Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Tuscarawas River’

Delaware Indians Settle Schoenbrunn Village

Schoenbrunn signStep back in time nearly two hundred and fifty years to see the location of the first church and school west of the Allegheny Mountains. Along the banks of the Tuscarawas River in New Philadelphia experience historic Schoenbrunn Village.

Schoenbrunn Scouts

Scouts from Pennsylvania came to see if this would be a great place to settle.

A group of Christian Delaware Indians arrived from Pennsylvania with Moravian missionary, David Zeisberger, in 1772. They came by invitation of Chief Netawatwes, head of the Turtle Tribe in the Tuscarawas Valley of Ohio.

Schoenbrunn David Zeisberger

This portrait of David Zeisberger hangs in their museum.

David was born in Moravia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. His parents immigrated to Georgia to become missionaries. They sent David to school in Holland, but harsh conditions there caused him to flee to the United States to join his parents.

The family moved to Pennsylvania, where David began preparing for his calling as a missionary to the Indians. He studied their language and learned the traditions of the tribe. Often considered a genius, many called Zeisberger the Apostle of the Indians.

Schoenbrunn Guide

A guide welcomed visitors as he strolled through the reconstructed village.

Near a big spring, deep in the woods, a settlement was established called ‘Beautiful Spring’ by the  Delaware Indians, but translated into ‘Schoenbrunn’ by the Germans. This provided a safe place for the Delaware Indians who had converted to the Moravian faith. Religious services were an important part of each day.

Schoenbrunn Indians

These young men both had Indian blood – one Iroquois and the other Delaware. The glass beads they wore served as early travelers’ checks.

From 1772-1777, this village housed approximately 300 people. The only white people there were Zeisberger, his assistant missionary and the missionary’s wife. The remainder of the village consisted of Christian Delaware Indians.

The village had a short five-year existence due to pressure from both Delaware Indians, and frontiersmen wanting to settle in Ohio. Originally the village contained about forty buildings, but over time these buildings were destroyed, the land was farmed, and all traces removed of the settlement.

The people of Tuscarawas County wished to commemorate this development. Maps, letters and the original diaries of Zeisberger led them to the general area where the town existed.  After extensive research and archaeological excavations, the sites of the school and church were discovered and rebuilding of Schoenbrunn began in 1927.

Schoenbrunn Museum Tools

Museum exhibits display tools used during the early days of Schoenbrunn.

At the entrance stands a museum filled with historic exhibits and an excellent video explaining the history of Zeisberger and the founding of Schoenbrunn Village. Here you will find tools the Delaware Indians used, the original school bell, and books written by Zeisberger. These included a translation of the Four Gospels into Delaware Indian language.

Schoenbrunn Herb Garden

An herb garden provided their medicine. Most had confidence in the medicine man’s healing.

Today, Schoenbrunn contains seventeen reconstructed buildings, including the church and the school on their original sites. The location of the cemetery has also been discovered, while  the stones were created in the 1920s. The Moravians had used identical wooden crosses on all graves because they felt all were equal in death.

Schoenbrunn Candle Makers

Two Moravian women had the heavy task of making candles by dipping them fifty or sixty times.

The candlemakers in the Davis cabin actually still make all the candles used throughout the village. They were made of pure beeswax in those early days, to signify the purity of Christ. The Davis cabin served as home to a Native American, his wife and four children. The walls in many of the cabins were whitewashed in order to reflect the candle light.

Schoenbrunn School with volunteers

Costumed volunteers meandered in front of the school where both boys and girls were educated.

Their schoolhouse sat in the center of the village where both boys and girls received instruction in their native Delaware language. Two doors entered the building – one for the girls to use, and one for the boys. In 1775, there were approximately one hundred children being educated.

Schoenbrunn Wordworking

Children enjoyed watching a wood-maker finish a leg for a bench. He also served as the interpreter for the village.

Anton cabin served as home to the village interpreter, making it easier for the whites and various Indian tribes to communicate with each other. This Delaware Indian also was talented in woodworking, making benches and repairing spinning wheels and wooden door hinges. Building a cabin took twenty-three days.

Everything in their community from school and church to their burial in God’s Acre was divided into what they called “choirs”. The young men and boys were placed together, the young women and girls, and then older men and older women. They did not congregate as families or get buried as such.

Schoenbrunn cooking fire

The missionary’s wife cooked meals here for her husband and David Zeisberger, a bachelor.

Authentically dressed volunteers, who all have a passion for history, help you understand what life was like in the 18th century. They serve as storytellers to explain the daily life of the early residents as well as the importance of missions in American history.

Schoenbrunn Butter Churn

Churning butter took much time and patience.

Visit this historic Schoenbrunn Village Monday through Sunday from Memorial Day to the end of August. During September and October, they are only open on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great place for a family excursion, where you can have an enjoyable outdoor adventure while learning about the history of early America.

Schoenbrunn Village is located in Tuscarawas County at 1984 E. High Street, New Philadelphia, Ohio.  From I-77, take Exit 81 East on US 250.  Next take Ohio Exit 259 to E High Street. The village will be on the left.

Zoar Village Garden’s Symbolic Design

Day Lilies greet visitors to the Zoar Gardens.

Day Lilies greet visitors at Zoar Garden.

Summer time and the flowers are blooming! The beautiful garden at Zoar Village seems most spectacular during the month of July. An entire block of vegetable and flower beds will have you wanting to find a seat and enjoy the scenery, or casually stroll down the pathways.

Long ago this garden began as a place for the communal village to grow their vegetables as well as brighten their life with flowers. Who tended those early gardens at Zoar? School boys and elderly men received this assignment as the female occupants all had household chores that must be done daily, while the men were either working the fields or building the Ohio and Erie Canal.

The center of the block garden has a special spiritual significance.

The center of the block garden has a special spiritual significance.

The spectacular Zoar Garden symbolized New Jerusalem to those German Separatists in the early 1800s. At its center stands a tall, slightly bent, Norway spruce, which represents Jesus. Surrounding the tall pine, twelve smaller junipers depict the twelve disciples.

These in turn are circled by an arbor vitae hedge, indicating heaven. Paths in the garden are proclaimed as pathways to paradise showing that no matter what path you take, if you look to Christ, you will be led to heaven.These people had strong religious beliefs now that they were free to worship as they pleased in the United States.

During the winter months, the greenhouse is filled with tropical plants.

The Gardener’s House had a conveniently attached greenhouse.

At the north end of the garden stands the Gardener’s House, which served as residence for gardener, Simon Beuter, and his family back in 1835. Shortly thereafter, a greenhouse, or hothouse, was added. Since they grew oranges, lemons and other fruit in the middle of winter in the greenhouse, it was also called the Orangerie.

Tropical plants were stored in the greenhouse during the winter months.

Tropical plants were stored in the greenhouse during the winter months.

Hothouses were unheard of in Ohio at this time. The tropical fruit trees were kept outside in large wooden tubs in the summer, but could easily be moved into the greenhouse during the cold winter months. After the Ohio and Erie Canal was built, wealthy Clevelanders would send their plants during winter to Zoar to be kept in the greenhouse, because of its unique underground heating system.

A vegetable garden would naturally have been part of the Zoarites Garden.

A vegetable garden would naturally have been part of the Zoarites’ Garden.

Research shows the Separatists frequently used many home remedies for ailments so grew medicinal types of herbs in their communal garden. They also grew fresh fruits and vegetables to provide strawberries and cabbages for the Zoar Hotel, where President William McKinley often dined on a Sunday afternoon.

Charming flower boxes on local fences added to the beauty of the village.

Charming flower boxes on local fences add to the beauty of the village.

Along the streets of town, many residents have beautiful flower gardens of their own. Baskets of flowers grace fences, and bushes bloom with beauty. There is much to see and do throughout the village with costumed guides telling about life there long ago.

While in the area take a stroll through Zoar Wetlands Arboretum or find the Trailhead nearby for the one-hundred mile long Towpath Trail of the old Ohio and Erie Canal.

Plan a visit to delightful Zoar Village on the banks of the Tuscarawas River where a guide remarked, “You could live your whole life here and never need cash. They believed cash was corrupting. It turns out they were right.”

Zoar Village can be reached just three miles off I-77 at Exit 93 between Dover and Canton, Ohio. 

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