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Home > Catalog > Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier
Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier


  • 8 b/w illus. 1 map 3 tables
  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.59 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 975.8/722
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: DB37 .M45 2015
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Deportation--Austria--Salzburg--History--18th century
    • Forced migration--Austria--Salzburg--History--18th century
    • Pietists--Austria--Salzburg--History--18th century
    • Pietists--Georgia--History--18th century
    • Austria--Emigration and immigration--United States--History--18th century

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107063280)

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$108.00 (C)

This book tells the story of Ebenezer, a frontier community in colonial Georgia founded by a mountain community fleeing religious persecution in its native Salzburg. This study traces the lives of the settlers from the alpine world they left behind to their struggle for survival on the southern frontier of British America. Exploring their encounters with African and indigenous peoples with whom they had had no previous contact, this book examines their initial opposition to slavery and why they ultimately embraced it. Transatlantic in scope, this study will interest readers of European and American history alike.


Introduction; Part I. From the Old World to the New: 1. The alpine world of Thomas Geschwandel; 2. Expulsion; 3. From Salzburg to Savannah; Part II. Ebenezer: 4. The making of a Pietist Utopia; 5. Governing Ebenezer: the early years; 6. Ebenezer and the struggle over slavery; 7. After slavery; Epilogue: Ebenezer is no more.


"Deftly navigating central European and North American archival sources and using micro-biography techniques, James V. H. Melton brings to life the religious and material dimensions of the Salzburger community, the First Peoples of the North American Southeast, and the enslaved Africans in the context of Atlantic history. No other study of this eighteenth-century British colonial experiment illustrates as succinctly both the admirable and the lamentable adaptability of human actors and whole communities to dominant religious, cultural, economic, and social attitudes and practices."
Gregg Roeber, Max Kade German-American Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University

"The astonishing story of the Salzburgers, famous opponents of slavery in early Georgia, comes to life here as never before. A model of Atlantic history, this book shows how religious and political conflict in central Europe left a deep imprint on the early American South. It is also a moving meditation on the challenges and compromises faced by immigrants in America."
Jon Sensbach, University of Florida, author of Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World

"Melton's work is impressive, and his use of previously underused archival sources brings important new insights … [he] skillfully sets the experience of Ebenezer within the larger context of the political and social environment of Georgia, showing the non-religious as well as religious factors that shaped the community and its stance toward slavery. His book informs and illuminates interests in several directions at once, the issue of slavery in colonial America, the story of the Salzburger refugees and Ebenezer, and the role of religion."
Russell Kleckley, Lutheran Quarterly

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