Ohio History Journal

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The First White Child Born in the Moravian Mission

at Gnadenhutten1




The Ohio Society, Daughters of the American Colonists, at

least must be given credit for arousing a group of Ohio's citizens

from   an unusual state of disinterestedness to one of profound

interest and concern as to who was the first white child born in

Ohio, and some of these seem to have gone out of their way to

misinterpret what it is all about. I hold in my hand a clipping

carrying a challenge which I am sure all of us already were

aware of--"Birthplace of first white child in Ohio still remains

unmarked."2 That is a challenge, but still it can cast no reflec-

tion on any sincere effort to perpetuate the memory of any child

born under unusual circumstances within the State.

Oh, that Ohio people would interest themselves in more

worthy fields of history than endeavoring to discount the efforts

of any really interested group who are willing to put forth a

constructive effort in investigating and preserving the State's


This organization is to be praised for its efforts and enthus-

iasm in perpetuating the history of the State.

The environment in which we now find ourselves is sug-

gestive of much of interest in connection with the beginnings

1 Address delivered at the unveiling of a bronze tablet marking the site on Friday,

September 28, 1934, by the Ohio Society, Daughters of the American Colonists, and

published at the request of the Society and the Roth descendants.

2 The first claim to the distinction of being the first white child born within the

limits of Ohio was made for Polly Heckewelder. We now have the authentic record

for the birth of John Lewis Roth as to time and place. The record of the birth of

James Conner in 1771 has been secured but the exact place has not yet been located.

There is also evidence of the birth of a white child, Henry Mallow, at an Indian village

at the mouth of the Scioto River on November 18, 1758: The mother, Mary Mallow,

had been captured by the Indians a few months before. Henry Mallow died September

12, 1854, and his grave is in the Mt. Hope Lutheran Church Cemetery at Kline, Pen-

dieton County, West Virginia.