A Passenger on the Princes Augusta
An account by Durs Thommen From June to September 1736
Philadelphia, October 20, 1736
My friendly greetings and service to you, my much beloved Reverent Mr. Candidate Annoni and your beloved wife Ester Annoni, born in Zwingerin.
I cannot desist from writing to you and to tell you in a few words that I with my family - the loving faithful Father in Heaven be praised for that - have come into this land fresh and healthy. But at sea our two younger sons became sick with ship fever but, thank God, have regained their previous health. But I now know nothing further to write because we have come so late into this country and everything has already been harvested.
As to the journey, we were detained for 5 weeks, have slept on the Rhine for 2 weeks and travelled from Rotterdam across the sea for 12 weeks and 4 days until Philaddelphia, but only 8 weeks from land to land, and we did not have good wind save for 8 days, more contrary winds than side wind. And as we saw land a new pilot came to us and we thought all was well and won. All evening we got good wind from behind so that the ship moved vigorously. The new pilot, however made cast anchor because it was not far (from there) dangerous; in the morning when the anchor was lifted again and on had barely gone 30 feet the boat ran into a rock, and it crashed that one thought it would break in the middle. The anxious crying began, and one could see where there was faith or not. Then the captain had a warning shot fired and had a flag of distress hoisted, but we drove far out to the sea so that we saw no land anymore for days and even thought we would never see it again.
As far as illness are comcerned, the Mannheim skippers had two of the boats sidewise together; in the one besides ours 7 children died of small pox and a woman of spotted fever, and in our boat 19 people died until Rotterdam. Those people who have means and are interested in this land and need not go into debt, those I advise to stay where they are because the journy is onerous and very dangeous. Thus who wants to come to this land shall be well provided with butter and bacon, dried apple snips and plums, and flour, wine and brandy and dried bread, tea and sugar. And if young people come and cannot pay fare, there are enough people to redeem them from the boat, and they must serve them a certaint time for it. There are people with whom I have talked myself who had brought not a penny into the land and had to serve for their fare, now (they) are very rich people. But I do not know to write much of the land because we came into it quite late and everything had already been harvested, and one should not rely much on the talk of other people, thus I am willing, if it were to please the Lord in Heaven, to send very accurate news in the future when I have investigated things my self.
But I have not yet taken up the land, but I am also willing to wait until I know the land better or have approached trusted friends so that I may believe them. I could have already taken up, however, more than to 3 to 400 acres that have been much planted, and there would remain in my hands quite a good portion of my imported wealth. What has already been cleared of that place, meadow and fields, is for 6 horses, 8 cows, 12 goats, 14 pigs. We are very sorry that at home we have not lived according to Christ's demand on occasion as we should have done.
Durs Thommen formerly of Niederdorff your servant
From: "On The power O Pietism" by Leo Schelbert, PhD in the "Historic Scaefferstown Record" vol 17, Issues No 3 & 4.