NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

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


Previous section

Chapter V. — Summary of the Cotemporary Evidencecs of the Susquehannock History.

It will not be deemed improper, before closing the history of one of the most prominent and characteristic tribes existing during the early days of the central colonies of the United States, a brave, proud, and high-spirited race, to collate, in a brief form, the principal evidences of the times which constitute the basis of their history.

According to a tradition, narrated in the Jesuit Relation for 1659-60, the Andastes had, prior to 1600, during a ten years' war, almost exterminated the Mohawks, and so completely humbled that bold and warlike tribe, that, after the period mentioned, they seldom dared to provoke them. 165

However, in 1608, Smith found them still contending with each other, equally resolute and warlike; the Susquehannas, or Andastes, being impregnable in their palisaded town, and ruling over all the Algonquin tribes. 166

Soon after the Dutch settled New York, they visited the Delaware river, and became acquainted with the dominant tribe, the Minquas, who came from the Susquehanna, by Minquaskill, to trade with them. 167 In 1633, De Vries found them at war with the Timber Creek Indians, and ruling with an iron hand 168 the tribes located on the banks of the Delaware. Five years subsequently, Minuit, at the head of a colony of Swedes, founded New Sweden, purchasing the land from the Minquas. 169 A strong friendship grew up between the settlers and this tribe, and a lucrative trade was carried on, which excited the jealousy of the Dutch, who made repeated endeavors to obtain a share of it. 170 "The Minquas, or Minckus," says Campanius, "lived at the distance of twelve (fifty-four English) miles from New Sweden, where they daily came to trade with us. The way to their land was very bad, being stony, full of sharp, gray stones, with hills and morasses; so that the Swedes, when they went to them, which happened generally once or twice a year, had to walk in the water up to their arm-pits..... They live on a high mountain, very steep and difficult to climb; there they have a fort, or square

-- 143 --

building, in which they live, in the manner that has been described. They made the other Indians subject to them, so that they dare not stir, much less go to war against them; but their numbers are, at present, greatly diminished by wars and sickness." 171 Of this trade of the Swedes with the Susquehannas, and, especially, of their supplying the latter with firearms, we have another proof in Plowden's New Albion. "The Swedes hired out three of their soldiers to the Susquehannocks, and have taught them the use of our arms and fights." 172

In 1647, the Hurons were on the brink of ruin. The Iroquois had pursued them, after their alliance with the French, with the utmost fury. By stratagem, the whole district of country, from the Oswego, Genesee, and Niagara rivers, to the very skirts of Montreal, was covered by war parties, who waylaid every path. Themselves of the Iroquois lineage, they were pursued with the desperation of a family quarrel. There was no pity and no mercy in the Iroquois mode of warfare. They have been known to travel a thousand miles, and then conceal themselves near the cabin of some unsuspecting foe, that they might deprive him of his scalp. During their war with the Iroquois, the Andastes or Susquehannas, then able to send 1300 warriors from their single town, despatched an embassy to the shores of Lake Huron, to offer their aid to their ancient allies, promising to take up arms whenever called upon. The infatuated Hurons relied on their own strength, and seem to have slighted the preferred assistance till it was too late. Still, an embassy was sent from Huronia, headed by the Christian warrior, Charles Ondaaiondiont. In ten days, they reached the Andaste town, and solicited merely the intervention of the Susquehannas. He left the Huron towns on the 13th of August, and reached them again on the 5th of October.

The Dutch still continued to struggle for the Minqua or Susquehanna trade, from which the Swedes, no less zealously, endeavored to exclude them; but, in 1651, the Dutch purchased of the Minquas all the land between the Minquaskill and Bomties Hook, in the name of the States-General and the West India Company. 173

At the epoch of Calvert's colonization, the Susquehannas had been at war with the Piscataways, as well as with other Maryland tribes, and seem to have cut off a missionary settlement. In 1642 they were declared enemies of the colony, and as they still continued their ravages with the Wycomeses, and, apparently, the Senecas, Captain Cornwallis was sent against them, and a fort erected on Palmer's Island, to check their inroads. 174 The war continued, however, and an effort made to bring about a conference in May, 1644, with a view to establishing peace, failed. The new settlements of the Puritans on the Severn, in the very territories of the Susquehannas,

-- 144 --

having given fresh umbrage, the frontier was ravaged by predatory bands. 175 In 1652 peace was firmly established by a treaty signed at the river Severn, on the 5th of July, by Richard Bennett, Edward Lloyd, William Fuller, Leonard Strong, and Thomas Marsh, on behalf of the colony; and Sawahegeh, Auroghtaregh, Scarhuhadigh, Rutchogah, and Natheldianeh, Susquehanna "war captains and councillors" of Susquehanagh, in the presence of "Jafer Peter for the Swedes Governor."

By this treaty all past grievances were forgiven on both sides, peace was established, and provision made to prevent future hostilities. The Susquehannas thereby ceded to the colony all the territory between Patuxent river and Palmer's island, on the west, and from Choptank river to the branch above Elk river, excepting Palmer's island, on which both parties were at liberty to have trading houses. 176

In 1652, a war broke out between the Andastes and the Senecas, which continued as late as 1673, for, in the still unpublished manuscript, Relation for 1672-3, we find the following remark of Father Lamberville: "Two Andastogues, taken by the Iroquois, were more fortunate; they received baptism immediately before the hot irons were applied. One of them having been burnt in a cabin during the night from the feet up to the knees, prayed with me the next day, when bound to a stake in the square of the castle. I need not repeat here, what is already known, that the tortures inflicted on these prisoners of war are horrible. The patience of these poor victims is admirable; but it is impossible to behold, without horror, their flesh roasted and devoured by men, who act like famished dogs.

"Passing one day by a place where they were cutting up the body of one of these victims, I could not refrain from going up to inveigh against this brutality. One of these cannibals was calling for a knife, to cut off an arm; I opposed it, and threatened, if he would not desist, that God would sooner or later punish his cruelty. He persisted, however, giving as his reason that he was invited to a dream-feast, where nothing was to be eaten but human flesh, brought by the guests themselves. Two days after, God permitted his wife to fall into the hands of the Andastogues, who avenged on her the cruelty of her husband." 177

Of the two following years we have no definite account, but, in 1675, the "Etat Present of Monseigneur de St. Valier, Bishop of Quebec," speaks of the pride of the Iroquois, since the defeat of the Andastes. When, or where the decisive battle was fought, I have been utterly unable to trace; from what can be gleaned from the annals of Maryland and Virginia, it seems most probable that their stronghold was taken, and that the survivors fled south.

According to the historians of Maryland and Virginia, 178 the Senecas had, in 1674,

-- 145 --

conquered the Susquehannas, and driven them from their abode, at the head of the Chesapeake, to the vicinity of the Piscataways. The fugitives had taken refuge in an old fort which had belonged to their former antagonists, and there resolutely defended themselves against the Senecas, who still pursued them, ravaging without much concern, the lands of the whites. Some of the colonists were actually cut off, and, as the Susquehannas had, in the olden time, been enemies, and were now apparently invading the colonies, it was agreed to send a joint Maryland and Virginia force against them. On the 25th of September, 1675, the Maryland troops, under Major Trueman, appeared before their fort. He was apparently satisfied with their protestations of innocence; but, being joined on the following day by the Virginians, under Colonels Washington and Mason, under the strong provocations before stated, he caused five of the chiefs, who came out to treat with them, to be seized and bound. To prove their friendship, they showed a silver medal, and papers given them by governors of Maryland; but, in spite of all, they were, under false impulses, put to death. Many fell in the fight, the rest evacuated the fort, commenced a retreat, and a war of revenge, and, being joined by other tribes, the whole border was deluged in blood. Bacon's rebellion, in Virginia, grew out of this act of treachery, and the war was finally ended, it would seem, by the aid of the Iroquois, who, joining the Maryland and Virginia army, forced the surviving Susquehannas to return to their former post, where a number of Iroquois were incorporated with them. 179

The Susquehannas were finally exterminated as a nation; but their name will be perpetuated by their noble river, which is a more enduring memorial than the perishable monuments erected by man.

-- 146 --

Previous section


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
Powered by PhiloLogic