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Corner Cupboard

Single Brothers’ Joinery
Place Made:
Bethabara or Salem North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
pine; iron
HOA 83 1/4;WOA 47; DOA 33
Accession Number:
According to tradition, this cupboard was part of the furnishings of a stone house built in Friedburg by Adam Spach in 1774. Spach was one of the founders of the Moravian community of Friedburg which built its first meeting house in 1769.

The primary wood of the corner cupboard is pine. Although evidence suggested that the cupboard was originally painted in the red and blue color scheme, the current paint decoration is a restoration. The bottom compartment has a panel door and one shelf. The top compartment has an arched door with nine glass panes. Three shelves are in the top compartment. Blue and orange paint is restored. The deep frieze, the thin muntins and the lack of feet are early Baroque characteristics maintained by the conservative Moravian cabinetmakers long after they were the height of style.

LABEL NOTES: Came from the Adam Spach rock house.

Our immigrant ancestors in this line were Hans Adam Spach, a sixty-year-old widowed Bildweber (“picture weaver”, or weaver of tapestries) from Pfaffenhoffen, Alsace, and his thirteen-year-old son Adam.
Adam was the son of Hans Adam’s second marriage, to Salome Müller. So far, no record of his first marriage has been found, but the record of the second marriage indicates that the first marriage ended in divorce due to adultery. The second wife, Salome, was much younger than Hans Adam, but she died at the age of 32, and Hans Adam was left to bring up Adam alone, “holding me firmly to church and school,” as Adam wrote later.
The Spachs came to America in 1733 aboard the Charming Betty, landing at Philadelphia in October. The elder Spach was unable to pay the full fare, and on arrival, young Adam was indentured to a Mennonite for six years. After his term of service ended, he moved to Frederick County, Maryland, where he married and his eldest son was born.
In his Lebenslauf (life story), Adam doesn’t mention his father after their arrival in America, and the fate of Hans Adam Spach remains a mystery. He took the oath of allegiance to the Crown at Philadelphia on 12 October 1733, but no further record of him has been found. At sixty, he was already an old man for the time, and that combined with the rigors of the Atlantic crossing may have weakened his health, so it’s possible he didn’t survive long in America. On the other hand, he was hardy enough to have survived to a relatively advanced age and to have undertaken a difficult voyage, and his son and more than half of his grandchildren lived past the age of eighty. So maybe he settled down in America, perhaps trying to find work as a weaver, and perhaps trying to stay near his son. But it seems most likely that he passed away before the end of Adam’s service, which would have been in late 1739.
In the mid-1740s, Adam was drawn to the Moravian Church, which had established a presence in Frederick County. It may have been through the church that he met John Gumpp, a German immigrant. In about 1750, Mr. Gumpp brought to his home a young indentured servant from Hüffenhardt, Württemberg. The young lady, Maria Elisabetha Hütter, had made Mr. Gumpp’s acquaintance in Baltimore. Learning that she was from his home village, he purchased her indenture and allowed her to work out her obligation in one year, which no doubt considerably shortened her term of service. In 1752, she became Mrs. Adam Spach.
It was natural enough for the Spachs to be interested in the Moravian settlements in North Carolina, and in 1754 they moved there with their infant son. In North Carolina, they had eight more children, all of whom lived to adulthood, and all but one of whom married. When he was in his seventies, Adam wrote that he had lived to see forty-two grandchildren. Today, they have thousands of descendants all over America. ( copied from

The Lebenslauf

The life story of the widowed Brother Adam Spach, Sr.,
who fell blessedly asleep in Friedberg, August 23, 1801.
He has left the following written account of his passage through Time:–
I was born January 20, 1720, at Pfaffenhofen, in Lower Alsace, where my father was a citizen and a weaver of damask. In my fifth year my mother passed away, so my father alone brought me up, holding me firmly to church and school. In 1733, that is in my thirteenth year, I was confirmed for the Holy Communion, and enjoyed this high privilege for the first time in the Lutheran Church, though with fear and trembling because of my unfitness, of which I was much aware. [According to the Kirchenbuch of the Evangelical Church of Pfaffenhofen, Adam was born and baptized on 16 January 1720. Salome Müller Spach died in January 1727, shortly after Adam’s seventh birthday. His confirmation record gives his name as Hans Adam Spach].
At that time there was much talk of war, (which indeed broke out soon after), so my father decided to leave that country and go to America. When we reached America my father was not able to pay in full for our passage, so a Mennonite gave the Ship £7 for me, for which I had to serve him six years.
At the close of my years of service I went to Manakosy, in Maryland. At that time there was no protestant minister in Pennsylvania or in Maryland, and no Lutheran Church services were held, (and I had no liking for the sects that did exist there). When the spark of good, which had been lighted in my heart by my first communion, ceased to glow I fell into a state of indifference, sought bad companionship, and drifted into sin and shame. [In The History of the Moravian Church, J. E. Hutton remarks (Chapter XIV), “For some years, in response to the generous offers of Thomas Penn, all sorts of persecuted refugees had fled to Pennsylvania; and now the land was infested by a motley group of Episcopalians, Quakers, Baptists, Separatists, Sabbatarians, Unitarians, Lutherans, Calvinists, Memnonites, Presbyterians, Independents, Inspired Prophets, Hermits, Newborn Ones, Dunckers, and Protestant Monks and Nuns.”
About the time that Brother Nyberg came to Lancaster a preacher from Albania traveled about in our neighborhood, held a service for the three congregations on the Catores, Cananake, and Manakosy, and we accepted him as our preacher; but he died in half a year. At the request of the leader of the three congregations Brother Nyberg held the funeral of this man, and, soon after they asked him to help them secure another minister, and called him as the “Inspector” of the three congregations. We built a church in Manakosy, and when it was finished the Brethren Nyberg and Matthaeus Reuz came and solemnly consecrated it. They brought Brother Herzer with them, who spent the winter with us, teaching the school and holding the Sunday services. The Rev. Lars Thorstanson Nyberg was a Swedish Lutheran minister who seems to have secretly joined the Moravian Church while in Sweden. Eventually he was suspended by the Lutherans, and openly affiliated with the Moravian Church. He came to America in 1744. Matthaeus Reuz was a Moravian minister, ordained in the mid-1740s at Bethlehem. John Henry Herzer came from Pennsylvania to Monocacy in 1745. (RMNC 2:719, citing Vol. IX, Proceedings of the Moravian Historical Society, published in 1912)]
When it became known in the other congregations that Brother Herzer had been sent to us from Bethlehem a dispute arose, and they declared that they would have nothing to do with the “Herrnhuters.” They closed the church, and locked the door, and took the key away. We took our complaint to a gentleman named Rolang, who was a friend of the Germans, and he brought it to pass that in his presence they returned the key to us. But soon afterwards they took off the door-lock and put on another. When we reported this to our friend, Mr. Rolang, he said: “I will give you ten acres of land, and you can select what will suit you best. There build yourselves a church, and when you choose your preacher no one dare say a word, even if you were to call a negro.” We accepted this offer with many thanks. [Mr. Rolang is the Hon. Daniel Dulany, who gave the Moravians ten acres of land in 1747 (RMNC 2:719, citing Vol. IX, Proceedings of the Moravian Historical Society, published in 1912). Did Adam misremember the name, or did the translator misread his handwriting?]
The following spring Brother Herzer returned to Bethlehem, and we gave him a letter to the Congregation, asking that they would send us an ordained man as minister, and Brother George Nixdorf came. After a year he returned to Bethlehem, and from then until 1748 we had no stationed minister, but only frequent visits from the Brethren in Bethlehem. The Rev. George Nixdorf (1700-1785) was a Moravian pastor. ]
In 1748 a Synod was held in Bethlehem, and some of us went to it, and asked for permission to build a house; this was granted, and we were given a plan, showing how it should be arranged for a meeting house. Then our group went to work and on the ten-acre tract we built a house, with a meeting-hall and rooms for a minister and his wife, and soon Brother and Sister George Neisser came to us from Bethlehem. This place was later called Graceham, and the Graceham congregation dates its beginning from this time.
December 17, 1752, I married Maria Elisabeth, maiden name Hueter, and God blessed our union in many ways, and gave us five sons and four daughters, and I have lived to see forty-two grandchildren.
In 1753 we moved to North Carolina. We found the road very difficult, but the presence of our dear Lord comforted us as we journeyed. We settled as near as possible to the boundaries of Wachovia, in the hope that in time a group could be gathered that would form a congregation in connection with the Unity of Brethren. Soon more families settled here, planning to become allied with Bethabara and the Unity. The Brethren from Bethabara visited us and preached for us at various times, which was a great encouragement for our poor hearts. [According to Henry Wesley Foltz, the Spachs made the decision to move to North Carolina in 1753, but didn’t actually move until 1754. That is consistent with the entry in the Bethabara diary noting Adam’s first visit there on 18 September 1754.]
Not long after our arrival, war broke out with the Wild Men, and we took refuge in Bethabara, and received much kindness from the Brethren. When the trouble subsided we returned to our plantation, and soon after arranged with the Brethren that we would build a house for school and meetings. Brother Ettwein often gave us pleasure by coming to our house; and he it was who selected and decided on the location for the School-House of Friedberg. We connected ourselves with the congregation of Bethabara, and attended services there; until at last a congregation was organized here. [War with the Wild Men: The French and Indian War began in 1754. Many refugees sought shelter in Bethabara, especially in 1759. The Rev. Johannes Ettwein (1721-1802) was almost an exact contemporary of Adam Spach. His portrait is online here . He was consecrated a bishop in 1784.]
Once when my wife went to a Gemein Tag in Bethabara, attended a baptism, and was thereby delayed longer than she had expected, I was very angry; but when she returned, and told me the cause of her delay, and what she had seen in Bethabara, and what it had meant to her, I was quite taken aback and could not say one word. I went out into the woods to look for my horse, and as I went I thought about myself. Such concern and sadness came over me that I wept bitterly. And then the bleeding, dying Saviour, as He hung upon the cross, came so vividly before my heart, that it seemed as though I saw the blood and water stream afresh from His side. The impression that this made upon me has remained unto this day, although the emotion passed. I often went to the same place, — a place which I have never forgotten, — but I always learned, “That which is lost you must seek in your own heart.” I was deep in sin, and lack of faith and doubts took possession of my heart; anxiety drove me to fear that I would sink into hell. Although in the services of the Brethren in Bethabara I heard much of the grace of the Saviour, and His redemption of all poor lost sinners through His sufferings and death, yet I could only think: “Who knows whether it is true that the death of the Lord is so clear to the Brethren?” [Gemein Tag: “Unity Day,” a day when members of the congregation would assemble to hear the reading of the Gemein Nachrichten (“Unity News”), the Moravian newspaper.]
On January 1, 1772, I was in meeting, and was thinking about the past year, and the Saviour so came into my heart that I took little notice of what was said by Brother Bachhof, who was pastor of Friedberg. There I made a covenant with the Saviour, giving myself to Him, and begging Him to have mercy on me and take me as His own. The text for the day was “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” My confusion, however, did not end, but was still so great that I could not pray, and this continued until the 18th of the month, when Brother and Sister Graff came to Friedberg, to speak with the members of the Unity. I would have preferred to hide myself, and not to let myself be seen. But when I went to Brother Graff I received the unexpected and most encouraging news that I had permission to attend the Holy Communion, which would be the first held for the congregation of Friedberg. (My wife and I had been hitherto included in the congregation at Bethabara.) I was so amazed by this news that I could not say one word, for I thought myself unworthy of this great grace. On the following day, the 19th, the Holy Communion was held, and what I felt during it I cannot describe.
On the 20th was my birthday, and it was verily my first spiritual day of birth. The Text was: “I know thy name, and thou hast found grace in my sight.” From this time on I considered the Texts of the Unity most important and to be reverenced. Now all my doubts and lack of faith were gone; I had received the forgiveness of my sins during the Communion, and the image of my Saviour was real and new in my heart. The patience, mercy, grace and forbearance of the dear Saviour to me, a poor sinner, cannot be put into words.
In my seventieth year the Saviour gave me back my eyesight, so that I could read without glasses, but on the other hand I almost entirely lost my hearing. But the Brethren let me have the Gemein Nachrichten to read, and they supplied blessed food for my spirit. Through them I was often led to thank and adore the Saviour for what He was doing through the Brethren in Christian and in heathen lands; and they served for the testing and correction of my own heart.
[So far in his own hand.]
For a number of years he was a member of the local Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel among the heathen, which he considered of much importance, and although in the last years, on account of deafness, he could not hear what was being said, yet he never failed to attend the annual meeting, saying that he could not miss the feeling of common interest in the spread of the kingdom of God in the earth as it appeared in this gathering. He also always wished to read the minutes of the transactions of the meeting, which were willingly lent to him. He was greatly interested all the writings of the Unity, and so soon as he heard of a new book, written by a member, which could be had in Salem, he was eager to read it as soon as possible. In general it may be said that his heart lived in the affairs of the Saviour and His Unity; and we can truly say that he was a faithful and worthy member of the Unity. With inward joy and with content of heart he contributed to the needs of this congregation and its pastor, and also to the missions among the heathen, and to the entire work of the Unity of Brethren.
For some years it has been evident that his strength was failing, and as his illness increased he often remarked that he hoped the Saviour would leave him here until he could read the Minutes of the General Synod of the Unity of Brethren, which was to be held this year.
Concerning his walk among us we can truly say that his devotion to the Saviour was sweetly apparent even to the end; and especially since the home-going of his wife on October 26, 1799, he has spent much time quietly alone, in trustful communion with the Saviour. As the congregations of the Saviour were his joy he was the more distressed when he saw anything in them that was not according to the spirit of Christ. The salvation of his children and children’s children lay near to his heart, and he never failed in earnest fatherly admonition if he saw anything unrighteous in their conduct, or any carelessness in attendance on the services of the congregation, in which he himself had found such blessed spiritual food. It was a special pleasure to him that in this year he was able to visit all of his children in their homes, as he believed that this would be his last year of life here below.
On August 13th he was in Salem, when all the communicant members in Wachovia gathered for the celebration of the Festival of the Unity of Brethren, which he greatly enjoyed. Some days later he became seriously ill, and it soon became evident that our dear Lord would take this occasion to call him home, and he himself believed this. During the last days he had much pain in his chest to endure.
On the 23d of this month, in the presence of several Brethren and sisters, the blessing of the Lord and of the congregation was bestowed upon him, in anticipation of his home-going, and on the same afternoon he fell quietly asleep, his age being 81 years, 7 months and 3 days.
This translation was copied from (

Credit Line:
Wachovia Historical Society Collection