Sketch of the mission house of 1752 in Nisbet Harbour
Courtesy of Moravian Archives, Herrnhut
In the summer of 1752, the Moravian mariner and trade agent Johann Christian Erhardt (1718-1752) and four missionaries--Georg Wenzeslaus Golkowsky (1725-1813), Johann Christian Krumm (1719-1759), Matthaeus Kunz (1722-1775), Christian Friedrich Post (1710-1785)--journeyed to Labrador to establish a mission house and explore the possibilities for a Moravian settlement. The initiative was a joint missionary and trade venture. In August of 1752, the four missionaries built a log house on a stone foundation and planned to stay for a year. Jens Haven's identification of the location of the house in 1775 and archaeological and other evidence suggests that this house may have been built in Ford's Bight near Makkovik. Erhardt and the ship’s crew went farther north to trade for whalebone and then to return to England, but Erhardt vanished with six companions near an island north of the mission house, when they followed some Inuit in search of more whalebone. Their disappearance led to the temporary abandonment of the missionary initiative. On a search mission in 1753, one of the bodies from Erhardt's party was found. Although this mission ended in tragedy, the disappearance of Erhardt and his companions stimulated the Moravian carpenter Jens Haven to continue to explore the viability of a mission to the Inuit of Labrador. Three exploratory journeys (1764, 1765, 1770) and a land grant of 100,000 acres led eventually to the permanent establishment of Nain in 1771.
18 May 1752
Departure of the ship Hope from
London to Labrador
under the leadership of the Moravian mariner and trade agent Johann Christian Erhardt and four Moravian missionaries
A sailor, who died of injuries from a fall
from the topmast,
is buried at sea
Erhardt identifies the Hope's location Near Cape Charles and Belle Isle
First contact with the Inuit of labrador
Landing at "Nisbet Harbour," possibly
near today's Makkovik.
It was named after the ship's owner,
the Moravian businessman Sir Claude Nisbet
Erhardt and the missionaries explore the
area around Nisbet Harbour,where they find a freshwater lake and a large
from which three inlets can be seen.
Erhardt calls the mountain "John's Mountain"
A suitable locale is found for building
near a freshwater rivulet
The foundation stone is laid and the place
is named "Hopedale"
("Hoffnungsthal") in hope of what Jesus would make of their endeavour.
Later, when today's community of Hopedale was established in 1782,
it was named in honour of the first Hopedale, which was then called "Old Hopedale."
Foundation of the house is completed
Erhardt and the Brethren celebrate the founding
festival of the renewed moravian church with a holy communion service
Roof of the house is finished and The roof covered with Juniper bark
Sealing of the house and building of doors and windows
Chimney is being built
Floor of the living quarters is finished
First Dinner eaten in the new house
Erhardt and the Hope leave for more
with the Inuit and their return to England
Last entry in Erhardt's diary
Erhardt and six companions, among them
the captain and clerk,
follow Inuit behind an island to trade whalebone.
the party is not seen alive again.
The Hope leaves for Nisbet Harbour,
where they arrive at 5:30 pm
An UNSUCCESSful attempt is made to search
for the missing men,
using the missionaries' boat
the house is boarded up and left by the
who now join the crew and head toward St. John's, Newfoundland
Arrival of the Hope near St. John's Harbour
St. John's, Newfoundland
Departure of the Hope from St. John's
with 132 passengers,
mainly Irish fishers employed in Newfoundland
Arrival of the Hope in Waterford, Ireland
Arrival in Deal, where missionaries Post
go as messengers by land to London
Arrival of the missionaries Krumm and Golkowsky
where they are met by Count Zinzendorf and the Moravian Brethren