Friday, October 10, 2014

First White Child Born in Ohio - John Lewis Roth

The permanent presence of Europeans/whites in Ohio can be traced back to present day Tuscarawas County. On July 4th, 1773, John Lewis Roth's birth in the mission house at Gnadenhutten marked the first time a white child had been born in Ohio. His father was Johann Roth, and his mother was Maria Agnes Roth. Johann was a clergyman who served whites and natives in Ohio and Pennsylvania from roughly 1756 until his death in 1791. Maria served alongside him and gave birth to three or four children (I am confused as to how many children they had because they were all sons, and although they were all given a distinct middle name, they were all given the first name 'John'...). It's hard to imagine how perilous it must have been for a woman to live in relative wilderness while heavily pregnant, never knowing if her survival or that of her child was guaranteed. 

Plaque reads:

This tablet marks the birthplace of the
first white child born in the Moravian
mission house at Gnadenhutten

John Lewis Roth

Born July 4, 1773 - Died Sept. 25, 1842
Buried at Bath, PA

Erected by the Ohio Society Daughters of the American Colonists

The reconstructed mission house in the background is the same location where, in 1782, native Christian converts would be massacred. It is hard to consider European/white colonization of the Americas as a triumph when their presence brought such great suffering to the natives they encountered. 

Mother and Father of John Lewis Roth on Find a Grave:

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