On this day March 8, 1782
Almost 100 Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio died at the hands of Pennsylvanian militiamen in a mass murder known as the Gnadenhutten massacre.
The massacre, also known as the Moravian massacre, was the killing on March 8, 1782, of ninety-six Christian American Indians by American militia from Pennsylvania during the American Revolutionary War.
The incident took place at the Moravian missionary village of Gnadenhütten, Ohio, which was located near what is now the town of Gnadenhutten, Ohio. Already in 1755, Gnadenhütten, Pennsylvania had been subject to a massacre of converted natives by other natives.
In September 1781, British-allied Indians, primarily Wyandots and Delawares, forcibly removed the Christian Indians and the missionaries from the Moravian villages, relocating them to a new village (“Captive Town”) on the Sandusky River.
Missionaries David Zeisberger and John Heckewelder were taken to Detroit and tried for treason by the British, who suspected them of providing military intelligence to the American Army at Fort Pitt. The missionaries were acquitted, although Zeisberger and Heckewelder were indeed keeping the Americans at Fort Pitt informed of the movements of the British and their Indian allies.
Meanwhile, the Indians were going hungry at Captive Town. In February 1782, over 100 of them returned to their old Moravian villages in order to harvest the crops they had been forced to leave behind.
However, the frontier war was still raging, and in early March 1782, a raiding party of 160 Pennsylvania militiamen under Lieutenant Colonel David Williamson rounded up the Indians and accused them of taking part in the ongoing raids into Pennsylvania.
They truthfully denied the charges, but the raiding party held a council and voted to kill them all anyway. Some militiamen opposed this action and withdrew from the area. The Indians, informed of their fate, spent the night praying and singing hymns.
The next morning on 8 March, the Indians were killed as they knelt, their skulls crushed with mallets. In all, 28 men, 29 women, and 39 children were murdered and scalped. The corpses were heaped into the mission buildings and the town was burned to the ground. The other abandoned Moravian towns were then burned as well. Two boys, one of whom had been scalped, survived to tell of the massacre.