A Leinbach/Lineback/Linebaugh Genealogy
   Johannes Leinbach (1712-1766) house in Wachovia.
  The Road to Wachovia

Even as Spangenberg scouted for land in North Carolina, the Society of Brethren was in dire financial straits. Fearing that the venture would be abandoned, Lord Granville reduced the asking price. A land company, Der Nord Carolina Land Und Colonie Etablissment, was formed to raise capital and by the next year enough lots (each of approximately 2000 acres) had been sold to investors in Europe that a down -payment could be made. On August 7, 1753, Granville deeded the Wachovia lands to the Moravians for 500 and an annual quit-rent of 150.

Little time was wasted once the word arrived from London. That fall a group of fifteen men were selected as the first immigrants. Arriving in November, they worked with a zeal uncommon in Carolina. Those in the neighborhood of Wachovia must have been astounded at the early accomplishments of these few men:

  • Three acres cleared and the soil under plow within ten days of their arrival.
  • Crops of wheat, corn, potatoes, flax, corn, tobacco, barley, rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, turnips, and pumpkins in new fields within five months.
  • Orchards of apple and pear trees as well as a herd of cattle, a drove of swine, and a flock of poultry under husbandry by spring.
  • Shops for carpentry, tailoring, pottery, blacksmithing, tannage, shoemaking, and cooperage within a year.

More came and by 1755 Bethabara, the House of Passage, was a village with a Single Brother's House, and six dwelling houses. A wooden palisade protected the village from the perils of the outside world. Still more came and by 1759, just six years after being carved from the wilderness, Bethabara had become an overstuffed town.

The Wachovia master plan was for Moravian families to live on self-sufficient farms rather than in communal villages fashioned after Herrnhut. But having failed to befriend, much less proselytize, the local Cherokees, the early Wachovia settlers were compelled to live in a village as a common defense against them. To accommodate a number of neighbors who expressed a desire to share in the security of their numbers (and, no doubt, in the prosperity and tranquillity of their way of life as well), the Moravians decided to build a second village in nearby Black Walnut Bottom. And in the summer of 1759 the visiting Spangenberg helped lay out Bethania as a town for both Moravian and non-Moravian couples. Ten dwelling houses were built on lots there despite a devastating epidemic of typhus fever that year. The following spring, the house built on Lot #5 became the home of the first Leinbach in North Carolina.

Michael Rancke was among those founders of Bethabara who arrived with a group in 1755. In those early years only the Moravian men lived and worked in Wachovia. The women and children were left behind in the relative security of their Pennsylvania settlements. Elisabeth Leinbach, the eldest daughter of Johannes and Anna Catharina Leinbach and wife of Michael Rancke, waited there with the others as Wachovia was made habitable for Moravian families. Finally, on May 30, 1759, the Bethabara diarist noted that:

"... to our great joy, and the never-to-be-forgotten blessing of our congregation, the following Brethren and Sisters arrived: Br. and Sr. Seidel, Br. and Sr. Kalterlahn, Br. and Sr. Herman Loesch, Br. and Sr. Adam Kramer, Br. and Sr. Michael Ranck, and Br. and Sr. Johann Beroth."

After an eleven-month stay in Bethabara, Michael and Elisabeth Rancke joined three other Moravian couples as the first inhabitants in the new village of Bethania. On April 10, 1760 they moved into the house on Lot # 5 where Elisabeth would spend the remaining sixty-one years of her life.

While Elisabeth was to be the first Leinbach to live in North Carolina, she was not to be the only one. Six years after she had left Pennsylvania, her parents would follow her south to Wachovia with seven of her brothers and sisters to live in the nearby woods north of Bethania.


The New Land The Road To Wachovia 288 Days
The German-American Collection