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In Their Own Words

September 23, 1737

Salzburgers Struggled Early

After having moved from their original Ebenezer settlement to a new site on the Savannah River known as New Ebenezer in 1736, the Salzburgers at last were getting their new lands surveyed. However, as Johann Martin Boltzius noted in his journal, most were too ill or weak to help out:

“The surveyor Ross has finally returned to survey the plantations of the Salzburgers. In Charleston, he bought two young Swiss men [indentured servants] from Canton Bern who are both afflicted by the fever but must nonetheless continue working in surveying the ground. Once these two are incapable of work, he shall have to use some of our people and pay them for it, and he has already requested the assistance of an able-bodied man. I very much doubt, however, that he shall find such a one, for most of our people are quite weak from the fever and would soon suffer a relapse were they to work in swampy areas all day and in the still-continuing heat and then camp out at night and be sustained by nothing but the cold food they carry as provisions. This is this man’s manner of living. He carries prepared provisions for several days or even a week and takes out no time for cooking for himself or for those accompanying him, and the work goes on from early dawn until well into the night, with only short breaks for breakfast and dinner. We consider it a great blessing that Mr. Oglethorpe ordered this man to use none of our people unless he pays for their labor.”

Source: George Fenwick Jones and Renate Wilson (ed. and trans.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America … Edited by Samuel Urlsperger (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1976), pp. 167-168.