Ohio History Journal

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The present generation can scarcely comprehend the hard-

ships and privations the early missionaries had to endure when

the Ohio country was in a wilderness state. But brave men

risked their lives in promulgating the Christian doctrine among

the aboriginals of the forest.

The earliest Protestant denomination to enter the new field

were the Moravians. Christian Frederick Post, who had been

a missionary among the Moravian Indians in New York and

Connecticut from 1743 to 1749, determined on a visit to the

Delawares at Tuscarawas, now Bolivar in Bethlehem ,township,

Stark county. This was in 1761-2, unfortunately at a time when

the French and English were rival claimants for the soil west

of the Alleghanies. Rev. Post built a primitive log cabin on

his donation of land fifty steps square. Suceeding this humble

beginning was established ten years later the Moravian mission

at Schoenbrunn. This branch of the Moravian mission was re-

ceived with great favor by the Delaware Chief Netawotes. Sim-

ilar missions were formed at Gnadenhutten and Salem in the

present Tuscarawas county. During twenty years of apparent

success there was a lurking foe endeavoring to break up the mis-

sions. The Americans were in possession of Fort Pitt and the

British at Detroit placed the missions in a sort of half way

place between the two contending forces. It was at a time too,

when the American soldier killed an Indian with as much

delight as we kill a sheep dog in the present day. This was

fully illustrated by the fiendish massacre of ninety-six Moravian

Christian Indians at Gnadenhutten on March 8, 1782, by a force

of Americans under Col. David Williamson. This rash act was

more far-reaching than was at first supposed. It had a tendency

to cripple the missionary work at the place for a number of

years and called for a desperate revenge by the Delawares on