Ohio History Journal






Translated and edited by AUGUST C. MAHR

Professor of German, Ohio State University


By 1772, due to circumstances beyond their control, the

missionaries of the Moravian Church among the Indians in Penn-

sylvania had found it inevitable to abandon their two mission

stations on the upper North Branch of the Susquehanna: Friedens-

hiitten, about one mile down the river from present-day Wyalusing,

and Schechschequanniink (present-day Sheshequin), about twenty-

five river-miles upstream from Friedenshiitten.1

Between June 11 and the middle of August 1772, a total number of

over two hundred Indian converts of the Susquehanna mission,

under the leadership of the two Moravian missionaries, the Rev.

Johannes Ettwein and the Rev. Johannes Roth, migrated, partly

by water, and partly by land, from the Susquehanna to the Big

Beaver, where the Rev. David Zeisberger had founded, in 1770,

a new mission station among the Monsey. The Monsey consti-

tuted the Wolf Tribe of the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware, Indian

nation. The two other tribes were the Unami (Turtle Tribe) and

the Unalachtigo (Turkey Tribe). Since the beginning of the 1720's,

practically the entire Lenni Lenape nation had gradually left its

old hunting grounds in eastern Pennsylvania, migrating into the

Ohio basin, where the majority, the Unami and Unalachtigo, had

settled in what today is the eastern half of the state of Ohio,

while the Monsey established themselves in northwestern Penn-

sylvania on the Allegheny, Big and Little Beaver, and Mahoning


Apart from the negative reasons for the abandonment of the


1 A comprehensive account of the labors of the Moravian Church in the Indian

mission field of North America in the eighteenth century can be found in Bishop

Edmund deSchweinitz' excellent biography of that church's greatest missioner among

the Indians, entitled The Life and Times of David Zeisberger (Philadelphia, 1870).

The book also contains brief biographies of the other Moravians mentioned in the

present pages: Ettwein, Roth, and, last, but not least, John Heckewaelder.


284 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

284    Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


Susquehanna mission, there had also been a strongly positive

motivation for Zeisberger and the Moravian Mission Board to shift

the Indian mission's center of gravity westward: it was the ever

more urgent invitation, on the part of the great Delaware chief

Netawatwes and his grand council, to move the Moravian mission

into the new Indian territory in northwestern Pennsylvania and the

Muskingum basin. The founding of Friedensstadt (or Lang-

undouteniink), in 1770, in the Monsey country on the Beaver

River, had been Zeisberger's initial step in following this invitation.

But even before the Friedenshutten and Schechschequanniink con-

verts had started, in the summer of 1772, on their westward migra-

tion under Ettwein and Roth, the rum-sodden heathen Monsey who

lived everywhere around Friedensstadt had proved such unbearable

neighbors that Zeisberger, upon urgent entreaties from Netawatwes,

had most willingly selected a new mission site on the Tuscarawas

River, only twenty miles upstream from the chief's capital. Here,

in May 1772, he founded the mission of Schonbrunn; and here,

he decided, the Susquehanna converts were to be taken. Friedens-

stadt, doomed to be abandoned, was merely to serve as a temporary

receiving station: a stopover point where he and his fellow mis-

sioners could work out careful and effectual plans for the gradual

transferring of all their converts to the Tuscarawas Valley.

Almost immediately upon the arrival at Friedensstadt of the

weary migrants under Ettwein and Roth, Zeisberger began to carry

out his intentions, with the aid of Ettwein and John Heckewaelder,

the latter only recently appointed assistant missionary for the new


When, in the pursuit of this enterprise, Friedensstadt was

definitely abandoned in 1773, Johannes Gottlieb Ernst Hecke-

waelder, twenty-nine years old at the time, was chosen as the

leader of a consignment of converts who were to travel by water

in a flotilla of canoes from Friedensstadt to Schonbrunn. The

others traveled across country, driving a large herd of horned

cattle along with them, many of the animals having formerly

hooved it all the way from the Susquehanna to the Beaver.

Heckewaelder's diary covering his strenuous river journey is

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder 285

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder         285


presented in these pages. Zeisberger's junior by twenty-two years,

he was for a long time his faithful collaborator in the Tuscarawas

missions, one of which, Salem, he founded in 1780; in its chapel

he was married in the same year to Sarah Ohneberg. Due to the

ill health of his wife he retired from the Moravian Indian mission

work in the autumn of 1786 and returned with her to Bethlehem,

Pennsylvania, the seat of the Moravian mother church in North

America. Subsequently, he rendered numerous useful services to

both his church and the outside world, and spent the last few

years of his life assembling the rich memories of his active career

in two books of lasting value: Account of the History, Manners,

and Customs of the Indian Nations (Philadelphia, 1819);2 and

Narrative of the Mission of the United Brethren Among the

Delaware and Mohegan Indians (Philadelphia, 1820).3 As his

last literary effort he prepared in 1822 a collection of "Names,

which the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Indians, gave to Rivers,

Streams, and Localities within the States of Pennsylvania, New

Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, with their Significations." This

work was communicated to the American Philosophical Society

in Philadelphia as early as April 5, 1822, but not until twelve

years later did it appear in print in Transactions of the American

Philosophical Society.4

On the river journey he proved a dependable and resourceful

leader; there were no accidents; none of the travelers, not even any

of the old people, died during the trip; nor were property and

provisions lost or spoiled. Once, on the Muskingum, when the

seed corn had been wetted in a bad rainstorm and threatened to

sprout, he called a stop in order to dry the grain. Another time,

when the strain had become excessive, camp was made at once

and a sweating oven built for the weary boatmen to sweat out

their fatigue. No opportunity was overlooked or time spared by

Heckewaelder for establishing and maintaining friendly relations

with the West Virginia settlers along the Ohio, as the perusal of


2 Henceforth to be cited as Heckewaelder, History.

3 Henceforth to be cited as Heckewaelder, Narrative.

4 Volume IV, New Series (1834), 351-396.

286 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

286     Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


the diary readily shows. He was equally anxious to assure for him-

self, for his charges, and thereby for the Moravian mission the

goodwill of the great chief and his grand council as soon as the

Lenape capital was reached, the same as, a day or two previously,

a visit had been paid to the Shawnee in their towns farther down

the Muskingum, where the year before Zeisberger likewise had

visited. Although they were worn to the utmost, he safely delivered

his human freight with their belongings at Schonbrunn, their des-

tination, after a journey of thirty-five days.

Viewing in retrospect his creditable enterprise, Heckewaelder

many years later wrote these lines:


On the 13th of April, 1773, this handsome village [Friedensstadt, on the

Beaver River] was evacuated; one part of the congregation travelling

across the country by land, and the other division, accompanied by the

writer of this narrative, in twenty-two canoes, loaded with the baggage,

Indian corn, etc., by water, first down the Big Beaver to the Ohio-thence

down that river to the mouth of the Muskingum-thence up that river,

according to its course, near two hundred miles, to Shonbrun [Schonbrunn],

the place of destination.5

The distance of "near two hundred miles," as given in this

brief and modest account, evidently refers solely to the travel on

the Muskingum and Tuscarawas rivers, which, as will be presently

shown, Heckewaelder himself in a later and more precise state-

ment estimated at "160 miles." The total distance of the entire

water journey from Langundouteniink (Friedensstadt) to Schon-

brunn, according to figures obtained by courtesy of the water

division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, was 330

river miles. In an enumeration of his journeys between 1762 and

1814, which also gives the distances, Heckewaelder, for the year of

1773, had entered the following data:

In April, down Beaver creek, by water, ................... 30 [miles]

Thence down to [the] Ohio, to the mouth

of the Muskingum, etc.,........................................... 150

Thence up the Muskingum, by water, to Schonbrunn 1606


5 Narrative, 126.

6 Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, I (1876), 234.

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder 287

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder                287


This makes a total of 340 miles, that is, a discrepancy of 10 miles

between Heckewaelder's figures and those of the water division.

The explanation appears to be that Heckewaelder's 30 miles of

river journey "down Beaver creek" (from present-day Moravia

[Lawrence County, Pennsylvania] to the mouth of the Beaver

River) are by 10 miles in excess of the actual distance of slightly

more than 20 miles. Considering that Langundouteniink may have

been situated a brief stretch upstream from present-day Moravia,

and that Heckewaelder may have regarded the location of his

night camp (near present-day Beaver) as the terminal point of his

Beaver River journey, one may concede to him five more miles but

no more, thus arriving at a total of 335 miles.

The account of this journey presented below is a translation

from the German original in the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem,

Pennsylvania. It is for the first time that it appears in print. The

whole diary is given, the only change from the original manuscript,

aside from the translation, being the italicizing of the dates for the

convenience of the reader.




APRIL 1773.

The 13th of April, we departed together in twenty-two canoes from

Langundouteniink and reached the falls7 at night. Brother Schebosch,

Johannes, and a few more Brethren reached us there too, to take our

heaviest things with their horses by land as far as below the falls.

The 14th, the latter turned back because the water was rising and they might

have been cut off from journeying overland to Welhik Thuppeek.8

The 15th. Since many of our canoes were loaded too heavily, we resolved

to empty one of them; the Sisters and some of the Brethren were supposed


7 The rapids in the Great Beaver River near present-day Beaver Falls, Beaver

County, Pennsylvania, about five miles upstream from the mouth of the Beaver.

8 Schebosch, Johannes, and a few other Brethren evidently traveled to Welhik

Thuppeek (Schonbrunn) by land, going directly west by way of the Great Trail.

The Great Trail in those days was a much traveled route from Pittsburgh to Detroit,

equally popular with Indians and white traders. After it had reached the mouth of

the Big Beaver, it led over the highlands north of Lisbon, Ohio, and descended along

Sandy Creek to the Tuscarawas River, which it crossed for its final destination,

Detroit. From the crossing place to the mission site of Schonbrunn either the

Tuscarawas waterway could be used or a trail along the river.

288 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

288      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


to carry the contents below the falls; and some Brethren were sent out to

hunt, who brought five deer into camp in the evening.

The 16th. The Indians found the head of a man close to our camp. The

man had apparently been killed in the last war, since his skull had been

split by an ax.

Our Indians pitied him, because he had died an innocent victim. It was

still raining; hence, the strongest and most courageous Brethren resolved

to ride the empty canoes over the falls. They endangered their lives by

doing so, and two of our people were nearly drowned, but there were

always a few Brethren with a canoe ready to help in case of emergency;

yet they all traveled safely down, although sometimes the canoes were half

filled with water.

The 17th. The canoe which they had begun to build the day before

yesterday was completed, so we did not tarry any longer but entered into

the Ohio this same evening and made camp beneath the old French fort,

the chimneys of which in parts are still standing.9

The 18th. Now that we were on the Ohio, we made an agreement with

each other on how we would conduct our trip, namely, that we would travel

until evening, if the wind were quiet, because the river is high. Today,

now and then, we saw plantations of the white people on the other side

of the river; and in the evening we made camp close to the Mingo Town.10

The 19th. We passed this town in the morning. The Mingo wanted to

talk with us, but there was no one among us who understood their language.

From here, a year ago, Brother David started with his traveling party

overland to Welhik Thuppeek.11 A few miles farther down, a white man

called us and invited us to come ashore and to rest a little, but we did not

want to delay ourselves. We told him the reason, to which he replied:


9 Probably a discarded French stronghold in the place of the later Fort McIntosh,

which was erected in 1778 near the mouth of the Beaver in the vicinity of present-

day Beaver, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The complete distance covered since the

13th of April, their day of departure from Langundoutenunk, was only slightly more

than 20 miles; this was due to the transportation difficulties at the Beaver rapids

as described above.

10 The distance covered on the 18th from near present-day Beaver to the camp

above Mingo Town was about 40 miles.

11 On the 14th of April, 1772, the Rev. David Zeisberger set out from Friedens-

stadt with a group of five married couples of converts, several children, and one

unmarried man, for the Tuscarawas Valley, where they eventually laid out the

mission of Schonbrunn. As a year later John Heckewaelder did, Zeisberger too

directed the baggage, attended by a few men, down the Ohio and up the Muskingum

in canoes.

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder 289

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder                  289


"In that case, I wish you a happy journey, you good people."12 Again we

saw houses and plantations of white people on the east side of the river

in different places.13 No sooner had we gone ashore in the evening14 than

six white people appeared across the river from us and started talking

to me; but the river was so wide that we were not able to understand

each other very well, hence I paddled across with the Brethren Anton and

Boas. They questioned us about many things for about half an hour, but

they were quite modest, most of their questions being about our religion and

doctrine. Some of them I will note down; for example: "What kind of

Indians are these, and where do they come from?" -   Answer: "They are

a Christian Indian congregation and come from Beaver Creek." - "Where

are they going?" -   "To the Muskingum." -     "Are these the Moravian

Indians?" - Answer: "Yes." - "Do they have a minister with them?" -

Answer: "Yes, they are two congregations, and each of them has its

teacher." -  "Of what religion are their teachers?" -  "They are of the

Brethren's." - "Do they receive an annual salary from the King or from

a certain society?" -  "No." -  "How then are they supported?" -  Answer:

"The members of the Brethren's Congregation voluntarily put up the money,

each according to his capability, and their teachers are supported by this

voluntary contribution." Whereupon they said to each other: "That, indeed,

is praiseworthy. Can their teachers talk with them in their language?" -

"Yes." - "Did some of them really come to the point where they truly

believe that there is a God in Heaven?" -  "Yes." -   "Do they let them-

selves be baptized?" -  "Yes." -  "Are these two baptized, and what are

their names?" - Answer: "They are both baptized, and they are called

Anton and Boas." - "Are they faithful even after they are baptized?" -

Answer: "It seldom happens that any of them leaves us again; you see a

good example here in this man Anton, who has kept his faith for twenty

years." -  They said to each other: "One can see in this man's face that

he is a true Christian"; and they further asked: "Do they celebrate the


12 This man may have been one of the first settlers on the site of the later city

of Wellsburg (Brooke County, West Virginia), Jonathan, Israel, or Friend Cox,

who in 1772 here built a log cabin on the river bank. Work Projects Administration,

West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State (New York, 1941), 485. Wellsburg

is just "a few miles farther down" from Mingo Town (today, Mingo Junction).

13 Among them, to be sure, the cabins of the first settlers of Wheeling, West

Virginia, the three Zane brothers, Colonel Ebenezer, Jonathan, and Silas, who in 1769

had here established themselves. West Virginia Guide, 283.

14 This night-camp (April 19-20) was across the river from present-day McMechen

(Marshall County, West Virginia). Its distance from the previous one, above Mingo

Town, was about 25 miles.

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290      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


Sabbath and keep it holy, and do no work on that day, not even hunting ?"-

Answer: "They celebrate the Sabbath as it is usual with other Christian re-

ligions." -  "Which day do you regard as the Sabbath?" -  Answer: "The

first day of the week." - "Do they have any meetings except on the

Sabbath?" -   Answer: "They have meetings once, sometimes twice, every

day." - Thereupon they said: "You see, they are true Christians. Now if

one of them does not behave himself, what do you do with him?" -

Answer: "We reprimand him, and if our reprimands do not help, he is

excluded from the Congregation; sometimes he is even sent away." - "Do

you hold school for them?" - "Yes." - "In what language?" - In

their own." -  They said: "That is right." -  "We think that as long as

they do not live entirely among the white Brethren they will not be capable

of learning their [the white Brethren's] language, because many of them are

too old, and others too little apt to learn foreign languages." - Finally

they asked: "Don't you have any trade with them, and don't they give you

part of their hunting bag?" - Answer: "We do not have any trade with

them, nor do we receive anything from them. We are satisfied with a

primitive mode of living, and when we see that all along some of them are

converted and become believers, we consider ourselves well paid." - Upon

which, they said: "It cannot in the least be questioned that God is with you

and blesses your work. The minister Jones, too, has given this testimony of

you. He has told us a lot about you. He has also seen one of your ministers

and talked with him (that was Brother David, with whom he had talked

in Gnadenhutten).15 He knows you as a true Christian congregation in the

Indian country, and we wish you success and God's blessings for your work,

so that your numbers might more and more increase." Thereupon we parted,

because night had fallen.

The 20th. Just when we were about to start on our journey again, the

same people came across the river and looked at all our people and our

whole outfit. They pitied the old people, because of the hardships of travel-

ing; they fondled the children, and wished to all of us a happy journey.

Now I learned that they were Baptists; one of them was a gentleman from


15 Soon after the arrival in the Tuscarawas Valley of the Susquehanna converts

it proved necessary to found a separate mission station named Gnadenhutten, ten miles

downstream from Schonbrunn, because the Mohican converts from Schechschequannunk

could not get along with the Lenni Lenape from Friedenshutten and insisted on living

at a different place. "The minister Jones," here mentioned, was a Baptist preacher

from Freehold, New Jersey, who in 1772 paid a missionary visit to the Shawnee

along the Scioto. On his return trip overland early in 1773 he stopped over at

Gnadenhutten, where on February 13 he had the interview with Zeisberger here

referred to by Heckewaelder.



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292       Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


Philadelphia.16 They sat down on the river bank and were astonished at

the general quietude of our people. In the afternoon some of our men

wanted to stop and hunt, because they had no more meat; but since the

weather was so beautiful, and there was no wind, we did not want to lose

any time. But after we had traveled a bit farther and encountered a little

island,17 they had a notion that deer would be on the island. We encircled

it with our canoes and put some people with a few hounds ashore, where-

upon at once four deer jumped into the water, three of which we obtained.

The 21st. We started on our journey again early in the morning. The

scenery was very beautiful here. Part of the bottoms looked like orchards.

I saw many trees and herbs which I did not know. The Indians said:

"Here we are strangers; the scenery, the trees, and the grass are different

here." Again we saw houses of white settlers; some of the people were

standing at the river bank and calling out to us: "Where are you people

going?"; and I answered: "Up the Muskingum to settle there"; whereupon

one replied: "I wish you were going ten thousand times farther." Another,

standing beside him, reprimanded him, saying: "You are mistaken about

these people. I am sure they are the same of whom the minister Jones18

has told us so many good things; don't you see how quiet and well-behaved

they are? None of them has his face painted, and they all look their natural

selves";19 and they said: "We wish you a happy journey."

16 From the Rev. Jones's travel diary, entitled A Journal of Two Visits Made to

Some Nations of Indians on the West Side of the River Ohio, in the Years 1772

and 1773 (Burlington, Vt., 1774; reprinted, New York, 1865), pages 34-38, it

appears that these Baptists were from Philadelphia and had traveled to the Ohio

with the Rev. David Jones and another Baptist minister, the Rev. John Davis; they had

arrived at the settlement of Dr. James McMechen, on the site of present-day

McMechen (Marshall County, West Virginia), on December 2d (or 3d), where the

Rev. Davis died on December 13th. Dr. James McMechen was that "gentleman from

Philadelphia," here mentioned.

17 This little island must have been Captina Island, since there is no other island

between it and McMechen. The channel between Captina Island and the West

Virginia river bank being very narrow, deer could easily cross over from the mainland

and back.

The distance covered on April 20 (McMechen-Captina Island) was about 10


18 These people most likely were of the Cresap family, who since 1771 had been

settling in the river flats opposite present-day Powhatan Point (Belmont County,

Ohio). On the United States Geological Survey map these flats are named "Cresap

Bottom." The Rev. David Jones must have told them about the Moravian Indians

after his overland return from the Shawnee and Delaware territory to the McMechens,

with whom he subsequently stayed for three weeks (February 28-March 19, 1773),

obviously spending part of his leisure time visiting the white settlers along the

neighboring West Virginia bank of the Ohio. Jones, Journal, 110, 112.

19 The Moravian Mission would not permit its Indian converts to paint their

faces as did the heathen Indians.

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder 293

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder                   293


It is true, this minister outdid himself in telling others how much he had

been pleased with our Indians; and that is the reason why all the people in

this vicinity love and respect us. Several people told me that, if war should

break out again, we would suffer no harm. Before I forget it, a bear was

shot today.

The 22d. We traveled through the most lovely countryside of our entire

trip; crooked as the Ohio runs in other places, here it went straight ahead,

and its course was W.S.W.;20 nor did we see mountains any more, but

level bottoms on both sides; the trees were for the most part in their full

foliage, and many trees bloomed, as did all kinds of flowers, and the grass

was about one foot high. Everyone was surprised to have such a beautiful

vision of summer in this month. Hereabouts, on the east side of the river,

there is supposed to be a settlement of 2-300 families, a little stretch

inland, though, because they do not like to live right at the river for fear

of the Indians.21 At noon we left the Ohio and entered the Muskingum.

This river is very deep a few miles from its mouth, and paddles and oars

have to be used there; afterwards it is not so deep any more,22 and a little

wider than the Lehigh at Bethlehem. Today again a bear was shot.

The 23d. We left the lovely countryside; the terrain became very moun-

tainous and the bottoms very swampy and were almost completely covered

with beech trees.23 At evening time our Brethren went on a little hunt

and again shot a bear.

The 24th. We met an Indian from Gekelemukpechunk who was acquainted

with us. He was on his way home from the hunt after he had shot a

buffalo, many of which are found around here.24

The 25th. We traveled on till noon, and since many complained of fatigue,

20 This is the stretch of the Ohio popularly known as the Long Reach, between

Sardis (Monroe County, Ohio) and its sharp bend about four miles south of Reno

(Washington County, Ohio).

21 It has been impossible to identify this settlement, nor can the night camp for

April 21st be located. The distance covered from Captina Island to the mouth of

the Muskingum, reached on April 22d, about noon, was about 60 miles.

22 That indirectly indicates that in less deep water the canoes were punted along

with poles. The night camp at the Muskingum on April 22d was most likely at the

first slackwater place, near present-day Lock 2, about 6 miles up the river from its


23 This description corresponds with the scenery along the river between present-

day Lock 2 and Lock 3, near Lowell, where probably the night camp on the 23d

was made after a journey in a shallow channel of only 7 1/2 miles. Even today beech

(Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) occurs in these bottoms.

24 The stretch from Lowell (Lock 3) to Beverly (Lock 4), the most probable site

of the night camp on April 24th, is about ten miles long; the land, especially be-

tween Coal Run and Beverly, is flat on both sides of the river-ideal buffalo country.

294 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

294       Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


we resolved to make camp near a huge rock.25 Some of the Brethren at once

built a sweating oven to sweat out their fatigue;26 others went out hunting

a little and encountered buffaloes, at which they shot, but without success.

This night we did not find much rest because of the enormous number of

toads, which greatly annoyed us.27 The Indians, therefore, call this place


25 The huge rock here mentioned, near which, after only about eight miles' travel,

Heckewaelder's Indians made their night camp of April 25th, was once situated on

the east bank of the Muskingum (which here flows from south to north) about

halfway between present-day Luke Chute Dam, near Swift, and Brokaw. The rock

was broken up and the fragments carried a short stretch downstream to be used in the

construction of the dam. The remainder was allegedly blasted off when, all along

the right bank of the lower Muskingum, the Ohio and Little Kanawha spur of the

Baltimore & Ohio system was built. A substantial chunk of the huge rock can

still be traced in the river, at its original location, under about three feet of water.

Across the river from that spot there used to be a settlement, Big Rock, which was

wiped out of existence by a river flood after the Civil War; on a map of 1854 of the

state of Ohio the village of Big Rock is still shown. I am greatly indebted for this in-

formation concerning the big rock to Mr. Larry Semon of the Marietta Boat Club; to

Miss Louanna Walker of Marietta; and to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Walker

of Brokaw, Ohio.

26 The half-day journey of nearly eight miles on April 25th between Beverly

and the big rock must have been exceedingly strenuous; it is indicated by Hecke-

waelder's remark about their building "a sweating oven to sweat out their fatigue."

27 In the evening of April 25, 1952, under almost identical weather conditions,

this writer visited the area where, most likely, Heckewaelder and his converts made

their night camp in 1773. It is roughly the site of present-day Brokaw, where the

steep, rocky proclivity which closely hugs the east bank of the Muskingum upstream

from Luke Chute Dam sufficiently recedes from the river to make room for a camp near

the flats at Madison Run, which, coming from the south, here empties into the

Muskingum. Especially after heavy rains, such as had fallen on April 25th in both

1773 and 1952, these flats are very soggy, with countless puddles and rills, making

an ideal spawning ground for toads and frogs. The entire expanse, moreover, is

loosely covered with shrubby willows. Except for the railroad dam that traverses

these flats from east to west at Brokaw, close to, and almost parallel with, the

river, the swampy bottom appears not to have been disturbed between 1773 and the

present day. Based on the supposition that, therefore, its fauna likewise has re-

mained essentially unchanged, this writer's expectations were fully borne out: starting

at twilight (about 7:30 P.M. E.S.T.), and ever increasing in both shrillness and

volume as darkness deepened, there rose from the swamp a batrachian chorus nothing

short of ear-splitting. Not a single toad's typical call was heard, however; it was a

pure chorus of Hyla crucifera crucifera Wied., the spring peeper, a tree frog, which,

by the way, is called a toad by the people of the region. This misnomer confirms

my belief that Heckewaelder, at least in the case at hand, likewise failed to dis-

criminate between "toad" and "frog." It is certain that his Lenape converts did not

either, since their language has but one word, tsquall, for both "toad" and "frog."

Another of this writer's observations in the Madison Run flats seems to shed some

light on the nature of the annoyance caused the campers of 1773 by that "enormous

number of toads": some of the creatures, after but the briefest interruptions, con-

tinued their singing with the full glare of a flashlight close upon them; yet, not

a single one could be seen. That makes it evident that the sleep of the weary travelers

was disturbed solely by the noise; for it seems out of the question that those par-

ticular frogs "annoyed" them by hopping or crawling about the camp.

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder 295

A  Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder                      295


Tsquallutene, that means, town of the toads.28 About midnight we had a

terrible thunderstorm accompanied by a heavy rain. A part of our people

sought shelter beneath a rock which was standing beside the huge one.

This big rock is 70 feet long, 25 high, and 22 wide, and is solid rock.29

The 26th and 27th. The channel was pretty good, and we advanced quite

a bit. But when we noticed that our grain had been wetted by the last

rain and had started sprouting, we resolved to travel on the 28th only as

far as Sikhewunk and dry our grain there. Together with some of our

Brethren I went about ten miles up this creek to see the famous salt spring,

which is imbedded in a sandbank, wells heavily, and has no visible outlet;

evidently, it has an outlet underground, because after having been emptied

it soon fills up again. We saw quite a few contraptions there for boiling

salt.30 At the mouth of this creek there is a very fine mount of anthracite


28 Tsquall-utene means 'a town of toads (or frogs)'; if it were supposed to

mean 'a human settlement named after toads, Toadtown,' the Lenape word would be

Tsquall-uten-unk (Lenape tsquall, 'frog; toad'; uten(e)-, 'town'; -unk, a suffix in-

dicating 'place where').

29 The measurements here given indicate a rock of 38,500 cubic feet, large enough,

indeed, to attract the attention of both Indians and whites.

30 According to Heckewaelder's Indian Word List (History, page 440, where the

name reads Sikheunk), Sikhewunk means 'at the salt spring' (sikhe, 'salt'; -w-,

copulative; -unk, locative suffix, 'place where'; literally: 'place where there is

salt'). It cannot have been the name of the creek      (which may have been

Sikhewihannok) but merely was that of the salt-boiling place on "this creek,"

although Heckewaelder does not make it very clear. There is multiple evidence that

"this creek" was Salt Creek, mainly in Salt Creek Township, Muskingum County,

Ohio, the most conclusive of all being Heckewaelder's remark in the next sentence

about a mount of rather pure coal at the very mouth of "this creek." It little matters

that this coal is not Steinkohle, as Heckewaelder calls it (which would be anthra-

cite), but, according to the special maps of the regional carbon deposits, Middle

Kittanning (No. 6), which is the only kind cropping out, at about water level,

at the mouth of Salt Creek. In view of the fact that the entire region of Salt Creek

and its numerous branches and smaller tributaries contained several salt licks and

springs, it must be noted that Heckewaelder calls Sikhewunk the famous salt spring,

and that, to inspect it, he took a special side-trip. This spring clearly was the main

source of the Indians' salt supply in both the region and the period. The Schonbrunn

Diaries in the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, repeatedly tell of Indian

excursions to and from Sikhewunk. S. P. Hildreth (Pioneer History [Cincinnati,

1848], 211, 260 et seq., 476) greatly stresses the difficulties encountered by the

early Marietta settlers in obtaining "culinary salt, . . . so necessary to the comfort

and health of the inhabitants." He further relates that "white men, taken prisoners

by the Indians, had seen them make salt at these springs [on "Salt creek, that falls

into the Muskingum river at Duncan's falls"], and had noted their locality, so

that from their description a skillful woodsman could find them [1796]." A salt-

boiling plant was erected, and began to operate the same year, on the site of that

Indian salt spring, where eventually Chandlersville was laid out. The preeminent

emphasis on this particular salt spring, on the part of both the Indians and the

white settlers, makes it clear that it was Sikhewunk, Heckewaelder's famous salt

spring, and that he was led by his Indian guides, not up the north branch, named

296 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

296       Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


coal;31 it lies there like a wall of bricks, and not mixed with soil or other

stones, as I have seen it in other places on the Ohio. This wall was 500

ells [1050 feet] long. Here another kind of scenery begins, while up to

this point it had continued as previously described. Now rich bottoms and

good land presented themselves, and the farther we journeyed the more

pleasant did it become.32 The river here took a different course, which

gave us hope to meet our Brethren soon, because previously we seemed

to have traveled farther away from them all the time.33

The 29th. We had to pass three bad rapids, which gave us much trouble

because we had to tow up our canoes.34

The 30th. At noon we arrived at the Shawnee Town which had been

visited by Brother David last fall.35 Some of our Brethren went into the

town, but they found only a few people at home, who received them with

kindness; most of them had already moved away. Thereafter we passed


Salt Creek on modern maps, but up the east branch, which today is called Buffalo

Creek. The particular spot where, at Chandlersville, Sikhewunk was situated has

been found by this writer in the Plats and Surveys of U. S. Lands in the Auditor of

State's office at the state capitol, Columbus (Vol. I [1798], Range 12, Twp. 13,

Section 13). The location, clearly marked "Salt Spring," is drawn in at a point on

Buffalo Creek where Lepage Run comes in from the south, that is, at present-day

Chandlersville. That here we have Sikhewunk is further confirmed by the fact that

the survey plat shows the Salt Spring at the crossing point of several early pioneer

roads, likewise drawn in, which clearly follow aboriginal trails that converged in

the same important spot: Sikhewunk. Evidently, the distance given by Heckewaelder

of "about ten miles up this creek," from the mouth of Salt Creek to Sikhewunk, was

estimated rather than measured; by today's county road, probably likewise an Indian

trail, through Blue Rock State Forest, the measured distance from Chandlersville to

the mouth of Salt Creek is 7.1 miles, although the original trail through the woods, in

1773, may have been a mile or two longer.

31 See preceding note.

32 This description perfectly fits the scenery about, and north of, Duncan Falls.

33 The general direction of their journey so far could indeed give them the im-

pression that they had been traveling away from their destination--the mission of

Schonbrunn--rather than towards it: first, on the Beaver and Ohio rivers, going south

and southwest; then, from the mouth of the Muskingum, following the tortuous

course of that river as far as Salt Creek. From there on only did they begin to

feel that they were actually bound for their destination.

34 The fact that they had to pass these rapids shortly after having broken camp

at the mouth of "this creek" on the 29th, is indirect evidence (1) that "this creek"

indeed was Salt Creek, Muskingum County; and (2) that the "three bad rapids"

were Duncan Falls, as they were named not long afterwards; the rapids retained

this name "until the slack-water improvement on the Muskingum obliterated the

rapid at this place." Hildreth, Pioneer History, 221. It evidently took them the whole

day to haul their twenty-two canoes over the falls; their total progress on the 29th

was about 1 mile.

35 This was Woaketammeki, a Shawnee town on the Muskingum on the site of

present-day Dresden. According to the Schonbrunn Diaries, Zeisberger's visit had taken

place on October 13-15, 1772.

A Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder 297

A  Travel Diary of John Heckewaelder                   297


another [Shawnee] town, and made camp.36 Today we had a stretch of

bad channel, and most of the men became very much fagged out.

The 1st of May, at noon, we rested again close to a Shawnee town. The

inhabitants of this town moved about among our people and showed

friendly feelings for us. Meanwhile I visited a white man who is living

there and who has a white wife; she had been a prisoner and cannot talk

anything but Shawnee. After that we journeyed on and were received

very kindly in a town where Delaware and Monsey are living; they showed

us great hospitality and were not satisfied until we all had eaten enough.

They would have liked us to stay with them for the night, but as we did

not want to lose any time, we traveled on for a few more miles.

The 2d. We had to wade again in the water a great deal, towing our

canoes over rapids and shallow places. We met an Indian Brother from

Gnadenhutten, who lent us considerable help.

The 3d. We again passed different towns, stopped at some and talked

with the inhabitants, who showed themselves friendly toward us, and in

the afternoon we passed Gekelemukpechunk and made camp at the upper

end of the town.37 Passing by, I counted 106 spectators. They greeted us

with their usual shout of joy, but we were not able to thank them in the

same way. No sooner had we gone ashore than we had visitors, some of

whom brought food for the hungry. Meanwhile I went with a few Brethren

to visit Chief Netawatwes.38 He, as well as others who were with him,

was very friendly toward us, and when we parted I had this feeling about

him: "You, too, will be of the Savior's, some day." Then I and another


36 These smaller Shawnee towns near Woaketammeki are also mentioned in

Zeisberger's travel report in the Schonbrunn Diaries. Heckewaelder's progress during

the 30th was approximately 30 miles.

37 The total stretch covered from May 1st until the afternoon of May 3d roughly

corresponds to the course of the Muskingum  and Tuscarawas between a point

about 3 miles above present-day Dresden and Newcomerstown (Gekelemukpechunk);

it is about 31 miles long.

38 Netawatwes, near his ninetieth year in 1773, had been chosen chief of the

Turtle Tribe (Unami) in his early manhood, while the Lenape nation was still

in eastern Pennsylvania in the basin of the Delaware River (Lenapewihannok).

Since the Unami were the foremost tribe of the nation, its chief was regarded, and

respected, as the great chief of the entire Lenape people; the whites called him

"King" Netawatwes. Although occasionally wavering in times of political high

tension, he advocated friendly relations with the colonists and, in particular, with

the Moravian missionaries Zeisberger and his fellow-workers and strongly advised

his nation to adopt the Moravian faith and ethics. At the time of his death he may

be safely called a Christian, although he did not formally join the Moravian

Brotherhood by being baptized. One of his grandsons, however, still in the old

man's lifetime, became the first member of the newly founded Moravian Indian

congregation of Lichtenau in 1776.

298 Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly

298      Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly


Brother went to see Killbuck, who, among other things, asked the Brother

who was with me: "Does this man really like the Indians?"39 -- "Yes," he

answered, "not only does he like them, but all the other Brethren who are

with us like them, too. It would not be necessary for them to live as poorly

as they do; I have seen with my own eyes how well they live at Bethlehem;

but because they like the Indians, and want to acquaint them with the

Savior, they are content with their poor mode of life and are happy when the

Indians become believers in the Savior. There is nothing else they ask or

demand of us." - He replied: "Well, well, now I know it."

The 4th. In the morning we again had many visitors, and our Brethren

every once in a while said a word or two about the Savior. Then we parted

again. A few Brethren from Gnadenhutten and Welhik Thuppeek, who

met us halfway, were very welcome to us, because by now we were all en-

tirely spent. In the afternoon we arrived at Gnadenhutten, where everybody

had been looking forward to our arrival and had been busy preparing

food in order that the hungry and weak might restore themselves. Three

families at once stayed there to live, and the rest of us, on the 5th, arrived

happily and safely at Welhik Thuppeek, where we were received by our

Brethren and Sisters in the most affectionate and loving fashion.40


39 Killbuck's question bears witness to the deep-seated distrust this son of Chief

Netawatwes harbored against the Moravians, as he did indeed against all whites.

Killbuck subsequently added to the worries of both his father and the mission by

heading an anti-white party in the capital and openly opposing Netawatwes' pro-

Christian peace policy.

40 The final stretch from Gekelemukpechunk (Newcomerstown) to Schonbrunn,

covered on May 4th and 5th, was about 24 miles. The total distance of 335 miles

was traveled by Heckewaelder and his Indian converts in twenty-three days (April

13-May 5, 1773), none of which was an entire rest day. That amounts to a daily

average of slightly over 14 1/2 miles.