David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians

By Earl P. Olmstead; David Zeisberger | Go to book overview

6
You Need Never Fear among Us, 1750-1753

THE YEARS between 1749 and the outbreak of open hostilities in 1754 between England and France brought major changes in the Moravian mission program, and David Zeisberger played an ever-increasing role in these events.

Late in the fall of 1749 or early in the spring of 1750, a new Delaware Indian couple moved into Gnadenhutten. For several months Teedyuscung (TEE-dee-US-shung) and his wife loitered about the mission requesting permission to join the converts, but their reception was put off because of his "wavering disposition." Sometimes called "Honest John, Teedyuscung was reputed to be "unstable as water and like a reed shaken before the wind." On March 19, 1750, during one of Cammerhoff's quick visits to the village, he impulsively baptized the couple and gave them the Christian names of Gideon and Elizabeth.1

Born near Trenton, New Jersey, about 1700, Teedyuscung was one of five "high-spirited sons" of a Captain Harris. He was relatively unknown until he became a convert. Because of Cammerhoff's impulsive baptism, the Moravians now had in their midst one of the most controversial characters in eighteenth-century Indian history. Anthony Wallace, in his biog-

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