April 30th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
After I left Newcomerstown, I went to Coshocton, which was once a principal Lenape village in the Ohio Country. I spent Thursday and Friday in the town at a little inn kind of place. I wanted to spend some time resting before I battled whatever kind of weather that would occur throughout the next few days. I am still optimistic that I’ll enjoy one full and sunny day in Ohio before I leave this state and move on to the next.
Yesterday was a particularly interesting day. I woke up to rain, as usual. I was trying to do things slowly and spend the day resting, but I don’t really know how to rest. I couldn’t nap or rest my legs, so I got up and did a little bit of walking around the town.
During my walk I stumbled upon the Coshocton County Courthouse. It was a large and historical looking building. I stepped inside and the guard permitted me to enter. As I was about to explore the courthouse, I ran into someone who appeared to be in charge of the courthouse. We talked for a few minutes before I figured out that a court hearing was about to happen! The man was so interested in the Trail that he postponed the court hearing so I could go into the courtroom and look around.
Grateful for this opportunity, I ventured inside. My eyes immediately gravitated towards a large mural on the upper portion of one of the walls. The mural depicted the Lenape Indians signing a treaty with Colonel Henry Bouquet in 1764. The beautiful work of art was created by a man named Arthur William Woelfle.
Looking on the depiction, I was immediately emotionally transported back to Fishtown and the Benjamin West depictions of Penn’s Treaty with the Lenape Indians. Penn’s Treaty is a foundation for the Trail of Hope. It’s based on the principles of love, peace, and amity. It was magnificent to see another depiction of a different treaty with the Lenape.
After taking a few pictures I started up a conversation with the court clerk sitting in the courtroom. We talked for about 15 minutes! Everyone in that courtroom was a living example of amity. I thought there must have been a reason for me staying an extra night in Coshocton and this adventure was that reason.
I left the courthouse and walked around the village some more. By this time the sun was peaking out of the clouds. I was so happy to have encountered such a wonderful piece of history in the town. This encounter brought my spirits to an even higher level. It was a truly special day.
Tomorrow I’ll be headed towards Dresden, Ohio with the hopes of nice weather!
April 29th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
By the late 1770s, Coshocton had become the principal Lenape (Delaware) village in the Ohio Country. Many Lenape had been forced to cede their lands in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and had migrated to Ohio Country from their traditional territory on the East Coast. In addition, they were under pressure by warfare from the Iroquois pressing down from their traditional base in present-day New York.
Chief Newcomer founded Coshocton, moving his people west from their former principal settlement of Newcomerstown. Most of the latter’s Lenape population of 700 followed Newcomer. Coshocton was across the Tuscarawas River from Conchake, the former site of a Wyandot village. By then the Wyandot had migrated northwest, in part of a movement of numerous tribes.
The western Lenape were split in their alliances during the American Revolutionary War. Those who allied with the British moved further west to the Sandusky River area. From there the British and Lenape raided frontier settlements.
Those Lenape sympathetic to the new United States stayed near Coshocton. Chief Newcomer signed the Fort Pitt Treaty of 1778, by which the Lenape hoped to secure their safety during the War, and promised scouts and support to the colonists.
In retaliation for frontier raids by hostile Lenape and British, Colonel Daniel Brodhead of the American militia ignored the treaty and destroyed the Lenape at Coshocton in April 1781.
After the Revolutionary War, the Ohio Country was opened to European-American settlement. They were mostly farmers in the early years, but development and greater trade accompanied the opening of the Erie Canal in 1824 across New York State. It provided transportation for farm products to eastern markets.
To improve their transportation of goods and people, residents of Ohio supported construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal. This enabled the transport of coal mined in the region, its most important resource commodity. In addition, the canal supported transport of goods manufactured by local industries that developed in the 19th century with the availability of coal.
April 28th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
Yesterday was a very long day but a wonderful day nonetheless. I started walking very early because I wanted to visit a lot of important places along the way. For the first half of the day it wasn’t raining but there was an intense and strong wind gusting in all directions! It was blowing into my face and pushing me backwards with its sheer strength. At times, the wind gusts even pushed me from left to right. It was an incredibly difficult walk with the insane wind.
Despite this challenge, I was still determined to visit all the important historical places on the Trail. My first stop was the village of Schoenbrunn. The area had been reconstructed to demonstrate an exact replica of the village. I found a small cemetery nestled inside the village. In the cemetery were two graves of young children from the Nanticoke Lenape Tribe. I was very excited to discover these graves since I have connections with Nanticoke Lenape in New Jersey today.
I walked around the village and then continued to my next stop, a village called Goshen. In this Moravian village, there were not many houses. I found another cemetery and the actual gravesite of Moravian missionary and friend of Lenape, David Zeisberger. Next to the cemetery sat a little tree stump where I sat to pause and reflect on the area, picturing what it once looked like. My mind wandered, imagining the times when life was so incredibly different and more peaceful than we could ever imagine.
I finally got off of my tree stump, paid my respects to David Zeisberger and continued to the next and most devastating historical site of the day, the village of Gnadenhutten and location of the Gnadenhutten massacre where 96 peaceful Lenape Indians were brutally murdered by American militiamen. I found the cemetery and memorial which was located along the river and spent some quiet time reflecting and paying my respects. It was incredibly moving, almost startling, to be standing at the very site where such hostility and violence took place and ruined the lives of Christian, peaceful people.
With a bit of sadness in my heart, I took off towards Newcomerstown. By 3pm, I found a little tavern in Tuscarawas called the Canal House. It was owned by a friendly gentleman named John. He made me a beautiful, bountiful and delicious lunch and listened to my stories from the Trail. After I finished eating, John told me lunch was on the house. I was incredibly grateful, but his kindness did not stop there. Turns out he had a connection with the Hampton Inn in Newcomerstown and he called to set up a room for the night for me on his tab! I was so thankful for his generosity and kindness and truly moved by his good heart. I was literally speechless!
Overall it was a very physically and emotionally draining day. It was full of different feelings. It still saddens me that the Christian Lenape just wanted to live in harmony and peace yet were consistently attacked or pushed outwards to the west. I’m thankful for John at the Canal House for his kindheartedness. I was able to end my wonderful yet draining day on a high note.
April 28th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
Newcomerstown and The Gnadenhutten Massacre of 1782
Newcomerstown is a village in Tuscarawas County, Ohio about 85 miles east-northeast of Columbus. The village was named after Chief Newcomer (Netawatwes) by early European-American traders and settlers and was once the largest Lenape village on the Tuscarawas River. Home to over 700 Lenape Indians, Newcomerstown was originally called Gekelmukpechunk.
In the late 1700s, the Lenape moved to Coshocton, founded by Chief Newcomer. Cochocton was across the Tuscarawas River from Conchake, the former site of a Wyandot village. During this time, the Western Lenape split their allegiances. Some allied with the British and moved further west while others allied with the Americans and stayed near Coschocton.
In 1778, Chief Newcomer signed the Treaty of Fort Pitt as an effort to ensure the safety o f his people. By signing this treaty, he pledged that the Lenape would serve as scouts and support the American colonists throughout the Revolutionary War. General Brodhead, McIntosh’s successor, received intelligence from the Moravian missionaries on the Tuscarawas that the Ohio Delaware Indians were planning a surprise attack on Fort Pitt and the town of Pittsburgh. In a violent raid by the British and Lenape British Allies, Brodhead destroyed the Lenape at Coshocton in April 1781. The village was burned to the ground as well as other local Lenape villages.
The survivors from the attack fled north. Colonel Brodhead convinced the militia to leave the converted Christian Lenape at the Moravian mission villages, such as the one in Gnadenhutten, for they were unarmed non-combatants.
The reprieve was short lived. In September 1781, British-allied Lenape forced the Christian Lenape and Moravian missionaries from the Moravian villages and took them towards a village near Lake Erie. Among these missionaries were David Zeisberger and John Heckewelder, who were forced back to Detroit and charged with treason. They were accused of supplying intelligence to the American commanders at Fort Pitt.
After being forced into a village known as “Captive Town,” the Christian Lenape suffered from a lack of food and other provisions. Despite the war raging on, they decided to venture back to their Moravian village in Gnadenhutten to harvest the crops and gather more provisions.
During this time, they were surprised by a raiding party of 160 Pennsylvanian militiamen led by Lieutenant Colonel David Williamson. The American militia accused the Christian Lenape of participating in raids and attacks which occurred in Pennsylvania. Thirsty for blood the Americans rounded up the Indians and voted to kill them.
The day before the planned executions, it is said the Lenape could be heard singing hymns, praying and pleading for mercy throughout the night. On March 8, 1782, the militia tied the Lenape Indians up, stunned them with mallet blows to the head and killed them with fatal scalping cuts. 28 men, 29 women and 39 children were brutally murdered. The militia burned the Moravian villages. The Lenape allies of the British were outraged by the slaughtering of their own people and sought revenge against American soldiers.
The militia raid against the Christian Lenape is known as the Gnadenutten massacre. A monument was erected in honor of those killed on that fateful day in March. The village has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
April 27th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
There are many times when we discover that life’s circumstances are not always what we might wish them to be. There will always be moments in our lives when things do not go as planned. Yet we can not allow the unpredictable obstacles hold us back from truly living. If we do not put our efforts into choosing a path to work towards, than we are more likely to not have any direction in our lives at all.
On every mountain there is a mountain top, a summit. You may not be able to see the very top of the mountain from the depths of the valley below, but you must trust that it is there. The Trail of Hope hasn’t been easy. While walking up and down the mountains in Pennsylvania, especially in bad weather, I was tired, in pain and felt as if the whole process was straining and exhausting. While traveling up a large mountain, I had to believe the summit was there and that the sweat, pain and effort would be worth it in the end.
Reaching each summit required a lot of determination and faith, but once I reached the top of each mountain, I was filled with a myriad of feelings and emotions. Standing on the top of the summit was magnificent, spectacular and I felt an incredible feeling of glory beyond the wildest imagination.
Without the tests of life, our chosen trail would be straight, flat, and dull and the road would lead nowhere. You can’t appreciate the sunshine until you’ve had to bear with the rain. You have to appreciate every moment, no matter how straining, and take from that moment everything you possible can because you may never be able to experience a moment like that again.
You have to free your mind of limitations and distractions and unite mind and body into a peaceful harmony without letting the world around you interfere.
You have to break yourself free of restraints and set yours sights high so you can reach your own personal summit.
April 27th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
( just outside present New Philadelphia, Oh. )
In 1772, David Zeisberger, a missionary of the Moravian Church, established the village of Schoenbrunn on the Tuscarawas River, near present-day New Philadelphia.
The word Schoenbrunn means “beautiful spring” in German. The purpose of this community was to provide Moravian missionaries a place to teach Christianity to Native Americans residing in Ohio. At its greatest size, Schoenbrunn had a population of four hundred Christian natives, mostly Delaware ( Lenni – Lenape ) Indians, and more than sixty buildings, including the first school and Christian church built in Ohio.
At Schoenbrunn, the Moravians required the natives to abandon most of their traditional religious beliefs and customs. Each male native worked either in the fields or in a skilled occupation. Women were responsible for the care of the home and their families as in European society. Once their charges accepted Christianity as the true faith, the Moravians gave each native a new Christian name. The converts had to practice the European custom of monogamous marriage. They also could not question the dictates of Christianity or the orders of the missionaries. All converts had to live in Schoenbrunn to prevent the natives from lapsing back to their traditional beliefs. The natives could no longer engage in violence and had to forsake all customs associated with warfare, including shaving their heads, painting their faces, and wearing scalp locks. Native children attended schools designed to provide them with instruction in both English and the missionaries’ religious beliefs. By requiring these rules of the Christian natives, the Moravians drove a wedge between those Delawares who converted and those who did not. Despite this, Schoenbrunn prospered, and the Moravians established new communities at Gnadenhutten and Lichtenau to accommodate additional converts.
During the American Revolution, the Moravians and their converts hoped to remain neutral, yet both the English and the Americans refused to trust them. Facing harassment from both sides, Zeisberger and his followers abandoned Schoenbrunn in early 1778. They held a final service in the church, after which they tore down their house of worship to prevent its desecration. At this time, most of the Moravians and their wards relocated to Lichtenau.
April 26th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
On Easter Sunday I ended up in Zoar, Ohio, a little village with an interesting history. I happened to stumble upon the only bed and breakfast in the village that was open and had vacancies despite it being Easter. Just from the bright teal door and the purple exterior, I knew these accommodations were far superior and more comfortable then my hotel in Canton the night before.
The Zoar School Inn was originally Zoar’s first schoolhouse built in 1836. Once a newer school was built in 1868, the old schoolhouse was turned into a residence and much later, an inn. It had four private bedrooms with simple yet beautiful décor. The innkeepers practiced the tradional European Custom of not wearing shoes around the house. So I respectfully wandered about the inn in my socks.
As fate would have it, the bed and breakfast was run by a couple who were of Polish decent. They were very hospitable. After walking all day in the rain, I was tired and pretty hungry. They fixed me a traditional Polish Easter soup with some additional trimmings. I wasn’t expecting such a wonderful Easter feast, especially not one inspired by my native land. We talked for awhile as I shared some brief stories from the Trail before I returned to my clean and welcoming room to rest for the evening.
The next morning, I enjoyed a delicious feast of a breakfast before biding the owners farewell. Before leaving Zoar, I decided to walk around the village to take some pictures and learn more about its history.
After I covered most of the village, I headed out towards New Philadelphia where I settled down in last evening. I’ll be taking a day to rest before continuing my journey. I’m excited to visit some of the most historical and significant places related to the Lenape Indians in the Tuscarawas County.
April 25th, 2011 § § permalink
Zoar was founded by German religious dissenters called the Society of Separatists of Zoar in 1817. It was a communal society, with many German-style structures that have been restored and are part of the Zoar Village State Memorial. There are presently ten restored buildings.
The Separatists, or Zoarites, emigrated from the kingdom of Württemberg in southwestern Germany due to religious oppression from the Lutheran church. Leading among their group were some natives of Rottenacker on the Danube. Having separated from the established church, their theology was based in part on the writings of Jakob Böhme. They did not practice baptism or confirmation and did not celebrate religious holidays except for the Sabbath. A central flower garden in Zoar is based on the Book of Revelation with a towering tree in the middle representing Christ and other elements surrounding it representing other allegorical elements.
The leader of the society was named Joseph Bimeler (also known as Joseph Bäumler or Bäumeler, born 1778), a pipemaker from Ulm. His charismatic leadership carried the village through a number of crises.
An early event critical to the success of the colony was the digging of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The Zoarites had purchased 5,000 acres (20 km2) of land sight unseen and used loans to pay for it. The loans were to be paid off by 1830. The Society struggled for many years to determine what products and services they could produce in their village to pay off the loans. The state of Ohio required some of the Zoarite land to be used as a right of way and offered the Zoarites an opportunity to assist in digging the canals for money. The state gave them a choice of digging it themselves for pay or having the state pay others to dig the canal. The Zoarites then spent several years in the 1820s digging the canal and thus were able to pay off their loans on time with much money to spare.
Bimeler’s death on August 31, 1853 led to a slow decline in the cohesion of the village. By 1898, the village voted to disband the communal society and the property was divided among the remaining residents.
April 25th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
Nearly everyday since I’ve been in Ohio, it has been raining! On Saturday, April 23rd, my day started off with an ominous grey and cloudy sky. It began to rain on and off but of course, I kept walking. On this section of the Trail, I had to take more than one route to get where I was headed. I had to make a few turns and one of those turns ended up being a wrong turn. I continued in this direction until the sun started peaking out of the clouds. It was then when I thought this can’t be right. I spotted a farmer cutting grass along the side of the road and asked him for directions. Sadly, I had gone 5 miles in the opposite direction.
By late evening I arrived in Canton, Ohio. Exhausted from the extra 10 miles, I ventured into the little city. The area didn’t look very promising. It was a disarray of a city, made up of a couple square blocks and some interesting looking characters. Across the city I found what seemed like the only hotel in the area.
I walked into the reception area and was greeted by a desk shielded by a panel of bulletproof glass. There was a tiny hole with a microphone to speak into. I managed to get a room for the night. The man behind the glass told me it was room 36 and it would be on the second floor. Before I could look for the stairs, a man came up to me and said ‘my man, what time is it?’ I told him it was a little after 8pm and he went about his way.
After this little exchange, I started looking around for the stairs. I found a set of stairs that resembled a fire escape and thought this must be it. At the base of the stairs there was a woman standing at the entrance of her room with the door wide open. Recognizing she was clearly “a lady of the night,” I tipped my hat to her, smiled, and said “howdy.” She smiled and invited me inside but I politely declined and continued up the stairs to find my room.
When I got to the second floor, I was surprised to see that all of the room numbers were out of order. They went from 24 to 63 to 38 and so on. The door to room 35 was halfway open so I called out asking where room 36 might be. Two interesting looking characters came out of the room and pointed down the hall.
A few minutes later, I finally found my room. I put my key in the lock, opened the door and was almost knocked over by the myriad of smells wafting about inside. It smelled like a combination of things beyond your imagination! I couldn’t touch anything in the room for fear of getting sick or contaminated somehow. I put my bag down and went out onto a little balcony at the front of the hotel to have a cigarette.
While leaning against the banister of the balcony, and enjoying the less than ideal scenery of downtown, the “ma man” guy from earlier who asked me the time called up to me from the street. “Hey cowboy, do you want a girl?” he asked. Now, I had been getting all sorts of comments because my hat kind of resembled a cowboy hat. People in the city and even in the hotel had nicknamed me “cowboy” and “Dundee” for the character, Crocodile Dundee.
I managed not to laugh and smiled at the guy while once again politely declining another offer. He walked away and I returned to the stench of my room for the night. I didn’t even want to pull back the sheets of the bed so I laid on top of the bed with all of my clothes on. Despite the fact I was beyond exhausted, I couldn’t sleep. There were tons of strange and crazy noises carrying on throughout the night. It wasn’t until well after 2am when I managed to doze off for a bit. When I awoke at 7am, I picked up my bag and bolted out of there.
April 24th, 2011 § Leave a comment § permalink
Nestled in the heartbreak and poverty of South Camden, New Jersey, sits the Scared Heart Church. It serves as a beacon of light, welcoming all persons from near and far to come inside its doors and experience the power of hope. For 35 years, a humble yet well known priest strives each day to provide peace and hope to those in need. He is innovative, compassionate, and committed to spreading God’s love to the otherwise forgotten, abandoned and hopeless.
Father Michael Doyle felt committed to peace from a young age. He has always been a positive influence to others through thought, word, and most importantly, action. Fr. Doyle aims to spread the message of hope throughout Camden, NJ, encouraging everyone to have faith that tomorrow will be a better day and despite the most horrid conditions, people can still create their own destiny.
Fr. Doyle is a champion of peace. He has dedicated his life to Camden’s deteriorating neighborhoods. He founded “The Heart of Camden,” which is a program that transforms abandoned houses into suitable dwelling places and sells them to residents. As of January 2011, the parish had rehabilitated 200 neighborhood homes. Additionally, the Sacred Heart Church functions as a soup kitchen each weekend, feeding hundreds of families in need.
While visiting Camden with my good friend, John Connors, I was privileged to be introduced to Fr. Doyle. I was moved by his compassion for others and inspired by his steadfast determination to transform the area house by house, family by family, and person by person. In our brief conversation, Fr. Doyle instilled a sense of hope within my heart just by describing the people his parish served and the mission he carries out with such humility.
From the schools to the parish and out in the violent and broken neighborhoods, Fr. Doyle is a living beacon for hope and peace. For these many reasons, Father Michael Doyle is truly a silent hero.