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In Their Own Words

January 03, 1740

Salzburgers Taught English

At New Ebenezer, most of Georgia’s Salzburger colonists only spoke German. However, minister John Martin Boltzius recognized the importance of his fellow Salzburgers learning English. Consequently, he had his indentured servant, a young Englishman named Henry Bishop, serve as schoolmaster to the Salzburger children. As indicated by his journal, Boltzius also hoped to begin a class of English instruction for the adults:

“The English youth, Bishop, who has been engaged as English schoolmaster, performs his duty loyally, to be sure, and is becoming ever more skillful in drilling the children in speaking English; but he is much too lax with discipline, and the children do not yet have the fear of him that is necessary. Therefore we must lend him a hand to improve the order in his classes. We would also undertake such practice with the adults if only they had enough time. I shall ask whether some of them wish it and would like to gather for a few hours, say in the evening, in which case I shall try to see whether it will be possible to teach them enough to understand and speak a little. In time this language may become indispensable because we must often deal with Englishmen.”

Source: George Fenwick Jones and Don Savelle (trans. and ed.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger emigrants Who Settled in America … Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Vol. 7, 1740 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), pp. 12-13.