A Journey into Hell, 1750
BY JANUARY 1750, when four missions and one mission station were functioning (Pachgatgoch, Wechquadnach, Gnadenhutten, Shamokin, and Meniologameka), the Brethren were about to begin their missionary activities among the Six Nations confederacy. In August 1749, after the meeting of the chiefs in Philadelphia, John Frederick Cammerhoff and Zeisberger were assigned to make the preliminary contact with the Onondagas.
By 1750 the Moravian missionaries had been successful mainly among scattered groups of Delawares and remnants of lesser tribes, such as the Mahican, Nanticoke, and Wampanoag. It was quite another matter to attempt such activities among the highly organized, proud, and powerful Iroquois, who seemed indifferent, if not hostile, toward all men of the cloth. "Blackcoats," they called them, to differentiate them from the black- robed Jesuits from French Canada. The Iroquoian experience with the Catholic Jesuits and some Protestant missionaries over the previous one hundred years had taught them to be wary of black-coated white men.
The journey for Zeisberger and Cammerhoff began from Bethlehem. Zeisberger departed on Monday, May 10, 1750, bound for Shamokin to pick up their guide. Cammerhoff left the following Friday, traveling a different route over the Lehigh Pass, through Gnadenhutten, directly north