter with us, teaching the school and holding the Sunday services.
When it became known in the other congregations that Brother Herzer had been sent to us from Bethlehem a dispute arose, and they declared that they would have nothing to do with the "Herrnhuters." They closed the church, and locked the door, and took the key away. We took our complaint to a gentleman named Rolang, who was a friend of the Germans, and he brought it to pass that in his presence they returned the key to us. But soon afterwards they took off the door-lock and put on another. When we reported this to our friend, Mr. Rolang, he said: "I will give you ten acres of land, and you can select what will suit you best. There build yourselves a church, and when you choose your preacher no one dare say a word, even if you were to call a negro." We accepted this offer with many thanks.
The following spring Brother Herzer returned to Bethlehem, and we gave him a letter to the Congregation, asking that they would send us an ordained man as minister, and Brother George Nixdorf came. After a year he returned to Bethlehem, and from then until 1748 we had no stationed minister, but only frequent visits from the Brethren in Bethlehem.
In 1748 a Synod was held in Bethlehem, and some of us went to it, and asked for permission to build a house; this was granted, and we were given a plan, showing how it should be arranged for a meeting house. Then our group went to work and on the ten-acre tract we built a house, with a meeting-hall and rooms for a minister and his wife, and soon Brother and Sister George Neisser came to us from Bethlehem. This place was later called Graceham, and the Graceham congregation dates its beginning from this time.
December 17, 1752, I married Maria Elisabeth, maiden name Hueter, and God blessed our union in many ways, and gave us five sons and four daughters, and I have lived to see forty-two grandchildren.
In 1753 we moved to North Carolina. We found the road very difficult, but the presence of our dear Lord comforted us as we journeyed. We setteled as near as possible to the boundaries of Wachovia, in the hope that in time a group could be gathered that would form a congregation in connection with the Unity of Brethren. Soon more families settled here, planning to become allied with Bethabara and the Unity. The Brethren from Bethabara visited us and preached for us at various times, which was a great encouragement for our poor hearts.
Not long after our arrival, war broke out with the Wild Men, and we took refuge in Bethabara, and received much kindness from the Brethren. When the trouble subsided we returned to our plantation, and soon after arranged with the Brethren that we would build a house for school and meetings. Brother Ettwein often gave us pleasure by coming to our house; and he it was who selected and decided on the location for the School-House of Friedberg. We connected ourselves with the congregation of Bethabara, and attended services there; until at last a congregation was organized here.
Once when my wife went to a Gemein Tag in Bethabara, attended a baptism, and was thereby delayed longer than she had expected, I was very angry; but when she returned, and told me the cause of her delay, and what she had seen in Bethabara, and what it had meant to her, I was quite taken aback and could not say one word. I went out into the woods to look for my horse, and as I went I thought about myself. Such concern and sadness came over me that I wept bitterly. And then the bleeding, dying Saviour, as He hung upon the cross, came so vividly before my heart, that it seemed as though I saw the blood and water stream afresh from His side. The impression that this made upon me has remained unto this day, although the emotion passed. I often went to the same place, -- a place which I have never forgotten, -- but I always learned, "That which is lost you must seek in your own heart." I was deep in sin, and lack of faith and doubts took possession of my heart; anxiety drove me to fear that I would sink into hell. Although in the services of the Brethren in Bethabara I heard much of the grace of the Saviour, and His redemption of all poor lost sinners through His sufferings and death, yet I could only think: "Who knows whether it is true that the death of the Lord is so clear to the Brethren?"
On January 1, 1772, I was in meeting, and was thinking about the past year, and the Saviour so came into my heart that I took little notice of what was said by Brother Bachhof, who was pastor of Friedberg. There I made a covenant with the Saviour, giving myself to Him, and begging Him to have mercy on me and take me as His own. The text for the day was "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." My confusion, however, did not end, but was still so great that I could not pray, and this continued until the 18th of the month, when Brother and Sister Graff came to Friedberg, to speak with the members of the Unity. I would have preferred to hide myself, and not to let myself be seen. But when I went to Brother Graff I received the unexpected and most encouraging news that I had permission to attend the Holy Communion, which would be the first held for the congregation of Friedberg. (My wife and I had been hitherto included in the congregation at Bethabara.) I was so amazed by this news that I could not say one word, for I thought myself unworthy of this great grace. On the following day, the 19th, the Holy Communion was held, and what I felt during it I cannot describe.
On the 20th was my birthday, and it was verily my first spiritual day of birth. The Text was: "I know thy name, and thou hast found grace in my sight." From this time on I considered the Texts of the Unity most important and to be reverenced. Now all my doubts and lack of faith were gone; I had received the forgiveness of my sins during the Communion, and the image of my Saviour was real and new in my heart. The patience, mercy, grace and forbearance of the dear Saviour to me, a poor sinner, cannot be put into words.
In my seventieth year the Saviour gave me back my eyesight, so that I could read without glasses, but on the other hand I almost entirely lost my hearing. But the Brethren let me have the Gemein Nachrichten to read, and they supplied blessed food for my spirit. Through them I was often led to thank and adore the Saviour for what He was doing through the Brethren in Christian and in heathen lands; and they served for the testing and correction of my own heart.
[So far in his own hand.]
* * * * * * *
[The rest of the Lebenslauf was written by his pastor.]
For a number of years he was a member of the local Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel among the heathen, which he considered of much importance, and although in the last years, on account of deafness, he could not hear what was being said, yet he never failed to attend the annual meeting, saying that he could not miss the feeling of common interest in the spread of the kingdom of God in the earth as it appeared in this gathering. He also always wished to read the minutes of the transactions of the meeting, which were willingly lent to him. He was greatly interested all the writings of the Unity, and so soon as he heard of a new book, written by a member, which could be had in Salem, he was eager to read it as soon as possible. In general it may be said that his heart lived in the affairs of the Saviour and His Unity; and we can truly say that he was a faithful and worthy member of the Unity. With inward joy and with content of heart he contributed to the needs of this congregation and its pastor, and also to the missions among the heathen, and to the entire work of the Unity of Brethren.
For some years it has been evident that his strength was failing, and as his illness increased he often remarked that he hoped the Saviour would leave him here until he could read the Minutes of the General Synod of the Unity of Brethren, which was to be held this year.
Concerning his walk among us we can truly say that his devotion to the Saviour was sweetly apparent even to the end; and especially since the home-going of his wife on October 26, 1799, he has spent much time quietly alone, in trustful communion with the Saviour. As the congregations of the Saviour were his joy he was the more distressed when he saw anything in them that was not according to the spirit of Christ. The salvation of his children and children's children lay near to his heart, and he never failed in earnest fatherly admonition if he saw anything unrighteous in their conduct, or any carelessness in attendance on the services of the congregation, in which he himself had found such blessed spiritual food. It was a special pleasure to him that in this year he was able to visit all of his children in their homes, as he believed that this would be his last year of life here below.
On August 13th he was in Salem, when all the communicant members in Wachovia gathered for the celebration of the Festival of the Unity of Brethren, which he greatly enjoyed. Some days later he became seriously ill, and it soon became evident that our dear Lord would take this occasion to call him home, and he himself believed this. During the last days he had much pain in his chest to endure.
On the 23d of this month, in the presence of several Brethren and sisters, the blessing of the Lord and of the congregation was bestowed upon him, in anticipation of his home-going, and on the same afternoon he fell quietly asleep, his age being 81 years, 7 months and 3 days.
Maria Elisabetha Hütter
Memoir of Maria Elisabeth Spach
By Henry Wesley Foltz
Maria Elisabeth Spach, wife of Adam Spach, died two years before he did. Her Memoir is written into the Salem Diary of 1799, and gives us a few additional points of interest.
She was born April 1, 1731, in Hiffenhardt, Wurttemberg, and was the youngest of four children. Her parents died when she was quite young, and she was brought up by her father's sister, until she was old enough to go into service.
In 1749 she came with her older brother to America, landing in Baltimore in November. Having no money to pay for her passage she stayed in Baltimore for some time working out her debt, as was often done in those days. There she made the acquaintance of a Mr. Gumpf, who, finding that she had been born in his home town, arranged to take her into his own home, where one more year of service canceled her obligations. Gumpf lived in the Manakosy settlement, in Maryland, and the Moravian preachers often stayed at his house when preaching there, so in course of time she joined the congregation of Graceham.
In 1752 she married Adam Spach, and the next year, when they heard of the going of the first colony of Brethren to North Carolina, they felt moved to follow them. As Nathaniel Seidel and his party stopped in Graceham on their return trip, having seen the first company settled in Wachovia, the Spachs made careful inquiry concerning the prospects in North Carolina, and in May, 1754, they set out on their journey thither. (Adam Spach wrote that they went in 1753, doubtless associating the date with their decision to go.) Until the congregation of Friedberg was organized they were informally associated with the congregation of Bethabara, often traversing the fourteen miles from their farm on foot in order to attend services. By nature Mrs. Spach was inclined to worry, and to think things worse than they were, but she tried to overcome this fault, and during her last illness it left her entirely. She died on October 26, 1799, aged 68 years and seven months, less five days.