Ohio History Journal

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The name Moraviantown is well known to students of the

War of 1812, for it was near this place that General William

Henry Harrison defeated Colonel Henry A. Procter, and the

famous Indian Chief Tecumseh was killed. The Battle of the

Thames is also known as the Battle of Moraviantown. American

histories of the war, following official accounts, usually omit to

mention the sequel to the battle, the plundering and destruction

of the village called by the Moravians Fairfield. Of little moment

in the course of a war, this event was tragedy to the Christian

Indians of the settlement and their missionaries.

The Moravian missions in Ohio had been abandoned in the

fall of 1781 on orders from the British at Detroit. Although their

religion forbade fighting, they were looked upon with suspicion

by both sides in the American Revolutionary War. The follow-

ing March a hundred of the Indian converts, returning to gather

the standing corn, were massacred at Gnadenhutten by a party

of American frontiersmen. The remainder founded a settlement

on the Clinton River near the present Mt. Clemens, Michigan.

In 1787 they returned to Ohio, forced to leave because of the

hostility of the Chippewas. Four years later, feeling themselves

in grave danger from   the warfare being waged between the

western Indians and the American militia, the Moravians secured

permission to move across the Detroit River, at the entrance to

Lake Erie, near where Amherstburg now stands. This place

they called the Warte, or Watch-Tower. It was but a temporary

refuge. It was still too close to the scene of fighting; and they

were terrified by threats from Indians who attempted to draw

them into the war with the Americans. They decided to with-

1 Extension of a paper read at Amkerstburg, Ontario, June 9, 1938, before the

joint meeting of the Ontario, Michigan, and Detroit Historical Societies.