Moravian Monument

(Sharon, Connecticut)

Main attributes of this Native American place: In Tribal history; Marker; In historic documents.

In July of 1859 the Moravian Historical Society of Nazareth, Pennsylvania determined to raise
monuments in honor of those nearly forgotten missionaries of the United Brethren (also known as The Moravian Church) who had labored so diligently and successfully among the Native American communities of Shekomeko (present Pine Plains, New York), Wechquadnach (on the east shore of Indian Pond in Sharon), and Pishgatikuk (also known as Pachgatgoch, Scatacook, or Schaghticoke) in Kent, converting their members to the Moravian form of Protestantism. They accomplished this goal in October 1859. Included in this event was the raising of a large stone monument in Sharon along what is now Route 361 in honor of two Moravian missionaries who managed the Church’s mission in western Sharon during the 18th century.

Specifically, the monument lauds the Scottish teacher and ministerial assistant David Bruce and his predecessor, the minister Joseph Powel. Bruce managed the mission to the Mohicans and other indigenous peoples at the Indian village of Wechquadnach, and was much beloved by his Christian Indian congregation. He died at the mission on July 9, 1749 and was buried there by his Indian congregants. The Moravian missionary from the nearby village of Schaghticoke in Kent had placed a headstone on Bruce’s grave that read:

David Bruce, From Edinburgh in Scotland,
Minister of The Brethren’s Church, Among the Indians.
Departed 1749

He also built a fence about the grave. Sometime after 1825 the headstone was vandalized and fragmented. The local Mohicans lost their lands and the mission was abandoned in 1755. It was resurrected when a group of whites petitioned the Moravian Church for a minister. The Reverend Powel administered to his white congregation until his death in 1774.

The Moravian Historical Society replaced the vandalized headstone with a four-sided stone monument that was carved on each side:

North Side:
JOSEPH POWEL,
A Minister of the Gospel, in the Church of the United Brethren. Born in 1710, Near White Church,
Shropshire, England: Died Sept. 23, 1774, At Sichem in the Oblong Duchess Co., N. Y.

South Side:
DAVID BRUCE,
A Minister of the Gospel in the
Church of the United Brethren from
Edinburgh, in Scotland.

Died July 9, 1749

At the Wechquadnock Mission,
Duchess Co., N. Y.

East Side:
How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him that bringeth
Good tidings, that publisheth peace,
That bringeth good tidings of good,
That publisheth salvation
(Biblical passage from Isaiah LII,7)

West Side:
Erected by the Moravian Historical Society
October 6, 1859

Contributor: Lucianne Lavin

SOURCES

Hidden Nearby: Sharon’s Moravian Monument”, anonymous article posted on the web site entitled “Hidden in Plain Sight, the public history of one Connecticut town”; https://hiddeninplainsightblog.com/2014/02/12/hidden-nearby-sharons-moravian-monument/, Blog accessed June 27, 2016.

Reichel, W. C. 1860. A Memorial of the Dedications of Monuments Erected by the Moravian Historical Society. New York: C. B. Richardson and Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co.

Sedgwick, Charles F. 1877. General History of the Town of Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, from its First Settlement, 2nd Ed.. Amenia, N. Y.: Walsh, C. See “Chapter VI, The History of the
Moravian Missions in Sharon.”

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