Blackcoats among the Delaware: David Zeisberger on the Ohio Frontier

By Earl P. Olmstead | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

The sportswriter Red Smith once wrote: "There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at the typewriter and just open a vein." I presume that a Victor 9000 word processor could be substituted for the typewriter. While I found the process bloodless, writing is still a lonely and self-revealing business.

The valley of the Tuscarawas, where my wife and I have lived and raised four children, is steeped in the history of Zeisberger. Unfortunately, with the exception of several small monographs, there has never been a definitive account of Zeisberger's life since Edmund De Schweinitz wrote his full-length biography in 1870. For many years I have believed there was a need for a twentieth-century version of this great man, written from a secular rather than a religious point of view as is De Schweinitz's. In the spring of 1981 I began the project.

In the course of doing my research, I have followed Zeisberger's trail on twenty-three trips to date. He has taken me to many remote places in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, and Canada as I traced his movements from mission to mission. Early in the spring of 1987 I discovered the microfilm copies of Benjamin Mortimer's Goshen diaries; Mortimer was Zeisberger's assistant at Goshen. With few exceptions, virtually nothing has been published on the Goshen mission. Here within the eight hundred pages of Mortimer's daily record was a microcosm of the four hundred years' struggle between the white European and the native American Indian. Mortimer's perceptive insight and deep understanding of this problem convinced me to interrupt the Zeisberger biography and spend the next year recording the events that occurred at this final mission of David Zeisberger. Goshen represents the last valiant effort of the Leni Lenape ( Delaware) to live in harmony on the Muskingum River with the white man.

Without the experience, knowledge, and patience of many persons this book could not have been written. I am therefore grateful to many

-xv-

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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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