Grasping at Straws, 1778
WHILE GEORGE MORGAN was enduring the charges and countercharges of his western Pennsylvania contemporaries, Zeisberger, back on the Muskingum, was continuing to minister to his Christian flock.1
During the first week in February, twenty Shawnee families accompanied by White Eyes and the Shawnee chief Nimho visited the mission village and attended church services.2 More families were expected. These were the peace-minded Shawnees, who, despite the death of Cornstalk, refused to join the war parties planned for the coming spring. They were trying to induce White Eyes to intercede with the other chiefs of their tribe to keep the Shawnees neutral and out of the war.
Also in February letters arrived from General Hand and Colonel Morgan, written the previous October. Zeisberger noted, "We had no word from the Fort the whole winter."3Morgan's letter advised of the near victory of the American forces at Germantown. Unknown to Zeisberger and the Delaware council, General John Burgoyne had surrendered his entire British and German force of five thousand men at Saratoga. It was another two months before this information reached the valley. When the news from Germantown and Saratoga arrived in France, the French king Louis XVI signed a treaty of alliance with the Americans on February 6, 1778,