Blackcoats among the Delaware: David Zeisberger on the Ohio Frontier

By Earl P. Olmstead | Go to book overview

Foreword

The death of the Bohemian reformer John Hus at the stake on July 6, 1415, signaled the beginning of the reformation struggles that gave birth to the Unitas Fratrum on March 1, 1457. This early pre-Reformation church pioneered in worship in the vernacular, Scripture as the rule and source of all life, congregational hymn singing, and education for both sexes. While much of its life in the first two hundred years was hidden away from the public eye because of the Counter-Reformation reactions in Bohemia and Moravia, the influence of this group was felt beyond its limited membership.

John Amos Comenius, the world-renowned educator and prophet of peace, was a bishop of the Unity who traveled extensively throughout Europe in the work of education and as a servant of his church. His educational contributions of graded curricula, illustrated textbooks, training for female students, and education as the evangelistic arm of the church earned for him the epithet of "Father of Modern Education."

Following a period of underground existence in family cells, the Unity was renewed in 1727 on the estate of Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf in Saxony. This Count of the Holy Roman Empire was a Lutheran pietist whose religious interests far outweighed his professional training in law. The refugees of the Unitas Fratrum found a hospitable environment for their families and their church on his lands, where they renewed their church life. The establishment of their town, Herrnhut, with its unique organization and focus provided a base for their worldwide efforts in missions, which began in 1732 when their first two missionaries went to Saint Thomas in the West Indies to work among black slaves. Within ten years, the work was spread over four continents and the British Isles.

Growing out of the concern of Count Zinzendorf for the unevangelized peoples of the world and the understanding of the Moravians (the count's nickname for the members of the Unitas Fratrum), a base was

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Blackcoats among the Delaware: David Zeisberger on the Ohio Frontier
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part I The Wilderness Years 1772-1798 1
  • One the Ambiguous Delaware 3
  • Two the Great Dispersement 34
  • Three from Disaster to a New Beginning 51
  • Four Return to the Ohio Country 64
  • Five Pettquotting the New Salem 76
  • Six from the Detroit River to the Retrenche 87
  • Part 2 The Goshen Mission Years 1798-1821 105
  • Seven the Goshen Mission 107
  • Eight Goshen Mission Life an Overview 124
  • Nine Without Their Beloved David 152
  • Part 3 Record of Burials, the Goshen Mission Cemetery 173
  • Origins of the Goshen Biographical Sketches 175
  • Burials 1-44, 1799-1823 177
  • Appendix A 241
  • Appendix B 243
  • Appendix C 244
  • Appendix D 245
  • Appendix E 246
  • Appendix F 248
  • Appendix G 249
  • Notes 255
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index 273
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