A History of Gnadenhutten, 1772 - 1976

Gnadenhutten, Ohio: American Legion, June 17, 1976. First Edition [stated] {Actually, misstated as "First Addition" Wraps. 46 pages. Oversized book, measuring 11 inches by 8-1/2 inches. Illustrations on covers. Some pages in two column format. Foreword. Acknowledgments. Source Material. Signed by the author on the title page. Sponsored advertisements at the back. Cover has some wear and soiling. The book discusses the city's churches, schools, Transportation, Industries, Financial Organizations, Town Hall, Town Officials, Post Office and Postmasters, Volunteer Fire Department; Utilities; Heck's Grove, Library, Overpass, Land Gift, Doctors, Clubs and Organizations, Celebrations in 1882, 1898, 1932, 147, and 1976. There also are several pages of poetry about the town written by the residents, as well as a full page of source material. The town of Gnadenhutten (translated it means Tents of Grace) was settled on October 9, 1772. Joshua, a Mohican elder, brought a large group of Christian Mohican Indians from Pennsylvania to this location. The settlement grew rapidly, and soon there were between fifty and sixty cabins. The group worked hard and prospered. In a very short time,they developed gardens that were fenced, cultivated many field crops, and had droves of cattle, hogs, and horses. It was an interesting fact that all the men worked as well as the women, which was shocking to the Indians of the other tribes.

Gnadenhutten was founded as the second settlement of German Americans and Lenape Native Americans affiliated with the Moravian Church. Tribes of Christianized Lenni Lenape people had settled at Schoenbrunn nearby, founded months earlier by missionary David Zeisberger. On July 4, 1773, a baby boy was born to the Roth family, becoming the first white child known to be born in the Ohio territory. This community, originally led by the Christianized Mohican chieftain Joshua (who died August 1 of the following year), had grown to about 200 persons by 1775.

As pacifists, they remained neutral during the American Revolutionary War. However, occupying British forces and their Wyandot and Delaware allies feared that members of the Christian Gnadenhutten, Schoenbrunn, and Salem communities helped guide the revolutionaries. The Native Americans were evicted northward to "Captive Town" near the Sandusky River area. Stripped of valuables and without farmland that summer or adequate provisions the winter of 1780-81, many starved and died of disease.

While the British imprisoned Rev. Zeisberger at Fort Detroit, authorities allowed about 150 Lenape to return to their old town to gather the harvest and supplies stored there. However, Pennsylvania militia led by David Williamson, following the deaths of settlers by other tribes a few weeks earlier, came to the resettled town in March 1782, and tricked the Indians into giving up their weapons. Ninety-six innocent Lenape men, women, and children spent the night in song and prayer knowing they would be slaughtered the following morning. On March 8 the Pennsylvanians committed the Gnadenhutten massacre and burned the approximately 60-cabin town. Only two boys escaped; the incident led to distrust between Native Americans and the settlers, and reprisals against patriots in Native American custody.

Although three 4000 acre tracts were reserved for Indians as an "act of indemnity", John Ettwein petitioned Congress in 1783 and the area was then opened to European settlers. John Heckewelder from Pennsylvania built the first house in 1798, and Moravians remain in the town today. Few Native Americans chose to live there and they gave up title in 1823 after the Moravians had made many improvements.

Gnadenhutten was on a major wagon road crossing the Tuscarawas River. The first Ohio Canal was dug nearby in 1825-1830, providing access to markets as well as further immigrants via Cleveland. A railroad linked to the area in 1853, further improving market access and allowing industrial development. A flood in 1915 destroyed the canal, which was not rebuilt as other means of transportation had superseded it.

Gnadenhutten erected a monument to the martyrs of the March 8, 1782 massacre during the centennial of its founding, and in 1963 established a museum interpreting it and other aspects of the town's history (including the results of 1970 excavations, and having rebuilt the Mission House and Cooper shop, and erected a mound containing the martyrs' graves). Various Native American and First Nations people gathered at the site in 1988 to dedicate a peace tree. The State of Ohio erected a memorial marker in 2003, calling the event a "day of shame"; it had erected another historical marker shortly before the town's entrance in 1979.
Condition: Very good.

Keywords: Gnadenhutten, Ohio; Mohican, Native Americans, Local History, Lenni Lenape, Moravian, Massacre, Heck's Grove, Celebrations, Poetry

[Book #79923]

Price: $125.00

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