Christian (Formerly Frank)

Mason's Assistant

Born: 1739
Died: 1789

Frank was an African slave who was one of the first in the Moravian town of Salem. He was brought to the town to help the builders in the initial efforts to construct the vital buildings in the town. The Moravians justified this decision because they were so short on labor during this time.

Frank was born in Guinea in 1739. As a child he was sold by one of his female kin to a ship and brought to South Carolina. He was bought by the brothers of Salem in 1771 and on the 12th of October he was employed on the farm in town.

Frank was the first slave, and the first to be baptized. Frank was baptized on August 27, 1780. The ceremony was attended by so many the church could hardly hold them all. He was the first of the slaves to receive communion which then afforded him many more rights than those who refused to convert. He was allowed to marry Nancy, another slave, and in 1787 was allowed to move to Salem.

He was brought on as a mason’s assistant to the early masons Melchior Rasp and Johann Gottlieb Krause. He is noted as being “faithful and diligent in his work, and thus was loved by everyone.” Given his time of working in Salem many of the buildings attributed to Rasp and Krause were undoubtedly aided in the work by Frank.

Frank suffered a fall that injured his head on the 19th of September 1789. He died days later of his head injuries at the age of 50. It is noted he was the first slave to die in Salem, and was the first to have his ‘home going’ announced via trombones in the new church.