Arrivals - Chapter Read
sea voyage was over at last and the Bylers thanked Gott for seeing them through the perilous crossing. They were more
fortunate than some of their fellow passengers who had suffered the misfortune
of losing one or more family members to disease and injury during the course of
what they could now regard as an adventure. The memories they had accumulated
over the previous few months might fade but they would never been forgotten,
nor would the friendships which had been forged through shared adversity.
Rebekkah Byler was a solid, strong young
woman who was not afraid of anything Gott
sent her way and she was prepared to carve out a new life here in the New
World, together with her husband, for their three kinner.
Rebekkah's sister Hannah had come with
them, since there was nothing left for her back in the Palatinate and with
Rebekkah, she shepherded the kinner
off the ship while Peter attended to the formalities of registering their
arrival at Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This was the place they would start out
from before heading north west into the wilderness.
There were families here, who had come
before them, establishing farms and hewing a living from the fertile earth. The
Bylers would do the same but Peter, unlike the majority of his fellow
compatriots, had a plentiful supply of funds with which to purchase a large
tract of land as well as the goods and chattels necessary for a successful
This was an important consideration if
they were to survive the coming winter before clearing, plowing and planting
the following spring. First though, they had to buy food and organize shelter
before the cold set in.
is so gut to be here at last. The
most charming thing about the Charming
Nancy is being off her I think. I never thought we would spend so long
cooped up below decks. But never mind, soon we will be able to clean ourselves
and our clothes. Ach Hannah, I cannot
wait to be on our land, to breathe the fresh air of our new country.
Philadelphia smells like most other cities and I would prefer clean country air
for my family."
am looking forward to it too, but I wish our parents were here with us to enjoy
"Jah, but they would not have survived
the voyage. We will do our best to make them proud of us here in the New World
and their deaths will not be meaningless. Let us trust Gott to give us the strength to make a new life here. It will be
hard work but we can live and worship without fear of persecution."
look over there. It is Peter with our things. Let's take our hand luggage while
all our other baggage is unloaded." They sat down where they were
directed, among the family belongings.
"Are you finished yet Peter? Do
you have more to attend to before we set out?"
"Jah Rebekkah, I must see about many
things and it will be necessary to stay here in the town for a few days and
purchase everything we need prior to leaving. It is important we are well
provisioned because it is too far to our land to be traveling back here all the
time for things we've forgotten. I will explain everything to you when we are
settled at the inn. Come now. You and the little ones should rest up a little
and you can start a list of essential provisions to buy tomorrow.”
Their accommodation was serviceable
and comfortable after the primitive, cramped conditions they had become
accustomed to on board the Charming Nancy.
Peter rented two rooms, one for Hannah and the kinner and another for Rebekkah and himself. It was the height of
luxury after the ship and they were all excited by the prospect of a hearty
supper with plenty of meat, bread and real kaffe.
Peter left afterwards, to attend to the many tasks still awaiting his attention
because he was determined they would be successful in their new life.
Rebekkah joined Hannah in the kinner's room. "Would you go and
bring us some warm water, please? We can all wash and change into our clean
clothes and launder these filthy ones. I'm sure we will all feel much better
Hannah went downstairs to fetch warm
water while Rebekkah brought out their spare clothing, all the while making a
huge pile of everything to benefit from a thorough washing. It amounted to
pretty much everything they had used on the voyage, including their bedding.
Hannah soon arrived with the water.
"Here you go. Let's get started. I found a laundry downstairs too.
Laundering is part of our tariff so I will take everything down and help the
laundress, seeing we have so much to wash."
"That is kind of you Hannah, denke. I must admit I am feeling daunted
by what is ahead of us. I find it overwhelming to think we will soon be on our
own in the wilderness through the winter."
"Gott will be with us Rebekkah, all the time, to watch over and
guide us. We must trust Him."
"Jah, you are right. I am tired after the voyage. Peter is right to
ask us to make a thorough inventory of everything we might need. Still, I do
not know what is before us, so I am not sure what we will need. This is what
"We should start with food and
clothes... staples enough for a full six months as well as dried and preserved
foods," said Hannah. "Yard goods for winter clothing... and maybe
some lighter weight fabrics as well... cheesecloth for the cheeses... ach, and extra bedding. We'll require
additional quilts or the stuff with which to make them."
"I am being silly Hannah. Jah, all those things are necessary and
the storekeeper can no doubt advise us of anything we've forgotten. Peter will
see to purchasing animals and I am forgetting the things down in the hold of
While Hannah was downstairs, Rebekkah
started her inventory. Instead of comforting her though, the growing number of
supplies emerging on the paper served only to reinforce her increasing