Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Zeisberger, David

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ZEISBERGER, David, missionary, b. in Zauchtenthal, Moravia, 11 April, 1721; d. in Goshen, Ohio, 17 Nov., 1808. In 1740 he emigrated to Georgia, where his church was organizing a mission among the Creeks. Thence he was sent to Pennsylvania, where he assisted in the building of Nazareth and Bethlehem. Preparatory to entering the mission service in 1743, he became a student in the Indian school at Bethlehem, where he was instructed in the Delaware and Onondaga languages. Later, he continued the study of the latter at the capital of the Five Nations. In addition to these languages he was conversant with Mohican, Monsey-Delaware, and Chippewa. From 1745 till 1750 he was employed at Shamokin and Onondaga, and in the latter year he visited Europe in behalf of the mission. In 1752 he returned to Onondaga, but was compelled to retire to Bethlehem at the opening of the French and Indian war. Between 1755 and 1762 he visited North Carolina and the New England provinces, labored among the Indians of Connecticut, and also acted as interpreter for Pennsylvania in their treaty with Teedyuscung and his allies. During the Pontiac war he took charge of the Moravian Indians, and after the peace accompanied them to Wyalusing, Bradford co., Pa. In 1767 he established a mission among the Monsey-Delawares on Alleghany river, and three years later he began Friedenstadt, on the Beaver. His first visit to Ohio was made in 1771, and a year later he organized the mission on the Muskingum, where he was joined by the converts from Pennsylvania. Early in the Revolution the Delawares were accused of favoring the American side, and the converts were forced to leave their towns and come within the British lines. After being moved from place to place they were finally settled on Thames river in Canada. In 1798, Zeisberger, with a few converts, left Canada and founded Goshen, Ohio, where he passed the remaining ten years of his life. He published a “Delaware and English Spelling-Book” (Philadelphia, 1776); “A Collection of Hymns for the Christian Indians” (1803); and “Sermons for Children” (1803). Of his voluminous manuscripts there has been published “Dictionary in German and Delaware” (Cambridge, 1887), and “Essay toward an Onondaga Grammar” (Philadelphia, 1888). The most important unpublished manuscripts are “German and Onondaga Lexicon” (7 vols.), two Delaware Indian grammars, and collections of hymns and sermons. See “Life and Times of David Zeisberger,” by Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz (Philadelphia, 1870), and “Diary of David Zeisberger, 1781-'98” (Cincinnati, 1888).