164 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
C. L. McIlvaine, representing the New Philadelphia Board of
The announcement was made of the organization, under the
auspices of the Board of Trade, of the Schoen-Brunn Monument
Association, and the names of the Board of Officers were an-
nounced as printed on the program: President, Wm. A. Wag-
ner, President Board of Trade; Vice-President, Rev. Dr. Wm.
H. Rice, Gnadenhutten, O.; Financial Secretary, Professor
George C. Maurer; Treasurer, James F. Kildenbaugh; Associates,
Laurence E. Oerter, Canal Dover; Oliver Peter, Uhrichsville; M.
McDevitt, Scio; Apollo Opes and Charles L. McIlvaine, New
It is the purpose of the Schoen-Brunn Monument Association
to erect a fitting monument to the memory of David Zeisberger.
Superintendent Maurer, in a short address that was attentively
listened to, said that the money for the proposed monument would
be raised by public subscription and he was sure that the people
of Tuscarawas County and the school children would be happy to
contribute to perpetuate the memory of so good a man as David
Zeisberger, whose life was a model.
An original poem from the pen of Judge J. W. Yeagley, of
New Philadelphia, entitled: "The Grave of Zeisberger," was
read with much expression by Miss Bertha Kelly, and was well
received. A pleasing number on the program was a vocal solo
by Albert Senhauser, entitled: "The Lord is My Light."
The celebration throughout was a splendid success and re-
flected much credit upon the local committee.
ADDRESS OF REV. W. H. RICE AT SHARON, NOV. 20, 1908.
DEAR FRIENDS: We are assembled in the Sharon Moravian church,
on this Friday morning, to make memorial of the death, and of the burial
one hundred years ago, of David Zeisberger.
He died in the Goshen Mission House at half past three o'clock on
the afternoon of Thursday, November the seventeenth, 1808, and his In-
dian brethren and friends with their white brethren and friends, laid
the body of their revered pastor and friend to its well-earned grave-rest
in the near Goshen Indian God's- cre on the following Sabbath morn-
ing, in loving obedience to his dying injunction, "Bury me amongst my
David Zeisberger Centennial. 165
Indians." And in that consecrated spot his body has now been resting
for a century, awaiting the Resurrection morn.
He and his illustrious co-laborer, John Heckewelder, - younger by
twenty-three years than Zeisberger, and who, after his subsequent re-
moval to Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania, in 1810, died there in 1823,-al-
though dead are more alive than ever in the esteem of all who love the
Gospel and their fellowmen. Their names can never die; they are "writ
large" in the annals of men. John Heckewelder, in his 65th year, stood
this day, a century ago, at the grave of his honored leader and co-laborer,
David Zeisberger, who rested from all earthly labor in the eighty-eighth
year of his heroic pilgrimage, sixty-two of which were devoted to mis-
sionary work amongst the Indians of North America. In our State and
especially here in Tuscarawas County and the Valley of the Muskingum,
they are honored as the earliest pioneers
in the establishment of Christian civili-
zation within the borderes of Ohio's im-
perial domain. Their foot-marks will
never be blotted out so long as the
names of Schoen-Brunn (the Beautiful
Spring); Gnadenhuetten (The Tents of
Divine Grace); Lichtenau (the Meadow
of Light); Salem; and Goshen, shall
have a place in the records of our State.
Your presence here this morning in
response to the invitation of the Ohio Ar-
chaeological and Historical Society of Co-
lumbus, and the presence here of the So-
ciety's representatives testify to the deep
interest and affection with which the
names of Zeisberger and Heckewelder are
cherished by the people of today; an
interest and affection which Ohio has al-
ways cherished for these heroic pioneers and their illustrious achieve-
ments in the beginnings of the establishment of Christian civilization in
her broad domain.
It is a matter for special gratification to note the presence here this
morning of the teachers and pupils of the neighboring grammar and high
schools. It augurs well for the perpetuation of the memory and record
of the men who were instrumental in the establishment and conduct of
the first schools for the instruction of the children and youth of the in-
habitants of this section. In 1776, there was published in Philadelphia,
Pa., "A Delaware-Indian and English Spelling Book for the use of the
Schools of the Christian Indians on Muskingum River," by David Zeis-
berger printed by Henry Miller, pp. 113. John Heckewelder was the
teacher of the Schoen-Brunn school.
It is a good omen for the success of the proposed plan to erect a
166 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
monument in memorial of the first school in the territory of the State of
Ohio, which stood on the eastern bank of the Tuscarawas (then Mus-
kingum) at Schoen-Brunn, that the teacher and pupils of the neighbor-
hood are showing their intelligent interest in this centennial memorial
In the time at our command I will attempt a brief sketch of the
outlines of the history of David Zeisberger.
He was born in the Province of Moravia, in the Austrian Empire,
of old Moravian stock. His parents, David and Rosina Zeisberger were
dwellers in the (Valley of Kine), Kuhlandl, in Moravia, and had their
home in the village of Zauchtenthal in that valley. One night in July,
1726, his parents arose with their family of children, including the five-
year-old David, and leaving house and lands, fled from religious oppres-
sion to find their way across the Saxon mountain border to the estate of
a young Saxon nobleman, Count Zinzendorf. Here, since 1722, refugees
from Moravia had been permitted to begin the building of a settlement
for exiles from their fatherland. They called it Herrnhut, the Lord's
Watch. To this asylum the Zeisberger family found its way in 1726.
Ten years later, in 1736, the parents were sent on missionary errand,
to the Province of Georgia in North America, where at Savannah, under
the patronage of General James Oglethorpe, they joined the colony of
Moravians who under Bishop David Nitschmann, were carrying on mis-
sion work amongst the Indians of Georgia.
In the intervening ten years, their son David, now a lad of fifteen,
whom they left behind, had been attending the schools of the Herrnhut
settlement, and shown great aptitude as a diligent scholar. He was very
quick in the thorough study of Latin, a talent which he afterward im-
proved in the acquisition of Indian languages and dialects. The lad of
fifteen was sent to a newly-established church-settlement in Holland near
Utrecht, as an errand boy in a mercantile establishment.
One day he was sent to accompany a gentleman of rank as a guide
to a neighboring castle. The lad's manner so pleased the visitor that he
offered him a very liberal gift, on parting with him. The lad refused to
accept the gift because it was against the rules to do so. But the gen-
tleman compelled him to take the gift. On stating the case to his su-
periors the boy was at once denounced as a liar and thief, and severely
punished. He was told that nobody would think of giving so large a
sum of money to a mere youth, and that he must have come by it in a dis-
honest way. This the lad resented. And we must give him credit for
resenting such unreasonable conduct on the part of his elders. He made
up his mind to run away from his unjust superiors. He made his way
across the channel to London, where he hoped to find the opportunity to
join his parents in the Georgia colony. In this he was entirely success-
ful. He found friends who introduced him to General Oglethorpe, the
patron of the colony. He readily furnished the lad a passage to Savan-
nah. On his arrival at the American port, Zeisberger's parents could
David Zeisberger Centennial. 167
scarcely believe their eyes on seeing their son David, who had almost
grown out of their recognition. But their joy on receiving their son
was greater than their surprise. David was happy now in the new
home in the American wilderness; for such it was as compared with the
soft civilization of Holland.
In the third year after his arrival, the lad of eighteen accompanied
his parents and the rest of the Moravian colonists to Pennsylvania.
Here, in the "forks of the Lehigh," within twelve miles of the conflu-
ence of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers, they founded the Moravian town
of Bethlehem, in 1741. Here amid the hard experiences of a church set-
tlement in the new country, the youth grew into the years of early man-
hood, strong in body and resolute in purpose to do his part in the com-
The Moravian church settlement at Bethlehem was organized for
missionary work, primarily amongst the Indians of the provinces. Zeis-
berger was ordered back to Europe by the authorities of the settlement,
who had chartered a vessel to carry a company to England. On the
dock, at New York, as they were preparing to embark, Bishop David
Nitschmann, inquired of the young man, "Are you anxious to go?" The
prompt reply was given, "No! I am not; I would much prefer to remain
in America! I want to be thoroughly converted to Christ and to serve
as a missionary to the Indians of this country!"
The Bishop was surprised and delighted. His answer came quick,
"Then, if I were you, I'd at once go back to Bethlehem!"
Without another word Zeisberger jumped ashore, saved for his great
In a year he is the smartest scholar in the class of young Moravians
studying the Mohawk Indian language as candidates for missionary work
amongst the Five Nations in the Province of New York. This pro-
ficiency in acquiring the language of the Delaware Indians in the neigh-
borhood of Bethlehem caused his appointment as official interpreter to
the civil authorities in the meanwhile.
In 1745 he began his missionary career. He accompanied Christian
Frederick Post, on a mission to the Indians of the Mohawk Valley. The
sequel of this first attempt was the imprisonment of both of these Mo-
ravian missionaries as spies in an Albany, and then a New York prison.
After their release and return to Bethlehem, Zeisberger accompanied
Bishop Spangenberg through the trackless wilderness, on a visit to Onon-
daga, the capital of the Iroquois Confederacy, in New York. On this
visit Zeisberger was adopted into the Tribe of the Onondagas and the
Turtle Clan, and received the name of "Ganousserarcheri," which signi-
fies "On the Pumpkin." This first expedition was followed by a second
visit to the Iroquois capital, on which occasion a treaty was made, by
the terms of which two resident missionaries were to be sent to the
capital to learn the language.
On his return from Europe whither he had been sent by the Elders
168 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
of the church at Bethlehem, to report to the elders at Herrnhut the
present outlook for successful missionary operations amongst the In-
dians of the Provinces of New York and Pennsylvania, Zeisberger pro-
ceeded to Onondaga, the Iroquois capital, and took up his abode in the
quarters assigned to him by the Indian Council. In the following year,
1754, with his assistant, Frederick, he erected a substantial Mission-
House, at Onondaga, with a view to the establishment of a permanent
Mission center in that section. The good will of the Iroquois friends
seconded their effort. The Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy
appointed Zeisberger, Keeper of the Archives, and deposited in the Mo-
ravian Mission House many belts and strings of wampum, written
treaties, letters from colonial governors, and other similar documents of
He was encouraged to believe that his favorite plan of evangeliza-
tion, with Onondaga as a center of mission work in the Confederacy,
was now in a fair way to success. He had gained a complete mastery of
the Mohawk Indian language and spoke several of the dialects fluently.
His labors in the compiling of an English-Mohawk Dictionary were ap-
proaching a successful completion. But the breaking out of the French
and Indian War, in 1755, put an end to active evangelization, and marks
the close of Zeisberger's missionary operations in that quarter.
At the close of the War, in 1763, Zeisberger entered again upon
the life-work which he had chosen, as an apostle to the Indians. But
now he was called to the field which he occupied until his death among
the Delaware Nation of Indians in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The first mission station was established in the Wyoming Valley,
on the Susquehanna. In their eagerness to respond to the invitation sent
them by their Delaware friends, Zeisberger and his assistants "crept for
miles on hands and feet beneath and between laurel-bushes whose tan-
gled mazes made walking impossible." The results of his pastoral labors
were phenomenal. Amongst the converts was the foremost "prophet"
of the tribe, Papunhank. At his baptism he received the name of John.
He played a very conspicuous part in after years, in Zeisberger's work
amongst the Delawares. Rev. John Heckewelder, who at this time be-
came his assistant, says, in his manuscript Biography of Zeisberger, "Had
Zeisberger inherited a kingdom, his joy would not have been as great as
it was over the conversion of the Indian 'prophet,' the first one whom
he brought into the Church of Christ."
The visiting Quaker Evangelist, John Woolman, attended the ser-
vices in Zeisberger's church and prayed, "that the great work which Zeis-
berger had undertaken might be crowned with success." But again war
-the "Pontiac War"-put an end to Zeisberger's Indian work. His
converts were imprisoned in Philadelphia, where small-pox decimated
In the Spring of 1765, on the return of peace, the Pennsylvania
Provincial authorities released the imprisoned converts, who like a flock
David Zeisberger Centennial. 169
of partridges that have been cooped up in the winter quarters of a farm-
er's barn-yard and are set free, these "children of the forest" flocked to
their forest home on the Susquehanna, and at once began to rebuild their
Mission Station which they called Friedens-Huetten, Tents of Divine
This village is described as having twenty-nine log-houses, with
windows and chimneys, like homesteads of white settlers, and thirteen
huts. These were built along one street, in the center of which stood the
Mission Church, a structure thirty-two feet in length by twenty-four in
width, with shingled roof and a wing used as a school house. Each
house-lot had a frontage of thirty-two feet. A ten-foot alley ran be-
tween every two lots. Gardens and orchards, stocked with vegetables
and fruit trees, lay to the rear of the homesteads.
A post and rail-fence enclosed the town. In summer time the street
and alleys were kept scrupulously clean by a company of women. They
swept with wooden brooms and removed the rubbish. Two miles of
fencing enclosed two hundred and fifty acres of meadow land, between
the town and the river. At the river bank a canoe for each household
was tied. Cattle, hogs, and poultry of every kind were raised in abund-
ance. More time was given to farming than to hunting. Plentiful crops
were raised. They sold corn, maple-sugar, butter and pork, and canoes
of white pine, to the white settlers, and visiting Indians.
But the spiritual prosperity of the Indian church in the wilderness,
exceeded the material prosperity.
The beginning of a great revival was marked by the baptism, in
the autumn of the first year, of an Indian convert. From near and from
far came visiting Indians,-- Mohawks, Cayugas, Senecas, Onondagas,
Mohicans, Wampanoags, Delawares, Tutclas, Tuscaroras, and Nanticokes.
Zeisberger wrote: "For several months a great revival has been prevail-
ing among the visiting Indians. They listen as though they never had
enough of the message of a Saviour. They tremble with emotion and
shake with fear. We have many candidates for baptism." Of one of
the Indian Helpers or Elders, of the church, he says: "Anthony enjoys
the particular esteem of his unconverted countrymen and he sets forth
the Saviour's love with such feeling that not infrequently his hearers
burst into tears, and Anthony weeps with them." After four years of
unvexed prosperity the beginning came of the trouble which ultimately
compelled the abandonment of their prosperous settlement. The land
was to be sold to the white settlers.
Without waiting for the inevitable crisis, Zeisberger set out in the
fall of 1767, on a tour of exploration to the head waters of the Allegheny.
The path of the intrepid apostle to the Indians, (he was accompanied
by his two Indian Elders, John and Anthony, with a pack-horse between
them), was through the trackless wilderness, never before trodden by
the white man. In the following year (1768) Zeisberger and a company
of Indian converts from Friedenshutten established the mission station
170 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Friedenstadt, (City of Divine Peace), on the banks of the Beaver River,
in what is now Lawrence County, on the Ohio border. Here the preach-
ing of Zeisberger was attended with the usual results. The most signal
gospel triumph was the conversion of the Delaware Indian war captain,
Glikkikan, who was baptized, receiving the name of Isaac. Zeisberger
was adopted into the Monsey Indian Tribe and the religion of Jesus
was recognized as that of the majority of the Tribe.
Here in March, 1772, an urgent invitation from the Grand Council
of the Delaware Nation led Zeisberger to visit the Delaware capital sit-
uated in what is now Oxford township, in this county of Tuscarawas.
It was his first visit to Ohio. Post and Heckewelder, then a mere youth,
not yet of age, had been here in 1761 and 1762. But this was the be-
ginning of the first permanent mission in Ohio. Zeisberger was just
fifty years old when he first came to Ohio. For the thirty seven after
years of his life he was an Ohio Missionary, to the Indians of this region.
In 1772 the entire body of Moravian Indians, at the settlement of
the Susquehanna (in Bradford County) and at the settlement on the
Allegheny (in Lawrence County) were transferred to Tuscarawas County,
under the leadership of Zeisberger and his principal assistant, John
Heckewelder. The site of the first settlement, on the Muskingum, near
Tuscarawas River, marked out for them by Chief Netawatwes, was oc-
cupied in May, 1772, and named Schon-Brunn (The Beautiful Spring-
in the Delaware language, Welhik-Tuppeek). The site of the second set-
tlement, that of Gnadenhutten (The Tents of Divine Grace) was occu-
pied in October, 1772, by a party of Mohican Moravian converts, under
David Zeisberger Centennial. 171
the leadership of Joshua, the Mohican Elder. Lichtenau (Meadow of
Light) was settled in 1776 on a site just below the city of Coshocton,
on the Muskingum. In 1780, on a site a mile and a half below Port
Washington, John Heckewelder founded the settlement of Salem. After
having built the Chapel at Salem, he welcomed his bride, Miss Sarah
Ohneberg, the daughter of Rev. George Ohneberg (a Moravian mission-
ary) who was escorted from Bethlehem, Pa., by the Rev. Adam Grube.
The wedding took place in the newly built chapel July 4, 1780, with Rev.
Grube as the officiating clergyman, at what was, probably, the first wed-
ding of a white couple performed in Ohio.
Schon-Brunn, the first settlement, begun in May, 1772, had two
streets laid out in the form of the letter T. The main street ran east
and west, and was long and wide. About the middle of the transverse
street, and facing the main street, stood the church, in which, on June
27. of the same year, the Holy Communion was celebrated for the first
time. In August following the first church-bell used in Ohio was hung
in its steeple. Adjoining the church on the right hand stood the house
occupied by Zeisberger.
At the northwest corner of the main street stood the school-house.
The first school-house erected in the territory of the State of Ohio.
I am sure I may gather from the interest these pupils have shown
in my story of Zeisberger, that there will be no lack of enthusiastic sup-
port of the proposed movement to mark this historic site in the near fu-
ture with a monument worthy of the work to be commemorated.
This is not the occasion nor would the time permit me to give the
history of the heroic missionary campaigns with all its record of suf-
ferings and of murderous persecutions with fire and sword, and cruel
captivities and banishments and wanderings in the Ohio wilderness, and
in Michigan and in Canada, which extend, over a period of years from
1781 to 1798. In 1782 occurred the Gnadenhutten Massacre, on March
From "Captives-Town" in Wyandot County, the Moravians fled
across the border into British territory, and for four years lived in their
new settlement in Michigan, in Clinton County, Macomb township, within
the present municipality of Mt. Clemens. At the close of Indian hostili-
ties they were compelled by their Chippewa hosts to give up their set-
tlement, and they crossed Lake Erie to return to the Muskingum Valley.
On their arrival near the site of Cleveland - at the site of what proved a
short-lived settlment-Pilger Ruh, Pilgrims' Rest, was occupied for a
few months. In the meanwhile Zeisberger selected a site in Huron
County, near Milan, for a new settlement. It was named New Salem.
At this mission station the palmiest days of the Indian work of Zeis-
berger were revived. Amongst other gospel triumphs in the prolonged
revival which characterized the labors of Zeisberger and his Indian Help-
ers, was the conversion, among other prominent Indians, of Gelelemond,
chief of the Delaware Indians, who at his baptism was named, at his
172 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
own request, William Henry. Here died that veteran assistant mission-
ary, Joseph Schebosch, or more properly, John Bull, aged 68. Since
1742 he had been identified with the Moravian Indian Mission work. On
the day of his funeral, Friday, September 5, 1788, Zeisberger writes this
"Bruha Schebosch was serviceable to every man without distinction
white or Indian, at all times ready to help when he could. He bore his
cross with patience, for in this life he seldom had things cosy and good.
But he was never heard to complain or fret, even if things went hard
with him, and he had not even enough to eat. He loved and was loved.
We shall long miss him among us. His stay here below will remain with
us and with the Indian Brethren in blessed remembrance."
"Dear old Abraham," converted at Friedenshutten on the Susque-
hanna, 1765, who went through all the sufferings and hardships of the
Indian church, in the years intervening, died and was buried here at
New Salem. "We have had but one Abraham," is Zeisberger's tribute
to William, a National helper, an interpreter in early manhood in the
service of Sir William Johnson, of New York, who joined the church at
Friedenshutten on the Susquehanna, in 1770, died here. A man of "fine
gifts," honored by Indians and whites as a man of consequence, Zeisber-
ger pays high tribute to his fidelity as a Christian and his great helpful-
ness in the service of the church and against the hostile Indians.
But the final break-up of this flourishing mission station came, when
on April 10, 1791, the day before the seventeenth anniversary of his
birth, Zeisberger preached the farewell sermon preliminary to removal.
They removed once again to a settlement under the British flag,
near the mouth of the Detroit river, on the Canada side. After the lapse
of a year, on a grant of land by the British government, on the River
Thames, in Oxford township, Canada West, Zeisberger founded the Mis-
sion settlement of Fairfield. The tract of land was six miles wide and
twelve miles in length. Here they established a flourishing settlement of
forty-two regularly-built houses, with a church and parsonage. For six
years, until 1798, Zeisberger labored here. In 1798, John Heckewelder,
commissioned by the Mission Board of the Church, at Bethlehem, Pa.,
with the venerable William Edwards, led a colony of Indian converts
back to Tuscarawas County and built a new Indian settlement, here at
Hither, in October, 1798, the venerable David Zeisberger in the 77th
year of his pilgrimage, came to spend the last of his honored career.
Here in the Goshen Mission Home he lived from October, 1798, until the
autumn day in 1808, November 17th, when he fell asleep in Jesus, and
rested from a period of missionary labors which extended over more than
He enjoyed during the two months of his last illness the counsel
of a physician and the nursing care of his fellow missionaries and friends.
During the closing days of his life, when scarcely able to speak, he
David Zeisberger Centennial. 173
signified his great satisfaction and comfort when his Indian brethren,
who watched with the dying saint, sang some of the Delaware hymns
for the dying, which he had rendered into their vernacular years ago.
And thus on the afternoon of November 17th he fell asleep amid
the prayers of his brethren and the singing of his converts, after the
benediction had been spoken in the name of the church.
On the following Sunday, at noon, after funeral sermons in Eng-
lish and in German, interpreted into the Delaware vernacular, three of
his Indian brethren and three of his white brethren bore his body to the
near Goshen God's-Acre, followed by a large concourse of the inhabi-
tants of the vicinity. There they buried him, one hundred years ago this
very hour. And to-day his name is more alive than ever in the memory
and esteem of the people of Ohio, and of this neighborhood, as every-
where in the world where men value apostolic love and fidelity to Christ
and to those for whom Christ lived and died.
GRAVE OF ZEISBERGER.
The following is the Poem written by Judge J. W. Yeagley
and read by Miss Bertha Kelly at the celebration of the Centen-
nial of the death of Zeisberger at the New Philadelphia Opera
House, November 20, 1908.
Close by a placid river's shore,
Near where its waters lave
The sylvan banks that fringe a plain,
I saw an ancient grave.
And by it rose a monument,
On which thereon was traced
The name of one who toils endured,
And many dangers faced.
The name of one who came from far,
Who crossed the ocean wave,
That he might be an instrument
The red man's soul to save:
Might make his home in wilderness,
And teach the savage rude
The mission true of human life,
And all it does include:
Might tell him of the loving One,
Who loves his creatures all,