The Moravians

The Moravians was a nickname given to the religious group by Count Zinzendorf in 1727 while seeking refuge on his land. They pioneered worship in the vernacular, Scripture as the rule and source of all life, congregational hymn singing, and education for both sexes. In 1741 they established their center of operation in the New World at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for their mission to work among the Native American Indians.

Rev. David Zeisberger was sent to the Ohio River valley to work among the Delawares. His daily journals allow great insight into the times, environment and beliefs of both the missionaries and the Indians. His native language and that of the Moravians was German, but he spoke and wrote many others. A copy of the schoolbook he wrote which teaches the German and Indian language is available for your review.

During the skirmish between the colonists and the British more commonly referred to as the Revolutionary War, the Moravians remained neutral. However the commander of Fort Detroit DePeyster had heard rumors to the contrary and demanded that Zeisberger appear to face charges of treason. While coming to Detroit, those who had stayed behind at the Schoenbrunn were massacred and the village burned. Vindicated from these charges of treason, DePeyster obtained a lease for land on the North Huron River (Clinton) and provided the missionaries with provisions when they left the fort in July 1782.

New Gnadenhutten was located at Moravian Road and the Clinton River. Although the mission lasted only a few years, (because the British lost control of the lands and the Indians revoked the lease) the residents of Detroit were sorry to see them go. Besides cutting the first inland road Moravian from the village to the fort, they had a good reputation for being honorable people and paying all debts.

Richard Connor and his family stayed on at the village. In 1913, the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument in memory of the Mission and the Indians. This monument now stands inside Clinton Grove Cemetery.


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