Gnadenhutten Massacre

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OHS AL02709.jpg

Illustration depicting the murder of Delaware people who had converted to Christianity at the Moravian Mission of Gnadenhutten.

On March 8 and 9, 1782, a group of Pennsylvania militiamen under the command of Captain David Williamson attacked the Moravian Church mission founded by David Zeisberger at Gnadenhutten. The militia attacked the American Indians in retaliation for the deaths and kidnappings of several white Pennsylvanians, although this particular group of so-called "Christian Delaware" had recently returned from their new outpost at Upper Sandusky to forage for crops, and were not responsible for the Pennsylvania attack. The militiamen attacked the Christian Delaware natives, although these Native Americans had not been involved in the previous incidents. The Christian Delawares had abandoned Gnadenhutten the year before, but some of them had returned to harvest crops that were still in the fields.

On March 8, the militiamen arrived at Gnadenhutten. Accusing the American Indians of the attack on the Pennsylvania settlements, the soldiers rounded them up and placed the men and women in separate buildings in the abandoned village overnight. The militiamen then voted to execute their captives the following morning. Informed of their impending deaths, the Christian Delawares spent the night praying and singing hymns. The next morning the soldiers took the Christian Delaware in pairs to a cabin and murdered them. In all, Williamson's men murdered twenty-eight men, twenty-nine women, and thirty-nine children. There were only two survivors, who informed the Moravian missionaries and other Christian American Indianss as to what had occurred.

See Also

References

  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  2. Zeisberger, David. Schoenbrunn Story: Excerpts from the Diary of the Reverend David Zeisberger, 1772-1777, at Schoenbrunn in the Ohio Country. Columbus: Ohio History Connection, 1972.