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National Historic Landmark CONRAD WEISER HOME

Location: Conrad Weiser Memorial Park, U.S. 422 near Womelsdorf, Berks County.

Ownership and Administration (1961). Historical and Museum Commission, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg.

Significance. Conrad Weiser, peacemaker among the Indians, contributed largely to the rapid advance of the 18th-century frontier and thereby to the development of the English Colonies. Although somewhat neglected by historians, his role in Indian affairs was in truth an important one. Emigrating from Germany in 1710, at the age of 14, Weiser lived near Schoharie, New York, where he learned much about the Indians and their language and matured his thinking on the Indian problem in general. In 1729 he moved to Pennsylvania's Tulpehocken Valley where he prospered as a farmer. His appreciation of Indian affairs and knowledge of Indian languages were probably unequaled in the Colonies, and provincial officers often sought his services as an ambassador to the Six Nations. Weiser's skill and courage were largely responsible for winning the support of the Iroquois for the English. He helped formulate an Indian policy based on recognition of the Iroquois as sovereign over the other Indians of Pennsylvania, but in the process alienated the Delawares and Shawnees. Weiser saw the Indian problem as one common to all the Colonies, not to be solved by the separate efforts of the Provinces. He helped avert war between Virginia and the Iroquois in 1743, and his influence proved instrumental in shifting the emphasis of British Indian policy from New York to Pennsylvania. Weiser won over the western tribes by the Treaty of Logstown in 1748, thereby extending Pennsylvania's Indian trade to the Mississippi. After the death of one of his influential Indian friends in 1748, Weiser lost his commanding position as a "backwoods diplomat," although until his death he remained one of the best Indian interpreters. Weiser's later career, including a military command in the French and Indian War, lacked the significance of his earlier work, but the Indian alliances he had helped to form were an important factor in England's victory over France in the climactic struggle for North America. Weiser's death on July 13, 1760, closed a long career of valuable service to the developing English Colonies.

Conrad Weiser home
Conrad Weiser's skill in negotiating with the Indians played an important role in the defeat of the French in North America. His home near Womelsdorf, Pa., is preserved by the State. (National Park Service)

Present Appearance (1961). In Conrad Weiser Memorial Park stands the restored two-room house built by Weiser on his Womelsdorf plantation. The graves are nearby of Weiser, his wife and a number of his Indian associates. The house serves as a museum. In addition to the main house, the original Weiser springhouse and other outbuildings are maintained. [55]

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Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005