Israel Seymour

Male - Bef 1754

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  • Name Israel Seymour 
    Born see notes--possibly died in the Carolinas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Bef 14 Aug 1754 
    Person ID I20840  South Central Pennsylvania Families
    Last Modified 9 Apr 2020 

    Family Magdalena Hagemann 
     1. Sarah Seymour,   b. see notes Find all individuals with events at this location  []
    Last Modified 9 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F2575  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 

    • If not the same man, then certainly a relation:

      A paper given at the Georgia Workshop in Early American History and Culture
      August 27, 2004
      Peter N. Moore
      Georgia State University

      Among these emissaries were the “Gifted Brethren (for they
      pretend to Inspiration),” who “now infest the whole Back Country, and have even penetrated
      South Carolina.” Woodmason was fond of hyperbole, but he was not far from the mark in
      connecting Pennsylvania to the Dutch Fork. One emissary in particular was Israel Seymour, a
      fugitive from the Ephrata community, a Radical Pietist commune in Lancaster County,
      Pennsylvania. Seymour was a man of “special natural gifts” who was ordained at Ephrata and
      quickly gained a following there. He ran afoul of the leadership, however, over his questionable
      relationship with a young female convert, and the subsequent dispute “caused him to lose his
      senses” before he finally fled to South Carolina. There he settled in a community of Seventh
      Day Baptists on the Broad River opposite the Dutch Fork. Members of this congregation also
      had ties to Ephrata and had migrated from Pennsylvania in the early 1750s. The eighteenthcentury
      Baptist historian Morgan Edwards described Seymour as “a man of some wit and
      learning, but unstable as water.” He preached at Broad River “while he behaved well.”
      Apparently he did not last long, for he later confessed to committing “all kinds of wickedness”
      before he finally reformed, moved to the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, and “returned to his
      former faith.”26
      It is certainly possible that Weber came into contact with the Ephrata Sabbatarians; he
      may well have been converted through the charismatic preaching of Seymour, who served the
      Broad River congregation in the mid-1750s, during Weber’s spiritual crisis. There is no direct
      26 Hooker, ed., Carolina Backcountry, 78 [Woodmason quotations]; Chronicon Ephratense: A History of
      the Community of Seventh Day Baptists at Ephrata, trans. by J. Max Hark (New York, 1889, reprint 1972),197-99
      [Seymour quotations]; Morgan Edwards, Materials toward a History of the Baptists, vol. 2, South Carolina
      (Philadelphia, 1770, reprint Danielsville, GA, 1984), 153-54; Bach, Voices of the Turtledoves, 22.
      evidence that the Weberites adopted the peculiar practices of this sect – which included love
      feasts, ritual foot washing, pacifism, and seventh-day worship – but Weber would have found
      something familiar in their Reformed sentiments, and given his penchant for spiritual drama, he
      would have been mesmerized by Seymour’s powerful preaching. In addition to the Broad River
      Sabbatarians, there were congregations of Dunkers in the vicinity of the Dutch Fork, with whom
      Weber could easily have had contact. Weber hardly had to leave the Dutch Fork to gain access
      to a range of Radical Pietist influences – from the simplicity and intimacy of the Dunkers to the
      inspired, prophetic preaching of Seymour and the mysticism of the Ephrata emissaries.27
      The Weberites were not the first of South Carolina’s “deluded fanatics” to come by their
      beliefs via Ephrata. Around 1722 the Dutartres, a French Protestant family from the low
      country, came under the influence of a traveling Pietist preacher who “filled their Heads with
      many wild and fantastic Notions,” as Anglican Commissary Alexander Garden later told it.
      Although in one account Garden identified this preacher as Christian George, it was very likely
      Michael Wolfhart, a Radical Pietist from Pennsylvania who took a missionary journey to South
      Carolina in 1722 and later became one of the key figures at Ephrata.28 In any event, George or
      27 Edwards, Materials toward a History of the Baptists, 154; Leah Townsend, South Carolina Baptists,
      1670-1805 (Florence, SC, 1935), 167-74.
      28 Alexander Garden, A Brief Account of the Deluded Dutartres (New Haven, 1762), 5. There is a
      compelling case to be made that Christian George was actually Michael Wolfhart. First, Wolfhart was known to
      have taken a missionary journey to South Carolina in 1722; see Bach, Voices of the Turtledoves, 18. Second, the
      Dutartres’ preacher relied heavily on the work of Jakob Boehme, a seventeenth-century German mystic who was
      central to the spirituality at Ephrata and with whom Wolfhart was very familiar. Third, a second account of the
      Dutartres attributed to Garden and reprinted in the nineteenth century does not name the traveling preacher, simply
      identifying him as a Moravian. Yet the Moravians did not come to America until 1735. For this account see George
      Howe, History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina (Columbia, SC, 1870), 194-97. The earlier account by
      Garden identifies Christian George more uncertainly as a “strolling Moravian, Dutch, or Swiss Enthusiast,” which
      more accurately describes Wolfhart. These two accounts are very similar but not identical; it is quite possible that
      they were based on two different sermon manuscripts.
      Wolfhart came and went, but over time the Dutartres grew reclusive and eventually came to
      believe that “they were the alone Family upon Earth who had the true Knowledge and Worship
      of God.” Soon enough one of their number, Peter Rombert, began to prophesy. Through a series
      of revelations he announced God’s intentions to destroy the world save for “one Family, whom
      he would preserve as he did Noah’s, for raising up a Godly Seed again upon it.” God also
      revealed that Rombert was to divorce his wife, who had been previously married and widowed,
      and “take to Wife her Youngest Sister who is a Virgin,” all in order that the family’s “Holy Seed
      be preserved pure and undefiled.” To this the family reluctantly consented. But when Rombert
      announced that the Dutartres were no longer to submit to civil authority and that they must
      refuse to participate in the militia, the magistrate swore out a warrant for their arrest. Rombert
      urged the family to resist arrest and persuaded them that they were impervious to the bullets of
      “the Men of the Earth.” They learned otherwise in the violent encounter that followed, when one
      of the Dutartres women along with the militia captain were killed. Five were arrested, convicted,
      and condemned to die. Yet “they confidently persisted in their Delusion till their last Breath,”
      Garden noted, for “they had obeyed the Voice of God, and were about to suffer Martyrdom for
      it.” After the martyrs failed to rise from the dead, the surviving family members “became
      sensible of their Delusion . . . and were pardoned.” Yet one son suffered a relapse and murdered
      again “for no other Reason . . . but that God had revealed it to him, it was his Duty to do it.”29