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you by force. Your cause is just; therefore, smoke this tobacco and arise; join ut
with our fathers, the French, and take your revenge. You are women, it is true, but we
will shorten your petticoats and though you may appear by your dress to be women,
yet by your conduct and language you will convince your enemies that you are deter-
mined not tamely to suffer the wrongs and injuries inflicted upon you."7

After the extract above, Heckewelder's text tells of the course of the
Delawares in the French and Indian and the Revolutionary wafs. At
the very first of the work above mentioned (Introduction, pp. 25-30) he
begins his apologies for the acknowledged condition of the Delaware
tribes, that of women in the eyes of the other nations, and the white
people who believed much too implicitly, he complains, the story told
by the Mingoes of their having conquered the Lenape (Delawares) and
made women of them. The whites, therefore, always acted towards
the Lenape under the impression that the story was true, and refused
to hear the Lenape account of the matter and "shut their ears" against
them when the Lenape attempted to inform them of the real facts. This
denial of common justice Heckewelder thought one of the principal
complaints of the Lenape against the English and made a part of the
tradition or history which they preserved for posterity. Heckewelder
therefore felt a solemn call to rectify any errors and in our histories
not record and thus transmit erroneous statements concerning those
Aborigines from whom we received the country we now inhabit —
meaning Pennsylvania — bought by Penn from the Delawares. As indi-
viduals, the Lenape called all the Iroquois Mingoes, and in documentary
matter referred to them as the Five Nations, not recognizing the Tus-
caroras as the sixth.

Heckewelder quotes from the "History of the Missions of the United
Brethren Church Among the North American Indians," by Bishop Los-



T^History, Manners and Customs Indian Nations, etc;" Rev. John Heckewdder.
New editkm, edited Rev. Wm. C. Rdchd, 1876; pp. ^-68.



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INDIANS IN PETTICOATS 137

kid, his fellow-worker, and ascertained three material points therefrom ;
"first, the Delawares were too strong for the Iroquois and could not be
conquered by them by force of arms, but were subdued by insidious
means; second, that the making women of the Delawares was not an
act of compulsion, but the result of their own free will and consent;
third, that the whites were already in this country at the time this
ceremony took place, since they were to hold one end of the great
Peace Belt in their hands" — this latter a typical Indian figure of speech.
The "Conquest" was one of a singular nature, effected through duplicity
and intrigue at a council fire, and not in battle/* is Heckewelder's summing
up of the controversy, and he proves it to his own satisfaction at least.
Loskiel relied on Zeisberger for his account which he wrote about 1778.
It is the complete Delaware version of the conquest. They averred
they were always too powerful for the Iroquois, who became convinced
that if they continued their warfare their total extirpation was inevit-
able. It was not profitable for all the Indian nations to be at war with
each other, the ruin of the whole race would be the ultimate consequence.
They had considered a remedy by which this evil could be averted.
"One nation shall be a woman," the Iroquois declared. "We shall place
her in the midst and the other nations who make war shall be the man
and live around the woman. No one shall touch the woman, and if
anyone does we shall immediately say to him, 'Why do you beat this
woman?' Then all the men shall fall upon him who has beaten her.
The woman shall not go to war, but endeavor to keep peace with all.
Therefore, if the men that surround her beat each other and war be
carried on with violence, the woman shall have the right of addressing
them, 'Ye men, what are ye about? Why do you beat each other? We
are most afraid and consider that your wives and children must perish
unless you desist. Do you mean to destroy yourselves from the face
of the earth ?* The men shall then hear and obey the woman"

This was the proposition. Thereupon the Iroquois appointed the
great feast with the Lenape as guests, at which the principal speech
contained three points of material interest to the Delawares. The first
constituted the Delaware nation to be the "woman in the case" in the
following ceremonial words: "We dress you in a woman's long habit,
reaching down to your feet, and adorn you with earrings," meaning they
should no more take up arms. The second point was thus expressed:
"We hang a calabash filled with oil and medicine upon your arm. With
the oil you shall cleanse the ears of the other nations that they may
attend to good and not to bad words, and with the medicine you shall
heal those who are walking in foolish ways that they may return to
their senses and incline their hearts to peace.'' The third point exhorted
the Delawares to make agriculture their future employment and means
of subsistence. "We deliver into your hands a plant of Indian corn and



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138 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

a hoe/' was the final act with undoubted signification. Each point
was confirmed by delivering a belt of wampum, and these belts Delaware
traditions asserted had been carefully laid up and their meanings fre-
quently repeated.

Loskiel said that whether the different accounts, the Lenape and
the Iroquoian, be true or false, it was certain that the Delaware nation
had ever since been looked to for preservation of peace, and entrusted
with the great belt of peace and chain of friendship, which they must
take care to preserve inviolate. According to the figurative explanation
of the Indians, the middle of th^ chain of friendship was placed on the
shoulder of the Delaware, the rest of the Indian nations holding one end
and the Europeans the other — all of which is very good reading and
we may entertain no doubt that when an Iroquois Indian heard it, if in
any of their tongues they had a word meaning "balderdash," he promptly
uttered it. Heckewelder admitted that the authority exercised by the
Six Nations over the Lenape was so great that the missionaries to them
found it necessary to obtain the approbation of the Six Nations.

However much Heckewelder explains, the facts of history are that
the Pennsylvania Indians were all under the dominion of the Six
Nations. The bending of Lenape knees at the command of their mas-
ters was constant for at least half a century; sometimes the command
was mild, at others peremptory and not to be disobeyed. While the
yoke was taken off the Lenape who had remained East, by Sir William
Johnson, those who came to Western Pennsylvania cast it off and the
story of the yoke and its taking off and casting off is material to our
history because of the events that followed. In this connection we m4y
have recourse again to Thomson and quote his remarks :

The peremptory command of Cannassatego the Delawarcs dared not disobey. They
therefore immediately left the Council and soon after removed from the Forks; some
to Wyomen, some to Shamokin and some to Ohio. But though they did not then dare
to dispute the order, yet when the present troubles began, and they fotmd the French
ready to support them, they shewed this province, as well as the Six Nations, how they
resented the treatment they met in 1742. They took a severe revenge on the province
by laying waste their frontiers and paid so little regard to a menacing message which
the Six Nations sent them that they in their turn threatened to turn their arms against
them, and, at last forced them to acknowledge they were men ; that is, a free and inde-
pendent nation.8

Thomson had opportunity to remember the events, as he came to
the Delaware region in 1741, and we are to remember that he wrote of
these events some time after Braddock's defeat, as a result of which
all the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were left open
and unprotected. We of Pittsburgh and vicinity, mindful ever of the
ultimate defeat of the French and their expulsion from the region of
Western Pennsylvania and the Ohio country before they lost Canada,



•''Causes of Alienation," etc., Chas. Thomson, p. 47.



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INDIANS IN PETTICOATS 139

are as greatly unmindful of the distress and horror that came upon the
Province of Pennsylvania by reason of the victory of the French on
the Monongahela.

The subserviency of the Dela wares is referred to in the minutes of a
conference at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, May 15, 1757, where Little Abra-
ham, a Mohawk sachem, spoke. He said in one part to Governor Denny :

Brothers, you desired us to open our hearts and inform you everything we knew
that might give rise to the quarrel between you and our nephews and brothers. We
must now inform you that in former times our forefathers conquered the Delawares
and put petticoats on them. A long time after that they lived among you, our brothers,
but upon some difference between you and them we thought proper to remove them,
giving them lands to plant and hunt on at Wyoming and Juniata on Susquehanna. But
you, covetous of land, made plantations there and spoiled their hunting grounds. Then
they complained to us and we lodced over those lands and found their complaints to be
true. At this time they carried on a correspondence with the French by which means
the French became acquainted with all the causes of complaint they had against you and
as your people were daily increasing their settlements, by this means you drove them
back into the arms of the French and they took the advantage of spiriting them against
you by telling them : "Children, you sec wc have often told you how the English, your
brethren, would serve you. They plant all the country and drive you back, so that in a
little time you will have no land. It is not so with us. Though we build trading houses
on your land we do not plant it We have our provisions from over the great water."

The speaker advised the governor to send for the dissatisfied Senecas,
the Delawares and Shawanese and treat them kindly ; rather g^ve them
back some part of their fields than differ with them. The governor
said he would refer such matters to Sir William Johnson, inviting as
many as chose to live at Shamokin.®

July 2 1st a Council was held at Easton and Governor Denny was
there and Teedyuscung, and of his company of 159 persons, of whom
forty-five were men, the remainder women and children; 119 Senecas
and others of the Six Nations also attended. Two were chiefs and princi-
pal men, and others of esteem.*^

The Iroquois resented any attempts of the Delawares to assert
authority and were prompt to call them to account. They were greatly
incensed at the conduct of Teedyuscung at Easton in 175&— October 15th
this conference began and it was an important one. The Six Nations
chiefs said they thought it proper to have discourse about their Nephew
Teedyuscung — "that you all know he gives out he is a great man and
chief of ten nations. This is his constant discourse. We do not know
him as such. We desire to know who made him so— perhaps you
have," said Nichas, a Mohawk, to Governor Denny. "If so, tell us. It
may be the French made him so." Other chiefs spoke in similar ironical
strain.

Governor Denny answered that Teedyuscung had come only as a



••'Register of Pennsylvania," Hazard, Vol. V, pi 343- "Colonial Records." Vol. VII,
p. 540.

aoCf. Hazard's "Register," Vol V, p. 369. "Colonial Records," Vol. VIII, p. 649



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J40 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

messenger from ten nations ; that he had never made Teedyuscung chief
over them ; nor did Teedyuscung in conferences assume to be ; he always
called the Iroquois his uncles and superiors. He was sorry that he had
at any time assumed to be otherwise. The Governor disclaimed any
right to make kings for them ; he accepted those they appointed.**

On October 26th, when the deeds were acknowledged, Teedyus-
cung's request for land at Shamokin and Wyoming was not granted. The
Six Nations chiefs said they had no power to grant; they would carry
the request home to be considered, and in the meanwhile he might live
on the lands, but they desired him to return his English prisoners ,which
he ought to have done. "It was a shame for one who calls himself a
great man to tell lies. He must now fail," they said.

Governor Bernard, of New Jersey, speaking in behalf of Teedyus-
cung said :

The title of king could not be given him by any English governor for we know
very well there is no such person among the Indians as what we call a king, and if we
call him so, we mean no more than a sachem or chief. I observe in his treaties which
he has held with the governors of Pennsylvania which I have perused since our last
meeting, he says he was a woman till you made a man of him by putting a tomahawk
in his hand, and among these treaties, especially the last held in this town, he calls you
his uncles, and professes that he is dependent on you and I do not know that anything
has since happened to alter his relation to you. I therefore consider him to be still
your nephew.i*

Dr. Brinton says of the wearing of the Iroquois yoke:

The close of this condition of subjection was in 1756. In that year Sir William
Johnson formally "took off the petticoat" from the Lenape, and "handed them the war
belt." The year subsequent they made the public declaration that they would not
acknowledge but the Senecas as their superiors.! <

Thomson ("Alienation, etc.," p. 107) furnishes this testimony, which
is the ground of Brinton's remark :

It was brought out at the conference at Lancaster, beghming in May, I757> that
Sir William Johnson had taken a great deal of pains to find out, without success,
whence the differences arose between the English and the Delawares and Shawanese,
that the Delawares had declared to him that they had thrown off their dependence and
would no longer acknowledge any but the Senecas as their uncles and superiors.

George Croghan was foremost in these endeavors at Sir William
Johnson's request and worked earnestly to accomplish some good.

Even their supremacy of the Senecas was soon rejected, continues Brinton. At
the treaty of Fort Pitt in October, 1778, Captain White Eyes, when reminded by the
Senecas that the petticoats were still on his people, scornfully repudiated the imputation
and made good his words by leading a war party against them the following year.
The Iroquois, however, released their hold unwillingly, and it was not until 1795,
shortly after the treaty of Greenville, that their delegates came forward and officially



"•-Register of Pcnna. ; " Hazard, Vol. V, 373 et seq. "Colonial Records,** Vol. VHI,
pp. 190-101-192.

la^Minutes Provincial Council;" Col. Rec VIII, pu 193.
i<"Lenape and Their Legends;" D. G. Brinton, p. lai.



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INDIANS IN PETTICOATS 141

declared that the Lenape were no longer women, but men, and the famous Chief Joseph
Brant placed in their hands the war club.^^

The woman story is told at some length by Gordon. ("History of
Pennsylvania," pp. 47-49; Appendix Ibid, p. 609).

Neville B. Craig, speaking of the Shawanese relations with the Iro-
quois, says :

At a treaty at Fort Pitt in May, 1768, a little incident occurred which showed that
the Shawanese also submitted very patiently to the rebukes of the Iroquois, and tended
to prove that the latter well deserved the name given them by the late DeWitt Clinton —
'The Romans of America.'"

Nymwha, a Shawanese, addressing the Pennsylvania commissioners, George Crog-
han, Indian agents Alexander McKee, his deputy, and the officers present, said : "We
afterwards desired you to destroy your forts as that would be the way to make all
nations of Indians believe you were sincere in your friendship, and we now repeat the
same argument to you again. We also desired you not to go down the river, etc."

The next day (May 4, 1768), Keyashuta (Guyasutha), a Seneca chief, (one of the
Indians, by. the way, who accompanied Washington from Logstown to Le Boef, in 1753,
and whom the writer well recollects), arose with a copy of the treaty of 1764 with
Colonel Bradstreet, in his hand, and addressing the commissioners, said: "By this
treaty we agreed that you had a right to build forts and trading houses where you
pleased and to travel the road of peace from the sun rising to the sun setting. At that
treaty the Shawanese and Delawares were with me, and know all this well, and I am
surprised that they should speak to you as they did yesterday."

Two days afterward, Kassinaughta, a Shawanese chief, arose and said: "You
desired us to speak from our hearts, and tell you what gave us uneasiness of mind and
we did so. We are very sorry we should have said anything to give offense; and we
acknowledge we are wrong."i5

The causes of the complaints of the Indians were not removed. The
encroachments of settlers on the Juniata were particularly aggravating,
for though the Pennsylvania authorities made efforts to keep settlers off,
it was to no avail.

The expanding settlements still kept in advance of the Indian bound-
ary line, and the demand for more room was urgently pressed by the
proprietaries. In 1749 a further cession was secured from the Indians
the Six Nations uniting with the Shamokin, Delaware and Shawanese
occupants. This treaty was made August 22d, and while much of the
territory ceded had already been preempted by adventurous squatters,
west of the Susquehanna the line of settlements was scarcely less ad-
vanced, although the purchase line was still marked by the Blue Moun-
tains on the east of the river.

The coming of the Delawares and the Shawanese to the region of the
Upper Ohio, driven hither by the dominant Iroquois, boded ill for the
white settlers of two colonies. The provincial authorities of Pennsyl-



i*"Lenape and Legends," p. 121. "Hist Indian Nations;'* Heckewelder, p. 70.
"Life of Zeisberger;" De Schweinitz, pp. 430, 641. "Old Westmoreland;" E. W. Has-
sler, pp. 74-75.

i«"History of Pittsburgh;" Orig. Ed., p. j8; Edition 1917, Ed. by Geo. T. Fleming,
p. 4. "Olden Time;" Vol. I, p. 6.



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142 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

vania and Virginia did not rest easy with these tribes under the French
influence.

We can readily see how the region about the beautiful Ohio appealed
to the red men. Here he found a land to suit every desire.

The Delawares and Shawanese remained here while all the great
events of the eighteenth century were happening, and then there came
a day when they knew the beautiful valley of the Upper Ohio no more.
Before they left they hurled a bold defiance to their overlords.

Tired of the persecutions of the white settlers, for the pioneer was
often base ; tired of the arrogance and domineering of the Iroquois, their
red masters, these tribes refused to leave their villages on La Belle
Riviere, and stayed here and helped make history. Here their vassalage
had gradually become more nominal and amounted at the end to a
quiet submissiveness and an ever recurring and expedient acknowledg-
ment of the superiority of the Iroquois. The truculent spirit of the
latter gradually modified, though the overlords of the Six Nations were
not withdrawn.

The Delawares and Shawanese became allies of the French never-
theless, and the French without this aid could not have stayed, for when
Post withheld it the power of Onontio, as they called the French gov-
ernor of Canada, went heavenward in the smoke of their burning fort —
Duquesne.

Here about our homes they threw off the garments of women and
wended the trail back over the Alleghenies, back to their old homes,
even to the banks of the Delaware, and when they returned the trail
was red with the blood of the innocent, for they spared nothing white.
Their vengeance was fully glutted. This throwing oflF was not done
in a formal manner such as by Sir William Johnson, or by a bold defiance
in words, but by going on the warpath without the sanction of their
masters. The meaning of the word Lenape is men, and the Delawares
were themselves again. They were warriors once more and the chain of
events that followed proved to the colonists of Pennsylvania how bloody
their warfare could be. The spoliation of their lands by the Penns, the
unlicensed intrusion of the settlct's, especially into the Juniata Valley;
the rum traffic and the vile acts of the traders, all combined to keep warm
the boding discontent and a long smothered anger burst at last into a
consuming flame.

The Iroquois, the Mingoes in the Ohio region especially, had shared
in these feelings. Remonstrances to the authorities of the colony were
followed by angry complaints, not alone from the Delawares but from
the Iroquois, who said they had given the lands on the Juniata which
were theirs by right of conquest, to their cousins, the Delawares, for
hunting grounds, and by no treaty had they permitted settlements.
This was long before the Revolution, but the fire of discontent never died



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INDIANS IN PETTICOATS 143

out, and when it leaped into an appalling fire it was indeed devastating.
The Iroquois were the allies of the English because for a century or
more they had hated the French who from the days of Champlain had
sought to overpower them — ^not that they loved the English more, but
that they loved the French less. The Delawares and Shawanese, driven
to the debatable land on the Ohio, came within the French influence
during the few years that influence was exerted, and the Shawanese at
heart were ever the foes of the Americans. Though there were many
Indian villages in our region, there had been vast tracts reserved by
the Indians as hunting grounds, game preserves we call them now.
Whenever the whites encroached upon these there was trouble.

The subjugated Delawares and Shawanese had not been kept thus by
garrisons of Iroquois warriors. The fear of Iroquois vengeance was suf-
ficient and remained sufficient until the day came when the yoke should be
lifted. Parkman thinks this was about the beginning of the Revolution. It
was in 1778. He states that at this time the Delawares boldly asserted their
freedom and in a few years the Six Nations conferred at a public council
that the Lenape were no longer women, but men. Ever since they have
stood in high repute for bravery, generosity and all the savage virtues
and the settlers on the frontier have often found to their cost that the
"women" of the Iroquois have been transformed into a race of formidable
warriors. At the present day, the small remnant are settled beyond the
Mississippi among the brave marauders of the West. Parkman wrote in
1851. There are still a few Delawares on reservations. The fiercer
Shawanese have come nearer extermination and no one grieves thereat.
It was White Eyes who threw oflF the ever-galling fetters of the Iroquois,
the allies of the English, who considering the Delawares bound to oper-
ate with them, commanded their vassals to be in readiness. "I shall do
as I please," said White Eyes. "I wear no petticoat as you falsely
pretend. I am no woman, but a man, and you shall find me to act as
such."

With, the coming of the white man into the Ohio country events
developed with startling abruptness and left a memory of inexpressible
horror. The history of Pittsburgh is the history of Western Pennsyl-
vania and the opening of the West.

The English and German settlers of Pennsylvania wanted land for
homes and farms. They regarded all Indians as savages; relentless
enemies of the white race. The keen-sighted red man was not alone
keen in vision but far reaching in his look ahead. He soon saw in the
constant increase of the white settlers the loss of his home country, his
hunting grounds and the graves of his ancestors. He distrusted the
white man as he knew him, for he found him typified mainly in the
base trader or his baser hireling. The Indian looked to the French for
friendship and aid. He got both. The French made no settlements



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X44 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

in the Ohio Valley. They were traders, soldiers, hunters and mission-
aries. They intermarried with the Indians and lived among them. They
needed the Indians as allies against the English. They understood
Indian nature; they were kind, politic, and liberal. They were vastly
different from the Ulstermen of Pennsylvania and Virginia, who made



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 19 of 81)