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In Their Own Words

April 26, 1740

Men Preferred Working at Bethesda to War

William Stephens wrote in his journal about a captain’s unsuccessful attempt to recruit soldiers (for an ongoing war with Spain) from among the workers at the Orphan House being constructed under the orders of George Whitefield; in so doing he first mentioned the name of the Orphan House - Bethesda:

“…Capt. La Feit, and his Subaltern Recruiting Officer, taking Breakfast with me, I was informed by them what Success they had attending Yesterday’s Expedition to Bethesda (which is the Name given to that Place by Mr. Whitfield) and it proved almost fruitless, one or two Fellows only taking on: They took Notice to me of the People in general there, being provided with one and the same Answer; which it was supposed was taught them to give, by their Employers, when invited to take Arms; which was, that they had good Provisions, and a Place to sleep in, with ready Money to Pay for their Work, where they were, which they were not desirous to change for the Hazard of being knocked on the Head, and the Certainty of being continually exposed to bad Weather, either Heats, or heavy Rains. …”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, p. 560.