Zeisberger, David

Zeisberger, David zīsˈbərgər [key], 1721–1808, American Moravian missionary, b. Moravia. While a youth, he lived in Holland and later in London, where he met Graf von Zinzendorf, who enabled him to join (1739) a Moravian colony in Georgia. Zeisberger moved (c.1740) to Pennsylvania with the colony and entered on missionary service. His assistant was J. G. E. Heckewelder. Zeisberger helped ally the Iroquois with the English against French aggressions on the continent. He worked effectively among the Native Americans in the Pennsylvania area. His mission (est. 1772) at Schoenbrunn, Ohio (see Schoenbrunn Village State Memorial) was destroyed (1777) during the American Revolution, and in 1781 the British temporarily imprisoned him. Zeisberger later set up other missions in Ohio and one in Canada. His numerous writings include a spelling book, a Native American grammar and dictionary, and a history of the Native Americans.

See E. A. De Schweinitz, The Life and Times of David Zeisberger (1870, repr. 1971).

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