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Johann Leonhard Dober

1706-1766. Moravian Brethren* leader. Born in Swabia and a potter by trade, he came to Herrnhut in 1725 where he soon became one of the most significant spiritual figures. In 1732 Dober and David Nitschmann* volunteered to go to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, as the first Moravian missionaries. Unable to practice his trade there, Dober supported himself by working as a plantation watchman. He tried to evangelize Negro slaves on the island, but his black congregation numbered only four when he left in 1734. Summoned to Herrnhut to become superintending elder, he was replaced by a new group of fourteen missionaries. After 1738 he served for three years as a missionary to Jews in Amsterdam. Dober spent his remaining years in constant travel, visiting the various Moravian congregations in Europe, for which purpose he was consecrated bishop in 1747.