David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians

By Earl P. Olmstead; David Zeisberger | Go to book overview
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17
An Organizational Nightmare, 1773

DAVID ZEISBERGER faced three formidable tasks at the beginning of 1773. Transferring the 115 converts from Lagundo Utenunk to the Muskingum Valley was the first priority. Adequate housing at both Gnadenhutten and Schoenbrunn had to be quickly built to accommodate these new arrivals. Second, another missionary must be sent from Bethlehem to cope with the rapidly expanding population at both villages. Temporarily, Johann Roth, who was coming from Lagundo Utenunk, could fill in at Gnadenhutten until the new man arrived. Finally, new and larger split-log community buildings, including churches, schoolhouses, and missionary homes, had to be built to accommodate the new activities at both villages.

Living conditions at Lagundo Utenunk were deteriorating because of drunkenness and general rowdiness. The weather had moderated sufficiently by the middle of March to begin preparations to relocate the converts. On March 24, Heckewelder, who is seldom mentioned in the Schoenbrunn diary during this early period, led a party of brothers and sisters to the Beaver River mission to assist the moving operation.1 By April 13, both parties were on the trail to the Muskingum Valley. One party, led by Roth, traveled by land; the other, led by Heckewelder in twenty-two canoes, traveled by water.2 The Roth contingent arrived at

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