BLOOMING GROVE COLONY
BLOOMING GROVE COLONY
John & Gottlieb Heim
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 vineclad Swabian
hills, but when their beloved teacher and leader, Doctor Haller, 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 or Dr. Haller, in 1803, which John and Gottlieb Heim
were enabled to join by being liberated for this purose in the
following year. These two pious men, through religious scruples,
never married, but devoted their lives to the imitation of the
Divine Master. They lived together, with Anna Mary Staiger as
housekeeper, until the last summons came, when they were laid to
rest in the burying ground at the rear of the Dunker church.
Doctor Haller and the Heims, immediately upon their settlement in
Blooming Grove, organized 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 fellow-countrymen, were
always looked upon, by outsiders, as the same people.