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John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder

Heckewelder, John Gottlieb Ernestus (hĕkˈəvĕldər) [key], 1743–1823, Moravian missionary in the United States, b. Bedford, England. Settling (1754) in Bethlehem, Pa., with his parents, he later was indentured to a cedar cooper, while acting occasionally as a messenger to the Native Americans on the Susquehanna. By 1771 he was an accredited missionary and assistant to David Zeisberger. After years with the natives of Pennsylvania who had been removed to Ohio, he retired to Bethlehem, Pa. (1786), but he aided the U.S. government on several occasions with Native American treaties. In 1801 he managed the tribal lands at Gnadenhutten, and he supervised the removal of the indigenous people to Canada. He spent his last years writing numerous accounts of Native American life, notably his Account of the History, Manners and Customs of the Indian Nations, Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania (1819).

See his journals, Thirty Thousand Miles with John Heckewelder (ed. by P. Wallace, 1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Protestant Christianity: Biographies


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