The Moravian Springplace Mission to the Cherokees


The Moravian Springplace Mission to the Cherokees


Edited and with an introduction by Rowena McClinton

Indians of the Southeast Series

184 pages
1 illustration, 2 maps


December 2010


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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December 2010


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In 1801 the Moravians, a Pietist German-speaking group from Central Europe, founded the Springplace Mission at a site in present-day northwestern Georgia. The Moravians remained among the Cherokees for more than thirty years, longer than any other Christian group. John and Anna Rosina Gambold served at the mission from 1805 until Anna’s death in 1821. Anna, the principal author of the diaries, chronicles the intimate details of Cherokee daily life for seventeen years.
Anna describes mission life and what she heard and saw at Springplace: food preparation and consumption, transactions pertaining to land, Cherokee body ornaments, conjuring, Cherokee law and punishment, Green Corn ceremonies, ball play, and matriarchal and marriage traditions. She similarly recounts stories she heard about rainmaking, the origins of the Cherokee people, and how she herself conversed with curious Cherokees about Christian images and fixtures. She also recalls earthquakes, conversions, notable visitors, annuity distributions, and illnesses.
This abridged edition offers selected excerpts from the definitive edition of the Springplace diary, enabling significant themes and events of Cherokee culture and history to emerge. Anna’s carefully recorded observations reveal the Cherokees’ worldview and allow readers a glimpse into a time of change and upheaval for the tribe.

Author Bio

Rowena McClinton is an associate professor of history at Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville. She is the editor of the two-volume set The Moravian Springplace Mission to the Cherokees (Nebraska 2007).


"McClinton's excellent volume can be used in classrooms to highlight the effects of cultural change in an Indian community."—Adam Pratt, North Carolina Historical Review

Table of Contents

List of Maps     

Series Editors' Preface


Editorial Policy 


Chapter 1. Significant Events and Themes at Springplace Mission between 1805 and 1821    

      Conversion, Moravian Style   

      Principal Converts to the Moravian Church

      James Vann's Rejection of Christianity   

      Annuity Distribution at Vann's Plantation

      Cherokee Education, Moravian Style 

      Children's Illnesses at the Mission

      Removal of Children from the Mission School    

      Rumors of Mistreatment of Students 

      Runaway Students 

      Rumors of Abductions   

      Rumors of Hunger 

      Children's "Errant" Behavior 

      A Child's Death at the Mission     

      Use of Alcohol   

      Travelers and Notable Visitors     


      Creek War of 1813<EN>14


Chapter 2. Continuity of Traditional Cherokee Cultural Traits    

      Cherokees' Concept of Land and Land Values     

      Voices in Cherokee Councils  

      Moravians and the U.S. Government  

      Cherokee Agricultural Practices    

      Cherokee Traditional Rituals and Contact with Christianity 


      Cherokee Law and Punishment  

      Green Corn Ceremony    

      Ball Play  

      Cherokee Origin Stories

      Cherokees' Responses to Christian Images 






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