The Reverend Mr. David Craft
CHAPTER I.Part One
WHEN this continent first became known to the European nations, it was well-nigh a solitary and unbroken wilderness. No axe had felled a tree, no plowshare had broken its soil, no commerce had traversed its great natural highways of inland seas and far-reaching rivers. Here and there, in some favored locality, might be found clustered, with the utmost irregularity, a few wigwams of the red men, the original tenants of the soil, with patches of maize, beans, and squashes, cultivated by the women; now and then might be met a party of begrimed and frightfully painted warriors, either going to or returning from some maraud; and in the autumn time might be seen companies of men, women, and children encamped at the favorite resorts of game, seeking stores of food for winter use; but the general appearance of the country was that of a vast, uninhabited, uncultivated domain of unbounded luxuriance and fertility. Bancroft remarks,* that a man might travel for weeks without meeting a single human being; that the diminution of the native population is far less than has usually been supposed; they have been exiled, not exterminated. The tribes may have been lost, but the people who composed them have been received into others. This author estimates the whole number of the aborigines within the bounds of the United States east of the Mississippi, two hundred years ago, at not far from one hundred and eighty thousand souls, which is about three times the present population of Bradford County.
The traveler who now passes up and down this beautiful Susquehanna valley, observes its well-cultivated farms, its thriving villages, its numerous schools and churches, its beautiful residences and delightful landscapes, the everywhere present tokens of thrift, refinement, and culture, can hardly imagine that less than a century and a half ago this whole valley had never been visited by a white man, unless it were some adventurous trader, who has left us no record of his daring journey into a wild and unbroken wilderness. It was, however, familiar ground to the red man. Here had been the dwellings of his people for untold generations. Here were the paths his feet had trod, whose marks a century has not been able wholly to obliterate; here his bones still lie in the soil; here the earth was stained with his blood shed in the fierce encounter; and here, in after-times, many of them bowed in humble, reverent faith upon the Son of God, endured hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and bear record that they were found faithful unto death. To briefly sketch a portion of the history of these aboriginal inhabitants of our county, a few pages must be devoted.
Although possessing many common characteristics from which a unity of origin may be inferred, yet owing to differences of language, law, and locality, the Indians were divided into families, nations, clans, and villages.
As the design of this work will confine our account to the people who from time to time were actual occupants of our soil, no detailed statements of general Indian history can here be given.†
It is utterly impossible to follow up the stream of aboriginal history farther than the period when the country first became known to the Europeans. The reason for this is twofold. First, the Indian had no written language. All he knew of the past was what he had received in the uncertain and fanciful traditions of his ancestors, whose vague and contradictory accounts at the best only suggest the merest conjectures. And then, for a long time previous to its discovery, the whole continent had been "the scene of widespread revolution. North and south, tribe was giving place to tribe, language to language; for the Indian, hopelessly unchanging in respect to individual and social development, was, as regarded tribal relations and local haunts, mutable as the wind." To note these local haunts, mutations, and the social character of the tribes who once
*History of the United States, iii., p. 253.
†For further information the reader is referred to DeSchweinitz’s "Life and Times of Zeisberger;" Parkman’s "Jesuits in North America;" "Pontiac Conspiracy;" Bancroft’s "History of the United States," vol. iii.; Morgan’s "Iroquois League;" Schoolcraft, Heckewelder, and others.
made their home in these valleys, is all that can be attempted.
"The vast tract of wilderness from the Mississippi to the Atlantic, and from the Carolinas to Hudson’s bay, was divided between two great families of tribes, distinguished by a radical difference of language." These were called, respectively, Algonquius (original people), and Aguanoschioni (united people). The latter were more commonly known among the white people by the names Iroquois, Mengwe, and Five Nations. At the period when the whites first became acquainted with this territory, the Iroquois proper extended through central New York from the Hudson river to the Genesee, and comprised five distinct nations confederated together, which, beginning on the east, were known as Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. West of them were the Hurons, the Neutral Nation, and the Eries; on the south were the Andastes, on the Susquehanna, and the Delawares on the river which bears their name; on the east the various Algonquin tribes which inhabited New England.
Of the Andastes, who as early as 1620 were the inhabitants of the Susquehanna valley, but comparatively little is known. They are spoken of by various writers as Andastes, Andastracronnons, Andastaguez, Antastoui, Minquas, Susquehannocks, Conestogas, and Conessetagoes. "Gallatin erroneously places the Andastes on the Allegheny, Bancroft and others adopting the error. The research of Mr. Shea has shown their identity with the Susquehannocks of the English and the Minquas of the Dutch."*
In 1750, a Cayuga chieftain informed David Zeisberger that a strange tribe of Indians whom the Cayugas called Tehotachse (so spelled in German), but which were neither Iroquois nor Delawares, formerly inhabited this valley, and were driven out by the Cayugas. In a letter written by Captain Joseph Brant, the noted Indian warrior, to Colonel Timothy Pickering, relative to the Iroquois claim to the northern part of Pennsylvania, and dated at Niagara, December 30, 1794, he says, "The whole Five Nations have an equal right one with another, the country having been obtained by their joint exertions in war with a powerful nation formerly living southward of Buffalo creek, called Eries, and another nation then living at Tioga Point, so that by our successes all the country between that and the Mississippi became the joint property of the Five Nations. All other nations inhabiting this great tract of country were allowed to settle by the Five Nations." That the Andastes are referred to by both these there can hardly be a doubt.
This was one of the most populous and powerful of all the Algonquin tribes. Their villages were thickly planted from Tioga to Virginia. At Sheshequin and Wysox, at Wyalusing (Gohontato) and at Mehoopany (Onochsae), the names of their towns have been preserved. They appear to have been the most warlike of all the eastern nations, having carried their conquests over the tribes of New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. For more than three-fourths of a century they waged almost an unceasing war with the Iroquois, by which the whole valley of the Susquehanna "was stained with blood." The following paragraphs, from Dr. Egle’s History of Pennsylvania, give a full account of these conflicts:
"Prior to 1600, says the ‘Relation de la Nouvelle France,’ the Susquehannas and the Mohawks came into collision, and the former nearly exterminated their enemy in a war which lasted ten years. In 1608, Captain Smith, in exploring the Chesapeake and its tributaries, met a party of these Sasquesahanocks, as he calls them, and he states that they were still at war with the Mohawks.
"They were friendly to the Dutch, who were exploring the mouth of the Delaware. When the Swedes came, in 1638, they renewed the friendly intercourse begun by the Dutch. Southward, also, they carried the terror of their arms, and from 1634 to 1644 they waged war on the Yaomacoes, the Piscataways, and Patuxents, and were so troublesome that, in 1642, Governor Calvert, by proclamation, declared them public enemies.
"When the Hurons, in 1647, began to sink under the fearful blows dealt by the Five Nations, the Susquehannas sent an embassy to offer them aid against the common enemy. Nor was the offer one of little value, for the Susquehannas could put into the field one thousand three hundred warriors, trained to the use of fire-arms and European modes of war by three Swedish soldiers, whom they had obtained to instruct them." This is doubtless the era of the fortifications on Spanish Hill and at the mouth of Sugar creek. These fortifications bear unmistakable evidence of having been constructed under the supervision of white people, and differ materially from the palisaded inclosures of Indian construction. The origin and objects of these defenses must always be in some measure matter of conjecture; but all the traditions relating to Spanish Hill attribute the defenses to white men long before the settlement of the whites, and their object to afford resistance to the Iroquois; and about this time the Andastes were waging war in good earnest with the Five Nations, in which the Cayugas were so hard pressed that some of them retreated across Lake Ontario into Canada, and the Senecas were kept in such alarm that they no longer ventured to carry their peltries to New York except in caravans guarded by an escort.
Later, the power of the Susquehannas seems to have been on the wane, and they appear to have abandoned their towns above Wyoming about 1650. They were so hard pressed by their enemies that the legislature of Maryland in 1661 authorized the governor to aid them with the provincial forces.
In the spring of 1662 about eight hundred Iroquois set out to capture a fort of the Andastes situated about fifty miles from the mouth of the Susquehanna. On reaching the fort it was found to be so well defended as to render an assault impracticable, when the Iroquois had recourse to stratagem. They sent a party of twenty-five men to settle a peace and obtain provisions for their return. The Susquehannas admitted them, built high scaffolds, visible from without, on which they tortured the Iroquois messengers to death in sight of their countrymen, who thereupon decamped in miserable discomfiture, pursued by the victorious Andastes. The war between the Andastes and Iroquois at length degenerated into one of mutual inroads, in which the former, greatly reduced by pestilence, gradually melted away
* Parkman’s "Jesuits," p. 46, note.
before the superior numbers of their enemies, so that in 1672 they could muster only three hundred warriors.
"In 1675, according to the ‘Relations Inédites’ and Colden, the tribe was completely overthrown, but unfortunately we have no details whatever as to the forces which effected it,* or the time and manner of their defeat. Too proud to submit as vassals of the Iroquois, and too weak to contend against them, they forsook the Susquehanna, and took up a position on the western borders of Maryland, where for many years they kept up a terrible border war with the whites. A remnant of this valiant people continued to subsist in the central part of the State, under the name of Conestogas, for nearly a century after, when they were utterly destroyed by the Paxton Boys in 1763.
The Iroquois, who held the rule over this Susquehanna valley for more than a century, were the only Indian nations who possessed anything approaching the forms of civil government. Originally a single nation, they were composed of a number of clans or families, each of which was distinguished by its family badge or totem, and bearing the name of some animal. The line of descent was in the mother, and intermarriages between those wearing the same totemic badge was interdicted. In time the nation became divided into several parts, five of which occupied central New York, but the national tie had become very weak, if it had not become entirely dissolved. In order to defend themselves against their common enemies, as well as to carry on their vast conquests, they united in a league or confederation, whose common interests were committed to a great council composed of fifty sachems or hereditary chieftains, of whom the Mohawks were represented by nine, the Oneidas nine, the Onondagas fourteen, the Cayugas ten, and the Senecas eight. Each member of this council enjoyed equal rights and suffrage, and the decisions of the body were the supreme law of the confederacy.
The Tuscaroras, who were of the same generic stock as the New York Iroquois, and whose ancient seats were on the Neuse and Tar rivers, from which they were driven on account of their implacable enmity to the white settlers, were received in 1712 as the sixth nation of the confederacy, after which the league took the title of the Six Nations. The Tuscaroras, however, were not represented by sachems of their own in the Great Council, nor had they assigned them any specific bounds in the territory.
In case of a general war two supreme military chieftains, one of whom was a Mohawk, directed the campaign. Usually, however, the chiefs assumed command with much less formality. At a feast or war-dance some brave, who had shown daring and won success in previous encounters, recounted the grievances of his nation, his own deeds of valor, and invited as many as wished to avenge the wrongs of their people to follow him on the war-path. If the expedition was successful the leader took his place by common consent among the war-chiefs of his nation.
By virtue of their superior civil and military organization, the Iroquois soon became the dominant power among the aborigines, and, after the conquest of the Andastes, carried their arms in triumph on the south to the Gulf and on the west to the Mississippi. Tioga, present Athens, was made the southern entrance to the confederacy, at which a sachem was stationed, without whose consent no one, neither Indian nor white man, was allowed to enter the territory of the Iroquois. At Shamokin, present Sunbury, the Great Council had a viceroy, a Cayuga sachem, who ruled their dependencies in the south.
Along the Delaware river, and extending across New Jersey, were the Lenni Lenape, or Delawares, divided into three tribes—the Turtles or Unamis on the south, the Turkeys or Unalachtgos in the centre, and the Wolves or Minsis on the north. The latter had their villages in the Minisink country, on the head-waters of the Delaware, and were generally called by the English Monseys. By conquest, as was claimed by the Iroquois, by treachery, as was alleged by the Delawares, the former had reduced the latter to the condition of vassals, deprived them of the right of warriors, and compelled them to bear the taunt and assume the garb of women. They were allowed neither to sell land, engage in war, nor make treaties, unless with the consent of their domineering masters. It was owing quite as much to this condition of complete subjugation of his Indian neighbors, as to the peaceable character of his Quaker policy, that the province of Penn was so long exempted from the bloody wars and massacres which form so dark a page of our colonial history.
The Indian instinctively withdraws from the presence of civilization. This peculiarity of Indian character completely frustrated the benevolent plan of William Penn, in which he designed that his white and red brethren should dwell together in the same community, and be governed by the same laws. If was found to be equally necessary in the province as it had been in other colonies, that the Indian must retire beyond the white settlements, to whose laws and customs he could not conform, and whose restraints he would not endure. As the Iroquois from time to time sold the land of their dependencies to the whites, they opened the valley of the Susquehanna as an asylum to which the people, whom they had deprived of their ancestral homes, and over whom they exercised the rights of protection as well as command, might resort. By this policy families of different nationalities were brought into the same village, and not unfrequently were occupants of the same wigwam, so that it was no uncommon thing to find Nanticokes, Mohicans, Monseys, and Wampanoags living together without any tribal distinction whatever. Tioga, or as it is more frequently written in Pennsylvania records, Diahoga, from its important situation in the Iroquois territory, was probably occupied as a town immediately after its conquest; but from there to Shamokin the country was almost entirely unoccupied for a hundred years, when it was colonized by the refugees whose possessions had been sold to the whites.
The Iroquois and Delawares each have a tradition of an early eastward emigration from regions west of the Mississippi to the places where they were found by the Europeans. The period of our later Indian history finds that wave returning towards the setting sun. It is, therefore, a period of commotion among tribes easily excited, of removal and change among a people who, in the most quiet times, abandoned the places of their habitation for the most trivial reasons.
*By the Five Nations, without doubt.
Mohicans and Wampanoags from southeastern New York and from New England, Delawares from New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, Nanticokes, Tuscaroras, and Shawanees from the south, pushed from their ancient homes by the rapacity of the white man, were seeking new homes and fresh hunting-grounds, where they would henceforth be free from encroachment. To the Iroquois, the native fugitives looked for defense from the grasping policy of the whites, and for counsel and permission as to where they should fix their future seats. It happened, therefore, that during this period this tide of western emigration was pushing up both branches of the Susquehanna, in order to pour itself upon the great plains between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi, only to be forced still farther west by the advancing tide of civilization.
Of the three great topics of Indian history—the location of their villages, their wars, and their migrations—the last is by far the most important, so far as it relates to our immediate locality during the period of its later history, the materials for which are very meager, being contained in the journals of travelers and messengers in the interests of the Moravian church or of the government of Pennsylvania, in their passage through the country, beginning with that of Conrad Weiser, in 1737, a period comparatively early in our Pennsylvania history, it being only forty-five years after the landing of William Penn, and five years before the founding of Bethlehem, and continuing for about thirty-five years.
Near the upper and lower confines of our county were points of great historic interest in relation to the aborigines. In the spring of 1750, Cammerhoff, a bishop in the Moravian church, in company with the intrepid Zeisberger, passed up the Susquehanna from Wyoming to Tioga, en route for Onondaga in the State of New York, in order to negotiate with the Great Council for the establishment of a mission among the Iroquois. They were accompanied by a Cayuga chief and his family. When the party reached the vicinity of Wyalusing, the remains of an old town were still visible, which the Cayuga said was called "Go-hon-to-to," inhabited by a tribe speaking a strange language, neither Delawares nor Iroquois, called by the latter "Te-ho-tach-se" (Andastes)—upon whom the Five Nations made war and wholly exterminated them, the greater part being slain, a few only being taken captive and adopted by some of the families of the Cayugas; that this occurred "before the Indians had rifles, when they fought with bows and arrows," and must have been not later than 1650,* which may be taken as the beginning of the authentic history of the county. This town was situated on the flats, about a mile below the mouth of the Wyalusing creek, on the farms now owned by G. H. Welles and J. B. Stalford.
For nearly a century this "blood-stained field" seems to have been abandoned as a habitation, although, situated as it was at the junction of two important trails, it may occasionally have been the temporary residence of wandering parties. In 1752,† Papunhank, a Monsey chief of some note, from the Minisink country, with a number of families, came to Wyalusing, and built a new town a little below the site of the old Gohontoto. During the French war the town was probably abandoned. In the journal‡ of Moses Tatemy and Isaac Hill, who were sent, June, 1758, by the Pennsylvania government to the Six Nations and their dependencies, inviting them to a council it was proposed to hold at Easton the following autumn, they speak of breakfasting with "Papoonhank" on their return, before reaching Diahoga, from which it would appear that during the war he had removed higher up the Susquehanna, probably to the vicinity of Owego.
In 1760 this village is described as consisting of "about twenty houses full of people, very good land, and good Indian buildings, all new." Three years afterwards, this town, which was called McChiwihilusing (or Wyaloosing), had increased to a village "of about forty houses, mostly compact together, some about thirty feet long and eighteen feet wide, some bigger, some less, mostly built of split planks, one end set in the ground and the other pinned to a plate, on which lay rafters covered with bark."?? On the breaking out of the Pontiac war, in 1763, Papunhank, with twenty-one of his followers, not wishing to take part in the war, joined the Moravian Indians assembled about Bethlehem, and afterwards went with them to Philadelphia, where they were sheltered in government barracks until the close of the war. The remainder of the Indians at Wyalusing, as most of the others of the Algonquin tribes in this part of the country, sympathized with the hostile party, and many of them took up arms in its interest.? The result was, that all of their settlements in the county, below Tioga, were abandoned.
There was an Indian burial-ground near the present Sugar Run ferry. At this point the left bank of the river formerly extended some twenty rods farther into the stream than it now does. As these banks have from time to time been washed away by the river freshets, great numbers of human bones and pieces of pottery have been laid bare. In one instance, two complete skeletons and an earthen pot containing the bones of a small animal were thus exposed. The indications are that this burial-place was an extensive one, and, judging from the mortality of white settlements, it would be inferred that the ancient village was large and populous. Farther up the river, in the neighborhood of the present. Frenchtown station, on the Pennsylvania and New York railroad, was a meadow of about one hundred and fifty acres, called "Meschaschgunk," but there is no account of its ever having been inhabited. On the Wysaukin plains a party of Shawanese stopped for a time, built their huts, and planted their corn, but the number of the party, the time of their settlement or of their removal, is unknown. The settlement was located nearly opposite the mouth of the Towanda creek. This plain, stretching several miles along the river, was "covered with grass as high as a man’s head," and redolent with the perfume of the wild rose. As Cammerhoff and Zeisberger encamped here on the evening of the 7th of June, after a fatiguing journey
* The Dutch at Fort Orange had supplied the Mohawks with four hundred guns previous to 1641, so that the date mentioned in the text cannot be far out of the way.—Jesuits in North America, p. 212.
† Pennsylvania Archives, iii. 736.
‡ Pennsylvania Archives, iii. 507.
??????????? Journal of John Woolman, p. 165.
?Pontiac Conspiracy, p. 614.
of fifteen miles up the rapid current of the Susquehanna, swollen by recent rains, they named the spot the "Garden of Roses." At this time it, as the whole valley from Mehoopany to Tioga, was deserted of inhabitants. On the evening of Sept. 30, 1767, Zeisberger spent the night here in an empty Delaware Indian hut, but adds, "no one lives here now." He calls the place the "Wisach."
The Nanticokes, "tide-water people," when first known by the whites had their seats on the eastern shore of Maryland. In August, 1748, almost the entire nation abandoned its ancestral home, moved northward, following the course of the Susquehanna, planted in part below and at Wyoming, in part above Wyalusing, principally at Shamunk (Chemung) and Zeninge (Chenango). In the course of this migration, a party of them stopped for a time on the Towanda flats. They had the repulsive custom, on stated occasions, of exhuming their dead, wherever buried, scraping the putrid flesh from their bones, and burying the skeletons, with prescribed rites, at one of their national cemeteries. One of these burial-places was at Towanda, near the river, and a short distance below the Barclay depot. Here, as at Wyalusing, the water has worn away the banks, laying bare great numbers of bones and numerous relics which the Indians were accustomed to bury with their dead. Many of these relics, some of which bear evidence of intercourse with white people, were collected by the late Hon. C. L. Ward, of Towanda, and remain in his cabinet of Indian curiosities.*
In 1762, about thirteen or fourteen families, relatives of Nathaniel and Anthony, two Moravian Christian Indians residing a short distance below Tunkhannock, in Wyoming county, seceding from the Wyalusing village, were settled here, but the settlement disappeared when the Pontiac war broke out in the following year.
Osculni was a very ancient Indian town, situated just above the mouth of Sugar creek, on the farm now owned by John Biles and the one lately owned by Judge Elwell, about opposite the lower end of Bald Eagle island. Conrad Weiser, the celebrated Indian agent and provincial interpreter, visited this place March 28, 1737, on his way to a council with the Six Nations at Onondaga. He describes the settlement at that time as consisting of a few hungry people who were subsisting chiefly on the juice of the sugar-trees. The only food he could procure here was a little weak soup made of corn-meal.
In 1745, on the 11th of June, Spangeburg and Zeisberger passed this place on their journey to the capital of the Iroquois confederacy, a journey for both political and religious purposes. They were accompanied by Weiser, Shikellimy, a Cayuga sachem, and the Iroquois viceroy at Shamokin, one of his sons, and Andrew Montour. Their object was to induce the Six Nations to conclude a peace with the Catawbas, to make satisfaction for murders perpetrated by the Shawanese, and to obtain permission for the Christian Indians to begin a settlement at Wyoming.
At this time but few Indians were observed at the settlement; but they found many pictured trees about this place, it being on the great war-path. War parties were, in this way, accustomed to record the results of their campaigns. The bark was peeled off one side of a tree, and on this were painted certain characters, by which they understood from what tribe and of how many the war-party consisted, against what tribe they had fought, how many scalps and prisoners they had taken, and how many men they had lost. In 1750 this town had been abandoned, and there is no record of its again having been inhabited previous to the Revolutionary war.
Below the town, and about one-fourth of a mile above the creek, when the North Branch canal was excavated, a large burying-ground was discovered, extending from fifteen to twenty rods along the lines of the canal. This bore marks of great age. In several instances not a bone had survived the ravages of decay; in others only the larger ones were found. These, as they were exposed by the excavation, were gathered up and re-buried in the orchard adjoining. The loose soil in which they were deposited is not as well adapted to preserve such remains as the more compact soil at the burying places of Wyalusing and Towanda.
On the north side of Cash’s creek and near its mouth, in the village of Ulster, was the town of Schechschequanink. The chief Acheobund and a few families, chiefly Monseys, planted here about the close of the Pontiac war. They were frequent visitors at Wyalusing, and the Moravian missionaries often visited them; and at the beginning of the year 1769 a mission was established here; therefore further account of it is now omitted. A little above and on the opposite or Sheshequin side of the river are evidences of the existence of an old town, doubtless of the Andastes, as all the marks point to about the same age as those of the early town at Wyalusing. Here too the excavations made by the river have disclosed a very extensive burial-place. Scattered along above this have been found great quantities of arrow-heads, which have led to the surmise that on this plain was fought one of the fierce battles between the Andastes and the Iroquois.
Opposite Tioga Point, on the west side of the river, was Queen Esther’s town, which was probably built not far from 1770. Its exact date cannot now be determined. As there is no mention made of it by the Moravian missionaries, it is not likely that it had an existence long prior to their departure from the valley; for on account of its proximity to Schechshequanink it would have been noticed by them. It attracted attention during the Revolutionary war, because of the prominence acquired by the notorious woman whose name it bears.
At the junction of the Chemung (old Tyaoga) and the Susquehanna rivers was Diahoga (Tioga), the oldest, most populous and important Indian town in the county, if not in the State, of which there is any authentic record. This was the door into the territory proper of the Iroquois confederation. To it all the great paths centred. All persons who entered this territory, except by this door or the Mohawk, were considered and treated as spies and enemies. Here was stationed a Cayuga sachem, who, in the figurative language of the nation, guarded this door of their long house, and whoever entered their country must first obtain his permission. It was the place of rendezvous for war parties going out on their expeditions, and to this point prisoners
* They now belong to the Bradford County Historical Society.
were brought to be disposed of according to the customs of the Leagues, either to be put to death with most cruel tortures, or adopted into the family of some slain warrior, thenceforth to forget former home and kindred, and be received in all respects into the place of his former enemy. So well known and important was this town that all travelers from above Wyalusing are said to have come from or above Diahoga. The population was predominantly Iroquois, although in later times other tribes were represented here. Weiser reached this town March 29, 1737. As affording a picture of one phase of Indian life, a somewhat lengthy extract from his journal may be pardoned. He says—
"There are many Indians living here, partly Gaiukers (Cayugas), partly Mahikanders (Mohicans). We went into several huts to get meat, but they had nothing, as they said, for themselves. The men were mostly absent hunting; some of the old mothers asked us for bread. We returned to our quarters with a Mahikander, who directed his old gray-headed mother to cook a soup of Indian corn. She hung a large kettle of it over the fire, and also a smaller one with potash, and made them both boil briskly. What she was to do with the potash was a mystery to me, for I soon saw it was not for the purpose of washing, as some of the Indians are in the practice of doing, by making a lye and washing their foul and dirty clothes. For the skin of her body was not unlike the bark of a tree, from the dirt which had not been washed off for a long time, and was quite dried in and cracked, and her finger-nails were like eagles’ claws. She finally took the ash-kettle off the fire and put it aside until it had settled, and left a clear liquor on top, which she carefully poured into the kettle of corn. I inquired of my companions why this was done, and they told me it was the practice of these, and the Shawanos, when they had neither meat nor grease, to mix their food with lye prepared in this manner, which made it slippery and pleasant to eat. When the soup was thus prepared, the larger portion was given to us, and out of hunger I quietly eat a portion which was not of bad taste. The dirty cook and unclean vessel were more repulsive….The Indians eat so much of this soup that they became sick."
In 1743, six years later, John Bartram,* the celebrated English botanist, in company with Lewis Evans, Conrad Weiser, having Indian guides, set out on horseback from Philadelphia on the 3d of July. On the 15th the party reached the confines of our county. Emerging from the terrible wilderness of the Lycoming, about two hours before sunset, they "came to oak and hickory land, then down a steep hill producing white-pine, to a creek called Cornuria,† a branch of Towentobow (Towanda), where we lodged." The next day passing up a little hill, steep and somewhat stony, then "through a great white-pine, spruce swamp, full of roots and abundance of old trees lying on the ground, or leaning against live ones; they stood so thick that we concluded it almost impossible to shoot a man one hundred yards distant;" then down a small hill and crossed a small run, then climbed a steep hill, by ten, to a large creek called Uskebrow, which is evidently the Oscolui of Weiser, or the Sugar creek of modern times. The route taken by the travelers was the usual Sheshequin path. Leaving the Sugar creek a little below the lower end of the narrows, the party passed over the mountain, struck Merritt’s or Buck creek and the Susquehanna at Ulster or Milan; probably the former, for they say, afterwards, they passed up the river two miles before reaching the junction of the two rivers. Reaching the Cayuga branch, near one hundred yards wide, which we crossed, then rode near a mile to the town-house bearing north; this town is called Tohicon (Tioga), and lies in a rich neck between the branch and main river. The Indians welcomed us by beating their drum as soon as they saw us over the branch, and continued beating after the English manner, as we rode to the house, and while we unsaddled our horses, laid in our luggage, and entered ourselves; the house is about thirty foot long and the finest of any I saw among them. The Indians cut long grass and laid it on the floor for us to sit or lie on; several of them came and sat down and smoked their pipes, one of which was six foot long, the head of stone, the stem a reed; after this they brought victuals in the usual manner. Here I observed for the first time in this journey that the worms, which had done much mischief in several parts of our province by destroying the grass and even corn for two summers, had done the same thing here, and had eat off the blade of their maize and long white grass, so that the stems of both stood naked four foot high; I saw some of the naked, dark-colored grubs, half an inch long; though most of them were gone, yet I could perceive they were the same that had visited us two months before; they clean all the grass in their way in any meadow they get into, and seem to be periodical, as the locust and caterpillar,‡ the latter of which I am afraid will do us a great deal of mischief next summer. Here one of our hosts at the hunting cabin left us to go up this branch to his own country, that of the Cayugas; this night it rained a little, and the morning was very foggy."
They remained here only till the next day, when they pursued their journey northward up the Susquehanna, which they made in safety, returning on the 7th of August "to the Tohicon town on the Cayuga branch; this place we arrived at by noon, but stayed there all night, frightened by several showers that passed over the mountains in sight; indeed it rained a little here. I walked to the branch after dinner, and found abundance of fossils on the banks, but the distance of the way, and heavy load of our baggage, were an insurmountable bar to my bringing any home. This day the Anticoque interpreter that traveled with us from Onondaga, who left the path a little to hunt, missed our track, and hit upon an Indian town three miles up the branch, and there picking up a squaw brought her with him. The chief man of the town came to visit us in a very friendly manner; and our
* Observations on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Productions, etc., made by Mr. John Bartram, in his Travels from Pennsylvania to Onondaga Oswego, and the Lake Ontario, in Canada. London, 1751.
† I have not met this name before, but is probably the main branch of the Towanda, and the locality between East Canton and Le Roy.
‡ I have quoted this paragraph at length, because it is the first instance I have met with in which destructive insects were known to have infested this county. It is a question for the naturalist to answer, how this pest made its way one hundred and fifty miles into the wilderness, and to what species it belonged. It certainly is not of frequent occurrence in this county.
interpreter telling him where we had been, what about, and how well we had succeeded, he testified abundance of satisfaction that peace was not like to be interrupted; he added, when he came home his people told him we had passed through his town, but that we had not informed them of our business.
"This furnishes us with an instance of the punctilio the Indian constantly treats travelers with; the people, though earnestly desiring to know our commission, would not take the liberty to ask us."
On the 8th, the party left Tohicon, "and continued our journey without meeting anything worth remarking; the ground we had passed, rode over on our way out, and had lodged at the very creek we spent this night in." (July 15.)
"9th. We traveled to a fine creek big enough to drive two mills. We stopped for this night at the foot of a great hill, clothed with large magnolia, two feet diameter and one hundred feet high; perfectly straight, shagbark-hickory, chestnut and chestnut oak. This like a bridge between the northeast and northwest branches of Susquehanna; here is also a spring, from whence the water runs to both branches." The next day he notes that, while waiting, "Lewis Evans* took an observation here, and found the latitude 41° a half."
In 1745, many Mohicans† resided at Tioga, and the town continued, until the French war, inhabited partly by Mohicans and partly by Cayugas. During the French war, in which both the Delawares and the Iroquois were involved, Diahoga was the place of rendezvous for the forces which laid waste the whole northern frontier of Pennsylvania. Here Teedyuscung plotted and planned those expeditions by which he exacted the price in blood for the land on the forks of the Delaware from which he had been so haughtily driven a few years before. For a time the town was temporarily abandoned. In 1758 it is reported, "all the houses in this town are in ruins. No Indians live there." After the treaty at Easton in that year it was rebuilt, and in 1760 is spoken of as a flourishing town. During the Pontiac war it was again deserted. In 1766, "Oweke if the forepost of the Cayugas, where they keep a chief posted as sentinel for the country." The town was rebuilt soon after, and until the Revolution maintained its importance. It was guarded by the Iroquois with sleepless vigilance. Here their chiefs frequently met embassies from the southern dependencies and from the Province to inform them of the decrees of the Great Council. In 1779 it was destroyed by the army of General Sullivan, and thenceforth ceased its existence as an Indian town. Although in several instances separate skeletons have been found at various places, no general burial-place has as yet been discovered in this region.
On a creek emptying into the Chemung a few miles west of Tioga, marked on our maps as Toodle or Tutelow creek, was a diminutive town of Tuteloes. These were probably a tribe of the Shawanese, a wandering, warlike people, who, after being driven by the Spaniards from Florida, some time previous to 1700, had migrated northward. The Tuteloes seem to be the most dissolute of the nation; and when visited by the missionaries of the Moravian church, in 1747, their town Skogari, in what is now Columbia county, is described as "the only town on the whole continent inhabited by Tuteloes, a degenerate remnant of thieves and drunkards."‡ In the mission diary at Wyalusing, under date of July 21, 1765, is the entry: "The entire nation of the Tuteloes, but a handful of men, passed en route for Shamokin to hunt." In the spring of 1766 they were living about three miles from the head of Cayuga lake, and in October, 1767, Zeisberger, on his journey to western Pennsylvania, visited them on Tutelow creek, where they had settled probably the previous spring. After this the name disappears.
Near the State line, at about the western limit of the township of Athens, was a Cayuga town called Ganatockerat. Its precise locality cannot now with certainty be fixed, nor is its history known.
A colony of Monseys, who for a time had their fires about the head of Cayuga lake, near the Tuteloes, in the spring of 1766 removed to near the mouth of Orcutt’s creek, in Athens township, and built a town there called Wilawana. It was neither a very important nor permanent one, but soon disappeared, its inhabitants joining in the westward migrations which were then taking place.
For more than sixty years after William Penn made his celebrated with the Indians at Shackamaxon, in the fall of 1682, the province was undisturbed by Indian wars. The intercourse between the people of the forest and the whites was friendly and cordial. But a chance of policy took place, and the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania began to imitate the grasping plans of their neighbors in procuring the alienation of Indian title. In September, 1737, the celebrated walking purchase took place, in which there was such a palpable violation of the ancient custom of measuring by walks, that the Delawares repudiated the measurement and refused to remove from the territory. Suspicion took the place of confidence, and charges of fraud were frequently made, and when the Proprietaries subsequently called upon the Six Nations to remove their subjects from the disputed territory, the Delawares were exasperated almost beyond endurance, both on account of being compelled to leave their favorite homes in the forks of the Delaware, as well as by the insolent manner in which it was accomplished, and seized the first opportunity for revenge. Until the French war, the Iroquois were the steadfast friends of the English, and held their subjects in check, so that no general outbreak occurred until the defeat of Braddock, in July, 1755, and then the whole frontier was in a blaze. The wrath which had been smothered for eighteen years
* In 1755, Lewis Evans published for the proprietaries, "A General Map of the Middle British Colonies," which, so far as we know, was the first attempt to delineate on a map the area of Bradford County. The representation of course is very rude and imperfect, but the general idea of the country was evidently obtained on this trip. This must be the apology, if any is needed, for interrupting our narrative with these extracts from Bartram’s journal.
† The ancient seats of the Mohicans were in New England and southeastern New York, from which, being driven by the whites, they migrated to the head-waters of the Delaware, where many of them mingled with the Monseys, while the remnant found a place at Diahoga.
‡ "Life of Zeisberger," p. 149.
now burst forth in terrible fury upon the defenseless settlers. Teedyuscung, the king of the Delawares, formerly a professed friend of the English, who had been baptized into the faith of the gospel by the Moravian missionaries, became an apostate, made common cause with the hostile party, and, seizing the hatchet with fierce eagerness, became one of their boldest captains. The Six Nations were divided in sentiment, some remaining neutral, the others taking part, some with the French and some with the English. The Delawares and Shawanese were therefore left free to pursue their bloody work unhindered. The massacres at Penn’s creek and the Mahony speedily followed. For three years the Province suffered all the horrors of a border Indian warfare. The Delawares, who had been removed upon the Susquehanna, exacted the price of blood for the land from which they had been driven.
In these troubles, the Monseys of our county were active participants. Removing their families to the Iroquois country, where they would be beyond the reach of provincial scouting-parties, their warriors hung like a shadow upon the frontier settlements. Now swooping down upon some unsuspecting pioneer, murdering or carrying captive his family to Tioga, now falling like a thunderbolt upon some scout, unsuspicious of danger, they sent terror to the very heart of the Province.
A truce was made at the congress at Easton, in October, 1758; and in August, 1761, there was arranged a definite treaty of peace, prisoners were delivered up, and the Delawares were satisfied for their land. At these treaties, as also at the one held at Lancaster, the following year, the Monseys, who had been among the last to lay down the hatchet, were largely represented. Teedyuscung’s warriors, chiefs, and braves, from "Tiahoge," "Wickhalousin Indians, Papoonhank’s people," formed a considerable part of the gathering.*
This peace, however, was of but short continuance. The Pontiac conspiracy was on foot even while the Indians were negotiating at Lancaster, and for another three years, in the western country, were repeated the horrors of the French war. In this war the Indians on the North Branch did not bear a conspicuous part. In April, 1763, Teedyuscung’s village, at Wyoming, was set on fire, and the "king of the Delawares" perished in a drunken debauch. Deprived of their leader, the Monseys were not eager for another conflict. It is not known that any, except a portion of the Wyalusing Indians, were engaged in the conflict, although the whole country was in a state of disquiet and alarm.
In the remonstrance of the Paxton Boys to the assembly in 1764 they say, "Some of the Indians now in the barracks of Philadelphia are confessedly a part of the Wyalusing Indians, which tribe is now at war with us, and the others are the Moravian Indians, who, living with us under the cloak of friendship, carried on a correspondence with our known enemies on the Great Island. We cannot but observe with sorrow and indignation that some persons in this Province are at pains to extenuate the barbarous cruelties practiced by these savages on our murdered brethren and relatives, which are shocking to human nature, and must pierce every heart but that of the hardened perpetrators or their abettors; nor is it the less distressing to hear others pleading that although the Wyalusing tribe is at war with us, yet that part of it which is under the protection of the government may be friendly to the English, and innocent."
After 1768, Sir William Johnson having been appointed by the British government general superintendent of Indian affairs, we do not hear much more of our Bradford County Indians, except as connected with the Moravian missions, until the Revolutionary war. In the report of the governor of Pennsylvania, made to the Earl of Dartmouth, on the state of the Province, dated Jan. 30, 1775, it is stated:† "Before the late Indian war there were a number of Indians settled in several parts of the province; but during that war, and since, they have withdrawn themselves beyond the western and northern limits of the Province." An exception to this statement should be made, as it is certain Tioga continued to be inhabited as an Indian town during at least a part of the Revolutionary war.
The Indian exhibited a remarkable knowledge of locality. Without roads, destitute of means for accurate measurement, his knowledge of the geography of the country appeared at first sight to be intuitive. Further acquaintance, however, disclosed the fact that it resulted only from experience and keenness of observation. Frequently led hundreds of miles into a strange country, either in pursuit of game or of an enemy, it was of the last importance that he should be able to find his way back. To do this he must learn to observe closely and rapidly, and remember accurately every minute detail, either in the configuration of the country or the trees of the forest.
He also found it convenient to have well-defined and beaten paths or trails, connecting important settlements, and leading to important and frequented places, especially to the favorite hunting-grounds. We find numerous paths of this sort traversing our county, following for the most part the course of the larger streams. The most important of these was the Great Warrior path down the Susquehanna. This began at Tioga, crossing the Chemung at the rifts, near its junction with the North Branch, passing to the east side of the river at the fording-place near Sheshequin; thence to Shamokin (Sunbury), where it was joined with the West Branch path, and thence to the nations of the south and west.
The Minisink path, beginning at Tioga, crossed the North Branch, led in a southeasterly direction along the
* The names of the Wyalusing Indians (Papoonhank’s people), from Bradford County, at the treaty at Lancaster, 1762, are as follows: Wanoadea, Tunkghoak, Papoon, Newoale, Wajeathu, Sakomoamos, Tutulas, Loapeghk, Queghkoan, Claghkolen, Woayaghk, Maghmenekoner, Mosawoapamech, Meshkus, Uleweaghkomen, Kuwoghwolan, Keshashink---Total, 17. From Assinnissink (Standing Stone) and Tiahoge: Echhoan, Jagheabus, Tennowankeghla, Chowock, Aghkiamoawach, Woanpokchak, Twishk, Metamen, Komelolakit, Eleman, Canogharis, Eghen, Mamalekan, Richall, Matalish, Ashook, Wegheelap, Oghquetoto, Kakulelaman, Memenelawat, Ochles, Woleeghan, Quiloawas, Ulamatahemen, Peshawao, Queshkshima, Teelashk, Peeshquoloaton, Pamoawonagh, Shekoape, Kobus, Cheelanos, Unakesh---Total, 33.---Pennsylvania Archives, iv. 90.
† Pennsylvania Archives, iv., p. 598.
southern part of the northern tier of townships, on the divide between the creeks running north and those running south, to the Minisink country on the Delaware.
The Sheshequin path was the great thoroughfare from Tioga to the villages on the West Branch. On this path there were two trails, connected at various points by cross-paths. One trail followed up the Lycoming to the Beaver Dam, at the southwestern angle of the county; thence down the Meadows, crossing to the north side of the Towanda creek, near East Canton; thence down the creek to near Monroeton, where it branched, one trail leading to Tawandaemunk and the other to Oscului. The other trail followed up the Pine creek, taking the east fork, passing near Mainsburg, through Troy, and down the Sugar creek to Oscului, where, connecting with the other trail, it passed over the Ulster mountain, called "the narrow way," and reached the Warrior path near Sheshequin. A connecting path led from near Le Roy to Burlington. Weiser came the Lycoming, Le Roy, and Burlington route in 1737, and Zeisberger took the Pine and Sugar creek route in 1750, in order to reach Onondaga through the prescribed door at Tioga; and both these travelers have left a record of the terrible hardships and dangers which were experienced in traversing these trails, leading as they did over mountains, through swamps, and almost impenetrable thickets of laurel, where frequently they were compelled to creep on their hands and feet for some distance.
An unfrequented path led up the Wysauking and down the Wapusening to Owego.
The Wyalusing path was traced up the Muncy creek to its head, then crossed the Loyal Sock creek near where the Berwick turnpike now crosses it, then to near where the village of Dushore now stands, over to the main branch of the Sugar Run to Lewis’ mill, over the hill, crossing the river at the present Sugar Run fording-place to M’chiwihilusing, up the Wyalusing to its head, thence to the Apolacon to Zeninge. The marks of this path have been found by persons now living, and it was one of the most frequented thoroughfares between the Monsey towns on both branches of the river.
The correct orthography and proper signification of Indian names, especially
in this region, must always remain somewhat uncertain. Having no written
language, the Indians were unable to express words in orthographic characters.
Each writer endeavored to represent in proper characters the sounds of
the word as pronounced by his informer. When we consider the difficulty
always experienced in catching the precise pronunciation of a foreign word,
it is not surprising that we find great diversities in the manner of spelling
proper names. In addition to this, we must often depend upon travelers,
who, though shrewd to transact the business for which their journey was
undertaken, often were men destitute of literary culture and unable to
spell correctly the common words of their native language.
Then the names of the Indian languages are usually concrete and synthetic, not abstract nor analytic. They cannot say father,* son, master separately. The noun must be limited by including within itself the pronoun for the person to whom it relates; so they could not say tree or house, the word must always be accompanied by prefixes defining its application. They have special terms for each kind of oak, but no generic term including them all. The noun, adjective, and pronoun all are blended into one word. Hence one part of a stream or place might receive one name, and the other part a very different one.
As this territory was at different times inhabited by different tribes speaking different languages, the same place would bear diverse names with equally diverse significations, or there might be a similarity in the sound and great diversity of meaning. Very little dependence can be placed on any interpretations of these Indian names, corrupted as many of them evidently are from older forms, and whose meaning must largely be inferred from imperfect analogies.
Having carefully compared the lists of names given by several authors, whose familiarity with the Indian language makes them as reliable authority on this subject as any now accessible, below is attempted a list, with the signification, of
INDIAN NAMES FOUND IN THE COUNTY
CHEMUNG—corrupted from Shamunk, signifying the place of a horn.
LOYAL SOCK—corrupted from Lawi-Saquick, signifying the middle creek, i.e., a creek flowing between two others.
SHESHEQUIN—corrupted from Schechschi’quanink (Del.), signifying the place of a rattle (Zeis.); Shesheequoi, the medicine-man’s rattle (Catlin).
STANDING STONE—Achsin’nink (Del.), signifying where there is a large stone.
SUGAR CREEK—Oscohu (Weiser), signifying fierce; Osgochgo (Zeis.) This latter, evidently an Iroquois word, frequently Oscului.
SUSQUEHANNA—corrupted from a Delaware word, signifying the winding river. The Iroquois call at least the upper part, if not the whole stream, Ga-wa-no-wa-ná-neh Ga-hun-da, signifying the Great Island river.†
TIOGA—corrupted from Tiaoga, or as it is often written Diahoga, an Iroquois word signifying a gate, or place of entrance, or the meeting of waters—the union of two streams.
TOWANDA—Dawantaa, probably an Iroquois word signifying the fretful or tedious (Weiser); Awandoe, a Nanticoke word meaning a burial-place; Tawandaemunk, a Delaware word signifying where there is a burying, or where we bury the dead.
WAPPASUNING—corrupted from Wapachsinning, signifying where there are white stones, alluding to a supposed deposit of silver ore.
WYALUSING—corrupted from M’chwihilusing, the place of the hoary veteran. Another version is from Wigalusui, the good hunting-ground.
WYSAUKIN (Wysox)—from Wisachgimi, signifying the place of
grapes. Zeisberger spells the word Wisachk. Sauk, or
Saucon, a canoe harbor; Wy-sauk, where there is a canoe harbor.
† In the "Crown Inn," a monograph, by Rev. W. C. Reichel, of Bethlehem, is the following paragraph:
"Susquehanna, written in early times Sasquehanna, corrupted from Que-ni-schach-ach-gek-han-ne—compounded of quin, long, schach-ack-ki, straight, and hanne, stream—the name by which the Delawares originally designated the reach of the West Branch westward from Muncy creek, then the West Branch, and finally the main stream of the great river."
Remainder of Chapter - Pages 18
to 29 Continued