GLIKHIKAN (Glickhican, usually translated as gun sight or sight on a gun barrel; baptized Isaac), Munsee Delaware warrior and orator, Moravian convert and “native elder”; probably b. c. 1730 in Pennsylvania; d. 8 March 1782 at Gnadenhutten (Ohio).
An eminent Delaware war captain, Glikhikan journeyed to Canada in support of the French during the Seven Years’ War. In 1763 he participated in the siege of Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh, Pa) during Pontiac*’s uprising. He was the most influential counsellor to Packnake, head chief of the Munsee Delawares at Kuskuski (near New Castle, Pa). An early opponent of Christianity, Glikhikan had contested the efforts of the Jesuits among the tribes bordering on lakes Erie and Ontario. In 1769 he journeyed to the new Moravian mission at Lawunakhannek (near Franklin, Pa), intending to force David Zeisberger* and other missionaries from the region. While at Lawunakhannek, he listened to Zeisberger preach and soon was converted to Christianity. During the following year he was instrumental in extending the Delaware invitation to the Moravians to establish a new mission, Languntoutenünk (probably near Darlington), on the Beaver River in western Pennsylvania. On Christmas eve 1770 he was baptized into the Moravian congregation there.
Glikhikan remained a dedicated Christian and assisted Zeisberger and John Gottlieb Ernestus Hackenwelder (Heckewelder) in their attempts to spread the Moravian faith among the tribes of the Ohio valley. Glikhikan’s former stature as an orator and warrior enabled him to exert considerable influence, and he soon became a “national helper” or “native elder.” In 1772 he and the Moravian Indians moved to the present Tuscarawas River in eastern Ohio, where they founded two new settlements: Schoenbrunn (near New Philadelphia) and Gnadenhutten.
During Lord Dunmore’s War (between Virginia and the Shawnees in 1774), Glikhikan assisted the Delaware chief White Eyes in keeping his tribe out of the conflict, and when the American revolution erupted, he used his influence to prevent large numbers of Delawares from joining the British. Although the Moravian villages proclaimed neutrality, the missionaries and the converts favoured the Americans and occasionally supplied American leaders at Pittsburgh with intelligence of British raiding parties. Between 1777 and 1781 Glikhikan successfully persuaded several groups of pro-British Indians who were passing through the Moravian towns to return to their villages without striking the Americans. He also protected Zeisberger and other missionaries from hostile warriors.
In September 1781 a large British war party led by Matthew Elliott*, the Wyandot chief Pomoacan (Half-King), and the Delaware chief Konieschguanokee (Captain Pipe) forced Glikhikan, the missionaries, and the Moravian Indians to abandon their settlements in the Tuscarawas valley and resettle at Captives’ Town on the upper Sandusky River. During late October Glikhikan, Zeisberger, Hackenwelder, and several of the Moravian Indians journeyed to Detroit, where they were interrogated by the British commander, Major Arent Schuyler De Peyster. De Peyster found them innocent of the charges that they had actively aided the Americans, and in November 1781 Glikhikan and the missionaries returned to Captives’ Town.
During the winter of 1781–82 the refugees on the Sandusky suffered from a severe shortage of food. In February 1782 Glikhikan led about 100 of the Indians back to the Tuscarawas towns, hoping to harvest the corn they had been forced to abandon the previous September. At Gnadenhutten, Glikhikan and his followers were surprised by a force of Pennsylvania militia commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel David Williamson. The Pennsylvanians accused the Moravian Indians of supporting the British, and on 8 March 1782 Glikhikan, his wife Anna, and 88 others died under the hatchets and mallets of the Americans.
Documentary history of Dunmore’s War, ed. R. G. Thwaites and L. P. Kellogg (Madison, Wis., 1905), 28. Frontier advance on the upper Ohio, 1778–1779, ed. L. P. Kellogg (Madison, 1916), 240–61. Frontier retreat on the upper Ohio, 1779–1781, ed. L. P. Kellogg (Madison, 1917), 120–346. [J. G. E. Hackenwelder], Narrative of the mission of the United Brethren among the Delaware and Mohegan Indians . . . (Philadelphia, 1820; repr. New York, 1971), 100–226; Thirty thousand miles with John Heckewelder, ed. P. A. W. Wallace (Pittsburgh Pa., 1958), 85–200. “John Ettwein and the Moravian Church during the revolutionary period,” ed. K. G. Hamilton, Moravian Hist. Soc., Trans. (Bethlehem, Pa.), XII (1940), 342–62. Michigan Pioneer Coll., X (1886), 523 538–41. Pa. Archives (Hazard et al.), 1st ser., VII, 541–42; IX 524–42. [David Zeisberger], Diary of David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary among the Indians of Ohio, ed. and trans. E. F. Bliss (2v., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1885), I, 1–65. Handbook of American Indians (Hodge). C. W. Butterfield, History of the Girtys . . . (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1890), 98–102. Edmund De Schweinitz, The life and times of David Zeisberger . . . (Philadelphia, 1871), 350–550. Gnadenhuetten Monument Soc., A true history of the massacre of ninety-six Christian Indians, at Gnadenhuetten, Ohio, March 8th, 1782 (New Philadelphia, Ohio, 1844), 1–12. E. [E. L.] and L. R. Gray, Wilderness Christians, the Moravian mission to the Delaware Indians (Toronto and Ithaca, N.Y., 1956), 40–75. Reginald Horsman, Matthew Elliott, British Indian agent (Detroit, 1964), 25–40. W. H. Rice, David Zeisberger and his brown brethren (Bethlehem, Pa., 1897). P. A. W. Wallace, Indians in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Pa., 1961), 173. C. A. Weslager, The Delaware Indians, a history (New Brunswick, N.J., 1972), 221–317.
© 1979–2023 University of Toronto/Université Laval
Cite This Article
R. David Edmunds, “GLIKHIKAN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 29, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/glikhikan_4E.html.
The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:
|Author of Article:||R. David Edmunds|
|Title of Article:||GLIKHIKAN|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1979|
|Year of revision:||1979|
|Access Date:||May 29, 2023|