Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ETTWEIN, John, Moravian bishop, born in Trendenstadt, Wurtemberg, 29 June 1721; died in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 2 January 1802. In 1754 he came to the American colonies, where he la bored for nearlyhalf a century as an evangelist, as a pastor, and finally as a bishOPepiscopacyOf theMoravian Church. He was consecratedto the on 25 ,June 1784.In 1801, owing to the infirmities of old age, he retiredfrom active service.Few men of the last century displayed greater zeal in spreading the gospel through the country of his adoption. He studied the language of the Delaware Indians, prepared a small dictionary and phrasebook thereof, and in 1788 gave an account of their language and traditions, including a vocabulary, since published by the Historical society of Pennsylvania. He traveled thousands of miles, often on foot, and preached in eleven of the thirteen original colonies and in what is now the state of Ohio; "in cities," to use his own words, "in villages, in homesteads, from pulpits, in the open air, in courthouses and barns, to many and very different classes of men."
He labored frequently among the Indians, and in 1772 led the Christian Indians from the Susquehanna to the Tuscarawas valley of Ohio, a journey of eight weeks, full of hardships and dangers, and ministered with great faithfulness to the sick of the American army, in 1776 and 1777, when the general hospital had been established at Bethlehem. Throughout the Revolutionary war he received, in the name of his Church, the many distinguished visitors who flocked to that town, both military officers and statesmen. With some of the latter he became intimate. Henry Laurens, of South Carolina, was his particular friend. On various occasions he corresponded with Washington and negotiated with congress, as the agent of the Moravians. Not the least important act of his life was the founding, in 1787, of the "Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen," which still exists, has a large endowment, and contributes liberal amounts toward the support of the extensive missions of the Moravian Church. Ettwein stood at the head of this Church as its presiding bishop for seventeen years, displaying sound judgment, great decision of character, and often, amid trying circumstances, a marvelous heroism. He was quick in expressing his opinions, and abrupt in his utterances; but upon closer acquaintance whatever seemed offensive was forgotten.
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