Copyright
American Historical Society George Thornton Fleming.

History of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 online

. (page 60 of 81)
Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 60 of 81)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


undertaking; and although he was an illiterate person, and his narrative seemmgly art-
less and uncouth, yet being a man of sincerity, acquainted with the Indian manners, and
the importance of the affair, at that time, being very interesting, the Indian custom of
treating on public affairs may thereby partly appear, and be entertaining. The event
showed the propriety of using reason, and friendly treatment, or true policy, towards the
Indians, in preference to force or violence, when it may be done, the former of which
had so long been successfully used by the more early settlers of Pennsylvania and the
latter so lately attended with unhappy consequences. ("History of Pennsylvania," 1797,
Robt Proud, Appendix, p. 65).

The punishment inflicted upon the Delawares a year after Braddock's
defeat, and the destruction of their town of Kittanning, still rankled in
the hearts of the Delawares. It is well that we look briefly into the
events of and the proceedings of the Pennsylvania authorities, 1755-1758.
The most eflfective results in operations against the Indians were those
obtained from Armstrong's expedition against Kittanning in September,
1756. This brought about the complete disorganization of the Indian
conspiracy. The savages were once more willing to treat, and a grand
council was convened at Easton in November that year. Governor
Denny represented the province, and Teedyuscung the Delawares. Each
was accompanied by a considerable retinue; Denny especially, for he
made particular effort to impress upon the Indian imagination the power
and bravery of martial display. A previous council had been held (in
July), but owing to small attendance the conference was adjourned until
fall, as neither party seemed prepared to join issue. In the meantime,
Armstrong had struck his stunning blow, and the second meeting found
both parties ready to discuss their grievances. Teedyuscung complained
loudly of the ill usage his people had received from the provincial authori-
ties, and laid stress on the overtures of the French. He boldly declared
that the very land on which they then stood had been taken from the
rightful owners by fraud, and not only the land by the "walk," but tracts
east of the Delaware, and subsequently when the Six Nations had given
them and the Shawanese the country on the Juniata for a hunting ground
with the full knowledge of the Pennsylvania governor, the latter per-
mitted settlers to encroach upon them. Again, in 1754, the governor had
gone to Albany to purchase more lands from the Six Nations, describing
the land sought by the points of the compass which the Indians did not
understand, and by the profusion of presents obtained grants of land
which the Iroquois did not intend to sell, including not only the Juniata
but the west branch of the Susquehanna. When these things had be-
come known to the Delawares and their Indian allies and congeners, they
declared they would no longer be friends with the English, who were
trjring to get all the country.

This council lasted nine days and resulted in a treaty. Compensation
was offered for the land taken by the "Long Walk," but this matter was
deferred for later consideration, which was in July, 1757, when the whites



Digitized by



Google



PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 421

resorted to a practice too common with them in such conferences. Rum
was freely supplied and strenuous efforts made to place Teedyiiscung
hopelessly under its influence. Some Quakers present prevented this, and
the settlement of the question was not made then. In October, 1758,
another grand conference was held at Easton for the adjustment of the
whole dispute, and representatives of the Iroquois and all the Algonquin
tribes in Pennsylvania were present to the number of five hundred. The
Iroquois had been offended greatly by the Delawares and Shawanese
making the independent treaty in 1756, and sundry war parties of the
Iroquois had committed outrages upon Pennsylvania settlers in the hope
of embroiling the neighboring tribes. The Iroquois took offense also at
the prominence assumed by Teed3ruscung, and it took hard work by the
Quaker element present to prevent the evil influences of rum and intrigue
from defeating the purposes of the conference. Teedyuscung held him-
self up with firmness and dignity, and obtained from the governors of
Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the Indian agents represented a re-
lease of all lands beyond the Allegheny Mountains purchased in 1754.
For the remainder the Indians gave a deed confirming the former pur-
chase and more clearly defining its boundaries, for which they received
additional compensation. Measures having been duly taken and the
conference at Easton closed, the authorities began to feel great anxiety
over the situation at the head of the Ohio, as this record proves :

Great pains were taken with Pisquetomen to prevail with them to go as quick as
possible to the Ohio, and to observe what was doing at Fort Duquesne, and to send off a
trusty Messenger from Beaver Creek, with an account of the Motions of the French and
the Disposition of the Indians. At length they Consented to go, and it being a mattter
of vast consequence that the conferences should be known at Ohio, with all possible Care
and Dispatch, as well as that the General ought to be furnished with true intelligence.

Frederick Post was desired to accompany the Indians, and he readily consented to
go. He desired some other white men might be joined with him, as it was a Journey of
much consequence and Danger. This was thought reasonable, and he afterwards came
to acquaint tiie Governor Aat Charles Thomson offered his service to go with him. The
Governor objected to this and told him he might take any other person, or, if he would
get some when he came to Bethlehem, he might apply to Mr. Spangenberg, to whom he
should have a letter to spare him one or two of his best Indians. Mr. Post approved
of this and was satisfied to go with Pisquetomen and Isaac Still.^

Mr. Spangenberg had been a Moravian bishop from 1743 and hence
was the superior of Post. Spangenberg was the successor of Zinzendorf as
the head of the Moravians at the latter's death. An official record states :
"Frederick Post was dispatched by Mr. Logan and Mr. Peters," and con-
tinues: "We delivered to him printed copies of conferences at Easton
and Lancaster, and copies of the present conferences, and the Belts and
strings delivered in Conferences, having first Numbered them and re-
fered to the particulars with each belt and string, and put labels on them.
James, the Indian, agreed to go with him, and an Horse was got for
James. The Indians gave the Governor a List of Prisoners, which was
copied and delivered to Mr, Post."^



6"Col. Records," Vol. VIII, p. 147. Still was a converted Delaware; a man of good
education, fine morals and good sense. See "Annals of Phila.," Watson, Vol. II, p. 171,
r'CoL Records," VoL VIII, p. 148.



Digitized by



Google



422 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

William Logan and Richard Peters, members of the Pennsylvania
Council, are referred to. "JsLtnes" the Indian, must mean the Indian
whom Post calls Williamegickon, who at the very outset returned to
Philadelphia from Germantown for the promised horse and came back
so drunk that he could proceed no farther, so Post could do nothing but
leave "J^^^^s" behind. The Pennsylvania Archives have official notice of
Post's services. Under the heading below several documents are of
record :

Governor's Views of the Character and Services of Frederick Post and a Passport
for him, 1759.

"To Mr. Frederick Post, Minister of the Gospel in the Church of the Unitas Fra-
tnim: That about sixteen years ago he came into this Country, with no other views
than to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the Heathens, which has ever since
been his great task. That he is a Member of the Unitas Fratrum, which Church has
not only two several settled Congregations of Indian Christians among them, but also
by their indefatigable Labours and Travels in the Indian Countries, have acquainted a
considerable number of Indians remaining there with the first notion of Christianity, and
has set examples of Christian Life among these Heathens, in which Endeavors of tiie
United Brethren he has borne his share.

''That during the late bloody Indian War, all commerce between the White People
and the Indians being suspended, he was intrusted first by this Government and after-
wards by the late Brigadier-General Forbes, with tiie Negotiations to secure Indian
Nations and, altho' the acceptance of such Commissions might seem to be out of the way
of a Minister of the Gospel, yet he yielded thereto on its being argued that the bringing
about a Peace with the Indians would open the Way for the Servants of God to look
for a future harvest.

'^That he has already had the Satisfaction of being invited as well by Teedyuscung,
at Wyoming, as by the Allegheny Indians, who were formerly acquainted with him as
a Minister of the Gospel, to come and live among them in that character.

"And for as much as it hath pleased the Legislature of this Province, in the late
Act of Assembly for settling the Indian Trade, to take some notice of Teachers and
Preachers among the Indians, he conceived it a proper time to request in behalf of him-
south and those of his brethren who would venture their lives and go with him in the serv-
ice of the Gospel among the Indians, to grant them my Letters of Pastport for that
purpose. Now know ye, that reposing spedal Trust and Confidence ♦ ♦ ♦ ."8 (Post's
passport follows.)

Preceding his departure for the Ohio, Post had been at Wyoming,
June 20 to the 30th, in conference with Teedyuscung, Post set out on
his Ohio mission July 15, 1758, and returned September 20. He remained
at his home until October 25, when his second journey began, from which
he returned January 15, 1759. From the Pennsylvania Archives this
verbatim communication has been taken :

Endorsed — Frederick Post's relation of what passed between him and the Quaker or
religious Indians, at Monmuchlooson, on the Susquehannah.

To His honnour da Governor of Pansylvanea : Broder, I cam to Machochlaung^ wa
mane Indeans lyve, I cald dam all togader, and I told dam wat we bous had agread on
wan we sa one anoder last, and wat you are sorre for and have so mouts at hart, and
dasayrt me to mack it avere war noun [everywhere known], avere war, and dasyrd dam
to be strong and sea dat your flasch and blod may be restord to you ; now br'r, you know
dat it is aur agreamand, dat as soun as I hear anyting, I geave yu daracktly notys of,
and as I am as jat closs bay you, so I sand daes prasooars to you which da daleverat to
me, and I geave dam to Papunnahanck to dalever dam to you; br., I do not sand deas



•"Archives," First Series, VoL III, pp. 578-579.



Digitized by



Google



PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 423

pecpel daun, da have had damsalf a IcHig dasayr to go daun to sea dar br. da Englesch,
so I tot it proper to sand dam along; I hop you will rajoys to sea dam and be kaynd to
dam, and allso to dam peepel da bryng daun ; wan I am farder from you and I schall
meat with som, I schall bryng dam may self daim wan I com along; br. you know aur
worck is grat, and will tack a long taym befor we coan com back, I salud all da schandel
pepel, and dasayr you be to strong. Our compane conseasts of 14 in number. I beg
hartly to be excoust in rayting ane more, and I bag to be reman^jered bay all scJiandel
peeple sears. I raman jom: mos houmpel and obedean Sarwent, Fradryck Post.

Da reson way I brack of from rayting so sun, aur horstes arraved and da call us
wons mor to gader to have a meting.

I raman wet raspact, your honnous humpel and obedean Sarvend, F. P.®

With this exhibit of Post's dialect and style, one may well believe
that whoever translated his communications into ordinary English as
they appear in the public records had no easy task.

Pisquitomen, who had been at the council at Easton as late as Octo-
ber 13th, was a noted Delaware sachem,*® the brother of Shingiss and
King Beaver. Pisquitomen accompanied Post on both missions to the
Ohio.

Both of Post's journals of 1758 can be found in Rupp's work, "Early
History of Western Pennsylvania and the West," etc. (Appendices X
and XI). Rupp's introduction reads:

THE FIRST JOURNAL OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST, from Philadel-
pkia to the Ohio, and a message from the Government of Pennsylv<tnia to the Delaware,
Shawanese atid Mingo Indians, settled there and formerly in alliance with the English:
in order to prevail on them to withdraw from the French interest; in the year 1758,

At the start Post had his troubles. First with drunken Indians who
were to be his companions en route. Arriving at Bethlehem, it was with
great difficulty that the Indians were persuaded to proceed. They were
sick and must rest, they said. Post coaxed them to Wyoming, where
Teedyuscung interfered. Post recorded :

July 21 St— I called my company together, to know if they should proceed. They
complained they were sick, and must rest that day. This day, I think, Teedyuscung laid
many obstacles in my way, and was very much against my proceeding; he said he was
afraid I should never return; and that the Indians would kill me. About dinner time
two Indians arrived from Wyoming, with an accotmt that Teedyuscung's son, Hans
Jacob, was returned and brought news from the French and Allegheny Indians. Teed-
yuscung then called out a Council, and proposed that I should go to Wyoming, and
return, with the message his son had broug];it from Philadelphia, I made answer, that it
was too late, that he should have proposed that in Philadelphia; for that 'the writings
containing my orders were so drawn, as obliged me to go, though I should lose my life.

22d — I desired my companions to prepare to set out, upon which Teedyuscung called
them all together in the fort, and protested against my going. His reasons were that he
was afraid the Indians would kill me, or the French get me: and if that should be the
case he should be very sorry, and did not know what he should do. I gave for answer,
"that I did not know what to think of their conduct. It is plain, said I, that the French
have a public road to your towns, yet you will not let your own flesh and blood the Eng-
lish, come near them ; which is very hard ; and if that be the case, the French must be
your masters.'' I added, that if I died in the undertaking, it would be as much for the
Indians as the English, and that I hoped my journey would be of this advantage, that
it would be the means of saving the lives of many hundreds of Indians ; therefore, I was



©"Archives," First Series, Vol. Ill, pp. 743-744-
io"CoL Records," Vol. VIII, pp. 147-148, 187.



Digitized by



Google



424 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

resolved to go forward, taking my life in my hand, as one ready to part with it for tiieir
good. Immediately after I had spoken thus, three rose up and offered to go with me the
nearest way; and we concluded to go through the inhabitants, under the Blue Moun-
tains to Fort Augusta, on Susquduuuia, where we arrived the 25th. It gave me great
pain to observe many plantations deserted and laid waste; and I could not but reflect
on the distress the poor owners must be drove to, who once lived in plenty; and I
prayed the Lord to restore peace and prosperity to the distressed.

Post and his party were at Fort Augusta on the Susquehanna on
July 27, where they were treated kindly and provided with everything
necessary for their journey. It is difficult to follow his itineraries, be-
cause the Indian names he assigns the various places on the route require
interpretation. He was traveling the Shamokin Path, the roughest and
most difficult road over the AUeghenies. The party crossed the west
branch of the river at Big Island, July 29. This is opposite the town of
Lock Haven. From this point the trail led up the valley of Bald Eagle
creek, thence via Marsh creek valley through a wild, broken, moun-
tainous country, now part of Centre country ; thence to Chinklaclamoose,
now Clearfield; thence across the county of that name to Tobeco, or
Little Toby creek, and then to the "Big River Tobeco" (Clarion river);
thence to another big river, Weshawaucks (East Sandy creek), and on
August 7 came in sight of Fort Venango on the Allegheny river. Here
Post prayed that the Lord would blind the French as he did the enemies
of Lot and Elisha, that he might pass unknown. Pisquitomen, who went
into the fort, reported the garrison consisted of only six men and an
officer blind of one eye. When about to leave. Post was discovered by
the French, who did not molest him. August 12, Post and his party
reached the Conoquenessing and were fifteen miles from Kushkushking,
whither they went.^^

Pisquitomen was sent ahead with wampum and a message apprising
the Indians of Post's mission. King Beaver was there, who accorded
Post a kind reception and furnished him a large house to lodge in. A
council was immediately called, but as it took five days for the messengers
sent to summons the warriors to return, Post was compelled to stay.
There were fifteen French in the town building houses for the Indians.
King Beaver and his Delawares of the Turkey tribe were most cordial
in their intercourse with Post, and Beaver had Post at dinner with him,
inviting also the French captain, "a cunning fox," said. Post, who was
apparently low spirited and seemed to eat his dinner with very little
appetite. On August 19 there was a big pow-wow where all the Indians
gathered — men, women and children. Post, at the Beaver's request,
read the news he had brought, which was well received. It was de-
termined to go to Saukunk, the Delaware town at the mouth of the Big
Beaver river. Kushkushking was a large town, in four parts, containing
in all ninety houses and two hundred able warriors.

The treaty made with Teedyuscung at Easton was for the Delawares
who had remained east of the Susquehanna and did not bind the Ohio



iiKushkushking— Post's spelling for Kuskuskies— there are many others. Judge
Daniel Agnew's is " '



Digitized by



Google



PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 425

Indians. Post was told to lay aside Tcedyuscung and his peace. The
Ohio Indians had no deputies at Easton and were not bound by it,
though Teedyuscung had sent messengers to them, endeavoring to draw
them into it. Post was actually among enemies, laboring to establish
a peace and form an alliance.

Post, with a retinue of twenty-five horsemen and fifteen foot, arrived
at Saukunk on the 20th. He met with an exceedingly rough reception.
The savages surrounded him and with faces distorted with rage, and
would have killed him had not some Indians who formerly knew him
come up and shook hands, whereupon their behavior to him quickly
changed. There were one hundred and twenty warriors in the town.
The next day messengers were sent to Fort Duquesne, inviting the
French to their council fire and announcing Post's presence. Post read
all his papers in the presence of the French captain from Kushkushking,
who had continued with Post's party. On the 22d, some Shawanese and
Mingoes arrived to whom Post read his messages. These Indians re-
ceived the intelligence kindly and in reply informed Post that the mes-
senger from Fort Duquesne had returned ; that there were eight nations
at the fort who wanted to hear his message. They would conduct him
there and let both the Indians and French hear what their brothers the
English had to say. Post protested in vain. The Indians said he need
have no fear, for they would carry him in their bosoms — *'that is engage
for my safety," Post puts it.

The next day they set out for the fort, but got no farther than Logs-
town, where Post fell in with four Shawanese, who lived at Wyoming
when he did. They were exceedingly cordial and gave him leave to go
into all the houses, a privilege granted him in no other town. The party
arrived in sight of the fort on the 24th, remaining on the opposite shore
of the Allegheny. All the Indian chiefs came over immediately. Post
having been placed in the middle of the concourse, King Beaver pre-
sented him, saying: "Here is our English brother who has brought
great news." Around a council fire all sit or squat upon the ground.
Two chiefs rose up and signified they were glad to see Post.

"But an old deaf Onondaga Indian rose up and signified his displeasure," relates Post.
This Indian is much disliked by the others ; he had heard nothing yet, that had passed,
he has lived here a great while, and constantly lives in the fort, and is mightily attached
to the French; he spoke as follows, to the Delawares: "I do not know this Swannock
[this Englishman], it may be that you know him. I, the Shawanese, and our father do
not know him. I stand here (stamping his foot) as a man on his own ground ; therefore,
I, the Shawanese, and my fadier do not like that a Swannock come on our ground.''

Then there was silence awhile, till the pipe went rotmd; after that was over, one
of the Delawares rose up and spoke in opposition to him that spoke last, and delivered
himself as follows: "That man speaks not as a man; he endeavors to frighten us, by
saying this ground is his ; he dreams ; he and his father have certainly drank too much
liquor; they are drunk; pray let them go to sleep till they be sober. You do not know
what your own nation does at home; how much they have to say to the Swannocks.
You are quite rotten. You stink. You do nothing but smoke your pipe here. Go to
sleep with your father, and when you are sober we .will speak with you."

After this the French demanded me of the Indians. They sakl it was a custom
among the white peoi^e, when a messenger came, even if it was the Governor, to blind



Digitized by



Google



426 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

his eyes and lead him into the fort to a prison, or private room. They, with some of the
Indians, insisted very much on being sent into the fort, but to no purpose for the other
Indians said to the French : *'It may be a rule amcmg you, but we have brought him here,
that all the Indians might see him, and hear what our brothers, the English, have to say ;
and we will not suffer him to be blinded and carried into the fort." The French still
insisted on my being delivered to them ; but the Indians desired them to let them hear no
more about it; but to send them one hundred loaves of bread, for they were htmgry.

25th — This morning early they sent us over a large bullock, and all the Indian chiefs
came over again, and counselled a great deal among themselves ; then the Delaware that
handled the old deaf Onondago Indian so roughly yesterday, addressed himself to him in
thb manner : ''I hope to-day you are sober. I am certain you did not know what you
said yesterday. You endeavored to frighten us but know, we are now men, and not so
easily frightened. You said something yesterday of the Shawanese — see here what they
have sent you" (presenting him with a large roll of tobacco) . Then the old deaf Indian
rose up and acknowledged he had been in the wrong; he said that he had now cleaned
himself, and hoped they would forgive hinL

Then the Delaware announced the message from the Shawanese,
which was that they were extremely proud to hear such good news from
their brothers, the English, and whatever contracts were made with the
English, the Shawanese would agree to — ''the English were their broth-
ers," they said, '*and they loved them."

Post's situation, in spite of the assurances of safety, was hazardous.
His journal entry of August 25 shows that he was fully conscious of his
danger. It reads :

The French whispered to the Indians, as I imagined, to insist on my delivering what
I had to say on the otfier side of the water. Which they did to no purpose, for my com-
pany still insisted on a hearing on this side the water. The Indians crossed the river to
council with their fathers. My company desired to know whether they would hear me or
no. This afternoon three hundred Canadians arrived at the fort, and reported that six
hundred more were soon to follow them, and forty batooes laden widi ammunition.
Some of my party desired me not to stir from the fire; for that the French had offered
a great reward for my scalp, and that there were several parties out on that purpose.
Accordingly I stuck constantly as close to the fire as if I had been chained there.

The next day many French officers came over with the Indians to
hear Post. The officers brought a table, pens, ink and paper. Post spoke



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 60 of 81)