Category: Indian (page 1 of 2)

Logstown3: Diplomacy on a Sea of Rum

Originally posted 2018-06-04 13:46:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Bill Hunt of Charleston, W.Va., portrays Montour for historical groups and schools. A clip of his presentation is at end of post.


His Name Is Everywhere,

His Memory Is Not


Let’s look at a man who stood out in a town of historic lions.

After reading the first two parts  of this series on Logstown, you know it was not so much an ideal Indian village as a company town. You also know young George Washington was a  land speculator who spent time there on business.

You don’t know the man with the name Montour.

It’s everywhere: Montour High School, Montour Creek, Montour Trail, Montour County,  Montoursville, Montour Falls, NY.

You’d think he was a distinguished gentleman, a proper model citizen.

He wasn’t.

In fact, if they were to do a movie of him, only actor Johnny Depp could do him justice.

Andrew Montour was very much like the fictional character Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribbean.

And yet, Montour was the only man trusted by both sides as pale-faced settlers pushed west, and Indians pushed back.

His grandparents had been Oneida, Seneca and French. He was fluent in English,  French, and six Indian languages.

More importantly, as an interpreter, he had the ability and the burden to communicate not what chiefs and governors said to each other, but what they meant.

Painting of Moravians telling Indians of their relationship with Jesus.

Missionary Diaries Revealing

Recently translated and digitized diaries of Moravian (German/Czech) missionaries indicate Montour may have developed his skills in a Susquehanna River town as wild as any pirate seaport.

Drinking, dancing, whoring and whooping went on day and night at Shamokin. Killing did, too.

It was a cosmopolitan village populated by refugees of many tribes, most speaking different language and dialects, during a time of particularly violent warring and raiding.

It’s not the same place as the city called Shamokin today. The village was 15 miles to the west, where Sunbury sits.

We get our first description of Montour from the man in charge of the missionaries. He hoped to get help moving among the Indians.

“Andrew’s cast of countenance is decidedly European, and had not his face been encircled with a broad band of paint, applied with bear’s fat, I would have certainly taken him for one.

“He wore a broadcloth coat, a scarlet damasque lapel-waistcoat, breeches, over which his shirt hung, a black Cordovan neckerchief, decked with silver bugels, shoes and stockings, and a hat.

“His ears were hung with pendants of brass and other wires plaited together like the handle of a basket. He was very cordial, but on my addressing him in French, he, to my surprise, replied in English.”

That was when he was in his early 20s. His flashy appearance, among Indian men, was not extreme. They take cues from nature. Male birds are more about display than female birds.

Montour had just happened to stop by his mother’s house. It was in an alcohol-free Indian village she operated 35 miles up the Susquehanna from Shamokin.

Madam Montour, as she called herself, was half French and half Algonquin. She was famous for her interpreting skills.

Working among men, and being half French, she also promoted style and beauty. She and her family, by this time, were decidedly pro British and anti French. They had moved to Pennsylvania from Canada.


Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf,  a wealthy patron of the Moravian Church, wanted to hire Madam Montour. She recommended her young son.

The count and Montour then crisscrossed Pennsylvania, operating out of the Moravian headquarters in the idyllic Christian community founded at Bethlehem, PA.

Government Needed Him

Conrad Weiser, the main guy dealing with Indians for the Pennsylvania and Virginia governments, eventually enlisted Montour’s help, as well.

It wasn’t just Montour’s language abilities people wanted. He had considerable  respect and trust among tribes.

Indians didn’t call him by any of his European names: Montour, or Andrew, or Andre and Henri . To them, he was Sattelihu or Eghnisara, both esteemed tribal names.

Sattelihu apparently had proven many times he was a warrior. That was very important.

“His forehead was painted bright red, strange assortment of bright colored clothes . .  soft spoken and pleasant, perfectly fearless, with marvelous endurance, great tact, the gift of leadership, a chief and counselor of the Iroquois, trusted with important missions by them.”

Swimming in Rum

Montour, the literal embodiment of blended European and Indian cultures,  tried for 25 years to bring that blend to the world around him. Ultimately, he failed..

He struggled amid towering waves of rum that engulfed and swept away Indian friends. This frontier was one of the most dangerous places on Earth.

Weiser spoke highly of his interpreter,  but reported Montour’s drinking problems to the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

“I must say something to you about Andrew M., not to ridicule him but to inform you how to act with him.

“In the first place, when we met at John Harris’ (for whom Harrisburg would be named). He called for so much punch that himself, the Half King (Tanacharison, a Logstown chief) and other Indians got drunk, the same at Tobias Hendricks’ (a Cumberland County settler). . .

Following a conference with Indian chiefs at Aughwick in Huntingdon County, Weiser said he tried in vain to get Montour to dress so they could move on to their next diplomatic destination.

“I left him drunk at Aughwick, On one leg, he had a stocking and no shoe, On the other, a shoe and no stocking.”



Montour, as he often did, raced after Weiser after he sobered up. He begged forgiveness.

Weiser, likewise, begged his bosses in Philadelphia to appreciate that Montour was invaluable — when sober.

Jack Sparrow’s  struggle with rum and sobriety is evident in the following clip. Coincidentally, Sparrow’s mother was an Indian maiden.

Sometimes, a Great Hero

Montour, or perhaps his Sattelihu ego, could play the hero, though.

The following comes from a diary of Martin Mack, who with his wife, Anna, were in Shamokin stepping over and around drunks to talk about Jesus.

They had been staying in Montour’s tiny bark hut for seven weeks. Most of that time, Montour was away in Philadelphia, trying to reverse his impoverished state. Sound like Jack Sparrow?

Fortunately for the Macks, he was home the evening of Nov. 2, 1745. Oh, by the way, he had yet another name. The Moravians called him Anderius.

. . . In the evening, 12 Indians arrived here by water who are coming from Canada. They are going to war with the Cherokees. Anderius knows them, there was a friend of his among them. Anderius said these Indians had come from very far away. They came from over 400 miles further away than Onondago (Syracuse, N.Y.)

They looked very bloodthirsty. They camped near Anderius’ hut. They soon prepared the place to dance. They got an empty barrel of rum. Knocked the bottom out of it and made a drum out of it.


They began according to their custom to celebrate. They shouted and danced for nearly two hours, during which time the enemy [Satan], to whom we are a thorn in his eye, was very occupied and would have loved to get rid of us.

They soon got rum to drink and became so full of it that they behaved like wild animals. They were close to pulling down our hut.

Just after midnight, four of them came in here who looked terrifying and bloodthirsty.

Anderius was afraid that they wanted to do harm to us. He took them out of the hut, but an hour later another one came and acted like a madman, picked up a large brand from the fire and said he wanted to burn the white people.


Anderius quickly stood up and grabbed the brand out of his hands. He [the Indian] went for his flintlock. Anderius, however, also took that away from him.

He grabbed a piece of wood and came towards us. Anderius took that and said he should leave.

He said he did not want to. So, he (Anderius) said he should sit down by the fire.

He sat down, but soon left. [He was later murdered by another of the visitors.]

Anderius was very worried that the drunken Indians would do us harm. We said to him that, if he thought we should, then we would spend this night in the bush. But he did not think this was advisable because it is so cold. (Anna had already gotten quite ill sleeping in the woods to avoid crazy drunks while Anderius was in Philadelphia).

So we stayed, commended ourselves to the watchfulness of the Lamb and wished that it would become day soon. Soon, they beat to death the one who wanted to kill us.


The next day Montour told the Macks he was leaving town, perhaps for good. He took them to old chief Shikellamy, who offered his large hut.

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Historical Hairdos

Originally posted 2015-10-10 15:18:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

  True or False

  • Chief Pontiac, who is associated with the only attack on Fort Pitt, had a pompadour like Elvis Presley.
  • Elvis’ great-great-great-grandmother, Morning White Dove,  was a full-blooded Cherokee.
  • Elvis impersonators are common today in Ottawa Indian territory, and French colonists first called the native inhabitants there the “raised-hair people.”

The first one is true. So is the second. And, the third.

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You Don’t Know Logstown

Originally posted 2018-05-15 15:21:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do you know Logstown?


Probably not.

If you heard of it,  it’s been in romanticized terms. It’s usually said to be an important Indian village downriver from Pittsburgh, in the waning days of the noble red man’s preeminence here.

Come with me. We’ll see what it really was.



Joining us will be George Washington, Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis&Clark) and Charles Dickens. George, not yet President, will even sort through and expose “fake news.”

A knowledgeable Shawnee of our time will tell us what he knows of the place.

You’ll see the first U.S. basic training camp rise from the abandoned Indian site. Its main purpose? To train Pittsburghers how to kill Indians in an organized fashion.

A renowned religious sect then takes over the land. Its followers expect Jesus to show up there. They wait 80 years. He doesn’t, and he hasn’t yet. So, we have time to explore.

It appears Logstown could be viewed less as a quaint Indian village and more as a company town, the first in a series to sprout and whither over two centuries in that part of the Ohio River Valley.

As we look back, the first thing we have to do is dismiss some sage advice about forests. They say you may miss a forest if you’re looking at the trees. No matter. We intend to look at them.

The first one is a doozy.

We find it mentioned in a diary of a Jesuit priest, Father Joseph-Pierre de Bonnecamps. The length of French names are a bother, so we’ll call him Father Joe. He accompanied soldiers from New France (Canada) to Logstown. We’re talking 1749.

“We dined in a hollow cotton wood tree, in which 29 men could be ranged side by side.”

Sounds like something from “The Hobbit” or “Harry Potter.”

It is understood to mean Father Joe’s dinner mates sat in a circle, shoulder to shoulder. Average male width today is 18 inches. If it was similar then, the inside circumference of the tree was at least 43.5 feet, making the diameter inside about 14 feet.

Add several additional feet if you want elbow room, and a few more if left-handed people are seated at the table.


This painting by Robert Griffing is inspired by Father Joe’s report of an outsized hollow tree at Logstown. The big birchbark canoes in foreground were floated and carried down from Canada. Such big sheets of bark, light and flexible, were not available in Pennsylvania. Indians here tended to stash their heavy dugout canoes rather than try to carry them. With few navigable streams going east and west, they did a lot of walking.


Do you think Father Joe may have had hallucinogenic mushrooms at dinner?

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Logstown2: Where Drowned Trees Went

Originally posted 2018-05-23 21:25:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do you know Logstown?

Well, you know it better now after reading the first post of this series . You learned the Indian village downriver from Pittsburgh was more


company town than quaint Indian village.

Now, we’ll explore another reason for its name — other than the log cabins built there by a French fur-trading company.

Charles Dickens and Conotocaurious will act as our guides.

What? You don’t know Conotocaurious?

Wax likeness at Mount Vernon of 19-year-old George. The figures at the museum show him at various ages. They were created under the guidance of Jeffrey Schwartz, a forensic anthropologist from the University of Pittsburgh.

Sure you do. You carry his picture around.

His Iroquois name means devourer or destroyer of villages.

You know him by his English name: George Washington.

He was only 21 when the governor of Virginia sent him to this region to find any French official and formally tell him to get lost.

It was all about getting wealth; the rich getting richer and everyone else looking for a piece of the action. It was there for the taking. The British took it,  Indian land, that is.

Land is worth little, though, if people won’t settle there. Aren’t people afraid of Indians?

No problem. Build forts, safe havens, with government money when possible. Raise armies and militias, again with taxpayer money when possible, to get rid of the Injuns. They will go away., and the money will flow. And, that’s how it went down.

When the bills came due,  though, taxpayers didn’t want to pay. And, the United States was born.

Common sight along bends in the Ohio after it rips out trees upriver.

By the way, it’s only appropriate for the rich to get richer. It’s not greed. It’s good stewardship.

Isn’t it interesting, though,  that George’s face ended up on our money?

Believe it or not, it was not an unhandsome face.

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Logstown6: Jesus Never Came

Harmonists Farmed Site

Of Indian Village for Much of a Century


Historical Trajectory Followed to an End

We’ve seen how Logstown, the Indian village site near Pittsburgh,  was visited by the likes of George Washington, Meriwether Lewis, Charles


Dickens,  Chief Guyasuta and even batman’s namesake.

In this final post on Logstown, we’ll see how its most anticipated visitor never arrived — at least not yet.

We’re talking about Jesus. The one from Nazareth.

The Harmonist Society established a happy and phenomenally successful commune on 3,000 acres around the abandoned Indian town, all in anticipation that Christ would arrive on Sept. 15, 1829.

They expected to go with him to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, and walk with him for 1,000 years before the Final Judgment.

Imagine how tidy and productive your home or community would become, if you knew such a judgmental visitor was coming? That’s what happened at the place we now call Old Economy Village.

Pious Germans

The Harmonists were pious Germans.  They called their commune Oekonomie, understood to mean a divinely inspired  economy.

That inspiration took them far beyond what you might normally expect of a commune. The hippie communes of the 1970s made candles. These people made much of what was being made in the U.S., and a great deal of wealth — more wealth than the U.S. Treasury.

Well. . ., that comparison to the Treasury has a caveat. It refers to the Panic of 1837, which eventually drained the coffers of many governments and banks. So, during that period, it happened that the Harmonists were sitting atop more silver and gold than most anyone else.

They didn’t start out rich, though. Capitalists and economic thinkers from throughout the world came to see how they did it.

The Harmonists got wealthy by a devotion to work, investment rather than spending, and the wisdom and good luck to be where a startup called the United States was booming to life.

Married Farm and Factory

Under the direction of a bigger-than-life leader, George Rapp, and his adopted entrepreneurial son, Frederick, they efficiently merged agriculture and manufacturing. Few, if any, had placed factories next to farms before.

They raised sheep for wool, used new-fangled steam-powered machines to spin and weave it, created products, and then they distributed and retailed them. The market was favorable. Continued difficulties with Great Britain made woolen goods expensive and highly profitable in the growing United States.

They took those profits and built enterprises that included: cotton, silk, wine, coal, oil, railroads, banks, and real estate ventures.

Well-healed Europeans traveling around North America  had to go to Niagara Falls, of course, but they also went to Oekonomie.

In 1826, only two years after the Harmonists built the town from nothing,  the Duke of Saxe-Weimar wrote:

“Mr. Rapp conducted us into the factory again, and said that the girls had especially requested that visit that I might hear them sing . . . The girls sang four pieces, at first sacred, but afterward, by Mr. Rapp’s desire, of a gay character. All the workmen, and especially the females, have very healthy complexions and moved me deeply by the warm-hearted friendliness with which they saluted the elder Rapp. I was also much gratified to see vessels containing fresh sweet-scented flowers standing on all the machines. The neatness which universally reigns here is in every respect worthy of praise.”

Didn’t Marry Men and Women

Only 600 people lived at the commune, and they were supposed to avoid baby-making intimacies. Jesus was coming, you know.

Further, Rapp didn’t seek out new followers. That meant outsiders had to be hired as business boomed, and as the commune members aged and died.

So, what happened when Jesus didn’t show up on Sept. 15, 1829? Not much.

The date obviously was wrong, but Harmonists couldn’t have felt too disillusioned. Surely, Jesus would be coming  in their lifetimes. Even better, he’d come in Father Rapp’s lifetime, and he was getting really old.

GEORGE RAPP portrait at village

Besides, all they had to do was look around to see that their devotion had not been wasted

True, they were denied sex and intimacy. But, they were living amid flower gardens in neatly arranged two-story frame and brick houses. Most people in Pittsburgh were living in one-room log cabins.

Harmonists got food, clothing, shelter and camaraderie at no charge. They would be cared for in sickness and old age, and, if they decided to leave, they knew they could get a sizeable piece of change — their vested interest in the Harmonist enterprises.

Not Married to Sites

George Rapp first brought his followers from Germany (the Lutheran state there didn’t like them much) to Butler County in 1804. He established Harmony, his first commune. It did very well, but George and Frederick had bigger ideas.

They moved the Harmonists to 30,000 acres along the Ohio River in Indiana, calling it New Harmony.

It also did very well, but it was more acreage than they needed, it wasn’t close enough to markets, and it was flat and damp and very unlike their native Germany.

So, while in Pittsburgh on business, Frederick heard that 2,400 acres was for sale around Logstown.

The Rapps never had trouble finding buyers for their profitable communal villages, and they promptly unloaded New Harmony on one of the many rich men of the time interested in social reform through utopian living.

Harmonist attorneys — they never did anything without them — may have been the ones who dug up old plans by someone to build a new town over the Indian village.

Those plans are on display at Old Economy Village, which has been a state-operated historic park since 1919.

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