From The Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Volume 4, page 1824:

July 11, 1782 - Brother Binckele came to have his memoir written, which was done on the twelfth by Sister Cramer.

(A copy of the translation of the original German memoir, found in the archives of the Moravian Brethren at the Home Church, Salem, North Carolina. Translated by Dr. Adelaide Fries, archivist; copy secured from her by Ruth Carver Gardner, June 25, 1934.)

MEMOIR OF BROTHER PETER BINCKLEY

who departed this life August 20, 1793. He was born March 2, 1704, in the village of Guckensberg in Canton Berne in Switzerland. His parents were Christian Binckley and Elizabeth, maiden name Burg. In his ninth year his father passed out of Time; on account of their poverty our departed brother had been obliged to seek his support from outsiders already in his sixth year.

In his thirteenth year his mother moved into Alsace and the following year his brother came for him, and he lived with him for three years herding his cattle. Then he served another farmer for two years. The latter advised him to learn the trade of shoemaker; he had been in that work only fourteen days when he engaged himself for two years to an innkeeper as driver. The large size of the farm and many opportunities for doing evil led him to concern about the salvation of his soul. In order to get away from that place he married Anna Maria Werly and remained in the neighborhood, that is, in the Steinthal District, for twelve years, supporting his family by cutting wood in the forest and burning charcoal.

In the eighth year after his marriage, he and another man with whom he was cutting grass were struck by lightning as they had taken shelter under a beech tree from the rain, and he was so badly burned that for several weeks he was confined to his bed. This occurrence delayed for four years his plan of going to America, but meanwhile he associated himself with the Awakened People of the neighborhood.

In the year 1736 he and several other Awakened families emigrated to America, reaching Philadelphia toward the end of September. The same fall he went to Warwick (now Lititz: Dr. Fries) and remained there two years. From there he moved to Catores, nine miles above Yorktown. Here he was associated with the Separatists and heard for the first time of pious count Zinzendorf, who however had already returned to Europe. Soon after, for the first time he heard a Brother give free witness to the full atonement for sin mdae by Jesus, which was very comforting to our departed Brother, who hitherto had not so listened with open ears and heart to the doctrine of the sufferings and death of Jesus which alone could make men holy. He quietly sought every opportunity to attend services of the Brethren, where he frequently heard Brother Spangenberg preach, whereby he received some blessing.

In 1748 his wife died after a married life of about twenty-four years, blessed with fourteen children of whom six are still living. In 1749 he married widow Maria Margaretha, maiden name Geiger , and in the second marriage God gave him nine children of whom six are living. In the year 1750 he was received into Unity, and in 1752 he attended holy communion for the first time. In 1763 he moved to Manakasy to be nearer a schoolhouse, but as there he could get only one hundred acres of land and had no water, he sold that farm and in 1772 moved with his family to Wachovia and established himself three miles from Bethania.

So far his own story.

From his life here it can be said according to his own testimony that he loved the Saviour and in spite of failings and errors it was his intention to rejoice His heart; that his joy was in the Word of God and in the services of the church was manifest, for when because of advanced age he could no longer ride a horse he constantly walked three miles from home in order to attend services. In the midst of all the difficulties which surrounded him he permitted nothing to dissolve association with the Congregation, and he often said that the Saviour was his One and his All, his only comfort and Support, and how constantly he longed to be at home with Him. All who knew him honored him as an upright and peace-loving man.

As late as the eleventh of this month he came to Services and as usual he was happy and affectionate. The same evening he had a hard fall which apparently revived an injury which he had received in a fall last spring and from which he seemed to have recovered. The same evening he must go to bed, and it soon became evident that this was to be the cause of his release. The pain which he suffered was much increased by a severe cough; yet, he was bright and content when the blessedness of being with Jesus was pointed out to him. He said he did not know what the plan of the Saviour was, but he was entirely ready to submit to His will , and that he could gladly say that nothing disturbed his mind.

On the day before his home-going, he was visited by several Brethren from here; he was quite cheerful and affectionate, and he appeared much pleased by verses sung for him, during which he folded his hands together. He remained conscious to the end and passed away gently and peacefully toward evening on the twentieth of this month.

His age was eighty-nine years, five months, eighteen days. He is now in peace. Of his twenty-three children by his first and second marriages, eleven are still living. He left sixty-two grandchildren and fifty-six great-grandchildren. So that as far as we can learn the entire number of his still living children and children’s children is 129.

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