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Two Troubled Souls

An Eighteenth-Century Couple's Spiritual Journey in the Atlantic World

Aaron Spencer Fogleman

Publication Year: 2013

Jean-Francois Reynier, a French Swiss Huguenot, and his wife, Maria Barbara Knoll, a Lutheran from the German territories, crossed the Atlantic several times and lived among Protestants, Jews, African slaves, and Native Americans from Suriname to New York and many places in between. While they preached to and doctored many Atlantic peoples in religious missions, revivals, and communal experiments, they encountered scandals, bouts of madness, and other turmoil, including within their own marriage. Aaron Spencer Fogleman's riveting narrative offers a lens through which to better understand how individuals engaged with the eighteenth-century Atlantic world and how men and women experienced many of its important aspects differently.
Reynier's and Knoll's lives illuminate an underside of empire where religious radicals fought against church authority and each other to find and spread the truth; where Atlantic peoples had spiritual, medical, and linguistic encounters that authorities could not always understand or control; and where wives disobeyed husbands to seek their own truth and opportunity.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-11

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pp. xi-xii

...There are many people and institutions to recognize for their generous assistance in the completion of this project. Let me begin with the numerous archives and libraries whose staff s helped me. Many of the manuscripts used in this project came from the Unity Archives in Herrnhut, Germany, and Olaf Nippe was especially helpful in making these materials...

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Note on Calendars and Currency Exchange Rates

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pp. xiii-xiv

...With the exception of Britain and its American colonies, all of the places mentioned in this book had adopted the Gregorian (“new style”) calendar during the period of this study. The British Empire continued to use the Julian (“old style”) calendar, which was eleven days behind the Gregorian, until...

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Introduction: Marriage, Mission, and Migrants in the Atlantic World

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pp. 1-14

...named Maria Barbara Knoll and a doctor named Jean-François Reynier, two very different people from very different corners of Europe who were drawn into the historic events that shaped the Atlantic World in the eighteenth century. Throughout their obscure but storied lives, Knoll and Reynier resided on three continents, endured four colonial wars...

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PART I: A Young Man’s Path into the Atlantic World

...The stubborn man who made this statement did so in the middle of a lifelong odyssey. As a disaffected youth, he had left his home in the Swiss Alps to find spiritual truth abroad, and his journey took him to many important places in the Atlantic World. His spiritual journey became a voyage of self-discovery, during which he developed many practical skills that allowed him to continue his search. But he also learned that he could...

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1. Alpine Origins

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pp. 17-29

...In 1712, Jean-François Reynier saw the light of his fi rst day in the small town of Vevey on the northeastern shore of Lake Geneva in the Pays du Vaud (Canton Vaud). Vevey lay in a beautiful Alpine setting. A wall of mountains protected the town from cold north winds, and before it lay the thirteen mile-wide lake. Beyond the lake, a chain of magnificent, snow-covered...

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2. Pennsylvania: A Troubled Pietist in an Individualist Paradise

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pp. 30-52

...Before departing on his hopeful journey for Pennsylvania in the spring of 1728, Reynier made arrangements with what he called the “the master of a vessel,” who planned to take him and others overland to Holland and then send them to England and finally Pennsylvania. But the man who came to Vevey to recruit emigrants was really an agent, or...

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3. Georgia: Joining a Colony of Rebels

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pp. 53-71

...Georgia, Jean-François Reynier reached Savannah aft er his long journey from the north and knocked on the door of their house in Anson Ward. He had hoped to find Count Zinzendorf himself inside, but instead he found August Gottlieb Spangenberg and others robing a body and preparing it for a simple burial. Reynier asked to join the group and offered...

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4. Giving Europe Another Chance

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pp. 72-82

...In the summer of 1739, a tidal wave of evangelical revivalism swept through England. George Whitefield had returned from America and was preaching to huge crowds in the open air, moving them to tears with his wondrous oratory while embarrassing his stodgy orthodox supervisors in the Anglican Church, who could not silence him. John Wesley had returned...

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PART II: Union in Europe

...Maria Barbara Knoll knew little of her groom’s past. The older married women in Marienborn told her that he had just returned from America and had come originally from “Welschland” (French-speaking Switzerland), but that he spoke German well. And they told her that he was a doctor, which perhaps impressed her. She would have to discover...

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5. A Woman’s Path into the Atlantic World

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pp. 85-92

...One day in 1739, a young single woman of unknown origins appeared at Schloß Marienborn to seek entrance into the new Moravian community that had formed there. Maria Barbara Knoll must have told someone where she came from, but the usually diligent record keepers of...

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6. The Wedding

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pp. 93-98

...Knoll lived well during her brief stay in Schloß Marienborn. She resided and worked with the single sisters or virgins ( Jungfern ) in the palace (the Single Sisters’ House in Herrnhaag was not completed until 1743). There she participated in the numerous liturgical services and communal...

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PART III: To the Caribbean They Went

...The Moravians sent the Reyniers to Suriname to witness to Caribs, Arawaks, and “those from Moorland” (denen aus Mohrenlandt), that is, Africa. It was part of their grand project to extend the Gospel to the peoples of the world, beginning with the Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans in...

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7. A Long Journey Together

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pp. 101-118

...As their departure neared, Jean-François’s enthusiasm for the Suriname mission increased daily. When he appeared before Zinzendorf and a board that wished to test his commitment and aptitude for the mission, he declared his willingness to work to his death for the Savior in Suriname...

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8. Trouble in Suriname

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pp. 119-146

...These few lines from the Reyniers refl ect the different ways this couple experienced their mission in Suriname, or at least the way they wrote about it. Maria Barbara’s letters are fi lled with expressions of devotion to the Savior, to the Gemeine in Marienborn, and to her colleagues in the...

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9. Salvation and Success on St. Thomas

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pp. 147-172

...Defeated and depressed by the debacle in Suriname, the Reyniers appeared by accident at the Moravian slave mission on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in 1743. Here was another hot, humid plantation slave colony with horrible mortality rates because of the disease environment...

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PART IV: Life in North America

...When they reached British North America, the Reyniers lived for the first time as a couple released from the constant pressure and dangers of difficult missions in dangerous environments. They had many choices of where to live, with which religious communities, and whether even to stay together. The extreme religious diversity and freedom...

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10. Crisis and Controversy in Pennsylvania

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pp. 175-196

...After 1743, the Reyniers found more space in which to explore, withdraw, and experiment in Pennsylvania—a new territory for Maria Barbara, but a return to the land of extreme religious diversity and freedom for Jean-François. It was also a land of religious conflict, as competing groups vied for control of communities, groups, and individuals. Conditions...

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11. Onto the Transatlantic Stage

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pp. 197-213

...Jean-François’s fury toward the Moravians escalated as he wrote his autobiography. His work worried Maria Barbara for two reasons— because of what he might write against the Moravians, whom she still admired, and because of what he might write about her and the intimacies of their marriage. But printing and publishing were in the realm of men...

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12. Separation, Empowerment, and Flight from Pennsylvania

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pp. 214-232

...In 1786, the Chronicon Ephratense included the following story about the return of “John Reïgnier” to the celibate cloister from 1762 to 1765, this time with his wife. Georg Conrad Beissel, now seventy-one years old, was still the leader of the cloister when Reynier returned. Beissel placed Reynier’s...

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13. A Separate Peace in Georgia

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pp. 233-258

...The Reyniers lived their fi nal years in Georgia, away from the limelight of revival and public debate between competing religious groups and publishers. Georgia had changed dramatically since Jean-François’s fi rst sojourn in the colony, and the Reyniers fully...

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Conclusion: Seekers at Rest in a World They Could Not Change

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pp. 259-260

...During their spiritual journey of over thirty-five years, the Reyniers struggled to know and accept one another, find truth and opportunity, survive, and at times change the Atlantic World. It was a long journey fi lled with hope, fear, danger...

Appendix: Genealogy of Jean-François Reynier of Vevey , 1712–1775

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pp. 261-264


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pp. 265-290


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pp. 291-304


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pp. 305-321

E-ISBN-13: 9781469612492
E-ISBN-10: 1469612496
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469608792
Print-ISBN-10: 1469608790

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013