Ohio History Journal

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David Zeisberger Centennial

David Zeisberger Centennial.                 175







From The Ohio Teacher, January, 1908.

A beautiful November day it is. One of those rare last days of

the autumn time whose minutes pass too lightly, for you want to keep

them by you. One of those days when you are watching the sun and

calculate mentally how much of it you have yet to enjoy. You know

that you cannot have many more such glorious days, and you want every

bit of this one.

This is the 20th of November, in the year of our Lord 1908. The

records tell us that it was just such a day as this, a hundred years ago,

that a little band of Moravians--white and red-moved slowly from

yonder site where stood the mission house to this spot and reverently

interred the body of their teacher in the virgin soil of the Tuscarawas


I like that word "teacher." It is Anglo-Saxon. It has in it the

strength of the English oak. It is cosmopolitan. It means the minister,

the educator, the leader. So they laid to rest their teacher. Over the

open grave of David Zeisberger his "brown brethren," as he loved to call

them, chanted the Moravian litany in the hope of the Resurrection. Many

of his "brown brethren" had gone on before and had received Christian

burial. The remaining followers digged his grave that he might rest

beside those whom he loved, for whom he lived, for whom he labored

and for whom he sacrificed.

Now a century has gone by. The broad valley of the Tuscarawas,

dotted with homes, churches and schools, lay basking in the sunshine.

In the small iron enclosure a little company waited until a party of chil-

dren from a neighboring school could be present. In each child's hand

was a sprig of evergreen. These were laid on the grave. Then with

bared heads the men and women joined in reading the Easter morning

litany of the Moravian Church. The minister who conducted the cere-

monies was a great-grandson of John Heckewelder, a fellow laborer of

Zeisberger. It was a beautiful service.

But why stand by this simple slab in a country graveyard?




Born April 11, 1721, in Moravia.

Departed this life November 17, 1808.

Aged 87 years, 7 months, 6 days.

This faithful servant of the Lord labored

among the American Indians as mission-

ary during the last sixty years of his life.