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John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder letters

Identifier: VAULT box-Ayer-MS-378


A small collection of correspondence (seven letters) written by Heckewelder from his home in Bethlehem, Pa. to three individuals between the years 1790 and 1822.,The largest group of letters were written to William Alexander, a surveyor residing in Carlisle, Pa., dated 23 March 1790 to 8 Feb. 1791. In these letters Heckewelder engages the services of Alexander to survey five warrents of land (650 acres) in eastern Ohio purchased by Heckewelder and others. He also instructs Alexander to layout these warrents "on a good rich spot, and as near the Christian Indians Tract as possible." Also included in this collection are two other letters - one to Noah Worcester (Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts Peace Society) in 1818 and the other to John Huffnagle (Philadelphia merchant) in 1822. In the letter to Worcester, Heckewelder describes the peace efforts and mission of the Moravian Church. And in a short letter to Huffnagle, he mentions his grafting attempts of fruit trees and his failing health.


  • Creation: 1790-1822


Biographical / Historical

Missionary of the Moravian Church to the Indians of Ohio and Pennsylvania during the latter half of the eighteenth century, Heckewelder spent many years learning the languages and customs of these Indian tribes.,He was most familiar with the Ohio Country Delaware and Mohegan Indians helping to establish the Moravian Mission of Gnadenhutten, Ohio in the 1760's and 1770's. Heckewelder vividly recorded in contemporary correspondence and in later accounts his experiences and broad knowledge of Indian life and of colonial affairs in the Ohio Valley.


0.1 Linear Feet (7 folders)

Language of Materials


Ownership and Custodial History

Forms part of the Edward E. Ayer Manuscript Collection (Newberry Library)

Bibliographic References

Butler, R. L. Checklist of Mss. in the Ayer Coll.,,378

Catalog Record Only
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States