Moravian Archives

 

CATALOGUE OF MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES IN ANTIGUA, COVER

 

The reproduced images appearing here are used with the permission of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

 

Over half of Mary Prince’s Antiguan recollections are church-based experiences. She was a member of the Moravian congregation at Spring Gardens, St. John’s, and she was visiting with Moravian missionary women from 1819, at the latest.

 

Mrs. Olufsen, Mrs, Richter, and Mrs. Sautter taught Mary to read. "The Moravian ladies (Mrs. Richter, Mrs. Olufsen, and Mrs. Sauter) taught me to read in the class; and I got on very fast," (Prince 17) Mary relates.

 

Moravian missionaries were excellent and detailed record keepers, as is evident from the few pages included here from A Complete Catalogue of all the Brethren and Sisters, who served in the Mission of the United Brethren at Antigua, and also of their Children in this Island.

 

Because of deterioration due to tropical climate and insects, this catalogue, along with numerous other materials, was moved to the Moravian Archives at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1968.

 

A recent development at the Moravian Archives is that thanks to an initial grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities, archivists, historians and conservators are assessing the collection from the Eastern West Indies, and they are making plans to digitize and conserve them. Included are church registers that list the names of slaves, their baptisms, first Communions, and deaths. Also included are their slave-owners’ names and, in some cases, their African names and the villages in Africa where they were kidnapped. These documents link individuals in the Americas back to Africa.


 

CATALOGUE OF MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES IN ANTIGUA, MEN, 36–40

 

William Sautter and Christian Richter were the husbands of the Moravian women Mrs. Richter and Mrs. Sautter who “taught [Mary Prince] to read in the class” (Prince 17). By this Mary means her bible study class. She recollects that the class had "all sorts of people, old and young, grey headed folks and children; but most of them were free people" (Prince 17). Eventually, Mary was admitted a candidate for the holy Communion.

 

Joseph Newby was the man who approached John Adams Wood Jr. to negotiate “in his own name” (Pringle, supplement in Prince 26) for Mary’s manumission. In a last attempt to get Mary her freedom, Thomas Pringle had asked Edward Moore, agent of the Moravian Brethren in London, to write to Newby, who was stationed at the Moravian Mission in Antigua. Newby was to offer ample compensation to Wood, which would, presumably, be paid by abolitionists in London. Wood refused.

 

CATALOGUE OF MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES IN ANTIGUA, MEN, 41–45

 

John Stobwafser was the father of Johann Heinrich Stobwafser, who had made four historical images of Antigua, circa 1822. One was of Spring Gardens at the time Mary Prince was frequenting the mission. See the Antigua section of this website’s Photo Gallery for a reproduction of this image.

 

As recorded in The History of Mary Prince, it was the Rev. Mr. Olufsen who married Mary Prince and Daniel James in the Moravian Chapel at Spring Gardens, about Christmas 1826 (Prince 17). Mary also recollects, “We could not be married in the English Church. English marriage is not allowed to slaves; and no free man can marry a slave” (Prince 17). Moravian missionaries, however, did solemnize the marriages of slaves.

 

The petition presented to Parliament on Mary's behalf indicates that it was the "Moravian minister, Mr. Ellesen" who performed the ceremony. It seems that the writer of the petition misheard, and, because of this, the surname Olufson became Ellesen on the petition.

CATALOGUE OF MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES IN ANTIGUA, WOMEN, 26–30

 

Mary Sautter arrived in Antigua 30 December 1802. Ninteen years later, she accompanied her husband to St. Kitts, where they had a new appointment.They left Antigua 16 October 1823.

 

Johanna Elizabeth Richter arrived in Antigua 20 October 1806. She “fell asleep in Jesus” 30 December 1820, and was buried the next day in the Spring Gardens burial ground. 

 

Prince's initiation into Christianity was at a Methodist prayer meeting one Christmas when she was at Winthorpe's plantation with the Wood family (Prince 16). She later joined the Moravian congregation. Presumably, this was at least one year previous to Johanna Richter’s death. Therefore, Mary Prince would have been visiting with the Moravian women in 1819, or earlier.

CATALOGUE OF MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES IN ANTIGUA, WOMEN, 31–35

 

Christine Olufsen was the first wife of Jens Olufsen. She arrived at Antigua 1 August 1816, but "departed this life" only six weeks later, on 12 September 1816.

 

 

CATALOGUE OF MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES IN ANTIGUA, WOMEN, 36–40

 

Ann Margaret Mattern arrived at Antigua in January 1818, and on the 19th of that month, she married the widower Jens Olufsen. She left Antigua on 4 April 1829, three months after the death of her husband Jens. It is most likely that it was Margaret Olufsen, and not Christine, who, along with Mary Sautter and Johanna Richter, instructed Mary Prince at Spring Gardens.