PILGERRUH (or Pilgrim's Rest) was the first organized settlement in the Cleveland area. Located in the Cuyahoga Valley, Pilgerruh was established in Aug. 1786 by Moravian missionaries and their Indian converts. They were led by Rev. John Heckewelder and Rev. David Zeisberger, who had been involved in the settlements of Schoenbrunn (the first organized settlement in Ohio) and Gnadenhutten (both 1772) in the Tuscarawas Valley. Driven out of the Tuscarawas area during the Revolutionary War by the British, the pacifist Moravians went to the Detroit area and established New Gnadenhutten on the Huron River. On 24 Aug. 1786 Congress awarded them their lands in the Tuscarawas Valley, but warnings of continued hostilities from neighboring tribes thwarted their return. Instead they headed east to the Cuyahoga Valley, where they constructed 28 buildings on the ruins of an old Ottawa village. Although Rev. Heckewelder drew a map of the village, the topography of the area has changed over the years, making the exact site difficult to pinpoint. Archeological studies by David Sanders Clark (1936) placed the village near the present Canal and Schreiber roads. Excavations and ground searches (1980) by David Brose of the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY place Pilgerruh between the present Stone and Schreiber roads between the OHIO AND ERIE CANAL and the Cuyahoga. Other interpretations of the map place it closer to the junction of TINKER'S CREEK and the Cuyahoga. Wherever it actually was, by 19 Apr. 1787 the Moravians had left Pilgerruh and headed west to establish New Salem near Milan, OH.

Heckewelder, John. "Settlement der Indianer Gemeine an-der Cayahaga" (map of Pilgerruh) (ca. 1794), WRHS.

Article Categories