Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Mack, John Martin

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

MACK, John Martin, Moravian bishop, b. in Würtemberg, Germany, 13 April, 1715; d. on the island of St. Thomas, W. I., 9 June, 1784. He came to this country in 1735, and joined the Moravian colony in Georgia. Thence he went to Pennsylvania, and assisted at the founding of Bethlehem. Soon afterward he was appointed missionary among the Indians, and labored with great success for twenty years in New York, Pennsylvania, and New England. Both in New York and New England the Moravians were accused of being spies of the French, and in consequence their missionaries were made to suffer. Mack was arrested and imprisoned at Milford, Conn., and banished from the province of New York. But such persecutions speedily came to an end when, in 1749, the parliament of Great Britain acknowledged the Moravians to be an ancient episcopal church, and invited them to settle in this country. Meanwhile Mack had founded Gnadenhuetten, a nourishing Christian Indian settlement in the Lehigh valley, Pa. At a later time he founded Nain, another Christian Indian town, near Bethlehem. He was in the full tide of successful work when he was unexpectedly called to the West Indies as superintendent of the missions in the Danish islands. Although it cost him a hard struggle to give up his labors among the aborigines and leave America, he accepted the call, and for twenty-two years devoted himself to the interests of the negro slaves in St. Croix, St. Jan, and St. Thomas, where he resided. In 1770 he visited Bethlehem, where he was consecrated to the episcopacy on 18 Oct. On returning to the West Indies he continued his work, and in the midst of that war between England and France that grew out of the American Revolution he visited all the missions on the British islands, and twice narrowly escaped capture. The negroes loved and revered him as a father. A great throng of them, dressed in white, followed his remains to the grave.