Zeisberger, David(zīs`bərgər), 1721–1808, American Moravian missionary, b. Moravia. While a youth, he lived in Holland and later in London, where he met Graf von ZinzendorfZinzendorf, Nikolaus Ludwig, Graf von
, 1700–1760, German churchman, patron and bishop of the refounded Moravian Church, b. Dresden. Reared under Pietistic influences, he was early in sympathy with the persecuted and almost extinct Moravian Brethren (often called Bohemian
..... Click the link for more information. , 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. HeckewelderHeckewelder, John Gottlieb Ernestus
, 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
..... Click the link for more information. . 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 MemorialSchoenbrunn Village State Memorial
, E Ohio, S of New Philadelphia; site of the first town in Ohio, est. 1772 by Moravian missionary David Zeisberger and his Native American converts. During the American Revolution, the town was abandoned; later it was burned by Native Americans.
..... Click the link for more information. ) was destroyed (1777) during the American RevolutionAmerican Revolution,
1775–83, struggle by which the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America won independence from Great Britain and became the United States. It is also called the American War of Independence.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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).