The following excerpts of Zinzendorf's travel journal are taken from “Count Zinzendorf’s Narrative of a Journey from Bethlehem to Shamokin, In September of 1742” in Wilhelm Reichel, ed., Memorials of the Moravian Church, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1870), pages 85 and 93.


On the second day of his journey along the river with Conrad Weiser and his companion, Anna Nitschmann Zinzendorf writes,

"We traveled on, and soon struck the lovely Susquehanna.  Riding along its bank, we came to the boundary of Shamokin, a precipitous hill, such as I scarce ever saw.  This is so rugged and steep a mountain that I have hardly ever seen its equal; but we all got safely across.  Anna went on before, for she is our greatest heroine.  She wore a long riding habit, to the train of which I held fast; Conrad held on to the skirt of my coat, and Boehler had hold of Conrad’s.  In this way we all felt more compassed and gained additional security."

Zinzendorff goes on to describe his first meeting with the Chief Shikellamy in Shamokin, his evening stroll through the village, and his chance meeting with an Indian with whom he exchanges his fur hat for a melon.  He describes the Susquehanna in the following passage as the party of Europeans makes its way up the West Branch to meet with Madame Montour near the Great Island.

Sept. 30. (1742)  “Set out on our journey.  The Sachem (Shikellamy) pointed out the ford over the Susquehanna.  The river here is much broader than the Delaware, the water beautifully transparent, and were it not for the smooth rocks in its bed, it would be easily fordable.  In crossing, we had therefore to pull up our horses and keep a tight rein.  The high banks of American rivers render their passage on horseback extremely difficult.”

Unlike European waterways, this American river demands other equestrian skills.

As Zinzendorf walks through the forests that border the West Branch of the Susquehanna he experiences his first Pennsylvania fall, a splendor of colors that again demands new a new poetic vocabulary for its description.  He writes,

"The country, through which we were now riding, although a wilderness, showed indications of extreme fertility.  As soon as we left the path we trod on swampy ground, over which traveling on horseback was altogether impracticable.  We halted half an hour while Conrad rode along the river in search of a ford.  The foliage of the forest at this season of the year, blending all conceivable shades of green, red, and yellow, was truly gorgeous, and lent a richness to the landscape that would have charmed an artist.  At times we wound through a continuous growth of diminutive oaks, reaching higher than our horses’ girth, in a perfect sea of scarlet, purple, and gold, bounded along the horizon by the gigantic evergreens of the forest.”