by Louise WELLES Murray
Athens, PA, 1908

Submitted by Deborah HUNTINGTON Smith

This is part of the Tri-Counties Genealogy & History Sites of Joyce M. Tice

No Unauthorized Commercial Use May Be Made of This Material

The Photo at left by Joyce M. Tice was taken September 18, 1999 from "the narrows" overlooking the confluence of the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers. This 3x zoom photo shows the Chemung River and the area that was Queen Esther's Town directly opposite and west of the Point.


The Two Towns -The Moravian Mission-Queen Esther and her Town

There have been many misunderstandings about Sheshequin or the Sheshequins down to the present day; because the present town is across the river from where the original town or towns were. And some careless writers have thought Sheshequin the same as Queen Esther’s town. It is hoped that this narrative will make the whole matter clear, very much time and labor having been expended on all the matter here found. The original Indian town of Old Sheshequin was located in Ulster, the present one being really New Sheshequin. (See Bradford County Map)

At the close of the Pontiac War Eghohowin (Chief or King of the Minsis or Wolf clan of the Delawares) and his clan planted a town near the mouth of what is now Cash Creek in the present village of Ulster. It is quite possible this settlement was made earlier, "previous to this Eghohowin is said to have had a town farther up the Cayuga Branch, often mentioned in the Archives." We assume this to have been Wilawana. The late Mrs. Jennie F. Snell, in her historical sketches of some years since, makes two statements which are here given, although her source of information as to the first is unknown:

"It is said the Monseys (same as Minsis) or Wolf tribe had occupied this ground (Queen Esther’s Flats) years previous, and that they called their town Wilawana (or Monseytown). from which they removed to Venango."

Doubtless Mrs. Snell was in error as to location.. Here it is worthy of note that the former generation always gave the name of "Queen Esther’s Glen" to a gorge or ravine in the mountains near the present Wilawana. The other statement is:

"There is in the Gore [1] family an Indian deed from Nicholas Tatemy, it embraces 180 acres called ‘Tudelamohong,’ situated on East branch of Susque-hanna river, opposite an indian settlement called Sheshequenung, in Northumber-land Co, Pa."

It will thus he seen that New Sheshequin may have been inhabited at one time by the Tuteloes. [2] Eghohowin’s town was called originally; Schechschequanink or Calabash town, [3] the word meaning the gourd used for rattles. Eghohowin seems to have been a man of little im-portance, seldom mentioned; his name is also given Echobund, Acheeobund, Eghobund, Echgohund and Echogohund. In another statement Craft says:

"Sheshequinink was an old Indian village, abandoned during the Pontiac war, but afterwards resettled by two distinct bands of Indians; Echobund with quite a number of Delawares, above the creek, and another band of Christian Delawares below the creek, under Wehoholahund."

[1] One of the pioneer families of New Sheshequin.

[2] See Chapter V.

[3] Ettwein said it meant seive or rattle.



A conflicting statement (but one now generally credited) made by Craft, and also by Clark, was that the Christian Indians were on the north side of the creek. Probably the history of their settlements can best be told by giving the annals of the Moravian Mission as set forth in the various journals and diaries of these devoted men.

Heckewelder says that Echgohowin was deeply interested in the Moravian Mission at Wyalusing and interceded with the Six Nation in its behalf.

According to his own diaries Zeisberger visited Sheshequin June 27, 1763, and says:

"About 13 or 14 families live here consisting almost entirely of a circle of relations. With these families Andrew (Montour) and Nathaniel are connected."

Zeisberger preached twice to them, and tells of "an old cheif " preaching. Zeisberger’s journal of 1766 says:

"Oct. 18 came to Sheshequin, this town has increased very considerably during the past summer, this is a very promising town."

He locates it as ten miles from Diahoga.

Zeisberger tarried at Sheshequin over night May 4, 1766, and, by request, preached to quite an assemblage. From this time interest in the gospel increased, and parties often went to Wyalusing to listen to the Word of God. In May, 1767, Jo Peepe (alias Wehoholahund) came with his family to live at Sheshequin. He was of unusual intelligence and urged the Moravians to establish a mission there. In February, 1768, the Moravian brethren were formally invited to visit Sheshequin and consider the matter. In May, Ettwein, Zeisherger and Sensemann came. Ettwein says:

"Shesheqnin is a town of 12 cabins. The meadows and good land run up one side of the Susquehanna to near Tioga. From here there leads a path to the West Branch."

This plainly shows the town was north of Cash Creek.

Echogohowin was away, but Jo Peepe entertained them. They held religious services for two days; after the morning discourse on May 12, Jo Peepe and several others counselled together, and thus addressed the missionaries:

"Our four families desire to have the Word of God preached to us. We often go to Wyalusing, but can not always go. We would like to settle there but we have much cattle and large families. In Wyalusing there is not much pasture--here there is plenty of good land and meadows. Hence we desire to have brethren come here and settle and preach to us."

Zeisberger asked if the other Indians would not oppose and disturb them, to which they made answer, "The four or five huts over the river yonder have done lately just such things, but the chief, who is of our mind, has forbidden them." August 18, 1768, Achohund and wife visited Wyalusing Mission, doubtless to press the matter. Loskiel says:

"The Moravians entertained this reguest favorably and urged upon the people the necessity of getting permission for establishment of the mission front the Great Council at Onondaga through the Cayuga chief. * * Sd. permission was obtained without difficulty and the chief declared he would come to


Sheshequin to hear the Word of God, being convinced that it pointed out the only way to eternal happiness. Roth came in 1769 & kept 2 discourses daily. In March a couple of native assistants from Friedenshutten (Wyalusing) moved up to help him, for this mission was regarded as a dependency on Wyalusing,, and until Roth was ordained the people repaired to Wyalttsing for the sacrament."

John Roth, a Prussian by birth, was appointed, and arrived February 4, 1769. Extracts from his diary are here appended from February, 1769, to May 3, 1772. February 8, Roth writes to the Moravian bishop Nathaniel Seidel:

"I am living here at present in a trader’s house in which a quantity of merchandize belonging to Mr. Andersen is stored. This is in charge of an Irish servrant I am to live with him until the Indians have built a house for me, some of the Indians here were baptized by the Presbyterians (probably the Brainerds) in 1749."

A Moravian diary in the Craft collection, not labelled, but evidently written at Wyalusing, gives further information concerning Mr.Anderson:
"Feb 2, 1769 James and Sam Davis and an Irishman came to Wyalusing (from Sheshequin) & were delighted to hear of Roth’s mission stating a hut was ready for him.

"May 10 Mr Anderson and 2 surveyors came up from Wyoming to survey lands at M’escha’schung, Tawandenung and above Sheshequin & at Tuscororas--M’escha’schung is 7 miles above us.

"May 15 There came from the Jerseys Isaac Still with his wife purposing to move up to Sheshequin to occupy a tract of 200 acres given him by good Mr Anderson."’

(Here reports the coming of Stewart, the surveyor, and Indian opposition.) June 12, Capt. Ogden and Mr. Anderson passed down the river in canoes with merchandize from Zeninge (Chenango)."
Additional information from an unknown source is here given:

"Some idea of the trials of the Indians in this locality may be gleaned from the fact that their masters the Iroquois, discovering the whites considered their lands valuable, disposed of coveted tracts as often as a purchaser appeared. In 1754 a part of them sold the Susquehanna valley to the Susquehanna Company, another part of them haviing already sold the same to Penn. In 1766 they gave the Christian Indians all the land from Wihilusing to above Tioga, and in 1768 they sold the same tract to the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania."

The Indians applied to John Penn, then governor of Pennsylvania, for indemnity or protection in 1769. The petition from Sheshequin reads as follows:

"Samuel Davis (Anderson’s clerk) and his friends the Indians that live at place called Tshetshequanink, on the west side of the Susquehanna--humbly sheweth--That their settlement of the name aforesaid is out of the new purchase, but on the line thereof; and that they have made some cornfields on the side of Susquehanna (New Sheshequin) within the said purchase; and furthur that there is on the same side a tract of about half a mile in breadth, and five miles in length of grassy lowland, reaching from the point of their settlement up near to Diaogtu, on which they have hitherto subsisted their cattle, grazing being chief occupation of your petitioners. (This evidently refers to Queen Esther’s flats.)

"And your petitioners humbly pray that the said cornfields and grass-land may, by your special warrant be surveyed and reserved; not that they want any

[4] This shows that Mr. Anderson had large possessions, evidently from the Penns.


property or estate in the same, but the use thereof for the purposes aforesaid, during the pleasure of your Honor the Proprietor."

This petition was a part of the petition of Wyalusing Indians, to the whole of which the Governor replied in the most reassuring manner in June, 1769. Yet, with the usual deception and dishonesty that seems ever to have been the lot of the red man, only two months later warrants signed by the Governor were issued for surveys in this very reservation.

Diary of Roth continued:

"Feb 5 Reached Sheshequin and on this day Kept service for the first time for the Indians.
"Feb 10 Some Indians from Wilawamink came to hold the feast of the meat offering with the heathen Indians of the neighborhood.

"Feb 13 Selected site for my dwelling. James Davis donated the white pine logs he had squared for himself, for the building. It will have to serve for a meeting house for a time.

"Feb 16 Brought timber to site of my intended dwelling.

"Feb 18 Two white men came to town (Lukens and Stewart?) to view the land in the neighborhood, from whom I learn that the land above and below Sheshequin for five miles has been reserved for the Indians.

"Feb 21 At night the meat-offering feast began, it being held about hail a mile from settlement. There were some 50 of the heathen shouting and screeching like fiends (see Craft’s Bradford Co. Hist., p. 25).

"May 12 The surveyor came and measured land here, ordered by Government.

"May 18 James Davis first fruits of mission was baptized.

"Dec 31, 1769 Up to this date I have baptized 4—3 children died, 1 birth. Admitted into church but not to the Lord’s supper were Jo Peepe and his mother Mary—4 log houses were built this year. To us came 18 souls—left us 3 souls at the close of year mission numbers 50 souls. 14 Baptized 36 Not Baptized.

"1770 July 9, Began to fell trees for building a meeting house as my house is too small. (This no doubt was the first house of worship erected in Athens Township.)

"Dec 31 This year I baptized 2 infants and 1 woman—admitted 2 to the Lord’s supper, 2 births, 2 deaths, 6 left the place and 16 came to the place. The mission numbers 58 souls.

"1771 May 26 The Susquehanna began suddenly to rise so rapidly that in 4 hours our town was all under water, and a strong current flowed between the houses. We had to take to our canoes and retired to the wooded heights back of the town.

"July 25 The women went to Tunkhannock to harvest huckleberries. Samuel returned from the bear hunt below Tunkhannock and reported berries so abundant that harvesters picked each a bushel in an hour.

"Aug 19 Some of our people went up to Tioga to cut grass and on the 21 returned with their canoes laden with hay.

Dec 31, 1771 Statistics of the Mission—Married couples 10—widowers 1— widows 7—Single men 7, single women 3—half grown boys 6—girls 4—children 15—63 souls.
"1772 Nothing of note in this year."

This meagre diary has the following note, appended by Mr. W. Reichel of Bethlehem:

"I find that the above diary has gaps, and at best is uninteresting—The meeting house had a small bell. The mission was of course much visited by Indians from Tioga and the Towns above the state line—about the same as was Freidenshutten."

Notwithstanding the promises of Penn to reserve land at Wyalusing and Sheshequin, proprietary warrants were granted early in 1769.


Soon came also the Connecticut surveyors. As the white settlers advanced up the river the Moravian missions were exposed to all the irregularities of frontier settlements, creating great uneasiness. It was finally decided, after grave councils [5] to accept the invitation of Delaware chiefs who lived in the west. The migration took place in June, 1772, led by Roth. As this was the same year that Echgohund died, it is safe to assume that it was at this period that Queen Esther’s Town was planted further north, and possibly that not many Indians from Sheshequin joined the migration. Heckewelder’s narrative merely speaks of ‘Roth and his party."

The True Story of Queen Esther and Her Town.

There have always been many conflicting stories and conjectures about this remarkable woman, but it is only in very recent years that the whole Montour family has been carefully studied. Our readers are here given the benefit of the research of Gen. John S. Clark and Oscar J. Harvey, as well as our own.

About l665, a Frenchman by the name of Montour emigrated to Canada, [6] took unto himself an Indian wife of the Huron nation, and had three children, Catherine, Margaret and Jean. Catherine was born about 1681 or 1682. She was always called Madame Mon-tour; her first recorded appearance was at a conference at Albany, August 24, 1711, when she acted as interpreter. "When ten years old she was captured by some of the Iroquois, and adopted as a mem-

[5] Ettwein tells of consulting an old chief as to migrating mission to Cayuga Lake. The Indian said not good place because of absence of all game, and they were accustomed to meat. Up branch of Tioga (Conhocton) would be better as game there was plenty.

[6] The historian Stone says: "The first historical notice of the name of Montour is that a Monsieur Montour was wounded by the Mohawks in the neighborhood of Lake Champlain in 1649. He was undoubtedly an officer in the French service at that time. In a letter of M. de Vaudreil to M. de Pontchartrain, dated Nov. 17, 1709, he commends M. de Joncaire for making his men kill (not three weeks before) one ,Montour, a Frenchman by birth, but entirely devoted to the English, and in their pay." Lord C----- writes to the Board of Trade about the same time as follows: "There is come from Albany one Montour, a son of a French gentleman who came above forty years ago to settle in Canada. He (the elder) had to do with an Indian woman by whom he had a son and two daughters. The man I mention is the son." "It is quite certain," says Stone, "that this is the son of the Montour killed." Beauchamp says: "Joncaire killed the original Montour in 1721 by Vaudreil’s order."—No authority given.


ber of their tribe." [7] Mr. Harvey thinks she was not captured, but lived with her father among the Senecas, and that she was adopted by them and considered as a Seneca as long as she lived, and her descendants were known as Senecas. Dr. Egle, in his notes, quotes from the journal of Witham Marshe [8] as follows "Mrs Montour," Marshe says, "was at the treaty at Lancaster in 1744; he visited her.cabin. She had little remembrance of birth or parents, but said her father was a French Governor of Canada (did not say her mother was a squaw), and that she was taken captive when only ten years old by some of the five nations, and was brought up in the same. manner as their children. She was sixty years old, a handsome woman, genteel and of polite address. She was in great esteem with the best sort of white people, entertained in Philadelphia homes, and treated with courtesy." As early as 1702 she became the wife of Carandowana, an Oneida chief (who assumed for himself the name of Robert Hunter, a Governor of New York). Prior to 1727 they had settled at Otstonwackin, or French Town, on the west branch of the Susquehanna, where Madame Montour died in 1752. She is said to have been well educated, and to have associated to some extent with people of refinement. She was treated with great consideration by the whites on account of her influence over the Indians. This, no doubt, gave rise to the belief and statement of some writers that she, as well as her daughter and grand-daughter, were "much caressed by the wealthy people of Philadelphia." Madame Montour had four sons, Andrew, Jean, Henry and Lewis; and one daughter, Margaret. Margaret Montour, commonly known as French Margaret," was probably the oldest child of Madame Montour. She was the wife of Katarioniecha, a Mohawk chief, also called "Peter Quebeck"; known as a man "of good character." They had five children, Nicholas and an unnamed son; and three daughters, Catherine, Esther and Mary, commonly called "Molly." Possibly they had other children. Egle says: "French Margaret, prior to 1744, lived with her husband at Alleghany. In 1753 she had a village of her own, at the mouth of the Lycoming Creek, on Scull’s map of 1759, called French Margaret’s Town. [9] She frequently attended treaties at various places, acting as interpreter, like her mother. According to Moravian Archives this couple traveled in 1754 in semi-barbaric state with an Irish groom and six relay and pack horses through Bethlehem, en route to New York. Some of the Montours were educated at Elizabeth, N. J." Catherinie’s husband was Thomas Htitson, or Telenemut, one of the most noted of the Seneca chiefs, who died prior to 1760.

[7] W. Max Reid and others make this statement.

[8] Witham Marshe in Journal of Lancaster Treaty of 1744, Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., Series I, Vol. 7, pub. 1801.

[9] "Colonial Records, Vol. VII, p. 620. In the deposition of one George Ebert, who was taken captive by the French and Indians in the spring of 1757, he relates that he escaped with some others, "and the next day came to French Margaret’s at Diahogo; that they stayed about four weeks with her, during all which time she concealed and supported them. That some french indians came in search of them whereupon Margaret told them it was not safe to stay longer and advised them to make their way homeward This proves that Margaret who was Queen Esther’s mother, must have lived here in 1757, though no further record has been found.


Catherine lived in an Indian village, Catherinestown, located on the high ground a little south of Havana, New York. The town was both sides of the inlet, about three miles from Seneca Lake, and is mentioned in journals of Sullivan’s expedition, also by Robert Sutcliffe in 1805. (Catherine had a son named Amochol, and two daughters. Roland and John Montour were not her sons. [10]) Catherine was living in 1791 "over the Lake, not far from Niagara," having married an English trader after the death of Telenemut. Mary’s husband was also a famous chief, Kanaghragait, or John Cook, sometimes called "White Mingo," who died at Fort Wayne in 1790. We give this account of Esther’s family because many writers have confounded her with her sisters, mother and grandmother. Esther’s husband was Eghohowin, already mentioned. Most of the Montours (for according to the Indian custom they all bore their mother’s family name, even after marriage) were much better known than Queen Esther, who did not frequent the great councils. Her mother was called a ‘living polyglot of the tongues of the West." Esther may have been fully as accomplished, but she seems to have adopted to some extent the ways and feelings of the savages. The Montours, as a family, were frequently employed by the whites as interpreters, and often taken to large cities and councils where treaties were to be made with the Indians.

About 1772 Eghohowin died. As he had been called King, his wife was called Queen Esther, and had control of the clan, which was said to be only a handful of warriors, but, as has been seen, with some knowledge of civilized life, doubtless acquired from the Davises and other whites; their chief business was the raising of cattle, of which they had large herds, and their meadows and pasture fields extended up to Tioga. General Clark says it was the Moravian converts who, with Queen Esther, planted the town six miles further north, named for her Queen Esther’s Town. This was situated on the river flats or meadows, above Milan, a part of the original farms of Watkins and Page; now Page, Williams and Morley, directly opposite the meeting of the rivers. The exact location of Queen Esther’s Town. is easily decided from descriptions, deeds, relics, and, best of all, by the topography of the country. It was between Redington’s and Buck’s Creeks, whose courses have changed little, if at all, judging from the descriptive deed given to Erastus Loomis, a settler, in 1785. (See view from Round Top, Chap. I.) It was opposite the point which is indicated in the accompanying plate by a small black cross. There is an old well, always called "Esther’s," exactly east of the house built by Thomas R. Page in 1851. The local surveyors for a hundred and twenty years have known the exact location and kept the records, regardless of the fact that considerable reliance has been placed on the journals and maps of Sullivan’s expedition. A section of one, used as seal for Tioga Point Historical Society, has already been shown.

[10] Here Harvey differs; does not speak of Amochol, but says she had three children, Roland, John and Bell.





Here Esther had a castle, or palace, thus described by Robert Covenhoven [11] (who claims to have destroyed it):

"It was a long, low edifice, constructed with logs set in the ground at intervals of ten feet, with horizontal hewn planks or puncheons neatly fitted into grooves in the posts. It was roofed or thatched and had some sort of a porch or other ornament over the doorway."

Mrs. Perkins, in "Early Times," says: "Queen Esther’s village was said to contain about seventy rude houses." Queen Esther is described as a large, heavily built woman, of commanding appearance, walking erect. She had great influence with the Indians, and prior the Wyoming massacre she treated the whites with uniform kindness and courtesy. She was a prominent figure in the Susquehanna Valley until the time of the Sullivan expedition. In 1790 she was living on the east shore of Cayuga Lake with a band of Tuscarora Indians under Steel Trap (so says Craft). What became of her is not certain, though many localities claim to hold her grave. Thomas Maxwell, in notes for "Schoolcraft," says he inquired of many of Sul1ivan’s soldiers, and several told him that Queen Esther was killed while the army lay at Tioga Point, by a party of Sullivan’s troops, in revenge for her atrocities at Wyoming, and that all the old settlers said she was no longer alive when they came, in 1788 or 1790. The following accounts make this seem dubious. He also records that he interviewed Mrs. Matthias Hollenback and her daughter, Mrs. Tuttle, about Brant and Queen Esther. They represented Esther as looked upon universally with horror and detestation. Mrs. Perkins says, "she was represented as quiet and trustful in time of peace, and that after the war closed she often went back and forth from Tioga to Onondaga unprotected. Judge Gore’s daughter, Hannah (Mrs. Durkee), lived near Esther’s final home on Cayuga Lake. Mrs. Durkee relates that she was well acquainted with her, that Esther once stopped at her house and asked in broken English for a night’s shelter for herself and her sister, who was much intoxicated and carrying a papoose. As all they asked was a sleeping place on the kitchen floor, the request as granted. Mrs. Perkins says her last known residence was at Onondaga. Queen Esther had, it is supposed, several children. One son, much beloved, was killed at Exeter, just before the Wyoming massacre. This inflamed all her latent vengeful Indian blood, and, although it was contradicted by some writers, there is no doubt but that she was at Wyoming. [12] All know the horrid story, how the prisoners (fourteen at least) were arranged in a ring, and one after the other tomahawked by the enraged woman. The next day, when he Indians and British came into the fort, Judge Gore’s daughter tells that Esther was heard to say she was never so tired in her life as she was yesterday, killing so many darned Yankees. Col. Franklin says that, as the visitors entered the Fort,

[11] As to Covenhoven see Meginnis’ "Otzinachon," p. 554.

[12] Craft says: "In one of the scouting parties up the river, of which Wm. Dalton, afterwards of Wyalusing was one, a son of Queen Esther was shot. Though mortally wounded, he had strength to raise his rifle, fired and wounded Dalton in the knee. The death of her son inflamed all the Indian blood of the haughty queen."


"Queen Esther, with all the impudence of an infernal being turned to Col. Denison and said: ‘Well, Col. Den-i-sen, you make me promise to bring more Indians, here, see (waving her hand) I bring all these.’ Col. John Butler, incensed, told her ‘that women should be seen not heard.’

She evidently understood, as later in the day "she was seen riding astride a stolen horse on a stolen side saddle, placed hind end forward, with seven bonnets one upon the other upon her head, with all the clothing she could contrive to get on, and over all a scarlet riding cloak, carrying in her hand a string of scalps from the slaughtered friends of those who were the witnesses of her savage pride, and sufferers from her brutality." [13]

Craft says, "She was a frequent visitor in the family of Mr. Van Valkenberg at Wysox, and all her intercourse with the whites was marked with kindness and courtesy. But her fiendish brutality at Wyoming obliterated every kindly recollection and made her name a synonym for cruelty." Gen. Clark says that Roswell Franklin, who lived near Wysox, was well acquainted with her when living on the Susquehanna. It seems reasonable to believe, from all these eye-witnesses, that Queen Esther was certainly at Wyoming, especially as most of the Indian participants were Senecas, and no real attempt has been made, as in the case of Brant, to prove an alibi. We have found at a late day, among the Smiley papers, in a narrative of David Allen some additional accounts of Queen Esther at Wyoming.

"A squaw called Queen Esther came over with the warriors, a bloody spearin her hand. She made motions, and said ‘seven Yankees’ blood,’ meaning she had with the spear killed that many prisoners in revenge she said for the Indian killed up the river, a relative of hers. She now ordered the women in the fortification to prepare dinner for the considerable company that were with her. They were not only forced to prepare it in haste, but the Indians refused to eat a mouthful until the white people had first eaten some of it."

David Allen was an eye-witness; it is reasonable to believe his statement, which was as a whole corroborated by others.

Queen Esther’s Town was entirely destroyed by fire by Col. Hartley’s soldiers, September 27 or 28, 1778. Covenhoven put the brand to her castle himself: "several canoes were taken and some plunder." We believe some other Indian village preceded this one on Queen Esther’s Flats, for in her day the Indians had firearms, and we have been told by members of the Watkins family, present owners of part of Queen Esther’s Flats, that many years ago, after the spring floods, innumerable arrow points were plowed up on the plain, indicating a great battle, prior to the use of firearms. Also that particular location is full of Indian graves, as can be attested by the many pieces of pottery and other relics in our Museum. The pottery is much larger and coarser in make than any other found in this valley, and also differs from most varieties hereabouts in being colored, or, more probably, made of brick clay. A true relic of Queen Esther’s clan, however, is also in Tioga Point Museum, a very perfect pipe, on the bowl of which is carved a wolf’s head, the totem of her clan. This was found on Queen Esther’s Flats, the general name for the river flats above Milan, and is shown in a plate with other Indian relics.

[13] This seems a highly exaggerated story—not well corroborated.


The late Judge Avery of Owego recorded many interesting facts concerning Queen Esther, related to him by Mrs. Whittaker, who was Jane Strope of Wysox.

By courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society, Mrs. Whittaker’s narrative, as written down by Judge Avery, has been copied for our use. There are also various additional facts, related by Judge Avery, in articles published in the Owego St. Nicholas. Mrs. Whittaker related that she had often seen Queen Esther at the house of her father, Sebastian Strope, where she was always a welcome visitor and hospitably received; that she spoke English poorly, yet ordinarily made herself understood. That she boasted that there was another language (doubtless French) with which she was quite as familiar as with the Indian. Just prior to the Wyoming massacre the entire Strope family were made captives by the Indians and brought Tioga Point. Here, of course, they again met Queen Esther. Mrs Whittaker says:

"All of my father’s family were well acquainted with Queen Esther of Shishequin before we were taken prisoners. She treated us well, and showed us he same kind disposition after we were captives that she did before. Her influence with the Indians was unbounded; when she appeared she was treated with the utmost deference. * * She was supposed to be of French and Indian parentage. She was a tall, but not very fleshy woman—not as dark as the usual Indian in complexion—had the features of a white woman—cheek bones not high, hair black, but soft and fine like a white woman, not the heavy black hair of the squaw. Her form erect and commanding, her appearance and manners agreeable. She walked straight and had not the bend of the squaw; she had not the Indian mode of turning toes in. She had a sister Mary—a tall fleshy woman—and there was a squaw named Chemuah, from whom I heard the river (Chemung) was named. She was called a queen and Queen Esther called her sister; I think undoubtedly they were of white blood. Her dress was rich and showy with a profusion of glittering ornaments. She had short skirts reaching a little below the knee, made of imported blue cloth, and stockings to meet the skirt and beautifully worked pantalettes of blue cloth and other material. The skirt was ornamented with brooches of silver, [14] as were the warriors’ clothes. All the squaws had small bells on their moccasin strings and pantalettes. They used blankets varying in texture as did the males. Queen Esther wore a necklace of pure white beads from which hung a cross of stone or silver. Mrs. W. thought it was carved from a whitish stone, polished by long use, possibly spar."

This would indicate life in a Catholic colony or Jesuit influence.

Queen Esther was very kind to the Stropes during their captivity at Tioga Point. She not only interposed in behalf of the males, that they might escape running the gauntlet; but at one time she invited Jane, then a girl of twelve, to accompany her to her castle for a visit. Mrs. Strope objected; but later she and Jane crossed the river and rambled over the premises of the Queen. The plain on which the castle stood, Jane said, was near the mouth of the Chemung, in full view of the point. The main building was long and low, built of hewn logs and planks, neatly done, with a porch over the doorway, and surrounded by a number of other buildings.

Mrs. Whittaker stated that once, when Queen Esther visited Wysox, she was accompanied by a half-breed called Catherine, be-

[14] "These brooches passed for a shilling and were as current among the Indians as

money. Brant’s wife had several tiers of them on her dress of calico or chintz. Smith and Wells’ Journal; see Halsey’s Old New York Frontier.


lieved to be her sister. When the captive Stropes were on their wayto Niagara they stopped a week or two at Catherine’s Town, where she saw this same woman, doubtless the Catherine Montour often confounded with Queen Esther.

Historical Marker at Montour Falls, New York

There is another pleasant story of Esther, antedating Wyoming. In 1777 John Jenkins and James Sutton made a journey to Queen Esther’s Town to obtain the liberation of a prisoner, Mr. Ingersol. They were treated with great respect by the Queen, who entertained them herself, told them she was opposed to war, etc. These visitors said she had correct views of religion and moral obligations, indicating a civilization quite at variance with her later conduct at Wyoming. While in her house, feeling quite at ease, they heard the Indian war whoop outside. The Queen at once went out and talked to the warriors; returning, she told the visitors that the outsiders were determined to waylay and kill them, adding, ‘1 can do nothing with them; lay down until I call you." When all became quiet in the night she called them, told them to go to the river, take her canoe, and hold paddle edgewise, so as not to splash the water, and try to get away before discovered, which they were able to do, in safety.

Craft says he thinks she lived near Tioga after the war, as he saw her name on books kept by Matthias Hollenback after his store was opened in Athens. We have searched in vain for these Hollenback account books, wherein others have also told Queen Esther had accounts. The only one found has accounts as in Pearce’s "Annals of Wyoming," i.e. "December 15, 1774, Queen Esther Dr. to sundries £3, 11 pence."

It is very apparent from the various narratives that Queen Esther, or Easter, as she was often called, in her whole life and character showed the half-breed to an unusual extent; first, seemingly influenced by the white blood, and then by the red, presenting a most interesting psychological problem to the thoughtful mind. Her personality, as distinguished from the other Montours, has generally been a matter of conjecture, but recent investigations seem to have unravelled the web of mystery surrounding the whole Montour family. They have not here been considered as a whole because Esther was the only one closely connected with the history of this locality. However, it may not be amiss to here record that the post stained with the juice of the wild strawberry (erected by Cornplanter to mark the burial place of a great chief and brave) was supposed to have memorialized the son of Catherine Montour. The Painted Post has always been well known, and gave its name to a certain portion of the vast Pultney estate in southern New York, first known as a part of the Phelps and Gorham purchase.