Weiser, Conrad

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Conrad Weiser (wīz´ər), 1696–1760, American pioneer, b. Württemberg, Germany. Arriving in America in 1710, his family settled in Livingston Manor, N.Y., and later at Schoharie. While still a youth, Weiser lived for some time among the Mohawks and learned their language and customs. Going (1729) to Tulpehocken, Pa., he became (1731) the official Pennsylvania Native American interpreter and soon gained fame as a wise and honorable mediator between the whites and the Native Americans. Coming under the influence of Johann Conrad Beissel, he moved (1739) to Ephrata and, leaving his family, entered the Baptist cloister there. Within two years, however, he withdrew, returned to Tulpehocken, and entered local politics. He later aided in establishing Berks co. and in developing Reading, became a Lutheran adherent, and continued as a Native American mediator until his death.

See biography by P. A. W. Wallace (1945, repr. 1971).