Sunday, October 14, 2018

Native Americans & Colonial Miltiias Interact in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, & Delaware Bay Areas

Lenape & Susquehannocks Interact with Colonial Europeans

For most of the 17C, Lenape Algonquian people exerted the greatest political & economic control over the country from central New Jersey through eastern Pennsylvania & along the Delaware Bay to its mouth at Cape Henlopen (Sussex County). Led by sachems & councils of elders, they lived in unpalisaded towns & spoke Unami. Over the course of the century, these Lenape natives created with European settlers a distinctive society that valued peace over conflict, religious freedom, collaboration, respect for diverse people, & local authority. Nonetheless, desire for profits led to contention, & native traders shifted among European nations to obtain the quantity & quality of goods they sought. Exchange provided the source of the Lenapes’ power, which they used to provoke colonial rivalries.

Inland, Susquehannock (Minquas) peoples living in fortified villages along the Susquehanna River proved especially determined to maintain independence in the fur trade, & played Swedes, Dutch, & English against each other. A decade of intermittent war with Lenapes between 1626 & 1636 typified the larger contest for control over furs in the North Atlantic world. The outcome earned Susquehannock traders the right to do business in Lenape areas along Delaware Bay & instigated a trade alliance among the groups.

Native Americans & Colonial Miltiias in Pennsylvania
By William V. Bartleson For The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia & Rutgers University HERE

...The first militia in the region that became Pennsylvania formed in 1671 in accordance with the Laws of the Duke of York, but the conflict between compulsory military service & the pacifist principles of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) quickly sparked controversy. Pennsylvania founder William Penn (1644-1718) retained the right to create a militia in the event of an emergency, but theological & political conflicts prevented passage of long-lasting militia regulations. From 1671 to 1776, the Pennsylvania Assembly passed several militia acts but allowed them to expire, mostly due to Quaker influence & the highly politicized nature of mandatory military service. When temporary militia companies came into existence, they remained voluntary, relatively few men attended mustering events, & they quickly disbanded.

In colonial New Jersey & the eventual state of Delaware, the Dutch formed the earliest militia companies in the 1640s with the intention to defend settlers & trading centers from raids from foreign powers & Native Americans. The geography of New Jersey, with the Delaware River acting as a natural bulwark, eventually relieved the area from threats from European or Native forces. Although the New Jersey legislature formally allotted funds to train militia companies in 1668 & 1744, militia groups remained relatively small & localized.

Increasing Indian attacks against settlers made Pennsylvania one of the main areas of conflict during the Seven Years’ War (French & Indian War, 1756-63). Lacking the long-term legislative militia regulations of other colonies, Pennsylvania had to scramble to muster fiercely independent & often far-flung colonials into organized militia units. The Pennsylvania assembly passed the Militia Act of November 25, 1755, but units formed slowly that fall & winter, & under the law they could not be marched more than three days beyond the settled parts of the province, left in garrison frontier forts, or be punished with military discipline. To supplement the militia, the act also provided for a Provincial Army of voluntary, paid “Associators,” but they also remained near their communities. In New Jersey, Indian raids along the northern border of Pennsylvania & New York prompted formation of the “Jersey Blues” militia regiment, which saw combat at some of the most significant battles of the conflict, including the Siege of Fort William Henry & the capture of Montreal...

William V. Bartleson is an independent scholar of military history who has worked with the New Jersey National Guard Militia Museum & the Center for Veterans Oral History.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Native Americans in the area now called Maine

Abenakis couple

Native Americans in Maine have been documented since the 17C through oral traditions & written observations by Europeans.  Members of the Algonquian language family in Maine have been known as “Wabanaki” & “Abenaki” people. The term means “Dawnlanders” or “People of the Dawn.” The broad notion of Wabanaki includes Micmac, Maliseet & Passamaquoddy in the east, Penobscot along the river of that name, & the Abenaki & Pennacook further west. The term “Abenaki” usually excludes the three easternmost groups & refers to members of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock.

The name Abnakis (or Abenakis) was given to them by the French, but it has been spelled Abenaques, Abenaquiois, Wapanachkis, Wabenakies, & Wobanahis. According to one source, the name derives from woban, “daybreak,” & ki, “earth, land,” & has been variously interpreted as those “living at the sunrise,” “a person from the land where the sun rises,” or “an easterner.”

The Abnakis lived mostly in what is now Maine, New Hampshire, & Vermont. Abnaki legend has it that they came from the Southwest, but the exact time is unsure. One historian estimates that about 13,000 were in Maine in the early 17th century, divided among four tribes: the Sokokis on the Saco River; the Anasagunticooks on the Androscoggin; the Wawenocks east of Merrymeeting Bay; & the Kennebecs on the river of that name.  The Abnakis were in settled villages, often surrounded by palisades, & lived by growing corn, fishing, & hunting. Their name for their conical huts covered with bark or mats, wigwam, came to be generally used in English.

The Wabanaki Confederation of Penobscots, Passamaquoddies, Micmacs & Maliseets encompassed the major tribes of the area. Formed to reduce conflict & foster cooperation, this Confederation relied on procedures & traditions which, while varied with time & circumstance, maintained a basic model of tribal integration. (This is distinct from the Caughnawaga Confederacy that included the Wabanaki members in addition to other eastern tribes.)

The Wabanaki Confederation played a role in the selection of tribal chiefs. When a new chief was to be selected, delegates from the other tribes attended the ceremonies & formally approved the locally elected candidate. This not only gave the chiefs status within their own tribes but also insured harmony among the tribes. Various European governments attempted to use the Confederation against their opponents.  An important unit of social organization was the band, a loosely organized collection of people, frequently related family members, who occupied a particular tract of land, moved & camped together, & felt a common identity, including a name for themselves.  Several bands comprised a tribe, which, like the band, was loosely organized & which in many parts of the area was not so much a political unit as a cultural one–a group of people who spoke a common language & had similar customs.  Although chieftainships often were inherited, personal ability was the basis for the influence that was exercised by a chief, sometimes termed sachem. The man, or sometimes woman, who had the requisite abilities was chosen to succeed.  Particularly important to a chief was his ability to persuade. As one result, oratory was highly valued & developed into a fine art; even in English translations, the power of Indian oratory is evident. Typically, the councils of the Indians involved the making of speeches, although the intent of this oratory was not to impress others with mere rhetoric but to find a solution to the issue at hand. If unanimity was not achieved, no action could be taken. The dissidents would either continue to express their opposition or withdraw; in either case, the effectiveness of the group would be weakened.

Though they lived in peace with each other, Maine tribes feared their traditional enemies the Iroquois & the Mohawks, often engaging in warfare. However, they did treat the first Europeans, French & English, with friendship until the English antagonized, mistreated, & exploited them. Samoset & Squanto (or Squando) assisted the Plymouth Pilgrims during difficult times.

See:
Calloway, Colin G. The Abenaki. Indians of North America Series. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1989.

Calvert, Mary R. Dawn over the Kennebec. Lewiston, Me. Twin City Printery. c1983.

Cronin, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England. New York. Hill and Wang. 1983.

DePold, Hans. “Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.” WRRR Newsletter No. 28. http://www.ctssar.org/revroad/news28.htm. Accessed November 6, 2003.

Eckstorm, Fanny Hardy. Old John Neptune and Other Maine Indian Shamans. Orono: University of Maine Press, 1980.

Hudson Museum. “Maine Indians: A Web Resource List for Teachers.” http://www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum/reso.php (accesssed January 30, 2012)

Leamon, James S. Revolution Downeast: The War for American Independence in Maine. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 1993.

McBride, Bunny. Women of the Dawn. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Story of Mount Desert Island. Boston: Little Brown. 1960.

Pawling, Micah A. Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine. Amherst, MA. University of Massachusetts Press. 2007.

Speck, Frank G. Penobscot Man. Orono: University of Maine Press, 1997.

Starkey, Glenn Wendell. Maine: Its History, Resources, and Government. Boston: Silver, Burdett and Company. 1920.

Thoreau, Henry David. The Maine Woods. (there are several editions.)

The Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritimes. Bath: American Friends Service Committee, 1989.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

1698 The Story of Squanto by Cotton Mather

"The Story of Squanto" from 1698 Magnalia Christi Americana by Cotton Mather

A most wicked shipmaster being on this coast a few years before, had wickedly spirited away more than twenty Indians; whom having enticed them aboard, he presently stowed them under hatches, and carried them away to the Streights, where he sold as many of them as he could for Slaves. This avaritious and pernicious felony laid the foundation for grievous annoyances to all the English endeavors of settlements, especially in the Northern parts of the land for several years ensuing. The Indians would never forget or forgive this injury. . 
But our good God so ordered it, that one of the stolen Indians, called Squanto, had escaped out of Spain into England; where he lived with one Mr. Slany, from whom he had found a way to return unto his own country, being brought back by one Mr. Dermer, about half a year before our honest Plymotheans were cast upon this continent. This Indian having received much kindness from the English, who generally condemned the man that first betrayed him, now made unto the English a return of that kindness: and being by his acquaintance with the English language, fitted with a conversation with them, he very kindly informed them what was the present condition of the Indians; instructed them in the way of ordering their Corn; and acquainted them with many other things, which it was necessary for them to understand.

But Squanto did for them a yet greater benefit than all this: for he brought Massasoit, the chief Sachim or Prince of the Indians within many miles, with some scores of his attenders, to make our people a kind visit; the issue of which visit was, that Massasoit not only entred  into a firm agreement of peace with the English, but also they declared and submitted themselves to be subjects of the King of England; into which peace and subjection many other Sachims quickly after came, in the most voluntary manner that could be expressed. It seems that this unlucky Squanto having told his countrymen how easie it was for so great a monarch as K. James to destroy them all, if they should hurt any of his people, he went on to terrifie them with a ridiculous rhodomantado, which they believed, that this people kept the plague in a cellar (where they kept their gunpowder), and could at their pleasure let it loose to make such havock among them, as the distemper had already made among them a few years before. . .

Moreover, our English guns, especially the great ones, made a formidable report among these ignorant Indians; and their hopes of enjoying some defence by the English, against the potent nation nation of Narraganset Indians, now at war with them, made them yet more to court our friendship. This very strange disposition of things, was extreamly advantageous to our distressed planters: and who sees not herein the special providence of the God who disposeth all?

Monday, October 8, 2018

1677 Revenge of Marblehead, MA Women on Native Americans

Robert Roule, Deposition, MS 252, Edward E. Ayer Collection, The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.
Depiction of Metacomet, also known as King Philip of Wampanoag, by an Unknown artist of the British School

The Wampanoag Indians of New England began Metacom’s War (also known as King Philip’s War) in 1675, in an attempt to expel the English from the region. Metacom, leader of the Wampanoag, fashioned an alliance of many different groups, but Christian Indians & Iroquois who allied with the English proved to be a significant factor in the eventual colonial victory. In August 1676, colonial troops captured & killed Metacom, ending hostilities in southern New England. However, other Indians continued their attacks for another 2 years along the northern New England coast. In particular, they targeted fishing ketches operated out of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Mariner Robert Roules narrated one such incident in July 1677 when his boat was captured by Indians, then recaptured by the settlers. When the settlers sailed Roules’ boat into Marblehead harbor, the women of Marblehead took bloody revenge upon the Indian captives.

I Robert Roules of Marblehead, mariner, aged thirty years or thereabouts, belonging to the catch William and Sarah of Salem, do upon oath say, that Joseph Bovey went out master of the said ketch upon a fishing voyage to the eastern coast.


After we had caught, and being about half laden with fish, and riding at an anchor at port La Tour, near cape Sable, and on the easterly side thereof, on the 7th of this instant, July, it being saturday, purposing here to take in wood and water, and in two days to be again upon our fishing design, but on the Lords day) being the 8th instant, in line dawaning of the day, there came suddenly on board of us a canoe of Indians, in number nine or ten, as near as could judge, with their arms ready fixed, loaded and cocked.


I first discovered them, and dropped down upon deck to save myself from their shot. They immediately fired upon us, and their shot chiefly struck against the windlass, and so did not hurt us. I then called to them, and said What for you kill Englishmen? They answered me, If Englishmen shoot we kill—if not shoot, we no kill. They then ordered us to come up.


By this time they had boarded us, and we were obliged to surrender without conditions. They then proceeded to bind me, and the other four men with me, the master, Capt. Bovey being one. They stripped us, one after the other of all our clothes, only leaving tie a greasy shirt and waistcoat, and drawers we used to fish in, our shoes and stockings being in the cabin.


They then gave us liberty to sit upon deck, bound as we were all, till about two of the clock in the afternoon. After this they unbound us, and commanded us to sail our vessel towards Penobscot, which we endeavored to do; but the wind shortening we were forced to come to an anchor again, and lay there till the second day of our capture.


In the meantime, they told us they intended to kill all of us, and all the Englishmen, being in number twenty six, including boys, except three. They had taken four other vessels besides ours. On the second day they commanded us and the other ketches to sail together for Penobscot.


The Indians had dispersed themselves into all the ketches; there being seventy or eighty of them. As we sailed onward we espied a bark and gave her chase and soon took her, and found it Mr. Watts vessel.


The Indians compelled us to haile him, and he answered us he was from Boston, bound on a fishing voyage. To prevent the murder of him and his men, as soon as we came up with him we told him he was taken, but he thinking it only a joke, laughed at us.


The Indians now rose up and told Capt Watts if he did not strike they were all dead men. All but four of the Indians then went on board him, divided and mixed the Englishmen in the different vessels with themselves; sending master Bovey with one man more of our company, onboard another ketch, and left me as master of the ketch, (they wholly disliking the said Bovey) with an old man, whom I desired. And now being on board with Capt. Watts, the Indians having sent two of their number away, took two of Capt. Watts' men in their place, whereof one was William Buswell.


We had not been thus situated but a short time, when another sail was discovered, and we were commanded to give chase. We did so till it began to grow disky [dusky], and then the Indian Sagamore of our vessel ordered me, who being at the helm, to bear up; but I refused.


Thereupon the Sagamore grew angry, and was about to fall upon me, which William Buswell observing, seized him by the throat, and a close scuffle ensued. Buswell however soon tripped up his heels, fell upon him, and kept him down with his knee upon his breast.


Meantime, another of my companions in captivity, named Richard Dowries, closing with a second Indian, succeeded in getting him down also; and in attempting to throw him overboard, his legs became entangled, which Buswell perceiving, left his man, and seizing upon him too, they quickly threw him into the sea.


While this was going on the other Englishmen were enabled to confine the other Sagamore in the cook room, by shutting down the scuttle upon him. All hands then grasped another Indian and threw him overboard. It was a desperate attempt, but the victory was now certain. The two remaining Indians were Sagamores, one was an old man the other was a young man. One was fast in the cook room, and the other was glad to surrender to save his life.


We next proceeded to bind the two Indians, and then made all the sail we could to the southward, and on the fifteenth day [Sunday], a little before sun-down, we came to an anchor in the harbor of Marblehead.


News had reached this place that we were all killed and many people flocked to the water side to learn who we were and what other news they could, concerning the many vessels that had been taken by the Indians. They hailed us, and then some came on board; and when they saw the Indians, they demanded why we kept them alive and why we had not killed them.


We answered them, that we had lost everything, even to our clothes, and we thought if we brought them in alive, we might get somewhat by them towards our losses, But this did not satisfy the people, who were angry at the sight of the Indians, and now began to grow clamorous. We told them we should take them on shore and deliver them into the hands of the constable of the town, that they might be answerable to the court at Boston; and so we carried them on shore with their hands bound behind them,

Being on shore, the whole town flocked about them, beginning at first to insult them, and soon after, the women surrounded them, drove us by force from them, (we escaping at no little peril,) and laid violent hands upon the captives, some stoning us in the meantime, because we would protect them, others seizing them by the hair, got full possession of them, nor was there any way left by which we could rescue them. Then with stones, billets of wood, and what else they might, they made an end of these Indians.

We were kept at such distance that we could not see them till they were dead, and then we found them with their heads off and gone, and their flesh in a manner pulled from their bones. And such was the tumultation these women made, that for my life I could not tell who these women were, or the names of any of them.


They cried out and said, if the Indians had been carried to Boston, that would have been the end of it, and they would have been set at liberty; but said they, if there had been forty of the best Indians in the country here, they would have killed them all, though they should be hanged for ii. They suffered neither constable nor mandrake, nor any other person to come near them, until they had finished their broody purpose.
Taken upon oath this Robert Roules. 7th of July, 1677.
Edward Rowson, Sec.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

1666 A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina

Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina (1666)

This is one of the earliest descriptions of Carolina. It was published by Robert Horne in London (although he may not have been the author). The explicit purpose of the pamphlet was to entice English men & women to migrate to the colony; & thereby increase the value of the Proprietors' estate.

John White c 1587 Natives Fishing in North Carolina

CAROLINA is a fair and spacious Province on the Continent of America: so called in honour of His Sacred Majesty that now is, Charles the Second, whom God preserve; and His Majesty hath been pleas'd to grant the same to certain Honourable Persons, who in order to the speedy planting of the same, have granted divers privileges and advantages to such as shall transport themselves and Servants in convenient time; This Province lying so neer Virginia, and yet more Southward, enjoys the fertility and advantages thereof; and yet is so far distant, as to be freed from the inconstancy of the Weather, which is a great cause of the unhealthfulness thereof; also, being in the latitude of the Bermudas may expect the like healthfulness which it hath hitherto enjoy'd, and doubtless there is no Plantation that ever the English went upon, in all respects so good as this: for though Bermudas be wonderful healthy and fruitful, yet is it but a Prison to the Inhabitants, who are much streightned for want of room, and therefore many of them are come to Carolina, and more intend to follow. There is seated in this Province two Colonies already, one on the River Roanoak (now called Albemarle River) and borders on Virginia; the Other at Cape Feare, two Degrees more Southerly; of which follows a more perticular Description. . 

The Perticular Description of Cape Feare.

In the midst of this fertile Province, in the Latitude of 34 degrees, there is a Colony of English seated, who Landed there the 29 of May, Anno 1664. and are in all about 800 persons, who have overcome all the difficulties that attend the first attempts, and have cleered the way for those that come after, who will find good houses to be in whilst their own are in building; good forts to secure them from their enemies; and many things brought from other parts there, increasing to their no small advantage. The entrance into the River, now called Cape-Feare River, the situation of the Cape, and trending of the Land, is plainly laid down to the eye in the Map annexed. The River is barred at the entrance, but there is a Channel close abord the Cape that will convey in safety a ship of 300 Tons, and as soon as a ship is over ihe Bar, the River is 5 or 6 fathom deep for a 100 miles from the Sea; this Bar is a great security to the Colony against a forreign Invasion, the channel being hard to find by those that have not experience of it, and yet safe enough to those that know it.

The Earth, Water, and Air.

The Land is of divers sorts as in all Countryes of the world, that which lyes neer the Sea, is sandy and barren, but beareth many tall Trees, which make good timber for several uses; and this sandy ground is by experienced men thought to be one cause of the healthfulness of the place: but up the River about 20 or 30 mile, where they have made a Town, called Charles-Town, there is plenty of as rich ground as any in the world. It is a blackish mold upon a red sand, and under that a clay, but in some places is rich ground of a grayer colour, they have made Brick of the Clay, which proves very good; and Lime they have also for building. . . . The Woods are stored with Deer and Wild Turkeys, of a great magnitude, weighing many times above 50lbs a piece, and of a more pleasant tast than in England, being in their proper climate; other sorts of Beasts in the Woods that are good for food; and also Fowls, whose names are not known to them. This is what they found naturally upon the place; but they have brought with them most sorts of seeds and roots of the Barbadoes which thrive very well, and they have Potatoes, and the other Roots and Herbs of Barbadoes growing and thriving with them; as also from Virginia, Bermudas, and New England, what they could afford: They have Indigo, Tobacco very good, and Cotton-wool; Lime-trees, Orange, Lemon, and other Fruit-Trees they brought, thrive exceedingly: They have two Crops of Indian-Corn in one year, and great increase every Crop; Apples, Pears, and other English fruit, grow there out of the planted Kernels: The Marshes and Meadows are very large from 1500 to 3000 Acres, and upwards, and are excellent food for Cattle, and will bear any Grain being prepared; some Cattle both great and small, which live well all the Winter, and keep their fat without Fodder; Hogs find so much Mast and other Food in the Woods, that they want no other care than a Swine-herd to keep them from running wild. The Meadows are very proper for Rice, Rape-seed, Lin-seed, etc., and may many of them be made to overflow at pleasure with a small charge. Here are as brave Rivers as any in the World, stored with great abundance of Sturgeon, Salmon, Bass, Plaice, Trout, and Spanish Mackrill, with many other most pleasant sorts of Fish, both flat and round, for which the English Tongue hath no name. . . . Last of all, the Air comes to be considered, which is not the least considerable to the well being of a Plantation, for without a wholsome Air all other considerations avail nothing; and this is it which makes this Place so desireable, being seated in the most temperate Clime, where the neighbour-hood of the glorious Light of Heaven brings many advantages, and his convenient distance secures them from the Inconvenience of his scortching beams. The Summer is not too hot, and the Winter is very short and moderate, best agreeing with English Constitutions. . . .

If therefore any industrious and ingenious persons shall be willing to pertake of the Felicites of this Country, let them imbrace the first opportunity, that they may obtain the greater advantages.

The chief of the Privileges are as follows.

First, There is full and free Liberty of Conscience granted to all, so that no man is to be molested or called in question for matters of Religious Concern; but every one to be obedient to the Civil Government, worshipping God after their own way.

Secondly, There is freedom from Custom, for all Wine, Silk, Raisins, Currance, Oyl, Olives, and Almonds, that shall be raised in the Province for 7. years, after 4 Ton of any of those commodities shall be imported in one Bottom.

Thirdly, Every Free-man and Free-woman that transport themselves and Servants by the 25 of March next, being 1667. shall have for Himself, Wife, Children, and Men-servants, for each 100 Acres of Land for him and his Heirs for ever, and for every Woman-servant and Slave 50 Acres, paying at most 1/2d. per acre, per annum, in lieu of all demands, to the Lords Proprietors: Provided always, That every Man be armed with a good Musquet full bore, 10lbs Powder, and 20lbs of Bullet, and six Months Provision for all, to serve them whilst they raise Provision in that Countrey.

Fourthly, Every Man-Servant at the expiration of their time, is to have of the Country a 100 Acres of Land to him and his heirs for ever, paying only 1/2d. per Acre, per annum, and the Women 50. Acres of Land on the same conditions; their Masters also are to allow them two Suits of Apparrel and Tools such as he is best able to work with, according to the Custom of the Countrey.

Fifthly, They are to have a Governour and Council appointed from among themselves, to see the Laws of the Assembly put in due execution; but the Governour is to rule but 3 years, and then learn to obey; also he hath no power to lay any Tax, or make or abrogate any Law, without the Consent of the Colony in their Assembly.

Sixthly, They are to choose annually from among themselves, a certain Number of Men, according to their divisions, which constitute the General Assembly with the Governour and his Council, and have the sole power of Making Laws, and Laying Taxes for the common good when need shall require.

These are the chief and Fundamental privileges, but the Right Honourable Lords Proprietors have promised (and it is their Interest so to do) to be ready to grant what other Privileges may be found advantageous for the good, of the Colony.

Is there therefore any younger Brother who is born of Gentile [Genteel] blood, and whose Spirit is elevated above the common sort, and yet the hard usage of our Country hath not allowed suitable fortune; he will not surely be afraid to leave his Native Soil to advance his Fortunes equal to his Blood and Spirit, and so he will avoid those unlawful ways too many of our young Gentlemen take to maintain themselves according to their high education, having but small Estates; here, with a few Servants and a small Stock a great Estate may be raised, although his Birth have not entitled him to any of the Land of his Ancestors, yet his Industry may supply him so, as to make him the head of as famous a family.

Such as are here tormented with much care how to get worth to gain a Livelyhood, or that with their labour can hardly get a comfortable subsistance, shall do well to go to this place, where any man what-ever, that is but willing to take moderate pains, may be assured of a most comfortable subsistance, and be in a way to raise his fortunes far beyond what he could ever hope for in England. Let no man be troubled at the thoughts of being a Servant for 4 or 5 year, for I can assure you, that many men give mony with their children to serve 7 years, to take more pains and fare nothing so well as the Servants in this Plantation will do. Then it is to be considered, that so soon as he is out of his time, he hath Land, and Tools, and Clothes given him, and is in a way of advancement. Therefore all Artificers, as Carpenters, Wheelrights, Joyners, Coopers, Bricklayers, Smiths, or diligent Husbandmen and Labourers, that are willing to advance their fortunes, and live in a most pleasant healthful and fruitful Country, where Artificers are of high esteem, and used with all Civility and Courtesie imaginable, may take notice, that

There is an opportunity offers now by the Virginia Fleet, from whence Cape Feare is but 3 or 4 days sail, and then a small Stock carried to Virginia will purchase provisions at a far easier rate than to carry them from hence; also the freight of the said Provisions will be saved, and be more fresh, and there wanteth not conveyance from Virginia thither.

If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for if they be but Civil, and under 50 years of Age, some honest Man or other, will purchase them for their Wives.

Those that desire further advice, or Servants that would be entertained, let them repair to Mr. Matthew Wilkinson, Ironmonger, at the Sign of the Three Feathers, in Bishopsgate Street, where they may be informed when the Ships will be ready, and what they must carry with them.

Thus much was convenient to be written at present, but a more ample Relation is intended to be published in due time.

Source: Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina . . . (London, 1666), reprinted in Alexander S. Salley, Jr., ed., Narratives of Early Carolina, 1650-1708 (New York, 1911), 66-73.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Native Americans & Madame Montour c 1684-1752 Interpreter & Agent for New York & Pennsylvania

Madame Montour (c. 1684-c. 1752), interpreter & Indian agent for the colonies of New York & Pennsylvania, spent most of her life among the Native Americans & was presumably of French & Indian descent. She had an air of distinction that led contemporaries to credit her with a genteel background. One observer (Witham Marshe) described her in 1844 as “a handsome woman, genteel, & of polite address” & reported that she had been well received by Philadelphia gentlewomen while on a treaty mission to that city. Conrad Weiser, the Pennsylvania Indian agent, referred to her in 1737 as “a French woman by birth, of a good family” (Journal, Mar. 22), & Cadwallader Colden of New York asserted that she had had “a good education in Canada before she went among the Indians” (New York Historical Society, Collections, I, 1868, p. 200).

She herself said in 1744, according to Marshe, “that she was born in Canada, whereof her father (who was a French gentleman) had been Governor;” & tradition would have her the daughter of Count Frontenac by an Indian woman. Forntenac, however, was recalled from Canada in 1682 & did not return until 1689, whereas Madame Montour must have been born about 1684, for she said in 1744 that it was then “nearly fifty years” since, at about the age of ten, she had been taken prisoner & carried away by Iroquois warriors. There is, moreover, some evidence that she was brought up from earliest childhood (before her presumed Iroquois captivity) in the family of half-breed “Louise Couc surnomme Montour,” son of Pierre Couc of Cognac, France, & his wife, an Algonquin named Mitewamagwakwe. Louis was a coureur de bois, a trapper & hunter, who lived at Three Rivers, Quebec, with his Indian wife of the Sokoki tribe, listed in local records as Madeline Sakokie. Madam Montour’s first husband, to further complicate the story, was reportedly a Seneca named Roland Montour (Hewitt, p. 937). But his surname may have been merely a coincidence, or he may possibly have taken the Montour name from her, rather than she from him; the evidence on this, as on her relationship with Lois Couc Montour, in inconclusive. Her husband Roland is thought to have been the Montour who was killed by French agents in April 1709. Though her first name is sometimes given as Catherine or Madeleine, in contemporary records she is simply Mrs. Or Madame Montour.

Whatever her background, she was a woman of character. She first entered the service of the English colonies on Aug. 25, 1711, when she acted as interpreter at a conference in Albany between Gov. Robert Hunter & chiefs of the Iroquois, or Five Nations. She was at this time married to Carandowana, or Big Tree, an Oneida chief who, in compliment to the governor, subsequently took the name Robert Hunter. In 1712, Madame Montour & her husband accompanied Col. Peter Schuyler of Albany on a mission to Onondaga (Syracuse, N.Y.), capital of the Iroquois Confederacy, seeking to dissuade the Five Nations from joining the Tuscaroras in the war against North Carolina. For her services it was arranged that she should thereafter receive a man’s pay from each of “the four independt. Companies posted in this Province [New York].” So important did the French regard Madame Montour’s influence in preserving the entente between the English colonies & the Iroquois that the governor of Canada repeatedly sought to draw her over to the French side, offering her higher compensation; in 1719 he reportedly sent her sister as a special emissary.

In 1727 & again in 1728 Madame Montour was “Interpretress” at a conference in Philadelphia between the Iroquois & Gov. Patrick Gordon of Pennsylvania, she & her husband being paid 5 pounds. She attended a similar conference at Philadelphia in 1734 & was present unofficially at another in Lancaster in 1744. Meanwhile her husband had been killed in the Catawba War in 1729. After 1727 she made her home in Pennsylvania, on the West Branch of t he Susquehanna River at Otstonwakin (later Montoursville). She subsequently (about 1743) moved to an island in the Susquehanna at Shamokin (Sunbury) & thence to western Pennsylvania. Although late in life she became blind, she retained enough vigor to make the sixty-mile journey from Logs town (near present-day Pittsburgh) to Venango (Franklin) -her son Andrew on foot leading her horse- in two days. She died about 1752.

There has been confusion about her children, partly because Indian & European kinship terms do not agree, the Indians, for example, calling the children of an Indian woman’s sister, as well as her own, her sons & daughters. It is certain, however, that Madame Montour bore at least two sons, Andrew (sometimes called Henry) & Louis, & one or two daughters. “French Margaret,” sometimes called her daughter, was probably so only in the Indian sense; but the latter’s children (by her Mohawk husband, Katerionecha, commonly known as Peter Quebec) preserved the French traits of the Montour connection. Margaret’s daughter Catharine, “Queen” of Catharine’s Town at the head of Seneca Lake, & her presumed daughter “Queen Esther” (identified, on uncertain evidence. As the Indian woman who killed prisoners taken in the Battle of Wyoming in 1778) have been called granddaughters of Madame Montour.

Andrew Montour (Sattelihu), her son, for a time lived with his mother, but after serving the Pennsylvania authorities for some years as an interpreter, often in company with Conrad Weiser, he requested permission to settle near the whites & was granted a large tract of land near Carlisle. During the French & Indian War he commanded a company of Indians in the English service, rising to the rank of major. Pennsylvania has honored Madame Montour & her son by naming a county after them, & a town & a mountain also bear their name.

See:

Suzanne Bolvin Sommerville. All Sources Are Not Created Equal: The Couc/Montour Family of  Nouvelle France and the British Colonies. French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, 2009.

Simone Vincennes. Madame Montour et son temps. 1979 by Quaebec/Amaerique

Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

1650s Colonists Keep Coming & Native Americans Get More Entangled

The 17C Susquehannock Native Americans suffered from getting caught up in the 1675 Bacon's Rebellion. After some Doeg Indians killed some Virginians, surviving colonists crossed into Maryland & killed Susquehannock in retaliation. The Susquehannock moved to old Fort Piscataway, just below present-day Washington, DC. Problems on the frontiers led to the mobilization of the militias of Maryland & Virginia &, in confusion, they surrounded the peaceful Susquehannock village. When 5 Susquehannock chiefs came out to negotiate, they were murdered. The Susquehannock slipped out of the fort at night & harassed settlers in Virginia & Maryland, then returned North to the more peaceful area of the Susquehanna River.

The religious & civil conflict in England in the mid-17C limited immigration, as well as the attention the mother country paid the fledgling American colonies.

In part to provide for the defense measures England was neglecting, the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut & New Haven colonies formed the New England Confederation in 1643. It was the European colonists' first attempt at regional unity.

The early history of the British settlers reveals a good deal of contention -- religious & political -- as groups vied for power & position among themselves & their neighbors. Maryland, in particular, suffered from the bitter religious rivalries which afflicted England during the era of Oliver Cromwell. One of the casualties was the state's Toleration Act, which was revoked in the 1650s. It was soon reinstated, however, along with the religious freedom it guaranteed.

In 1675 Bacon's Rebellion, the first significant revolt against royal authority, broke out in the colonies. The original spark was a clash between Virginia frontiersmen & the Susquehannock Indians, but it soon pitted the common farmer against the wealth & privilege of the large planters & Virginia's governor, William Berkeley (1605-1677).

The small farmers, embittered by low tobacco prices & hard living conditions, rallied around Nathaniel Bacon (c 1640-1676), a recent arrival from England. Berkeley refused to grant Bacon a commission to conduct Indian raids, but he did agree to call new elections to the House of Burgesses, which had remained unchanged since 1661.

Defying Berkeley's orders, Bacon led an attack against the friendly Ocaneechee tribe, nearly wiping them out. Returning to Jamestown in September 1676, he burned it, forcing Berkeley to flee. Most of the state was now under Bacon's control. His victory was short lived, however; he died of a fever the following month. Without Bacon, the rebellion soon lost its vitality. Berkeley re-established his authority & hanged 23 of Bacon's followers.

With the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, the British once again turned their attentions to North America. Within a brief span, the first European settlements were established in the Carolinas & the Dutch driven out of New Netherland. New proprietary colonies were established in New York, New Jersey, Delaware & Pennsylvania.

The Dutch settlements had, as a general matter, been ruled by autocratic governors appointed in Europe. Over the years, the local population had become estranged from them. As a result, when the British colonists began encroaching on Dutch lands in Long Island & Manhattan, the unpopular governor was unable to rally the population to their defense. New Netherland fell in 1664. The terms of the capitulation, however, were mild: the Dutch settlers were able to retain their property & worship as they pleased.

As early as the 1650s, the Ablemarle Sound region off the coast of what is now northern North Carolina was inhabited by settlers trickling down from Virginia. The first proprietary governor arrived in 1664. A remote area even today, Ablemarle's first town was not established until the arrival of a group of French Huguenots in 1704.

In 1670 the first settlers, drawn from New England & the Caribbean island of Barbados, arrived in what is now Charleston, South Carolina. An elaborate system of government, to which the British philosopher John Locke contributed, was prepared for the new colony. One of its prominent features was a failed attempt to create a hereditary nobility. One of the colony's least appealing aspects was the early trade in Indian slaves. Within time, however, timber, rice & indigo gave the colony a worthier economic base.

Massachusetts Bay was not the only colony driven by religious motives. In 1681 William Penn, a wealthy Quaker & friend of Charles II, received a large tract of land west of the Delaware River, which became known as Pennsylvania. To help populate it, Penn actively recruited a host of religious dissenters from England & the continent -- Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, Moravians & Baptists.

When Penn arrived the following year, there were already Dutch, Swedish & English settlers living along the Delaware River. It was there he founded Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love."

In keeping with his faith, Penn was motivated by a sense of equality not often found in other American colonies at the time. Thus, women in Pennsylvania had rights long before they did in other parts of America. Penn & his deputies also paid considerable attention to the colony's relations with the Delaware Indians, ensuring that they were paid for any land the Europeans settled on.

Georgia was settled in 1732, the last of the 13 colonies to be established. Lying close to, if not actually inside the boundaries of Spanish Florida, the region was viewed as a buffer against Spanish incursion. But it had another unique quality: the man charged with Georgia's fortifications, General James Oglethorpe, was a reformer who deliberately set out to create a refuge where the poor & former prisoners would be given new opportunities.

From Outline of U.S. History, a publication of the U.S. Department of State copied from the website of the United States Information Agency, where it was published in November 2005.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

1622 Settling Jamestown, Virginia

A 1628 woodcut by Matthaeus Merian published along with Theodore de Bry's earlier engravings in 1628 book on the New World. The engraving shows the March 22, 1622 massacre when Powhatan Indians attacked Jamestown. 

The first of the British colonies to take hold in North America was Jamestown. On the basis of a charter which King James I granted to the Virginia (or London) Company, a group of about 100 men set out for the Chesapeake Bay in 1607. Seeking to avoid conflict with the Spanish, they chose a site about 60 kilometers up the James River from the bay.

Made up of townsmen & adventurers more interested in finding gold than farming, the group was unequipped by temperament or ability to embark upon a completely new life in the wilderness. Among them, Captain John Smith emerged as the dominant figure. Despite quarrels, starvation & Indian attacks, his ability to enforce discipline held the little colony together through its first year.

In 1609 Smith returned to England, & in his absence, the colony descended into anarchy. During the winter of 1609-1610, the majority of the colonists succumbed to disease. Only 60 of the original 300 settlers were still alive by May 1610. That same year, the town of Henrico (now Richmond) was established farther up the James River.

It was not long, however, before a development occurred that revolutionized Virginia's economy. In 1612 John Rolfe began cross-breeding imported tobacco seed from the West Indies with native plants & produced a new variety that was pleasing to European taste. The first shipment of this tobacco reached London in 1614. Within a decade it had become Virginia's chief source of revenue.

Prosperity did not come quickly, however, & the death rate from disease & Indian attacks remained extraordinarily high. Between 1607 & 1624 approximately 14,000 people migrated to the colony, yet only 1,132 were living there in 1624. On recommendation of a royal commission, the king dissolved the Virginia Company, & made it a royal colony that year.

From Outline of U.S. History, a publication of the U.S. Department of State copied from the website of the United States Information Agency, where it was published in November 2005.

Friday, September 28, 2018

1616-1650s New England area Native Americans dying en masse

Writing in 1634 from Boston, less than 4 years after the city had been founded, John Winthrop (1588-1649), the 1st governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, & the chief figure among the Puritan founders of New England, described a population of 4,000 settlers. The Native Americam population did not fare as well. Epidemic diseases introduced by European fishermen & fur traders reduced the population of New England’s coastal tribes by about 90 percent by the early 1620s. Their numbers continued to dwindle after Winthrop’s colony arrived in 1630, a development he took as a blessing: “For the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” This sentence—the last in this letter mostly about the weather & crops—reveals a belief in divine providence that would shape relations with Native peoples.
Abenakis couple. The Abenaki (Abnaki, Alnôbak) are a Native American tribe & First Nation. They are one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America. The Abenaki lived in Quebec & the Maritimes of Canada & in the New England region of the United States. Along the Maine coast, where natives had sustained contact with French traders, some of the earliest reports of disease outbreak were made. In 1616, Father Pierre Baird, a French Jesuit missionary, noted: “[the Abenaki] are astonished & often complain that since the French mingle & carry on trade with them they are dying fast, & the population is thinning out.” In his 1658 A Briefe Narration of the Originall Undertakings of the Advancement of Plantations into the Parts of America, Gorges Ferdinando recorded that same year Captain Richard Vines, an English explorer, wintered on the Maine coast & noted that the local natives “were sore afflicted with the Plague, for that the Country was in a manner left void of inhabitants.”

Soon the mysterious disease spread throughout the coastal region – following the trade routes of the Abenaki, who traded furs for corn & other provisions from the tribes to the south – & turned the loose confederation of Algonquian villages that dotted the area into an apocalyptic wasteland. Thomas Morton's 1637 New English Canaan offerd a vivid account of the landscape left behind: “For in a place where many inhabited, there hath been but one left a live, to tell what became of the rest, the living being (as it seems) not able to bury the dead, they were left for the Crowes, Kites & vermin to prey upon. And the bones & skulls upon the severall places of their habitations, made such a spectacle after my coming into those partes … it seemed to mee a new found Golgotha.”

Plymouth’s colonial governor, William Bradford, recorded in his 1620-1647 History of Plymouth Plantation, “the good soyle, and the people not many, being dead and abundantly wasted in the late great mortalitie which fell in all these parts about three years before the coming of the English, wherin thousands of em dyed; … ther sculs and bones were found in many places lying still above the ground, where their houses and dwellings had been; a very sad spectackle to behould."

From the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd Series, vol. 8 (Boston, 1892-1894). The writer is unidentified. March 15, 1631 To my loving father William Pond, at Etherston in Suffolk give this...My writing unto you is to let you understand what a country this New England is where we live. Here are but few [Indians], a great part of them died this winter, it was thought it was of the plague. They are a crafty people & they will...cheat, & they are a subtle people, & whereas we did expect great store of beaver here is little or none to be had. They are proper men...many of them go naked with a skin about their loins, but now sum of them get Englishmen's apparel...Watertown, New England, Unsigned

1629 New England - The Native Americans

A Short and True Description of New England


by the Rev. Francis Higginson, written in 1629 

Printed for Michael Sparke, London, 1630.

Francis Higginson (1588-1630) was an early Puritan minister in Colonial New England, and the first minister of Salem, Massachusetts.

Now I will show you a little of the inhabitants thereof, and their government.

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Indian Manner of Fishing

For their governors they have kings, which they call saggamores, some greater, and some lesser, according to the number or their subjects. The greatest saggamores about us can not make above three hundred men, and other lesser saggamores have not above fifteen subjects, and others near about us but two.

Their subjects about twelve years since were swept away by a great and grievous plague that was amongst them, so that there are very few left to inhabit the country.


The Indians are not able to make use of the one fourth part of the land, neither have they any settled places, as towns to dwell in, nor any ground as they challenge for their own possession, but change their habitation from place to place.


For their statures, they are a tall and strong limbed people, their colors are tawny, they go naked, save only they are in part covered with beasts skins on one of their shoulders, and wear something before their privates. Their hair is generally black, and cut in front like our gentlewomen, and one lock longer than the rest, much like to our gentlemen, which fashion I think came from hence into England.


For their weapons, they have bows and arrows, some of them headed with bone, and some with brass. I have sent you some of them for an example. The men for the most part live idly, they do nothing hut hunt and fish. Their wives set their corn and do all their other work. They have little household stuff, as a kettle, and some other vessels like trays, spoons, dishes and baskets.


Their houses are very little and homely, being made with small poles pricked into the ground, and so bent and fastened at the top, and on the sides they are matted with boughs, and covered on the roof with sedge and old mats, and for their beds that they take their rest on, they have a mat.


They do generally confess to like well of our coming and planting here; partly because there is abundance of ground that they cannot possess nor make use of, and partly because our being here will be a means both of relief to them when they want, and also a defense from their enemies, wherewith (I say) before this plantation began, they were often endangered.


For their religion, they do worship two gods: a good god and an evil god. The good god they call Tantum, and their evil god, whom they fear will do them hurt, they call Squantum.

For their dealing with us, we neither fear them nor trust them, for forty of our musketeers will drive five hundred of them out of the field. We use them kindly: they will come into our houses sometimes by half a dozen or half a score at a time when we are at victuals, but will ask or take nothing but what we give them.

We propose to learn their language as soon as we can, which will be a means to do them good.