Friedenshütten Mission

In 1763, Moravian Christians established a mission in present-day Wyalusing called Friedenshütten. For nearly a decade, Christianized natives lived and practiced their faith as a community. The mission consisted primarily of natives of Munsee and Lenape heritage. However, the inhabitants could be better understood by the term “Wyoming Delawares.” Interestingly, a single Mohican man named Jacob was a member of the community.

Many natives were certainly genuine converts to Christianity. However, one can easily imagine that some natives simply understood Friedenshütten as a place that one could find some peace and safety. As a result, some natives likely reluctantly accepted Christianity, or faked acceptance, for the sake of their own well-being. The community at Friedenshütten could not have been monolithic in their motivations and beliefs.

In the 1760's, Friedenshütten thrived in comparison to other missions in the region. They did not struggle for food. In fact, as Amy Schutt notes in her book Peoples of the River Valleys: The Odyseey of the Delaware Indians, in 1767, "57 needy and hungry Nanticokes, among whom were two chiefs, arrived with their wives and children." The community received them with open arms and held a great feast. The mission was also known to trade away and give away food to others in need.

By the early 1770’s, however, Friedenshütten was a struggling community. Leaders were petitioning the government for new land, protection, and simply for supplies. Eventually, the turmoil in the region became too much. In 1772, Friedenshütten was abandoned and the Moravian natives, or “praying Indians” as they were called, moved westward to Ohio where a tragic fate awaited them (see "Collapse" under the "Understanding the Wyoming Valley" tab).

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