Goshen’s First Church



By: Mary Krocker   

The Moravian mission and the very first church at Goshen were established about 1798 by missionary David Zeisberger. The mission house is believed to have been located at the site of the Hibb’s family home, across from the former school. Eric Sickafoose and his family now live there and a portion of the house is log. According to information taken from a diary of the pastor at the former Beersheba Mission, near Lock Seventeen, he and Brother John Heckewelder, of Gnadenhutten rode to Goshen in June 1806, to participate in a special service.

“The road was fenced and not in good condition and the horses had trouble walking on it,” wrote the missionary from Beersheba. “But we had a very pleasant day at Goshen with the missionaries there.”

In February 1807, he and another resident of Beersheba were asked to walk to Goshen to visit Rev. Zeisberger, whose health was declining.

    “We walked from 8 a.m. to noon to Goshen. Rev. Zeisberger was still weak but our visit seemed to enliven his spirits in a great measure,” he wrote in the diary.

    In November 1808, the pastor at Beersheba went to Gnadenhutten mission to find an Indian boy had been sent from Goshen to tell them David Zeisberger had died. Many Beersheba residents went to Goshen for funeral services, which were presented in English, but were interpreted for the Indians. That evening, by candlelight, the Indians held a lovefeast service in memory of their beloved teacher.

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