Here, on April 6, 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, a contingent of Delaware Christian Indians, led by John Heckwelder, an assistant to Moravian missionary David Zeisberger, founded the last of five missions to occupy the Tuscarawas Valley between May 3, 1772 and September 8, 1781. The mission was located immediately adjacent to the west bank of the Tuscarawas River. Eighteen months later, British led Indian soldiers forcibly removed to the Upper Sandusky region all 400 of the Indian converts then living in the Tuscarawas Valley at the New Schoenbrunn, Gnadenhutten, and Salem missions. Seventeen years later, Zeisberger returned to the Tuscarawas Valley and founded his last mission at Goshen on October 4, 1798.
John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckwelder 1743-1823. Born in Bedford, England, March 12, 1743, Heckwelder immigrated to America with his mother and father at the age of eleven. In 1762, at the age of nineteen, he accompanied Christian Frederick Post to the Tuscarawas Valley in an aborted attempt to found an Indian mission among the Delaware. Their efforts were interrupted by the Pontiac uprising and Heckwelder barely escaped death from hostile Indians opposed to the project. At the request of David Zeisberger in 1771 Heckwelder entered the missionary service, was ordained in 1778, and served until 1786. In 1788 he was appointed the agent in Ohio for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and served until 1810. In 1798 he cooperated with Zeisberger at the Goshen mission and founded the white settlement of Gnadenhutten.