Copyright
American Historical Society George Thornton Fleming.

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

. (page 62 of 81)
Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 62 of 81)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Our Indian companions heard that we were to part in the morning, and that twelve men
were to be sent with us, and the others, part of the company, to go towards Fort
Duquesne. Our Indians desired that the captain would send twenty men, instead of

Pitts.— 28



Digitized by



Google



434 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

twelve; and that if any accident should happen, they could be more able to defend
themselves in returning back, "for we know, say they, the enemy will follow the smaller
party." It began to rain. Within five miles from tfie breast work we departed from
Captain Haselet; he kept the old trading path to the Ohio. Lieutenant Hays was
ordered to accompany us to the Allegheny river, with fourteen men. We went the path
that leads along the Loyal Hanning creek, where there is a rich, fine bottomland well tim-
bered, good springs and small creeks. At four o'clock we were alarmed by three men;
and preparation was made on both sides for defence. Isaac Still showed a white token,
and Pisquitomen gave an Indian halloo; after which they threw down their bundles,
and ran away as fast as they could. We afterwards took up their bundles, and found
that it was a small party of our men, that had been long out. We were sorry that wc
had scared them, for they lost their bundles with all their food. Then, I held a con-
ference with our Indians and asked them if it would not be good to send one of our
Indians to Logstown and Fort Duquesne, and call the Indians from thence, before we
arrived at Kushkushking. They all agreed it would not be good as they were but
messengers, it must be done by tiieir chief men. The wolves made a terrible music this
night.

Lieutenant Hays, who was shortly afterwards killed, is to be distin-
guished from "Mr. Hays" traveling with Post. Isaac Still was a Dela-
ware. On the nth, after several mishaps, they reached an old Indian
town which Post calls Kiskemeco, on a rich bottom, well timbered and
with good grass and well watered, but laid waste since the French war
began. Here their horses were well pastured and they parted company
with Lieutenant Hays. The next day Post cautioned his Indians regard-
ing what they should tell in the Indian towns — only good, agreeable
news. 'Take no bad stories along," he said. They took his advice
kindly and in return advised him "not to mind the English prisoners, for
the Indians were almost mad with him for it, and would have confined
him, for they said he wrote something of them" — that is to say, the
Indians believed Post wrote down what the prisoners told him and
would report it to the Pennsylvania authorities.

This day, early in the afternoon, they came to the Allegheny river to
an abandoned Shawanese town, situated under a high hill on the east and
opposite an island. This was at the mouth of the Kiskiminetas. They
were obliged to build a raft to cross the river, which they did not finish
until the afternoon of the next day. They encamped near another old
Indian town at a creek. This was Chartier's old town at the mouth of
Bull creek, now the site of Tarentum. The Indians advised Post not to
call Bull captain, for the other Indians would resent the bringing of a
warrior among them in the state of affairs. The Indians wanted to know
Forbes' message, so Post read it to them. They slept in the open this
night, the first time they had done so. The next evening, November 14,
they could plainly hear the guns fired at Fort Duquesne. "Whenever I
look towards that place," records Post, "I felt a dismal impression, the
very place seemed shocking and dark."

The next two days the traveling was difficult ; through thick bushes
of briars and thorns. At noon on the 15th, they crossed the road from
Venango to Fort Duquesne and went west toward Kushkushking, halt-
ing only fifteen miles from Fort Duquesne. Pisquitomen advised sending
a messenger to the town to announce their coming and one was sent with



Digitized by



Google



PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 435

some wampum. Meeting two Indians on the road the next day, Post
was informed there was nobody at home there, and that one hundred and
sixty from the town had gone to war against Post's party. Only two
men and some women remained, who received Post kindly. Pisquitomen
had Post read his message. Five Frenchmen were in the town — "the
rest gone to war." Delaware George, a sachem, on receiving Forbes*
sentiments and being informed what the general desired agreed to go
with Bull to meet him. That night a chief returned (Keckkenepalin)
from the war, and brought disagreeable news — sad news, one may say.
His party had fallen in with Lieutenant Hays' squad and had killed
Lieutenant Hays and four more, and took five prisoners, the others got
clear off. They had a skirmish with them within twelve miles of Fort
Duquesne. "Further he told us," Post recorded, "that one of the cap-
tives was to be burnt which grieved us. By the prisoners they were in-
formed of my arrival, on which they concluded' to leave the French, and
to hear what news we brought them. In the evening they brought a
prisoner to town. We called the Indians together that were at home,
and explained the matter to them, and told them, as their own people
had desired the general to give them a guide to conduct them safe home,
and by a misfortune, your people have fallen in with this party, and
killed five and taken five prisoners, and we are now informed that one of
them is to be burnt ; 'Consider my brethren, if you should give us a guide
to bring us safe on our way home, and our parties should fall in with
you, how hard you would take it'."

They answered it was a hard matter and they were sorry it had hap-
pened so. Post urged them to spare no pains to prevent any cruelty.
After much persuasion an Indian named Compass agreed to go to Sau-
kunk, where the prisoner was to be burned. A generous supply of black
wampum was given him and Mr. Hays contributed a shirt and a dollar.
Post sent a message stating he and two others were with the Indians at
Kushkushking with good news and beseeching those at Saukunk to use
no hardships towards the captives that had been guides for Post and his
party.

Some of the warriors who had been in the affray told Post they had
mtended to go to Forbes and talk with him, but the French on the road
made a division among them and they could not agree. They fell in
with some Cherokees and Catawbas who fled, leaving an English color
which enraged them ; the French then persuaded them to attack the Eng-
lish at the Loyalhanna, which they did, and as they were driven back
they fell in with Lieutenant Hays' party, not knowing these had been
guides for Post. They were very sorry, they said.

November 18, Bull acted as commander, unknown to Post, and with
Delaware George succeeded in getting a prisoner from the warriors.
They were sorry for their acts and wanted^ General Forbes to consider,
and if he had any of their young men to set them at liberty, as they did
their captive. Pisquitomen answered that as the governor gave the
three messengers into his bosom, he likewise by the string of wampum



Digitized by



Google



436 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

gave Mr. Bull into the bosom of Delaware George to bring him safe to
the general. Impolitic Mr. Bull sat down with the prisoner and g^ve
him some intelligence in writing and at once the Indians' suspicions
were aroused. They asked to know why he wrote. Bull and his com-
panions set out for Forbes' camp. As soon as they were gone the re-
leased prisoner was found and carried to another town. "I, a thousand
times, wished Mr. Bull had never meddled in the affair, fearing they
would exceedingly punish the prisoner to bring him to confession of the
contents of the writing," Post recorded.

November 19, many warriors returned. The French used the letters
found upon Lieutenant Hays to influence the Indians in their behalf by
falsely interpreting them. The French said that in one letter it was
written that General Forbes would do all in his power to conquer the
French, and, in the meantime, Post and the other messengers would do
their utmost to draw the Indians back and keep them in conferences till
Forbes triumphed, then he would fall upon all the Indians and destroy
them. If Post and his companions were killed, the English would carry
on the war as long as an Indian or a Frenchman was alive. As Post
recorded it, the French speaker said to the Indians :

Now you can see, my children, how the English want to deceive you and, if it will
not offend you, I would go and knock these messengers in the head before you should be
deceived by them. An Indian captain replied, *To be sure it would offend us. If you
have a midd to go to war, go to the English army and knock them in the head, and not
these three men that come with a message to us."

It was apparent that Post was in great danger and knew it. Refer-
ence is made again to his journal, where he continues his entry of No-
vember 19, thus :

After this speech the Indians all went off and left the French. Nevertheless, it had
enraged some of the young people, and made them suspicious; so that it was a pre-
carious time for us. I said : "Brethren, have good courage and be strong; let not every
wind disturb your mind ; let the French bring the letter here ; for, as you cannot read,
tiiey may tell you thousands of false stories. We will read the letter to you. As Isaac
Still can read, he will tdl you the truth."

After this all the young men were gathered together, Isaac Still being in compaiv-
The young men said: "One that had but half an ^e could see that the English only
intend to cheat them; and that it was best to knock every one of us messengers on the
head."

Then Isaac began to speak and said : "I am ashamed to hear such talking from you ;
you are but boys like me; you should not talk of such a thing. There have been thirteen
nations at Easton ; where they have established a firm peace with the English ; and I
have heard that the Five Nations were always called the wisest; go tell them they are
fools, and cannot see, and tell them that you are kings, and wise men. Go and tell the
Cayuga chiefs so, that are here ; and you will become great men." Afterwards they were
all still, and said not one word more.

Post's journal entries during these days of peril make a thrilling story,
and hence so best told in Post's own words. The day following he
recorded :

20th— There came a great many more together in the town, and brought Henry
Osten, the sergeant, who was to have been burnt They hallooed the war halloo ; and the
men and women beat him till he came into the house. It is a grievous and melancholy



Digitized by



Google



PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 437

siglit to see our fellow mortals so abused. Isaac Still had a long discourse with the
French captain; who made himself great, by telling how he had fought the English at
Loyal-Hanning. Isaac rallied him, and said he had seen them scalp horses, and take
others for food The first he denied, but the second he owned. Isaac ran the captain
quite down, before them all. The French captain spoke with two Cayugas ; at last the
Cajrugas spoke very sharp to him, so that he grew pale and was quite silent

These three days past was precarious time for us. We were warned not to go far
from the house, because the people who came from the slaughter, having been driven
back, were possessed with a murdering spirit; which led them as in a halter, in which
they were catched and with bloody vengeance were thirsty and drunk. This afforded
a melancholy prospect Isaac Still himself was dubkyus of our lives. We did not let
Mr. Hays know of the danger. I said : "As God hath stopped the mouth of the lions,
that they could not devour Daniel, so he will preserve us from their fury, and bring us
through." I had a discourse with Mr. Hays concerning our message, and begged him
he would pray to God for grace and wisdom, that he would gnint us peace among this
people. We will remain in stillness, and not look to our own credit We are in the serv-
ke of our king and country. This people are rebellious in heart; now we are here to
reconcile them again to the General, Governor and English nation; to turn them again
from errors. And I wish that God would grant his g^race, whereby we may do it ; which
I hope and believe he will do. Mr. Hays took it to heart and was convinced of all ;
which much rejoiced me. I begged Isaac Still to watch over himself, and not to be dis-
couraged for I hoped the storm would soon pass by.

In the afternoon all the captains gathered together in the mMdle town ; they sent for
us, and desired we should give them information of our message. Accordingly we did.
We read the message with great satisfaction to them. It was a great pleasure both to
them and us. The number of captains and counsellors were sixteen. In the evening
messengers arrived from Fort Duquesne, with a string of wampum from the com-
mander ; upon which they all came together in the house where we lodged. The messen-
gers delivered their string, with these words from their father, the French King:
"My children, come to me and hear what I have to say. The English are coming with an
army to destroy both you and me. I, therefore, desire you immediately, my children, to
hasten with all the young men; we will drive the English and destroy thenL I, as a
father, will tell you always what is best" He laid a strbg before one of the captains.
After a little conversation the captain stood up and said: "I have just heard something
of our brethren the English, which pleaseth me much better. I will not go. Give it to
the others, maybe they will go." The messenger took up again the string and said:
"He won't go, he has heard of the English." Then all cried out : "Yes, yes, we have
heard from the English," He then threw the string to the other fireplace, where the
other captains were; but they kicked it from one to another, as if it were a snake.
Captain Peter took a stick and with it flung the string from one room to the other and
said: "Give it to the French captain, and let him go with his young men; he boasted
much of his fighting; now let us see his fighting. We have often ventured our lives
for him; and had hardly a loaf of bread, when we came to him; and now he thinks we
should jump to serve him." Then we saw the French captain mortified to the utmost;
he looked as pale as death. The Indians discoursed and joked until midnight, and the
French captain sent messengers at midnight to Fort Duquesne.

21 st — ^We were informed that the general was within twenty miles of Fort Duquesne.
As the Indians were afraid the Englbh would come over the river Ohio, I spoke with
some of the captains, and told them that I supposed the general intended to surround the
French, and, therefore, must come to this side of the river, but we assure you that he
will not come to your towns to hurt you. I begged them to let the Shawanese at Logs-
town know it, and gave them four strings of 500 wampum, with this message : "Brethren,
we are arrived with good news, waiting for you ; we desire you to be strcmg, and remember
the ancient friendship your grandfathers had with the English. We wish you would
remember it, and pity your young men, women and children and keep away from the
French; and if the English should come to surround the French, be not afraid. We
assure you they won't hurt you."



Digitized by



Google



438 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

A noted warrior, Ketiuscund, came home on November 22. He in-
formed Post that General Forbes was within fifteen miles of the French
fort; that the French had uncovered their houses, and laid the roofs
round the fort to set it on fire, and made ready to go oflf, and would
demolish the fort, and let the English have the bare ground, saying:
"They are not able to build a strong fort this winter, and we will be
early back enough in the spring to destroy them. We will come with
seventeen nations of Indians and a great army of French, and build
a strong fort."

Ketiuscund reported truly, for the French did exactly as they said
they would do. Their intention to return in the spring was frustrated,
as will be related in proper sequence in this work. Forbes was getting
close to the French fort and the Indians knew his daily progress. The
Indians at Kushkushking were not averse, for Post records :

The Indians danced around the fire till midnight, for joy of their brethren, the Eng-
lish, coming. There went some scouting parties towards the army. Some of the captains
told me that Shamokin Daniel, who came with me in my former journey, had fairly
sold me to the French ; and the French had been very much displeased, that the Indians
had brought me away.

Nov. 23d — ^The liar raised a story, as if the English were divided into three bodies, to come
on this side of the river. They told us the Cayugas, that came with us, had said so. We
told the Giyugas of it, on which th^r called the other Indians together ; denied that they
ever said so, and said they were sent from the Five Nations, to tell them to do their best
endeavors to send the French off from this country ; and when this was done, they would
go and tell the general to go back over the mountains.

I see the Lidians concern themselves very much about the affair of land : and are
continually jealous, and afraid the English will take their land. I told them to be still
and content themselves : "for there are some chiefs of the Five Nations with the army —
they will settle the affair, as they are the chief owners of the land ; and it will be well
for you to come and speak with the general yourselves."

Isaac Still asked the French captain, whether it was true, that Daniel had sold me to
the French. He owned it, said I was theirs, they had bought me fairly; and if the
Indians would give them leave, he would take me.

a4th— We hanged out the English flag, in spite of the French, on which our pris-
oners folded their hands, in hopes that their redemption was nigh, looking up to God,
which melted my heart in tears, and praying to God to hear their prayers, and change the
times, and the situation which our prisoners are in, and imder which they groan. *'0h
Lord," said they, "when will our redemptbn come, that we shall be delivered and return
home?" And if any accident happeneth, which the Indians dislike, the prisoners all
tremble with fear, saying : ''Lord, what will become of us, and what will be the end of
our lives?" So ihey often wish themselves rather under the ground than in this life.
King Beaver came home, and called us to his house, and saluted us in a friendly manner,
which we, in like manner did to him. Afterwards I spoke by four strings of 350 wam-
pum, and said as f oUoweth.

Post told them he had a salutation for them from the governor and
the general, that he had good news of great importance for them and
desired them to call and their "kings and captains" (that is to say, their
sachems and chief warriors) from all the towns and nations, that they
might all hear him. Beaver replied that as soon as he heard of Post's
return he "rose up directly" to come to him. He was very aflfable and
had not gone to a meeting of six kings and six nations in order that he
might talk with Post first. The kings could sit together awhile and



Digitized by



Google



PERILOUS MISSIONS OF CHRISTIAN FREDERICK POST 439

smoke their pipes and wait on him. Post said he had done well. The
French captain present informed them that they would demolish Fort
Duquesne, as he thought the English would reach it that day. They
evacuated it the next day, November 24, and Forbes arrived at the smok-
ing ruins on the evening of the 25th.

Shingiss arrived on the 25th and came to Post's house and saluted
him in a friendly manner. Beaver accompanied him. They said they
were ready to hear Post's message. The French captain had an inclina-
tion to hear the message, but Post told the two sachems it had been
agreed at Easton that everything should be kept secret from the French.
They replied that it was no matter; the French were beaten already.
If they would say anything, they would tell the Frenchman what friend-
ship they had with the English. Accordingly, to the number of fifty,
they all met together with the French captain present. King Beaver
opened the conference in a few words invoking attention and then Post
made a speech. His journal entry reads :

Then I began to speak by four strings to them, and said: "Brethren: Being come
here to see you, I perceive your bodies are all stained with blood, and observe tears and
sorrows in your eyes; witii this string I dean your body from blood, and wipe and
anoint your eyes with the healing oil, so that you ma^ see your brethren clearly. And
so many storms have blown since we last saw one another and we are at such a distance
from you diat you could not rightly hear us as yet I, by this string, take a soft feather,
and with that good oil, our grandfathers used, open and clear your ears, so that you
may both hear and understand what your brethren have to say to you. And by these
strings, I clear your throat from the dust, and take all the bitterness out of your heart,
and clear the passage from the heart to the throat, that you may speak freely with your
brethren, the English, from the heart."

Isaac Still produced the pipe sent by the Quakers of Philadelphia,
who were greatly concerned in Post's negotiations, and whom the Indians
always held in high regard. The pipe was filled with good tobacco sent
with it and passed around as was the custom. Still said it was the pipe
their grandfathers used to smoke when they met together in councils of
peace. It helped clean their bodies, and wiped the tears from their ^yes,
etc., and when all had been duly prepared to hear and understand, Post
delivered the governor's answer to the message of the Ohio Indians,
which had been sent the governor by them on Post's previous mission.
The Indians -were told of the ancient chain of friendship and the gov-
ernor's hope that some sparks of love still existed for the English. The
king of England, who had for some time looked upon them as his lost
children, as a tender father would forgive what is past and receive them
again in his arms. If they were in earnest in desiring reconciliation they
should keep their young men from attacking and killing • "the back
inhabitants" and carrying away captives. The governor gave orders that
the Indians keep at a distance from Fort Duquesne, so that they would
not be hurt by the English warriors who were sent by the king to chas-
tise the French, and not to hurt the Indians. "Consider," wrote the gov-
ernor, "the commanding officer of that army treads heavy and would be
very sorry to hurt any of his Indian brethren.^' In conclusion the Indians



Digitized by



Google



440 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

were earnestly besought to withdrew their support from the French and
go to their own towns. If they received the belts then given them, a
road would be opened to Philadelphia for them and they would be
invited to* come to the place of their first council fire ; they would be
welcomed and entertained and provisions laid up for them along the road.
A large white belt was presented, having at each end the figure of a man,
with streaks of black, representing the road from the Ohio to Philadel-
phia. Two belts tied together, given in conclusion, showed the governor
and his people standing together with them joined hand in hand. The
message was conciliatory throughout and thoroughly diplomatic. Forbes'
letter was next presented :

General Forbes To The Shawanese and Delawarss, On The Ohto.

Brethren : I embrace this opportunity by our brother, Pisquetomen, who is now oa
his return home with some of your uncles of the Six Nations from the treaty of Easton,
of giving you joy of the happy conclusion of that great council, which is perfectly agree-
able to me; as it is for the mutual advantage of our brethren, the Indians, as well as the
English nation.

1 am glad to find that all past disputes and animosities are now finally settled and
amicably adjusted; and I hope they will be forever buried in oblivion, and that you will
now again be firmly united in the interest of your brethren, the English.

As I am now advancing at the head of a large army against his Majesty's enemies,
the French on the Ohio, I must strongly recommend to you to send immediate notice to
any of your people who may be at the French fort, to return forthwith to your towns ;
where you may sit by your fires, with your wives and children, quiet and undisturbed,



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 62 of 81)