Travels Through North America, during the years 1825 and 1826
By His Highness,
Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach
On the third day of my stay at Bethlehem, Mr. Frueauf called for me, for the purpose of riding with me to the brotherhood of Nazareth, which is ten miles distant. The road passes partly through a well kept wood, and partly through a well cultivated country. A great many single farms, which we passed, showed the wealth of their owners. One of the places we passed, is called Hecktown; this name originated from a waggery of Mr. Frueauf, on account of the fruitfulness of the inhabitants, who increase and multiply very fast. Nazareth is also very well built, and resembles Bethlehem, only it is, if it be possible, still more quiet. The town was laid out in the year 1744, and the large brick building, which is now used as the boys boarding-school, was originally intended for the mansion of Count Zinzendorf. This district has about five hundred inhabitants, including the adjoining parish called Schoeneck, they are mostly mechanics and farmers. There were two clergymen, Mr. Van Vleck, son of the ex-bishop of Bethlehem, and Mr. Ronthal, a native German, who was long pastor of the parish of Sarepta in Russia.
We first visited Mr. Van Vleck, and then inspected the society's garden; it is situated on the slope of a hill and has some pavilions and handsome promenades. Then we went in the boarding school, in which sixty boys receive their education; forty board in the house, and twenty reside with their parents, in the village. This school is likewise for children of different denominations, and is generally praised. Immediately on my entrance, I remarked the great cleanliness of the house. The scholars are divided into four classes, and are not received till they are eight years old. The tutors are mostly Germans, or at least speak that language, which is taught to the boys by particular desire of their parents. The school possesses a good cabinet of natural history, which is kept in good order, and has a collection of eggs of various birds of the neighborhood, gathered by the scholars. The scholars sleep in common in two great halls, two superintendents sleep in each of them. They eat in common and take a long daily walk, under the guardianship of their tutors. Besides the common school rudiments, the French, German, and English languages, they are taught drawing, music, and Italian book-keeping by double entry. For instruction in music, every class has a piano: a particular room is destined for religious worship. The boys have all healthy, lively, and open countenances, and are kept very clean. In the building there is also a theological seminary for young men who are designed for the pulpit; there were five pupils studying. These students are obliged to finish their education in the large theological seminary of Gnadenfeld in Upper Silesia. On the top of the house there is a gallery, from which you see the surrounding neighborhood. Nazareth is situated on rather high ground, and is only eight miles distant from the Blue Mountains. The vicinity would be very handsome, if there were more streams in the neighborhood, but in these it seems to be deficient.
After this we went to the sisterhood's house, wherein were lodged thirty-seven old women, who sleep all in one large hall. In the room where they perform worship, there is a small organ, as in the sisterhood at Bethlehem; one of the sisters acts as organist. I observed here, as well as in Bethlehem that the old Moravian female costume, particularly the caps, have gone out of fashion, except some few very old women, and they now dress in handsome modern style. We visited the parson, Mr. Ronthal, and the elder of the congregation, Mr. Hoeber. I became acquainted with a former missionary, Mr. Oppelt, who was many years amongst the Indians, one hundred miles the other side of Detroit, and has baptized several of them. He has retired to Nazareth, and was busy in making preparations of birds.