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Feature Story January 2004

"THE HElM FAMILY"

The Heims were a family of weavers; they were among the most zealous and devout of the Pietists; and have to this day been prominent for strength of character, purity of life and general intelligence. They could patiently endure being made outcasts from society for conscience sake, and still cling to their beautiful vine-clad Swabian hills., hut when their beloved teacher and leader, Doctor Raller, was ordered out of the country, and their two sons, of military age, were conscripted into the army, and imprisoned for refusing to report for duty, they determined to dispose of their property and seek a home in a foreign land. The first party was organized upon the departure of Doctor Raller, in 1803, which John and Gottlieb Heim were enabled to join by being liberated for this purpose in the following year. These two pious men, through religious scruples, never married, but devoted their lives to be imitation of the Divine Master. They lived together, with Anna Mary Staiger as housekeeper, until the last summons came, when they were laid at rest in the burying ground at the rear of the Dunker church.

Doctor Raller and the Heims, immediately upon their settlement in Blooming Grove, organized the colonists into a church society, which was maintained in its original purity as long as they lived. In the language of Christian Heim, who became their spiritual adviser in after years, they lived in peace, simplicity and separated from the world. But with material prosperity came worldliness which grieved the older people so much that they often met and read the lamentations of Scripture and wept over the dangers that threatened them.

It is related of John and Gottlieb Heim that their rule of life was based on I. Corinthians, VII: 7: 8. When they had became old men, several sled loads of people were on their way to attend religious services in Rose Valley, one winter night. They passed the home of these good brethren and invited them to ride. They declined the aid, saying that "their Savior always walked, and they were no better than Him." So they trudged along through the snow over the three miles and back.

In 1816 John Heim returned to Germany and collected a large number of relatives and friends whom he brought over in the following year, arriving in Philadelphia July 4, 1817. They all joined the colony.

There appears to have been more than one party of emigrants from Wurtemburg to Blooming Grove in 1817, many of whom did not join the Dunker colony, but settled nearby, on all sides, and kept to their own religion, or no religion, but being fe1low-countrymen, were always looked upon, by outsiders, as the same people.


CAPTION
"Story taken from book "Blooming grove*" Which can be purchased on For Sale page
*(a history of German Dunkers who settled in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania in 1805)"


 
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