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Remembering the Gnadenhutten Massacre

Article by Michael E. Carter

In the Book of Judges, the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, there is a story centered around use of the word shibboleth as a military password. The tale states that the word was chosen by the victorious Gileadites since their enemies could not pronounce the word correctly. Therefore, any infiltrators who crossed over the Jordan River could easily be revealed upon failing this test and swiftly put to the sword. It was an obstacle specifically designed to be insurmountable. The establishment of a similarly impossible to overcome barrier would deployed on the frontier of Ohio in 1782 amid the musket smoke and raging fire of the American Revolution. Amid a war for independence between colony and empire, a force of frontiersmen would look upon their perceived enemy and decide their fate horrifically when the allegorical password they constructed could not be passed.


Michael E. Carter is an independent scholar who graduated with his M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Kean University. He focuses on colonial genocide in the Western Hemisphere primarily on the destruction of the Native Americans. You can follow him on Twitter at @DeckofCarter.


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