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

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in the middle of them, with a free conscience, he said, and he could per-
ceive by the look of the French that they were not pleased with his
speech. He was lavish in the distribution of belts, no less than eight,
including the large peace belt having been given. His remarks were kind
and conciliatory. He plead with them to join with him in the old
brotherly love and friendship that their grandfathers had. The speech
was well received and the belts accepted by the Delawares, who laid them
before the Mingoes, who acknowledged they had no cause for war against
the English.

The Shawanese gave like testimony. They acknowledged the French
had given them the hatchet and persuaded them to strike the English.
They agreed to send belts to all the Indians and meet again in twelve
days. There were at this council three hundred French and Indians,
who all returned to the fort except Post's companions, about seventy
Indians.



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 427

A new and alarming trouble developed. Shamokin Daniel, a Dela-
ware, who came with Post from the Susquehanna, went over to the fort
alone and came back with valuable presents from the French, behaving,
relates Post, "in a proud, saucy and imperious manner/* Thenceforth
this Indian turned out the veritable thorn in the side of the good Post.

The French were keen to checkmate Post. They called a council of
their Indians, but accidentally a Delaware chief was secretly invited by
an acquaintance to hear what the French had to say, which was that it
was plain that the Delawares were wavering in their allegiance to the
French. "Now," said the French speaker, "all their chiefs are here and
but a handful : let us cut them oflF and then we shall be troubled with them
no longer." The Ottawas immediately answered that they could not do
it, for though there were but a handful of Delawares, they were a strong
people and spread to a great distance, and whatever they would ag^ee to
must be.

The same afternoon the French insisted that Post be surrendered to
them ; that it was not lawful for him to go away. This demand made
at another council was refused by the Indians in Post's favor and a
quarrel ensuing with the French, Post's friends left the council and
crossed over the Allegheny to where. Post was. Some of them informed
him that Shamokin Daniel had agreed to leave him with the French, but
to no purpose, for the other Indians would not consent. They then
agreed that Post should depart the following morning.

Post accordingly left with six Indians and wisely took another road
than that by which he came. The main body said they would remain and
if the French attempted to follow to take Post by force they would
endeavor to prevent the French from crossing the river. Just as Post
was leaving, the French fired all the guns in the fort, he said, it being
Sunday. He said he counted nineteen. After passing through three
Shawanese towns, the Indians were glad to see him back. Post arrived
at Saukunk at night and was welcomed. Two Delaware warriors who
had treated him uncivilly before apologized and promised to do all in
their power to bring about a peace. They admitted they had had a great
quarrel with the French about Post. They urged him to come again to
see them. These chiefs were White Eyes and Killbuck, subsequently
famous in all the Indian history of Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Killbuck was one of Bouquet's messengers to Venango. His name is
maintained in a township in Allegheny county, and was at one time a
street name in the former city of Allegheny.

From Saukunk, Post went to Kushkusking in company with twenty,
including Shingiss and Shamokin Daniel. Shingiss asked Post if he did
not think the English would hang him if he came to them, as they had set
a great price on his head. Post replied that was a great while ago and
had been forgotten and that the English would receive him kindly.
Daniel interrupted rudely, cursing loudly, calling Post a fool and telling
Shingiss Post told nothing but idle, lying stories. Shingiss rebuked
Daniel, ordering him to keep still, for he did not know what he said.



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428 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

Daniel disgusted his own tribesmen. Arriving at Kushkushking before
night, Post was entertained by Shingiss. His entry August 29 reads :

I dined with Shingiss. He told me, though the English had set a great price on his
head, he had never thought to revenge himself, but was always very kind to any prisoners
that were brought in ; and that he assured the governor, he would do all in his power
to bring about an established peace, and wished he could be certain of the English being
in earnest

Then seven chiefs present said, when the Governor sends the next messenger, let him
send two or three white men, at least, to confirm the thing, and not send such a man as
Daniel; they did not understand him; he always speaks, said they, as if he was drunk;
and if a great many of them had not known me, they should not know what to think; for
everything I said was contradicted. I assured them I would faithfully inform the Gov-
ernor of what they said, and they should see, as messengers, otherguise Indians than
Daniel for the time to come ; and I farther informed them, that he was not sent by the
Governor, but came on his own accord, and I would endeavcM: to prevent his coming
again. Daniel demanded me of his pay, and I gave him three dollars ; and he took as
much wampum from me as he pleased, and would not suffer me to count it I imagined
there was about two thousand.

That night eight Ottawas passed through the town on their way tc
Fort Duquesne. The French were continually receiving reinforcements
from their Western allies. During the next two days the Indians had a
great feast. Though Post begged the Indians to let him depart, they
would not ; the feast hindered them they said. Post had come on a mat-
ter of great importance which they could not readily answer; they
would think it over and answer as soon as they could. September i,
Shingiss, Beaver and other captains had a long conference with Post.
They admitted that before he came the Delawares had agreed to join the
French: since Post arrived they had all drawn back, though they had
great reason to believe the English intended to drive them away and
settle the country. Post said they came only to drive the French away,
but the chiefs insisted the French said the English intended to destroy
the Indians, and some of the greatest English traders had also informed
them that the English wanted the land and would take it. So the old
dispute over the Indians' land was thoroughly gone over. All the
Indians were bitter in their complaints of the disposition shown by the
whites in seizing the lands. "Your heart is good," they said to Post.
"You speak sincerely, but we know there is always a great number who
wish to get rich : they never have enough : look I We do not want to be
rich and take away that which others have. The white people think the
Indians have no brains in their heads; that they are great and big and
we a little handful to what you are, but remember when you look for a
wild turkey you cannot always find it ; it is so little it hides itself under
the bushes ; and when you hunt for a rattlesnake you cannot find it ; and
perhaps it will bite you before you see it." "When the war of Pontiac
came," observes Albach, "this saying might have been justly remem-
bered." ("Annals of the West," p. 151).

On September 2, Post again* besought Shingiss to make haste and
dispatch him and give him guides to go to Forbes on the march. Pis-
quitomen strongly advised against the proposition. The governor of



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 429

Pennsylvania, he said, had no ears to bring him intellig-ence ; the French
had three ears, referring to the scouts they had on the road. Pisquito-
men said he and Shingiss would be ears for the governor if he desired it.
On the 3rd, Post was sick, but made a little tea which refreshed him.
Nevertheless a council was held in the afternoon. Post received their
answer with the belt, which he wrote down and had it signed by all the
captains and counsellors. On the 4th, Post spoke, reiterating all he had
previously said, and reviewing the French war and its causes. That day
two hundred French and Indians arrived en route for Fort Duquesne.
They remained over night. In the middle of the night King Beaver's
daughter died, on which account many guns were fired in the town. Post
was delayed further, the occurrence made a general stop in his journey,
he wrote in his entry September 5. The French told their Indians to
catch him privately or get his scalp. The French commander wanted to
interview him — ^"examine me," as Post put it. When apprised of this.
Post said, as the commander was going to Fort Duquesne to inquire con-
cerning him there, he had nothing at all to say to or do with the French.
The French at the fort could give them all ^he particulars they wanted to
know ; whereupon all of them came into the house where Post was, "as
if they would see a new creature," he said.

Shamokin Daniel broke out again, dissatisfied with what was paid
him. Post chided him mildly and promised that he should have for his
journey whatever he desired when Post "reached the inhabitants, back
to the settled parts of the province." Shingiss and King Beaver asked
Post to remember their eldest brother, Pisquitomen, and furnish him
with good clothes and reward him well for his trouble, for they would
all look upon him when he comes back. On the 7th, there was a council
to decide what route they would take returning to be safest; but their
horses had gone astray and could not be found, so another day was lost.
Heartsick and weary. Post concluded his entry for September 7th thus :

It is a troublesome cross and heavy yoke to draw this people; I suspect the reason
they kept me here so long was by the instigation of the French. I remember somebody
told 'me, the French told them to keep me twelve days longer, for that they were afraid
I should get back too soon, and give information to die general. My heart has been very
heavy here, because they kept me for no purpose. The Lord knows how they have been
counselling about my life; but they did not know who was my protector and deliverer;
I believe my Lord has been too strong against them; my enemies have done what lies
in their power.

They made ready to go on the morning of the 8th, but before per-
mitting Post to start, they examined him concerning what he had written
the previous day. They wanted to know particularly what he had writ-
ten about the English prisoners. Post stated he had written what it was
his duty to write. He was ashamed he said to see them so jealous. Had
he not brought writings to them ? Did they think he must not carry some
home to the governor? They had told him many times how kind they
were to the prisoners. Now they did not wish any of them to speak to
him. They replied they had cause to be afraid and "in a rough draught"
showed how they were surrounded with war. Post advised them to



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430 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

remain quiet and keep at a distance from the French and they need not
fear. "Then they went away very much ashamed, one after another,"
he said.

Post accordingly set off that afternoon from Kushkuskking and made
ten miles. They had many perils on the way. At the start they were
mired. One Indian's horse fell in and the rider had a narrow escape from
breaking a leg. With great difficulty the horse was rescued. They
passed many such places. It rained all day and they got a double portion
of it, for they got all that hung on the bushes in the little foot path they
were traveling. "We were as wet," Post said, "as if we were swimming
all day and at night we laid ourselves down in a swampy place to sleep,
where we had nothing but the heavens for our covering."

They had little to live on. Occasionally a deer was shot. Everything
was dear that could be purchased, so they bought little. The Indians said
the commander at Fort Duquesne kept a store of his own and required
the Indians to come and buy from him, but told them if they would go to
war against the English they could have all the goods they wished.
The French were quick to follow after Post to undo his work. Before
leaving Kushkushking he was told of a French captain coming to Sau-
kunk to collect all the Indians together to attack Forbes' army on the
march. This officer was well known in all the Indian towns. He ex-
postulated with the Indians at Saukunk for receiving Post and asked
them not to believe what Post said, but was told that they did believe
more than they did the French, for the French had set them against the
English and they were about to have peace again. Crestfallen, the
officer returned to the fort. "So I hope," wrote Post, "some good is done ;
praised be the name of the Lord !"

September ii, the party crossed the Allegheny river, after discover-
ing fresh Indian tracks. They went up a high hill through thick bushes
and slept without fire, for fear of the enemy. It was a cold night and
Post had but one thin blanket for covering. The next morning they were
obliged to make a fire to warm themselves. The Indians with him were
ill at ease that night, and were alert, but Post slept soundly. The Indians
were afraid and admitted it, for they kept a strict watch, one following
another, which they did for several nights. They confided to Post finally,
saying he knew nothing; that the French had put a g^eat price on his
head, and that they had sent out a great scout to lie in wait for him.

On the 15th they crossed the Susquehanna six times. That evening
three Indians came and reported that they had seen the tracks of two
Indians at a place where Post's party had slept, and the tracks turned
back, as if to return with information to a party back. This was proof
positive that Post was being followed. On the i6th, Post reached Big
Island, and having nothing to eat they were obliged to remain and hunt.
The next day they met a party of twenty warriors who had been on the
warpath, returning with five prisoners and a scalp. Six of the warriors
were Delawares, the rest Mingoes. Post told them where he had been.
They were sorry they said ; they did not know of the negotiations ; if a



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 431

good- peace was made they would deliver up the prisoners. Post re-
mained all night with them. They killed two deer and gave Post one.
September 20, they took leave of each other. On the 22d. Post arrived
at Fort Augusta ; very weary and hungry, but greatly rejoiced "at their
safe return after a tedious journey.

Post had news from Fort Duquesne, especially of the garrison and the
intent of the French to ambush Forbes. The last page of his first journal
may be reproduced here. After discoursing on Indian trails and charac-
teristics, he said :

Fort Duquesne is said to be undermined. The French have given out that if we
overpower them, and they should die, we should certainly all die with them. When I
came to the fort, the garrison, it was said, consisted of about one thousand four hun-
dred men ; and I am told they will now be full three thousand French and Indians. They
are almost all Canadians and will certainly meet the general before he comes to the
fort, in an ambush. You may depend upon it, the French will make no open-field battle,
as in the old country, but lie in ambush. The Canadians are all hunters. The Indians
have agreed to draw back ; but how far we may give credit to their promises, the Lord
knows it is the best way to be on our guard, against them, as if they really could, with
one thousand, overpower eight thousand.

Post closes his journal in a most devout manner. He recapitulates his
privations and sorrows, chief of which was the treason of the Indian
scoundrel, Shamokin Daniel. We may follow Post's own record again
and read :

Thirty-two nights I lay in the woods; the heavens were my covering. The dew
came so. hard sometimes, tluit it pinched close to the skin. There was nothing that laid
so heavy on my heart, as the man that went along with me. He thwarted me in every-
thing I said or did ; not that he did it against me, but against the country, on whose busi-
ness I was sent, I was afraid he would overthrow what I went about. When he was with
the English he would speak against the French, and when with the French against the
English. The Indians observed that he was a false fellow, and desired me that I would
not bring him anymore, to transact any business between the English and them; and
told me, it was through his means I could not have liberty to talk with the prisoners.

Post's closing paragraphs are an admirable psalm of thanksgiving to
the Almighty who had brought him "from under a thick, heavy and dark
cloud into the open air." Post signed the journal with his full name.^^

The absolute fearlessness of Post stands revealed in his simple story,
and if anything else was wanted to bring it more clearly to light, it is the
fact that five weeks after his return he was again on his way to the Ohio
to brave even greater perils and suflfer greater privations, for winter had
set in and with weather conditions severe his physical sufferings grew
proportionately.

POST'S SECOND JOURNAL, 1758.

The Second Journal of Christian Frederick Post, On A Mbssacs From The
GovERNc» OF Pennsylvania, To The Indians On The Ohio, In The Latter Part
Of Thk Same Year.

Containing his further negotiation with these people, to accomplish the design of his



isCharles A. Hanna has traced Posf s itinerary as Post recorded it See 'The Wil-
derness Trail," Vol. I, pp. 182, 212-213, and Ibid., pp. 214-217, the extracts from Bishop
Ettwein's Joiurna! of 1772. See also 'l^arrative of Marie LeRoy and Barbara Leininger
m "Peona. Archives," Second Series, VoL VII, pi 404. These captives met Post at
Kushkushking. Ibid., p. 406.



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432 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

former journey, and procure a peace with them; in which he met with fresh difficulties
and dangers, occasioned by the French influence, etc.

But the Indians being acquainted with his honest simplicity, and calling to mind their
former friendship with the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, so far paid a regard to his sin-
cerity, as to listen to the terms proposed; and in consequence thereof the French were
obliged to abandon the whole Ohio country to General Forbes, after destroying with their
own hands their strong fort of Duquesne,

Post left Easton, October 25, 1758, and arrived at Bethlehem the
same afternoon. He reached Reading early on the 27th and found his
traveling companion^ in waiting, a Mr. Hays, Captain Bull ; his former
companion, Pisquitomen, and other Indians just mounted. Their wel-
come was hearty. Pisquitomen took Post in his arms, saying he would
not let him go again from him. They went first to Conrad Weiser's
house, where Post read them a letter from Governor Denny, requesting
them not to travel the Shamokin route, but go a nigher way, where they
could be better supplied and could travel with less fatigue and more
safety. Hays, with the Indians, went ahead of Post, it having been de-
termined to go the southern route via Harris' Ferry. When Post and
Captain Bull came to Weiser's plantation, fourteen miles west of Read-
ing, Pisquitomen was lying helplessly drunk on the ground, so sick in
the morning he could scarcely stir. The other Indians had gone eight
miles farther. After remaining over night at Weiser's and finally getting
Pisquitomen on his feet, they overtook the rest and found them all drunk
and discouraged and rueful of the route taken. After much persuasion
Post got them on the way again and they arrived at Harris' Ferry late
at night, where the Indians said they would consider the route. Two
Cayugas were the most desirous of going through the woods. Post's
instructions were to meet Forbes. The Indians debated on the road and
being still undecided when Carlisle was reached, Post told them he had
orders to go to the general, and if they did not accompany him he would
go alone. This brought Pisquitomen over and he gave Post his hand and
said they would put themselves under Post's protection and proceed.
Post mollified the Indians by securing them lodgings without the fort
there and hiring a woman ''to dress their meals."

October 31st, in passing by Chambers Fort, there was trouble ; some
of the hangers on and traders' helpers at the fort reviling Post's Indians.
"We had some difficulty," relates Post, "to get them clear." At Fort
Loudon they met sixteen Cherokees, who proved friendly, much to
Post's satisfaction. These Indians accompanied Post's party to Rays-
town (Bedford). TThe meeting with these ancient enemies was not re-
assuring and Pisquitomen reminded Post that he had brought them the
route they were traveling, and if any mischief should befall them they
would lay the blame entirely on Post. It took fine diplomacy to placate
the Indians and to keep Bull and Hays from arguing with the Indians
on their sore point, the land question.

Raystown was reached November 4, where there was a council with
the Cherokees and some of their complaints explained to their satisfac-
tion. It rained heavily on the 5th, nevertheless Post set forth and



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PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 433

reached the foot of the Allegheny Mountains at night. The next day
they came to Stony creek, traveling over "the worst road that ever was
traveled." Pisquitomen reminded Post that had he not come on his
former mission, the road would not have been as safe as it was, for all
the people traveling it could have been destroyed if Post had not come
and drawn Pisquitomen's people back. "Great mischief, indeed, could
have been done," Pisquitomen said.

At this place Post overtook a pack train and was informed that
Forbes had not yet reached Fort Duquesne, whereupon Pisquitomen
said he was glad and hoped he could come to the Delaware towns before
Forbes began an attack. Pisquitomen was sanguine the Delawares in
that event "would draw back and leave the French."

On November 7, Post overtook Forbes' artillery near the Laurel
Ridge, and before sunset reached the Loyalhanna, where Forbes was
with the advance. Post was accorded a warm welcome. His Indians
made their fire close to the camps of Forbes' Indians, which was pleasing
to Post's. Some rash officers came up and abused Post's Indians for
their conduct towards the whites, which greatly incensed them and they
answered defiantly that they did not understand such usage, as they had
come on a mission of peace ; if they had a mind to war, they knew how to
help themselves and were not afraid of the whites.

The next day Forbes called a council, having the Cherokees and
Catawbas present. He explained in a kind and loving manner the
status of affairs. He desired them to withdraw from the French, for if
he should find them among the French he would have to treat them as
enemies. Then he drank the king's health, then Bearer's, Shingiss' and
the warriors' health; and recommended Post and his fellows to their
care and desired that credit be given Post for what he should say. Then
Post and his Indians were in conference with the general alone and they
were given a writing and they and the general "parted in love and well
satisfied." Wonder was expressed by many of the officers regarding the
manner in which Post could come through so many difficulties and how
he could bring the Indians to reason, using neither sword nor gun. Post
replied he did it by faith — ^he depended on the Lord alone.

The writing of the general was not ready until noon. Two messages
were sent; one to the Shawanese and Delawares on the Ohio and a
special one to Kings Beaver and Shingiss and all the warriors who joined
with them. Post records this day, November 9:

We were escorted by a hundred men, rank and file, conmianded by Captain Haselet;
we passed through a tract of good land, ad>out six miles on the old touting path, and came
to the creek again, where there is a large fine bottom, well timbered, from thence we
came upon a hill, to an advanced breast work, about ten miles from the camp, well situ-
ated for strength, facing a small branch of the aforesaid creek; the hill b steep down,
perpendicular about twenty feet, on the south side, which is a great defence; and on
the west side the breast works, about seven feet high, where we encamped that night.



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 61 of 81)