Heckewelder, John Gottlieb Ernestus
Heckewelder, John Gottlieb Ernestus a distinguished Moravian missionary among the Indians of North America, born at Bedford, England, Mar. 12,1743, where his father, who had fled from Moravia for the sake of religious liberty, was engaged in the service of the Church. On the 2nd of April 1754, young Heckewelder came to America with his parents. At the age of nineteen years (1762) he accompanied Christian Frederick Post, an Indian teacher and colonial agent, to the Tuscara was Valley, in Ohio, where they attempted t establish a mission among the natives. This enterprise proving a failure, Heckewelder labored for some time as the assistant of David Zeisberger, on the Susquehanna. In the spring of 14.1 he joined this illustrious evangelist at Friedenstadt, on the Beaver Creek, Pa., and for the next fifteen years shared all the hardships, sufferings, and triumphs of the Indian mission, at its various stations in Ohio and Michigan. SEE ZEISBERGER, DAVID. In the course of this period he married Miss Sarah Ohneberg (July 4, 1780), at Salem, Ohio, which was probably the first wedding ever solemnized in that state. Having severed his connection with the mission (October, 1786) on account of his wife's feeble health, he was appointed (1788) agent of the "Society of the United'-Brethren for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen" SEE ETTWEIN, JOHN, and made repeated but unsuccessful attempts, in consequence of the Indian War, to survey a tract of land in the Tuscara was Valley, granted to the Christian Indians by Congress as an indemnification for their losses in the Revolution. In 1792 and 1793 he was twice appointed assistant peace commissioner by the United States government, and was active in aiding the other commissioners to bring about a pacification. These humane efforts, however, proved abortive, and the war continued, ending in the total defeat of the Western tribes. In 1801 he settled at Gnadenhitten, Ohio, and devoted himself to the duties of his agency until 1810, when he resigned. The rest of his life he spent at Bethlehem hi literary labors, producing two works, namely, An Account of the History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the neighboring States (Philadelphia, 1818; transl into French by Duponceau, Paris, 1822, 8vo); and A Narrative of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware and Mohegan Indians (Philadelphia, 1820). He died January 31, 1823. General Cass criticized his writings in the North Amer. Review, vol.
26. See also Rondthaler, Life of Heckewelder (Phila. 1847, 12mo). (E. de S.)