Friday, May 02, 2008

Diary of Christopher Sower - May 2, 1778

During the time of the Revolutionary War the Brethren in the Philadelphia/Germantown area were caught between the warring factions. They refused to take sides because they were opposed to all war. They tried to explain to those who questioned them that they were not an enemy of the King, but an enemy of war, because war is the enemy of the Savior. Christopher Sower was placed under a ban for daring to advocate, in the perilous hour of war, his unchanged hostility to war. In October 1777, he left his home and printing business in Germantown to live with his children living in Philadelphia.

"I lived there (Philadelphia) quietly and peaceably till the second day of May, 1778, when I went back to Germantown, and was in my house that night, when a strong party of Captain McClean's Company surrounded my house and fetched me out of my bed. It was a dark night. They led me through the Indian corn fields, where I could not come along as fast as they wanted me to go. They frequently struck me in the back with their bayonets till they brought me to Bastian Miller's barn, where they kept me till next morning. Then they strip'd me naked to the skin and gave me an old shirt and breeches so much torn that I could hardly cover my private parts, then cut my beard and hair, and painted me with oil colors red and balck, and so led me along barefooted and bareheaded in a very hot sunshiny day.

A friend of mine seeing me in that condition asked them whether they would takes the shoes from me if he would give me a pair. They promised not to take them from me. And so he took the shoes from his feet and the hat from his head and gave them to me. But after we had marched six miles, a soldier came and demanded my shoes and took them, and gave me his old slabs, which wounded my feet very much.

Source: A History of the Brethren, Martin Grove Brumbaugh