Chapter 3 The Transformation of Wachovia: From Anglican Protectorate to Moravian Preserve

In: Moravian Americans and their Neighbors, 1772-1822
Larry E. Tise
Search for other papers by Larry E. Tise in
Current site
Google Scholar

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



The greatest challenge facing North Carolina Moravians during the American Revolution was not their pacifist sentiments. It was rather to survive charges that their Wachovia tract was in fact a Loyalist property held in trust for them as an Anglican protectorate legally titled Dobbs Parish by James Hutton, an associate and friend of King George III. With the wise counsels of Benjamin Franklin to Moravians in revolutionary America, Hutton’s trusteeship was transferred to Frederic William Marshall who engineered the legal transformation of Wachovia into a Moravian preserve before North Carolina land poachers could claim title to portions of the estate. With Wachovia saved, Salem Moravians built a well-regulated and prosperous business enclave for backcountry North Carolina.

Yet, even before the Revolution ended, Wachovia was invaded by Methodist circuit riders and local converts whose evangelical rhetoric and camp meeting revivalism challenged Moravian religious orderliness. The invading evangelists also peeled away many Moravians. By the 1820s, Wachovia’s Moravians transformed themselves from transplanted European pietists to American protestants and their Moravian theocratic preserve into a breeding ground for American entrepreneurs and willing slaveholders. Religiously and socially, Wachovia Moravians had become full-fledged southern Americans. Wachovia’s footprint remained a Moravian preserve into the 20th century, but increasingly as a cherished historical memory.

  • Collapse
  • Expand


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 53 21 0
Full Text Views 1 0 0
PDF Views & Downloads 2 0 0