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

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of complaint. Croghan flattered himself he would be able to remove their
present disgust, and said he was convinced that the Indians had an ardent
desire to live, in peace with the English from the open and free manner
in which they had made known their complaints. He was strongly of
the opinion that if eflfectual measures were not immediately taken to re-
move the settlers at Redstone till a boundary could be properly settled
as proposed, and the governors of Virginia and Pennsylvania "pursue
vigorous measures to deter the frontier inhabitants from murdering
Indians which pass to and from war against their natural enemies," the
consequences would be dreadful and the country be involved in all the
calamities of another general war.^<^

Croghan knew what such a war meant. He had been with Braddock;
with Forbes at Fort Duquesne, and besieged in Fort Pitt with Ecuyer.
General Gage wrote Penn, July 2, 1766, assuring Penn that he would
take the proper steps — ^"as I presume Redstone is within your govern-
ment, the garrison at Fort Pitt shall assist to drive away the settlers and



•'History Western Pennsylvania, etc.;** p. 42.
10/Wd., p. 4x



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526 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

it seems proper that a number af the chiefs should be present to see our
desire to do them justice."^^

Gage knew something of Indian warfare, for he too had been with
Braddock. He was not certain of Penn's jurisdiction over the Redstone
region, nor was Penn. September 23, 1765, Penn wrote Governor Fau-
quier, of Virginia, and asked his aid for the removal of the settlers, stat-
ing that as the boundary line between the two States had not been set-
tled, such settlers might take shelter under an unsettled jurisdiction.**
Correspondence was slow in those years, for Fauquier did not reply until
December 11, 1766, when he wrote from Williamsburg and assured Penn
that the commander-in-chief had taken "more effectual measures by giv-
ing orders to an officer and a party to summon the settlers to remove, and
in case of refusal to threaten military execution." Penn was in a quan-
dary. January 21, 1767, he wrote Earl Shelboume, Secretary of State,
and recited what he and Fauquier had done, and also Gage, and said:
"I am at a loss to know what more can be done by the civil power." Gage
had written him December 7, 1767, saying: "You are a witness how
little attention has been paid to the proclamations that have been pub-
lished, and that even the removing these people from the lands last sum-
mer by the garrison of Fort Pitt had only been a temporary expedient,
as they had met with no punishment. We learn they are returned again
to Redstone creek and Cheat river." Gage recommended that more effec-
tive laws should be passed.

Penn's letter to Shelbourne, which is long, can be found in the ''Colo-
nial Records." In extenuation of the failure to arrest and punish the mur-
derers of the Indians in time of peace, Penn said, the murders had been
committed by vagrant persons beyond the settled parts of the country.
"It is very difficult," explained Penn, "at such a distance to detect the
authors of them as few of the Back Inhabitants who still harbour resent-
ment against the Indians will make any discoveries of such villainies if
they are even witnesses to them. I am at a loss to know what can be
done by the civil power to compell these lawless people to obedience."

The murderers were of that class of borderers designated by Bou-
quet as a "worthless breed" and no better than the savages. Certain is
the fact that these "vermin" (another term used by Bouquet) made much
trouble both in Pennsylvania and Virginia by their lawless acts.

An act was passed by the Pennsylvania Assembly, February 3, 1768,
inflicting death without benefit of clergy upon any person settled upon
lands not purchased from the Indians, who should refuse after sufficient
notice to quit the same or other unpurchased lands. It was provided that
the act was not to apply to persons who were then or thereafter be set-
tled upon the main communications leading to Fort Pitt under permission
of the commander-in-chief, or "to a settlement made by George Crog-
han, Esq., deputy superintendent under Sir William Johnson, upon the
Ohio above said Fort." The Ohio and the Allegheny were regarded as



""Colonial Records;" VoL IX, p. 303.

i3''History of Washington County, Pefmsylvania;" Crdgh, Appendix 4. "Olden
Time;'' VoL I, p. 342-344. ''Histoty of Pittsburgh;" Craig, Edition 1917, Chapter V.



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FORT PITT, 1764-1774 527

one stream in those years, and the Allegheny is referred to most fre-
quently as the Ohio.

A proclamation was issued by Governor Penn, February 24, 1768, in
pursuance with the above act, and 250 copies printed and distributed.
James Burd, the Rev. John Steel, John Allison, Christopher Lemer and
Captain James Potter, of Cumberland county, were requested to go to the
settlement at Redstone creek and other places on the Monongahela^
Youghiogheny and west of the Allegheny where such forbidden settle-
ments were made, to set up proclamations to explain them to the people
and endeavor to induce them to remove. Letters of instruction and £60
in cash for expenses were given the envoys. Their duties were performed
and their report signed by Steel, Allison, Lemer and Potter is recorded
in the "Colonial ilecords" (Vol. IX). i*

Steel reported that the people having heard of their arrival at Red-
stone, March 23d, appointed a meeting among themselves the next day
to consult what measures they should take :

We took advantage of this meeting to read the Act of Assembly of Februaxy 3,
1768, and the Proclamation, explaining the law and giving the reason of it as well as
we could, and used our endeavors to persuade them to comply, alleging to them that it
was the most probable method to entitle them to favor with the honorable proprie-
taries when the land was purchased. After lamenting their distressed condition, they
(bid us that the people were not fully collected but they expected all would attend on
the Sabbath following and they then would give us an answer. They however affirmed
that the Indians were very peaceable and seemed sorry that they were to be removed
and said that they apprehended the English intended to make war upon the Indians as
they were moving off their people from their neighborhood. We labored to persuade
them that they were imposed on by a few straggling Indians, that Sir William Johnson*
who had informed our government, must be better acquainted with the mind of the Six
Nations, and that they were displeased with the white people's settling on their unpur-
chased lands.

On Sunday, March 27th, the meeting was held. A considerable num-
ber attended. Steel attests and in corroboration subjoined to his report
the names of thirty-two inhabitants near Redstone; and the names of
eight Indians who attended who, he said, came from Mingotown, about
eighty miles from Redstone. This was the Mingo village below the site
of Steubenville, Ohio, and from this statement we can believe the Indians
were Senecas, commonly called Mingoes in the West. Most of the Red-
stone settlers informed Steel and his companions that they were resolved
to move off and "would petition your Honour for a preference in obtain-
ing their improvements when a purchase was made.*' By "improve-
ments", the word of frequent use, we are to understand a clearing of land
for cultivation, fenced or unfenced ; most frequently with a log cabin, but
not necessarily. These settlers seemed to have been of the mind that
their locations were in Pennsylvania and were looking to the Penns for
justice, whereas Virginia still claimed the region and shortly after not
only asserted her jurisdiction but exercised it, and made thousands of
grants to settlers, so much so that almost all the land in Allegheny county
west of the Monong^hela and south of the Ohio river was held by Vir-

isSee also ''History Western Pennsylvania, etc.;" Appendix XXIII, pp. 179-180.



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528 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

ginia entries recognized as valid by the settlement of the boundary dis-
pute between Pennsylvania and Virginia.

While Steel and his fellow commissioners were conversing with the
people, March 27th, they were informed that a number of Indians were
near at "Indian Peter's." These were the Mingoes from Mingotown. In
his report Steel says :

We, judging it might be subservient to our main design that the Indians should be
present while we were advising the people to obey the law, sent for them. They came
and after sermon delivered a speech with a string of wampum to be transmitted to
your Honour. Their speech was:

'^e are come sent by your Great Men to tell these people to go away from the land
which ye say is ours. And we are sent by our Great Men and we are glad we have
met here this day. We tell you the white people must stop and we stop them till the
treaty and when George Croghan and our Great Men will talk together, we will tell what
to do."

It can be inferred from this brief address that the Indians recc^^ized
the inevitable and were meditating a treaty whereby the lands would be
released for settlement.

Steel records that the commissioners sent a messenger to Cheat river
and to Stewart's crossings on the Yough (now Connellsville, Pennsyl-
vania) with several proclamations requesting them to meet the commis-
sioners at "Giesse's place" as most central to both settlements. Giess6
was Steel's misspelling of Gist. March 30th the commissioners were at
Gist's, where between thirty and forty men had assembled. The com-
missioners proceeded as at Redstone and endeavored to convince the
people of the necessity and reasonableness of quitting the unpurchased
land, but to no purpose. The people had heard what the Indians said at
Redstone and reasoned in the same manner. They had no apprehension
of war; they would attend the treaty and take their measures accord-
ingly. "Many severe things," Steel said, "were said of Croghan, and one
Lawrence Harrison treated the law and our government with too much
disrespect."

March 31st the commissioners arrived at the Great Crossings of the
Youghiogheny, now Somerfield, Pennsylvania, and were informed by a
man named Speer that eight or ten families lived at a place called Turkey
Foot. "We sent some proclamations thither by said Speer," wrote Steel,
"as we did to a few families nigh the crossings of the Little Yough, judg-
ing it unnecessary to go amongst them. It is our opinion that that some
will move off in obedience to the law; the greater part will wait the
treaty, and if they find that the Indians are indeed dissatisfied, we think
the whole will be persuaded to remove. The Indians coming to Red-
stone and delivering their speeches greatly obstructed our design."

"Turkey Foot" was the fanciful name given the union of three streams
at what is now Confluence, Pennsylvania. The pioneers in the region
saw a resemblance to the three toes of a bird's foot. The three streams
arc the Great Youghiogheny, Castleman's river or the Little Ybugh, and
Laurel Hill creek. Turkey Foot was a noted place in pioneer history.
Steel recorded the names of only nine settlers there and thirteen at



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FORT PITT, 1764-1774 529

'^Giesse's/' Among them Thomas Gist, son of Christopher, who had
died of smallpox in 1759. Thomas was a bachelor, as was his brother
Richard, who was killed in battle during the Revolution. Christopher
and his two sons were soldiers at Braddock's battle. As Gist had taken
up his location prior to 1753, when Washington was there, the place,
known as Gist's Plantation, was in 1768 an old settlement on the disputed
land.

Both Craig and Rupp tell of the great conference at Fort Pitt in
April and May, 1768, beginning Tuesday, April 26th. Rupp says : "Sev-
eral causes conspired, threatening another Indian war. The whites'
encroachments upon Indian lands * * *; several Indians massacred —
these grievous injuries were seriously felt by the Indians, and they at'
once resolved to avenge themselves; but no sooner had Sir William
Johnson learned the designs of the Indians than he hastened to communi-
cate them to the governor of Pennsylvania who immediately sent com-
missioners to Fort Pitt to treat with the Indians in reference to these mat-
ters, as appears more at large from the following." Rupp follows with
twenty-two pages from the "Colonial Records," including the minutes, the
rosters of officials and chiefs of the different Indian nations in attendance,
the speeches, the reports and documents appertaining to the conference.
George Croghan was in charge as Johnson's chief deputy, and John
Allen and Joseph Shippen were present as commissioners from the
province of Pennsylvania. The minutes state that the conferences were
with the "chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations, Delawares, Shawanese,
Munsies and Mohickons residing on the waters of the Ohio." Alexander
McKee was present in his capacity as "Commissary of Indian Affairs,"
and evidently a busy man in providing rations for the multitude that
attended, 1,103, as Craig tells us, all with most excellent appetites and
a corresponding thirst for fire water prevalent among the braves. The
total included women and children attending, as was the custom. Craig
believed that this great gathering "no doubt created quite a bustle in the
little village which our city must have been at that time."

Most naturally the officers of the garrison were present in full uni-
form; these were Colonel John Reed, commandant; Captains Charles
Edmundstone and Pownall, Lieutenants Thomas Ford, Alexander Mc-
Lellan (or McClelland), Jesse Wright, Samuel Steel, William Ward and
Thomas Ball ; Ensigns Thomas Hutchins, Robert Hamilton, James Sav-
age and Godfrey Tracy. Henry Montour was interpreter.

Among the chiefs of the Six Nations only two figure by name in Pitts-
burgh history. These were Guyasutha, recorded as "Keyashuta," and the
White Mingo. Six chief warriors and 293 warriors of the Confederacy
besides won^en and children were present.

Of the Delawares, Nettawatees, commonly called Newcomer, Custa-
logo and The Beaver were the principal chiefs, and Wingenum, Captain
Pipe, Captain Johnny and White Eyes the principal warriors. The Dela-
wares reported with 319 warriors. The Shawanese chiefs in attendance,
notable in Pittsburgh history, were Kissenauchta and Nymwha. The



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530 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

Shawanese contingent was made up of ten chiefs, eight chief warriors
and 141 warriors. The Munsies had five chiefs and 196 warriors. The
"Mohickons" had two chiefs and 96 warriors, and all these tribes had
their women and children. In addition to all this host the Wyandots
sent seven warriors to the conference.**

Croghan opened the meeting with a few remarks in thoroughly Indian
style. He was glad to see so many different nations assembled at the
council fire and immediately gave a string of wampum to clear their eyes
and wipe away their tears that they might look upon their brethren, the
English, with pleasure. With another string he cleaned the sweat off
their bodies and removed all evil thoughts from their minds and cleaned
also a passage to their hearts that everything that would be said to them
from their brethren, the English, might rest easy in their hearts. It took
another string to clear their ears that they might hear and consider well
what was going to be said at the general meeting of the several tribes —
that is to say nations. Croghan was an adept at this sort of preparation.
His next step was to introduce the commissioners sent the Indians by
their brother Onas, that is Penn. Alexander McKee read and explained
Penn's message, telling how he had tried to punish the murderers of a
number of Indians east of the mountains and how he had arrested the
murderers who would receive due punishment and how good his own
heart was ; how Sir William Johnson had been informed of the accident
(the murders) and the Indians would soon hear from him further and
also from Sir William, and there could be no doubt of the justice and
upright intentions of all his majesty^s subjects towards the several Indian
nations— of course a belt of wampum came with the letter.

The next day the conference business was chiefly explanations and
after due deliberation the chiefs expressed their satisfaction at seeing the
commissioners from Pennsylvania and thanked Croghan for introducing
them to the several nations and assured him that the Indians would pay
due attention to what those gentlemen would say to them from their
brother Onas and their brethren from that province. The Indians at a
council observe the strictest decorum and are always polite following
time-honored customs.

It was at the meeting, May 4, that Guyasutha rebuked the Shawanese
speaker N3rmwha, who said on the preceding day to the commissioners :

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 request to you again. We also desire you not to go down this river in the
way of the warriors belonging to the foolish nations to the westward, and told yott
that the waters of this river a great way below this place were colored with blood. You
did not pay any regard to this, but asked us to accompany you in going down, which
we did and we felt the smart of our rashness, and with difficulty returned to our
friends. We see you now about making batteaux and we make no doubt you intend
going down the river again, which we now tell you is disagreeable to all nations of
Indians and now again desire you to sit still at this place.



i^See "History Western Pennsylvania, etc;" Appendix XIX, and "Olden Time;"
VoL I, p. 344, ft seq.



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FORT PITT, 1764-1774 531

They are alao tmeasy to see that you think yoarselYes masters of this country
because you have taken it from the French who you know had no right to it^ as it is
the property of the Indians. We often hear that you intend to fight with the Frendi
again ; if you do, we desire you will remove your quarrel out of this country, and carry
it over the great waters where you used to fig^t, and where we shall neither see nor
know anything of it. All we desire is to enjoy a quiet peace with you both, and that
we should be strong in talking of peace.

Plain words these, and undoubtedly from the heart and expressive of
the Indian feeling, but they were not agreeable to Guyasutha, who re-
sented the idea of a vassal nation like the Shawanese giving orders to the
English, and who, the next day, arose with a copy of the treaty made
with Colonel Bradstreet in 1764, and 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 sunrising to the sunsetting.
At that treaty the Shawanese and the Delawares were with me and know all this well
and I am much surprised that the Shawanese should speak to you in the manner ^ey
did yesterday.

Two days later Kissenauchta**^ apologized ; addressing Croghan said :

Brother, we are sorry that we should have said anything the other day to our
brother Onas that should give you or his commissioners any offence, or our brethren,
the Six Nations. But as the Governor of Pennsylvania in his speeches desired us to
open our minds and tell everything that gives us any uneasiness we are determined to
do sa .

They certainly did. The celerity with which the Shawanese chiefs
took Guyasutha's hint is most noticeable. The Iroquois yoke was still
a bit heavy.

This conference lasted many days, but was futile, for no effective
measures resulted. An arrangement was agreed on by which the White
Mingo and three deputies sent from the Six Nations country were to
accompany John Frazier and Captain William Thompson to the settle-
ments on the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers and signify to the
settlers the great displeasure of the Six Nations at their taking posses-
sion of the Indian lands and making settlements, and that the Indians
to remove with their families without further notice. Frazier and
Thompson were to carry written instructions from the governor to the
same effect. These were signed by the commissioners and dated May
9, 1768. Frazier and Thompson were in readiness with their horses and
provisions for the journey, but the White Mingo and his messengers did
not appear, though sent for several times by the commissioners. They
finally appeared and refused to go, stating that the business they were
to go on was so disagreeable that they could by no means consent to
undertake it. Upon being pressed for a reason, they said they had been
sent by the Six Nations Council as deputies to the conference at Pitts-
burgh "to attend the treaty here" (their language), and having received
no directions to proceed further they chose to return home in order to
make a report of what they had seen and heard at Fort Pitt. They were
firm and wanted to impress on the commissioners that the driving the

iBKissenauchta— Craig's spelling is Kisssnaughta. The name is variously distorted



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532 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

white people away from their settlements was a matter which no Indians
could with any satisfaction be concerned in, and they thought it most
proper, for the English themselves ought to compel their own people to
remove from the Indian lands.

This was an unexpected outcome of the long session and the com-
missioners were greatly perplexed. We see here the far-reaching arm
of the Great Council at Onondago. The commissioners attempted in
vain to procure other messengers, but finally concluded, and wisely, that
it was both useless and imprudent to press a matter on the Indians to
which they were so greatly averse. The commissioners reserved to
return at once to Philadelphia. Guyasutha, with an attendant warrior,
sought the commissioners at their lodgings and explained matters. He
admitted their disappointment, but did not want them to leave with a
discontented mind on account of the refusal to send the messengers.
Guyasutha's mind was filled with deepest grief and he could not suffer
the commissioners to go without speaking to them on the subject and
endeavoring to make their minds easy. He explained that the Iftdian
young men were unwilling to carry the message because they did not
wish to incur the ill will of the settlers, for if they were removed they
would return to their settlements when the English purchased the coun-
try from the Six Nations. The Indians would be very unhappy if by
their conduct at the time they would give the settlers any reason to dis-
like them and treat them in an unkind manner when the settlers again
became their neighbors. The Indians hoped the commissioners would
not be displeased with them for not performing their agreement, for they
could assure their English brethren that they had good hearts towards
them. The commissioners thanked Guyasutha for his friendly behavior
on the occasion and explained their position — ^they could not press a dis-
agreeable task upon the Indians any further, though it appeared to be a
step very necessary to be taken at that very time. "Thereupon," the
account closes, ''they took their leave of the Indians in the most friendly
manner and set out on their return to Philadelphia.''

There came a day fourteen years later when Guyasutha did not have
the same good heart for his brethren, the English, and this was when he
led the attack on Hannastown in 1782 and utterly destroyed that village,
then the county seat of Westmoreland county.

To complicate matters still more at this critical juncture, the old
Ohio Company sought a perfection of their grant; the Virginia volun-
teers of 1754, who had been enlisted under the offer of liberal bounties
of lands, were becoming clamorous for their grants and individual grants
were being strongly urged. Sir William Johnson himself was ambitious
and had in mind an armed colony south of the Ohio upon a model pro-
posed by Franklin in 1754, of which Johnson was to be governor. The
plan of another company led by Thomas Walpole was submitted to the
English ministry. The attempts to remove the settlers and the con-
ferences at Fort Pitt had made it clear that there was but one thing to do
and that was to obtain title from the Indians by purchase, as Guyasutha
had intimated, and the party of the first part in the conveyance would be.



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Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 75 of 81)