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.