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Economic Transition: 1771

The Moravian communities at Bethlehem and the Upper Places, which included Christiansbrunn and Nazareth, initially operated as communal economies in which laborers did not receive wages. Members of the community would be “paid” in housing, food, clothing, and other supplies. This economic model was later abandoned in favor of a traditional, wage-based economy. This transition occurred first in Bethlehem in 1762, then in Nazareth in 1764. However, at Christiansbrunn the communal economic system survived until June of 1771.

In June of 1771, brothers Lorenz, Nathanael, and Gregor traveled from Bethlehem to Christiansbrunn to facilitate the transition:

The deputies, brothers Lorenz and Gregor with brother Nathanael, are going to Christiansbrunn, to take the management of the therein business-items of their orders into consideration. (Bethlehem Diary, June 26, 1771)

While there, they discussed the transition with the brethren at Christiansbrunn. By the end of June, a “contract” had been drawn up detailing the transition. Details of this contract are mentioned in other records. The Christiansbrunn diary from June 1771 describes the contract in general :

As on Saturday, the speeches of the brothers ended with mutual enjoyment, and arrangements of different types will be settled with each brother. Some of the professional workers will be settled as in other Choir Houses, in which journeymen receive wages; on the other hand, some who work here will be entitled to an annual stipend for their clothes; and third, some elderly single brethren have asked to stay in the Oeconomie. One remarks that all the brethren expressed outright satisfaction and gratitude for this new arrangement.

The contract thus stipulated that there would be three groups of brothers: those who wanted to join the new model and be paid for their work, those who received an annual stipend and would have their trades supported by the church, and those who remained in the communal system.

These differences are confirmed by a detailed account in the Unity Administration Minutes from 1771:

There was a discussion held with the Brothers residing at Christiansbrunn regarding their future status and care.
They have declared themselves differently. Some desire to wholeheartedly remain as in the previous Economy:
     Jacob Rüsler               
     Christoph Schmidt           
     Samuel Lauk               
     Friedrich Danke               
     Andreas Broksch           
     Joh[anne]s Scheffler           
     Lorenz Nielson               
     Christian Schmidt           
     Franz Seiffert, Master Flax Weaver    
     Martin Rohleder
     Martin Freyhube
     Jacob Priesing
     Adam Hut
     Joh. Brandmüller
     Mich. Ruch, the Elder
     Nicolaus Fleissner
     Chr. Ludwig Grunwald
     Henry Feldhausen
Others requested a specific amount toward their clothing and extraordinary expenses. This was granted to the following Brothers according to the differences in their professions:
     Joh. Beutel  (£13)      
     Joh. Schaub  (
     Matthaeus Witke  (
     Renat. Kaske
     Elias Hirte
     Nath. Müksch
     Joh. Gottfr. Belling
     Anton Hagen
     Matthaeus Krause  (£12)               
     David Müksch
     Joh. Anders 
     Henry Brunner  (
     Peter Müke
     Mich. Ruch, Brewer  (£18)
     Georg Glad, Smith (£18)
     Chr. Giersch, Miller (£18)
     Joh. Schürger  (£10)   
     Chr. Friedr. Steinmann (£12)      
     Andr. Holder  (£12)      
     Joh[anne]s. Biesel  (12)
     David Zeisberger  £10)   
     Nicol. Funk (£15)
     Chr. Demuth  (£12)      
     Phil. Meyer, Master Shoemaker (£15)
     Joh. Angermann, Master Tailor  (£12)      
     Joh. Chr. Oerter, Gunmaker (£15)
And finally, there are 6 Brothers who will be compensated, and as in other choir-houses [in Bethlehem, for instance] they shall be responsible to pay for their food and other expenses:
     Detlef Delps                 
     Daniel Kam               
     Peter Goetge               
     Joh. Hanke
     Joseph Demuth
     Joh. Lehnert
These shall be paid either by the Economy or by their profession by which they were employed.
A rate chart explained what each expense would cost for these brethren who, receiving wages, would be responsible for "their food and other expenses."  Food would cost £0.5.6 weekly: breakfast at 2d, a midday meal at 5d, and an evening meal at 2½d (without beer). Wash would cost between 4d and 5d per piece. Housing costs, which included oil, lighting, wood, and sweeping of the sleeping quarters, would amount to £0.1.3 weekly. A contribution toward land and taxes would cost about 6d weekly. A contribution toward choir and congregational needs would cost about 3d weekly.
In all, a brother would owe £0.7.0 weekly--about £18 annually.