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The village of Gnadenhutten is situated in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. The German word gnadenhutten means “tents of grace.” It is the state of Ohio’s oldest existing settlement. In 1772, Moravian missionaries led by Reverend David Zeisberger, established a mission for Native Americans. It was the second settlement founded by the Moravians, having been founded after the resounding success of the first one, at Schoenbrunn. In 1773, a boy was born to the Roth family in Gnadenhutten, thereby becoming the first white child to be born in the Ohio Territory. By 1775, there were more than 200 people living in the settlement. Moravians, being pacifist, were neutral during the Revolutionary War while the Delaware and Wyandot sided with England. In the autumn of 1781, the redcoats ordered the Christian Indians to relocate in northern Ohio where, because of the lateness of the season, they were unable to plant crops. They faced serious food shortage problems during that winter, and in early March of 1782, Pastor Zeisberger sent a group of Indians back to Gnadenhutten to harvest the crops they had left there to bring back to the group. On March 8, Pennsylvania militiamen attacked the mission, beginning what became known as the Gnadenhutten Massacre. The militiamen believed that the Christian Delaware Indians at the settlement were responsible for the kidnappings and deaths of several white people in Pennsylvania. That evening they rounded up the 96 Christian Delaware and brought them to an abandoned village. The militia then voted to execute them. When they announced to the Christians that they were all going to die, the condemned men, women, and children began singing hymns and praying. In the morning, the settlement was burned to the ground and all but two boys were murdered: 28 men, 29 women, and 39 children. Gnadenhutten was resettled in 1798, and Moravians are still among the townspeople today.

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