David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians

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

16 Chosen by the Lot, 1772

THREE WEEKS before David Zeisberger arrived on the Muskingum, he celebrated his fifty-first birthday. Never were his prospects so bright or external conditions so good. Now, in the prime of his life, he was separated from the debilitating influences of the white pioneers and had been assured by the Delaware chief Netawatwes of protection against unwanted native interference.

On May 4, the day following the converts' arrival at the new village site, they began clearing the land and building traditional Indian huts to provide shelter until more permanent log cabins could be constructed. A single street running east and west was laid out and the lots assigned. Although it was late in the planting season, there was still time to sow the crops and expect an adequate harvest in the fall. A portion of the workers began to build the temporary round-log church that would also serve as a home for Zeisberger.1 On June 9, just three weeks after they felled the first tree, the cabin was completed.

Four days after the party reached its destination, an Indian runner appeared announcing the arrival of the Heckewelder contingent at Gekelemukpechunk, Netawatwes's capital on the Muskingum. (This was the canoe party that continued on down the Ohio carrying the heavy

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