David Zeisberger

David Zeisberger, Moravian clergyman (b near Ostrava, Czech 11 Apr 1721; d in Ohio 17 Nov 1808). Beginning in the 1740s he carried on Moravian missionary work among the Indians of Pennsylvania and founded a settlement in Ohio.

Zeisberger, David

David Zeisberger, Moravian clergyman (b near Ostrava, Czech 11 Apr 1721; d in Ohio 17 Nov 1808). Beginning in the 1740s he carried on Moravian missionary work among the Indians of Pennsylvania and founded a settlement in Ohio. The pacifism of his creed brought him and his converts under suspicion during the AMERICAN REVOLUTION and many were killed. In 1786 he founded New Salem (near Milan, Ohio), but was forced to evacuate in 1791 and moved with his followers to a grant along the Thames R, near present-day Thamesville, Ont. He established a flourishing agricultural colony, called Fairfield in English. However, defections weakened the colony and he reluctantly accepted the encouragement of the Moravian bishop in the US to set up a new colony at Goshen, Ohio. Descendants of Zeisberger's converts still live on the remainder of his Thames R colony, called the Moravian Indian Reserve. He left a valuable legacy of writings on native culture and language.