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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter VIII. — Congress Authorizes Movements to Check the Hostility of the Western Indians.

ALTHOUGH the Iroquois formed, as it were, the "tenth legion," of the hostile Indians employed in the war, yet the western savages had, from the beginning, evinced their hostility, and were implicated, to a greater or less extent, in the contest against the colonies. This was more especially the position of the important tribes of the Delawares and Shawnees, then occupying the present area of the State of Ohio. These tribes had originally emigrated west of the Alleghanies with embittered feelings against the English colonists generally. They had accepted the treaty of peace offered them, in rather a vaunting spirit, by Colonel Bradstreet, on Lake Erie, in 1764; but subsequently renewed their hostile inroads, and, in the autumn of the same year, on the banks of the Muskingum, again submitted to the army under Colonel Bouquet, delivering up, as a test of their sincerity, a very large number of prisoners, men, women, and children. 388

The Delawares had not held a definite political position for a long period, even from the middle of the eighteenth century. They were supposed to be in league with the French, and it was an erroneous policy in Count Zinzendorf and the Moravian Brethren, not to set the colonies right on this subject, laboring, as they did, from their advent in 1740, for the benefit of the Delawares, and knowing that there was a suspicion resting on them of being favorable to the French interests. This was the cause of the expulsion of this tribe from Chicomico, in southern New York, in 1744, 389 and of their removal to the Susquehanna. It was likewise the occasion of their ultimate flight westward to the banks of the Muskingum, and of the unfortunate massacre of their people at Gnadenhutten. But though the proclivities of the Delawares were uncertain, those of the Shawnees were not; they assumed an openly hostile attitude. The latter tribe had, at an early period, been inimical to the English colonies; but, being vanquished, they had transferred their hatred to the Americans the moment the revolutionary contest commenced. In 1755, 390 they were the most bitter assailants of Braddock; in

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1758, 391 they massacred the garrison of Sybert's fort on the Potomac; they had, from the year 1763, most strenuously opposed the settlement of Kentucky; they had, in 1764, taken the most prominent part in resisting the expedition of Lord Dunmore; and, according to the best local authorities, 392 between the years 1770 and 1779, the activity and bitter hostility of this celebrated tribe converted the left banks of the Ohio, along the borders of Pennsylvania and Virginia, into an aceldema. Brave and dauntless, but vacillating, their ruling passion was a love of war, blood, and plunder. Tradition affirms that, in ancient times, they had fought their way from Florida to Lake Erie, and desperately did they oppose the advance of the Anglo-Saxon race into the Ohio valley. Their central location was at Chillicothe, on the Scioto river — which appears to have been, from a period long antecedent, a metropolis of Indian power. Their influence controlled the entire valley, and they lived on strict terms of amity with the Delawares, the Mingoes, or Ohio Iroquois, the Hurons, Ottowas, Chippewas, and Miamies.

The Ohio valley, with its beautiful scenery, its genial climate, and its exuberant fertility, had been, from its earliest discovery, a subject of contention between the Indians and the white race. Red men had, originally, fought for it, as is proved by its antiquities, and the whites succeeded to the controversy. The feet of Washington trod its soil as early as 1753, when the charter of George II. was granted for its occupancy. Although the primary object of its exploration, and of the commissioners and armies which crossed the Alleghanies, and entered its borders, was the furtherance of governmental policy, yet it is very evident that there were aboriginal minds of sufficient penetration to foresee, that the acquisition of the territory, and the spread of the arts and commerce of civilized life, were the ultimate ends in view. This may readily be perceived in the harangues of Pontiac to the tribes of the north-west, in the year 1763; of Tenuskund, at Wyoming, and of Buckangaheela, at Kaskaskia. Every movement of the whites towards the west was regarded, by thinking Indian minds, as having the same object in view.

Prior to the expedition of M'Intosh, a friendly Delaware chief, Koquathaheelon, or White Eyes, had used his influence to prevent the tribes from raising the hatchet; but an opposite influence was exercised by Captain Pipe, and the nation became divided. Such was the state of affairs among the Delawares, in the spring of 1778. About this time, three noted loyalists, M'Kee, Elliot, and Girty, fled from Fort Pitt to the Delawares, and used their utmost efforts against the American cause. Captain Pipe was so much influenced by their counsel, that, in a large assemblage of warriors, he concluded a harangue by declaring "every one an enemy who refused to fight the Americans, and that all such ought to be put to death." Koquathaheelon boldly opposed him, denounced the policy, and sent a formal message to the Scioto, warning the Indians

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against the counsels of the fugitives, Girty and M'Kee. This, for a while, had the effect of keeping the Delawares neutral; but the tribe finally decided to raise the hatchet against the struggling colonies.

Both the Delawares and Shawnees were greatly influenced in their councils by the Wyandots of Sandusky, a reflective, clear-minded people, who had once been at the head of the Iroquois, while that nation resided on the Kanawaga, 393 and still held a kind of umpirage in western Indian councils. It was against the local residence of this tribe, at Sandusky, that General M'Intosh was directed to proceed. He had, during the spring, with a small force of regulars and militia, descended the Ohio, from Fort Pitt to the Beaver river, where he erected, on a commanding position, a fort called M'Intosh. It intercepted Indians ascending or descending the Ohio, as well as interior marauding parties, who reached the river at this point. The force assigned him for the expedition against Sandusky was 1000 men. But, such were the delays in organizing it, and in marching through a wilderness to the Tuscarawas, that, after reaching its banks, he there constructed a fort, called Laurens, and, garrisoning it, returned to Fort Pitt.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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