Papers Relating to the


1790 - 1796.

Pennsylvania Archives, Series Two, Volume IV.
Pages 525-652.

Reproduced by Donna Bluemink

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TUESDAY, February 23, 1790—A. M.

A motion was made by Mr. Ryerson, seconded by Mr. Allison, and adopted as follows, viz:

WHEREAS, It hath been represented to this House from good authority, that the Indians have in every year for many years past, harrassed and distressed the inhabitants on the Western frontiers of this State, and are likely to continue so to do unless some provision is made against their future murders and depredations:

And whereas, This Commonwealth is desirous of procuring protection and safety for all its citizens, inasmuch as the peace, welfare and happiness of the State depend thereon;

Resolved, That this House hereby recommend to the Supreme Executive Council, to make application to the President and Congress of the United States, respecting a protection for the inhabitants of the Western frontiers of this State against the future hostile incursions of the Indians, and that this resolution be transmitted to Council that they may take immediate measures thereon.

Extract from the Minutes.

PETER Z. LLOYD, Clerk of the General Assembly.


SATURDAY, March 6th, 1790—A. M.

On motion of Mr. Ryerson, seconded by Mr. Rawle,

Resolved, That the resolution which passed the Assembly on the twenty-third day of February last, on the subject of a defence for the Western frontiers of this State be and the same is hereby rescinded.

Extract from the Minutes,

PETER ZACHARY LLOYD, Clerk of the General Assembly.


The speech of the Cornplanter, Half-Town and the Great-Tree, Chiefs and Councillors of the Seneca Nation, to the Great Councillor of the Thirteen Fires.

FATHER:—The voice of the Seneca nations speaks to you, the great councillor, in whose heart the wise men of all the Thirteen [528] Fires have placed their wisdom. It may be very small in your ears, and we therefore entreat you to hearken with attention, for we are about to speak of things, which are to us, very great. When your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you the Town Destroyer; and to this day, when that name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers. Our councillors and warriors are men, and cannot be afraid; but their hearts are grieved with the fears of our women and children, and desire that it may be buried so deep as to be heard no more. When you gave us peace, we called you father, because you promised to secure us in the possession of our lands. Do this, and so long as the lands shall remain, that beloved name will live in the heart of every Seneca.

Father: We mean to open our hearts before you, and we earnestly desire that you will let us clearly understand what you resolve to do. When our chiefs returned from the treaty at Fort Stanwix, and laid before our council what had been done there, our nation was surprised to hear how great a country you had compelled them to give up to you, without your paying to us anything for it. Every one said that your hearts were yet swelled with resentment against us for what had happened during the war, but that one day you would reconsider it with more kindness. We asked each other, What have we done to deserve such severe chastisement?

Father: When you kindled your thirteen fires separately, the wise men that assembled at them told us, that you were all brothers, the children of one great father, who regarded, also, the red people as his children. They called us brothers and invited us to his protection; they told us that he resided beyond the great water, where the sun first rises; that he was a King whose power no people could resist, and that his goodness was bright as that sun. What they said went to our hearts; we accepted the invitation and promised to obey him. What the Seneca nation promised, they faithfully perform; and when you refused obedience to that King, he commanded us to assist his beloved men in making you sober. In obeying him, we did no more than yourselves had led us to promise. The men who claimed this promise, told us that you were children and had no guns; that when they had shaken you, you would submit. We hearkened to them, and were deceived, until your army approached our towns. We were deceived; but your people, in teaching us to confide in that King, had helped to deceive us, and we now appeal to your heart—Is the blame all ours.

Father: When we saw that we were deceived, and heard the invitation which you gave us to draw near to the fire which you [529] kindled, and talk with you concerning peace, we made haste toward it. You then told us that we were in your hand and that by closing it you could crush us to nothing, and you demanded from us a great country, as the price of that peace which you had offered us; as if our want of strength had destroyed our rights. Our chiefs had felt your power, and were unable to contend against you, and they therefore gave up that country. What they agreed to, has bound our nation, but your anger against us must by this time be cooled; and although our strength has not increased nor your power become less, we ask you to consider calmly—Were the terms dictated to us by your Commissioners reasonable and just?

Father: Your commissioners when they drew the line which separated the land then given up to you from that which you agreed should remain to be ours, did most solemnly promise, that we should be secured in the peaceable possession of the lands which we inhabited east and north of that line. Does this promise bind you? Hear now, we entreat you, what has since happened concerning that land. On the day in which we finished the treaty at Fort Stanwix, commissioners from Pennsylvania told our chiefs that they had come there to purchase from us all the lands belonging to us within the lines of their State, and they told us that their line would strike the river Susquehanna below Tioga branch. They then left us to consider of the bargain till the next day; on the next day we let them know that we were unwilling to sell all the lands within their State, and proposed to let them have a part of it, which we pointed out to them in their map. They told us that they must have the whole; that it was already ceded to them by the great king at the time of making peace with you, and was their own; but they said that they would not take advantage of that, and were willing to pay us for it after the manner of their ancestors. Our chiefs were unable to contend at that time, and therefore they sold the lands up to the line which was then shewn to them as the line of that State. What the commissioners had said about the land having been ceded to them at the peace, our chiefs considered as intended only to lessen the price, and they passed it by with very little notice; but, since that time we have heard so much from others about the right to our lands, which the king gave when you made peace with him, that it is our earnest desire that you will tell us what it means.

Father: Our nation empowered John Livingston to let out part of our lands on rent, to be paid to us. He told us that he was sent by Congress to do this for us, and we fear he has deceived us in the writing he obtained from us: for, since the time of our giving that power, a man of the name of Phelps, has come [530] among us and claimed our whole country, northward of the line of Pennsylvania, under purchase from that Livingston, to whom he said he had paid twenty thousand dollars for it. He said also that he had bought likewise from the council of the Thirteen Fires, and paid them twenty thousand dollars more for the same. And he said also, that it did not belong to us, for that the great king had ceded the whole of it when you made peace with him. Thus he claimed the whole country north of Pennsylvania, and west of the lands belonging to the Cayugas. He demanded it; he insisted on his demand, and declared that he would have it all. It was impossible for us to grant him this, and we immediately refused it. After some days he proposed to run a line at a small distance eastward of our western boundary, which we also refused to agree to. He then threatened us with immediate war if we did not comply. Upon this threat our chiefs held a council, and they agreed that no event of war could be worse than to be driven, with their wives and children, from the only country which we had any right to; and therefore, weak as our nation was, they determine to take the chance of war, rather than submit to such unjust demands, which seemed to have no bounds. Street, the great trader of Niagara, was then with us, having come at the request of Phelps, and as he always professed to be our great friend, we consulted him on this subject. He also told us that our lands had been ceded by the king, and that we must give them up. Astonished at what we heard from every quarter, with hearts aching with compassion for our women and children, we were thus compelled to give up all our country north of the line of Pennsylvania and east of the Genesee river, up to the fork, and east of the south line drawn from that fork to the Pennsylvania line. For his land Phelps agreed to pay us ten thousand dollars in hand, and one thousand dollars a year for ever. He paid us two thousand and five hundred dollars in hand, part of the ten thousand and he sent for us to come last spring to receive our money; but instead of paying us the remainder of the ten thousand dollars, and the one thousand dollars due for the first year, he offered us no more than five hundred dollars, and insisted that he had agreed with us for that sum to be paid yearly. We debated with him for six days, during all which time he persisted in refusing to pay us our just demand, and he insisted that we should receive the five hundred dollars; and Street, from Niagara, also insisted on our receiving the money as it was offered to us. The last reason he assigned for continuing to refuse paying to us was. that the King had ceded the lands to the Thirteen Fires, and that he had bought them from you, and paid you for them.

[531] We could bear this confusion no longer, and determined to press through every difficulty, and lift up our voice that you might hear us, and to claim that security in the possession of our lands which your commissioners so solemnly promised us. And we now entreat you to inquire into our complaints and redress our wrongs.

Father: Our writings were lodged in the hands of Street, of Niagara, as we supposed him to be our friend; but when we saw Phelps consulting with Street on every occasion, we doubted his honesty towards us, and we have since heard that he was to receive for his endeavors to deceive us, a piece of land ten miles in width, west of the Genesee river, and near forty miles in length, extending to lake Ontario; and the lines of this tract have been run accordingly, although no part of it is within the bounds which limit his purchase. No doubt he meant to deceive us.

Father: You have said that we are in your hand, and that by closing, it you could crush us to nothing. Are you determined to crush us? If you are, tell us so, that those of our nation who have become your children, and have determined to die so, may know what to do. In this case, one chief has said he would ask you to put him out of pain; another, who will not think of dying by the hand of his father or of his brother, has said he will retire to the Chateaugay, eat of the fatal root, and sleep with his fathers in peace. Before you determine on a measure so unjust, look up to God, who made us as well as you. We hope he will not permit you to destroy the whole of our nation.

Father: Hear our case; many nations inhabited this country, but they had no wisdom, and therefore, they warred together. The Six Nations were powerful, and compelled them to peace. The lands, for a great extent, were given up to them; but the nations which were not destroyed, all continued on those lands, and claimed the protection of the Six Nations, as the brothers of their fathers. They were men, and when at peace, they had a right to live upon the earth. The French came among us and built Niagara; they became our fathers and took care of us. Sir William Johnson came and took that fort from the French; he became our father, and promised to take care of us, and did so, until you were too strong for his king. To him we gave four miles around Niagara as a place of trade. We have already said how we came to join against you; we saw that we were wrong; we wished for peace; you demanded a great country to be given up to you; it was surrendered to you as the price of peace, and we ought to have peace and possession of the little land which you then left us.

[532] Father: When that great country was given up there were but few chiefs present, and they were compelled to give it up, and it is not the Six Nations only that reproach those chiefs with having given up that country. The Chippewas, and all the nations who lived on those lands westward, call to us and ask us: Brothers of our fathers, where is the place which you have reserved for us to lie down upon?

Father: You have compelled us to do that which has made us ashamed. We have nothing to answer to the children of the brothers of our fathers. When, last spring, they called upon us to go to war, to secure them a bed to lie upon, the Senecas entreated them to be quiet, until we had spoken to you. But on our way down, we heard that your army had gone toward the country which those nations inhabit, and if they meet together, the best blood on both sides will stain the ground.

Father: We will not conceal from you, that the great God, and not men, has preserved the Cornplanter from the hands of his own nation. For they ask continually, where is the land which our children, and their children after them, are to lie down upon? You told us, say they, the line drawn from Pennsylvania to lake Ontario, would mark it forever on the east, and the line running from Beaver creek to Pennsylvania, would mark it on the west, and we see it is not so; for first one and then another came and take it away by order of that people which you tell us promised to secure it to us. He is silent, for he has nothing to answer.

When the sun goes down he opens his heart before God,and earlier than that sun appears again upon the hills; he gives thanks for his protection during the night, for he feels that among men, become desperate by their danger, it is God only that can preserve him. He loves peace, and all that he had in store he has given to those who have been robbed by your people, lest they should plunder the innocent to repay themselves. The whole season which others have employed in providing for their families he has spent in his endeavours to preserve peace; and at this moment his wife and children are lying on the ground and in want of food; his heart is in pain for them, but he perceives that the great God will try his firmness in doing what is right.

Father: The grain which the Great Spirit sent into our country for us to eat, is going from among us. We thought he intended that we should till the ground with the plough, as the white people do, and we talked to one another about it. But before we speak to you concerning this, we must know from you whether you mean to leave us and our children any land to till? speak plainly to us concerning this great business. All the lands we have been speaking of belonged to the Six Nations; no part of it ever belonged to the king of England, and he could [533] not give it to you. The land we live on our fathers received from God, and they transmitted to us, for our children, and we cannot part with it.

Father: We told you that we would open our hearts to you. Hear us once more.

At Fort Stanwix we agreed to deliver up those of our people who should do you any wrong, that you might try them and punish them according to your law. We delivered up two men accordingly; but instead of trying them according to your law, the lowest of your people took them from your magistrate, and put them immediately to death. It is just to punish murder with death; but the Senecas will not deliver up their people to men who disregard the treaties of their own nation.

Father: Innocent men of our nation are killed one after another, and of our best families; but none of your people who have committed the murder have been punished. We recollect that you did not promise to punish those who killed our people, and we now ask: Was it intended that your people should kill the Senecas, and not only remain unpunished by you but be protected by you against the revenge of the next of kin?

Father: These are to us very great things. We know that you are very strong, and we have heard that you are wise, and we wait to hear your answer to what we have said, that we may know that you are just.

Signed at Philadelphia, the first day of December, 1790.

CORNPLANTER, his X mark,
HALF-TOWN, his X mark.
GREAT-TREE, his X mark.

Present at signing,


PHILADELPHIA, 10th January, 1791.

The speech of the Cornplanter, Half-Town, and the Great-Tree, Chiefs of the Seneca Nation, to the President of the United States of America.

FATHER:—Your speech written on the great paper is to us like the first light of the morning to a sick man, whose pulse beats too strongly in his temples and prevents him from sleep. He sees it, and rejoices, but he is not cured. You say that you have spoken plainly on the great point. That you will protect us [534] in the lands secured to us at Fort Stanwix, and that we have the right to sell or to refuse to sell it. This is very good, but our nation complain that you compelled us at that treaty to give up too much of our lands. We confess that our nation is bound by what was then done, and acknowledging your power, we have now appealed to yourselves against that treaty as made while you were too angry to us, and, therefore, unreasonable and unjust. To this you have given us no answer.

Father: That treaty was not made with a single State, it was with the thirteen States. We would never have given all that land to one State. We know it was before you had the great authority, and as you have more wisdom than the commissioners who forced us into that treaty, we expect that you have also more regard to justice, and will now, at our request reconsider that treaty and restore to us a part of that land.

Father: The land which lies between the line running south from lake Erie to the boundary of Pennsylvania as mentioned at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, and the eastern boundary of the land which you sold, and the Senecas confirmed to Pennsylvania, is the land on which Half Town and all his people live with other chiefs, who always have been, and still are, dissatisfied with the treaty at Fort Stanwix. They grew out of this land, and their fathers' fathers grew out of it, and they can not be persuaded to part with it. We therefore entreat you to restore to us this little piece.

Father: Look at the land which we gave to you at that treaty, and then turn your eyes upon what we now ask you to restore to us, and you will see that what we now ask you to return is a very little piece. By giving it back again, you will satisfy the whole of our nation. The chiefs who signed that treaty will be in safety, and peace between your children and our children will continue so long as your land shall join to ours. Every man of our nation will then turn his eyes away from all the other lands which we then gave up to you and forget that our fathers ever said that they belonged to them.

Father: We see that you ought to have the path at the carrying place from lake Erie to Niagara, as it was marked down at Fort Stanwix, and we are all willing it should remain to be yours. And if you desire to reserve a passage through the Conewango, and through the Chatauque lake and land, for a path from that lake to lake Erie, take it where you best like. Our nation will rejoice to see it an open path for you and your children, while the land and water remain. But let us also pass along the same way, and continue to take the fish of those waters in common with you.

[535] Father: You say that you will appoint an agent to take care of us. Let him come and take care of our trade; but we desire he may not have anything to do with our land; for the agents which have come amongst us, and pretended to take care of us, have always deceived us whenever we sold lands; both when the King of England and when the States have bargained with us. They have by this means occasioned many wars, and we are therefore unwilling to trust them again.

Father: When we return home, we will call a great council and consider well how lands may be hereafter sold by our nation. And when we have agreed upon it, we will send you notice of it. But we desire that you will not depend on your agent for information concerning land; for, after the abuses which we have suffered by such men, we will not trust them with anything which relates to land.

Father: We will not hear lies concerning you, and we desire that you will not hear lies concerning us, and then we shall certainly live at peace with you.

Father: There are men who go from town to town and beget children, and leave them to perish, or, except better men take care of them, to grow up without instruction. Our nation has long looked around for a father, but they found none that would own them for children, until you now tell us that your courts are open to us as to your own people. The joy which we feel at this great news, so mixes with the sorrows that are passed, that we cannot express our gladness, nor conceal the remembrance of our afflictions. We will speak of them at another time.

Father: We are ashamed that we have listened to the lies of Livingston, or been influenced by threats of war by Phelps, and would hide that whole transaction from the world, and from ourselves, by quietly receiving what Phelps promised to give us for the lands they cheated us of. But as Phelps will not even pay us according to that fraudulent bargain, we will lay the whole proceedings before your court. When the evidence which we can produce is heard, we think it will appear that the whole bargain was founded on lies, which he placed one upon another; that the goods which he charges to us as part payment were plundered from us; that if Phelps was not directly concerned in the theft, he knew of it at the time, and concealed it from us; and that the persons we confided in were bribed by him to deceive us in the bargain. And if these facts appear, that your court will not say that such bargains are just, but will set the whole aside.

Father: We apprehend that our evidence might be called for, as Phelps was here and knew what we have said concerning him; and as Ebenezer Allen knew something of the matter, we de- [536] sired him to continue here. Nicholson, the interpreter, is very sick, and we request that Allen may remain a few days longer, as he speaks our language.

Father: The blood which was spilled near Pine Creek is covered, and we shall never look where it lies. We know that Pennsylvania will satisfy us for that which we spoke of to them before we spoke to you. The claim of friendship, will now, we hope, be made strong as you desire it to be. We will hold it fast, and our end of it shall never rust in our hands.

Father: We told you what advice we gave to the people you are now at war with, and we now tell you that they have promised to come again to our towns next spring. We shall not wait for their coming, but will set out very early and shew to them what you have done for us, which must convince them that you will do for them everything which they ought to ask. We think they will hear and follow our advice.

Father: You give us leave to speak our minds concerning the tilling of the ground. We ask you to teach us to plough and grind corn; to assist us in building saw mills, and supply us with broad axes, saws, augers, and other tools, so as that we may make our houses more comfortable and more durable; that you will send smiths among us, and above all, that you will teach our children to read and write, and our women to spin and to weave. The manner of your doing these things for us we leave to you, who understand them; but we assure you that we will follow your advice as far as we are able.

CORNPLANTER, his X mark.
HALF-TOWN, his X mark.
GREAT-TREE, his X mark.

Present at signing:
JOHN DECKART, his x mark.
JEM. HUDSON, his x mark.


The speech of Cornplanter, Half-Town and the Big-Tree, Seneca
Chiefs, to the Great Councillor of the Thirteen Fires.


No Seneca ever goes from the fire of his friend, until he has said to him, "I am going." We therefore tell you, that we are now setting out for our own country.

Father: We thank you, from our hearts, that we now know there is a country we may call our own, and on which we may [537] lie down in peace. We see that there will be peace between your children and our children, and our hearts are very glad. We will persuade the Wyandots and other Western nations, to open their eyes, and look toward the bed which you have made for us, to ask of you a bed for themselves and their children, that will not slide from under them. We thank you for your presents to us, and rely on your promise to instruct us in raising corn, as the white people do; the sooner you do this, the better for us. And we thank you for the care you have taken to prevent bad men coming to trade among us; if any come without your license, we will turn them back; and we hope our nation will determine to spill all the rum which shall, hereafter, be brought to our towns.

Father: We are glad to hear that you determine to appoint an agent that will do us justice, in taking care that bad men do not come to trade amongst us; but we earnestly intreat you that you will let us have an interpreter in whom we can confide, to reside at Pittsburgh. To that place our people, and other nations, will long continue to resort; there we must send what news we hear when we go among the Western nations, which, we are determined, shall be early in the spring. We know Joseph Nicholson and he speaks our language so that we clearly understand what you say to us, and we rely on what he says. If we were able to pay him for his services, we would do it; but, when we mean to pay him, by giving him land, it has not been confirmed to him, and he will not serve us any longer unless you will pay him. Let him stand between us, we intreat you.

Father: You have not asked any security for peace on our part, but we have agreed to send nine Seneca boys, to be under your care for education. Tell us at what time you will receive them, and they shall be sent at the time you shall appoint. This will assure you, that we are, indeed, at peace with you, and determined to continue so. If you can teach them to become wise and good men, we will take care that our nation shall be willing to receive instruction from them.

CORN PLANTER, his x mark.
HALF-TOWN, his x mark.
BIG-TREE, his x mark.

Signed at Philadelphia, 7th February, 1791, in presence of


WASHINGTON, 19th February, 1791.

SIR:—Inclosed is a Return of the Officers elected by the Militia of the different Districts in this County; it may be that the elections and Return thereof have been delayed too long, but it has not been in my power to forward them sooner. The former Districts being much too large and in many instances very inconvenient, I was obliged to new model them which delayed the business considerably. In several instances I have been under the necessity to order new elections where they were warmly contested, one of which Returns is not yet come to hand, but will forward it the first opportunity.

From the fullest evidence of the hostile intentions of the Indians, I have no doubt but that the service of our Militia will be necessary the ensuing Summer; our situation on the frontier at this time is truly alarming; the late Expedition under the command of Gen'l Harmar has had a very different effect from what was expected; the Indians appear elated with their success on that occasion, and are roused by a Spirit of Resentment. It is evident that nothing prevents their crossing the Ohio River, but the inclemency of the Season, and the danger attending their Retreat by the Running of the Ice. They have, subsequent to the Expedition in the depth of Winter, committed frequent murders on the west side of the River, and had the Insolence, after killing a family a few days ago on the bank of the River, to call to the people on this side to "come over and bury their dead, that it would be their turn next and that they would not leave a Smoking Chimney on this side the Alliganey Mountains." To these facts has been added the testimony of a Mr. Robbins, an old Indian trader who left St. Duskie on the 10th day of December last, and who says that the Indians boast of victory on the late Expedition; that a general Council by the Different tribes was to be held at the lower St. Duskie the first of January last, and that a Spirit of War universally prevailed amongst the Warriors of the different Nations. That so far as Mr. Robbins had access to their Councils, previous to his departure, they had agreed to take no more prisoners, but to kill and destroy all in their power. Mr. Robbins further adds, that notwithstanding the Troops under Gen'l Harmar had destroyed a Considerable quantity of Corn at the Maumi town, they are by no means in want, that they have yet a considerable supply to enable them to go to War, and that they intend making reprisals on our Towns and Garrisons as soon as the Season will admit.

[539] I mention the information of Mr. Robbins to show that the late depredations at Muskingham and other places ought not to be considered as the effect of that ungovernable Spirit that exist among Warriors, who from an Insatiable thirst for plunder cannot even in time of peace be restrained by their leaders, but that it is the cool and Deliberate resolution of the different tribes, particularly the Shawnese Nation, to commence a General War.

One trait in Mr. Robbins' Character gives his Testimony respectability; from an extraordinary goodness of heart, he has from affluent circumstances become a poor man by frequent purchases of prisoners from the Indians. There are at this moment, in this and Ohio County, sundry persons Residing that were by him purchased and for whom he has actually advanced Several hundred Dollars, as they themselves acknowledge, and some of them altho' very willing, are unable to pay him.

From a real sense of Danger the Officers and principal people of Ohio County, in Virginia, with those of this County, have addressed the President of the United States on the subject. I have also thought it my Duty to state to your Excellency our apprehensions of Danger, that speedy and effectual measures may be taken, either by the General or State government, for the protection and safety of our frontier. Offensive War is in my humble opinion the most eligable; this country at present abounds with the Necessary supplies for an army. And from the most perfect confidence in your Disposition to promote the happiness and safety of every Individual in the State, I rest assured that the subject will receive that attention from you which it deserves. I have only to add, that such is our sense of Danger, that the joint application from this and Ohio County to the General Government, has been forwarded by express at the expence of a few Individuals. I could wish that commissions for the Militia Officers of this County might be sent by the same person. I have directed him to wait three or four Days for that purpose.

I have the honor to be,
With the Greatest respect,
Your Excellence's most Obt.
and humble Servant,
JAMES MARSHAL, Lieut. W. Co'y.

P. S.—Since I began to write, have been able to complete the Return by receiving the one mentioned in the former part of my letter.


WASHINGTON, 20th Feb., 1791.

SIR:—It must be the prevailing opinion, from the splendid accounts given by the governor of the Western territory, and Gen'l Harmar, of the success of our troops in the late expedition, that the hostile tribes have got at best a check and that the frontier people will be in safety. Nothing is further from the fact. With reluctance, indeed, do I dare to contradict the opinion founded on such respectable authority; but my intelligence directly from Sandusky, by a Mr. Robbins of good character, says that the Indians boast of having obtained a victory; and this is further supported by the audacity and daily insolence which the frontiers have, ever since the return of the army, experienced at the hands of Indians. I believe, sir, whilst they boast of having found almost two hundred of our men abandoned and slain, and that not more than thirty of their people were killed, with eight others which afterwards died of their wounds, there will be but little ground to conclude that they have even been checked, much less defeated. They say that the chief part of the corn which was destroy'd was the property of the French settlers and Traders, that the price of corn has not risen in that country on account the campaign, Mr. Robbins asserts. I have no doubt but that the officers who gave a contrary information, hoped and believed it well founded; but facts since procured, with the conduct and determinations of the savages, leave us no ground to hope anything favorable, but rather the contrary. From all which has yet been done a large frontier of this State lies much exposed; the Dunkard creek & Ten-Mile settlements may be secured by the River Ohio, being made a line of defence for the people of Virginia; but as their settlements don't reach so far down the river as to cover these two tracts of country, we are then immediately vulnerable; up the river our people are settled on the N. West side of the river, and who must either fly in on the interior settlements, or fall an easy prey. An application is dispatched to the Pres't of the Union for immediate relief, and have ventured to assure the people here that you, sir, will not be wanting in attention to the safety of the western country. I am sure it will be enough that you believe them in danger.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
your Excellency's most ob't Serv.,


WAR DEPARTMENT, Feb. 25th, 1791.

SIR:—As a matter of information, I beg leave to submit to your Excellency the enclosed extract of a paragraph from a letter from the Secretary of the Western territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
With great respect, Your Excellency's,
Most obedient humble servant,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency, Governor MIFFLIN.

[Extract of a letter from Winthrop Sargent, Esquire, Secretary of the territory of the United States North-West of the Ohio, to the Secretary of War; dated Pittsburgh, February the 12th, 1791.]

"It may not be amiss, Sir, to inform you that this little place which from its situation will at least be a temporary depositary for stores is almost totally without defence; that the number of men enrolled in the militia, is about two hundred and fifty, and not more than one hundred of them armed."


WAR DEPARTMENT, 3d March, 1791.

GENTLEMEN:—The President of the United States, has received your Letter of the 19th of last month, stating certain depredations of the Indians.

And he has commanded me to inform you that the Congress of the United States, having been deliberating for some time past upon the means which may effectually protect the Frontiers, have just concluded thereon.

That he shall take the most vigorous measures to execute the intentions of Congress. That for this purpose men will be required to act offensively. That it is to be hoped and expected, that as soon as the conditions shall be made known, that the hardy yeomanry of the Frontier Counties will engage readily and cheerfully, for a short period, to act against the Indians, [542] and thereby prevent their depopulating the exposed parts of the frontier counties.

That the Governor of the Western territory, who will immediately repair to Fort Pitt, or the Commanding Officer of the troops, will have discretionary power to make all necessary arrangements for the temporary defensive protection of the frontier counties, which the occasion may require.

I have the honor to be,
Gentlemen, &c.,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

To James Marshal and others of Washington county, in Pennsylvania.

Page 542 Insert

Page 543 Insert


WAR DEPARTMENT, 10th March, 1791.

SIR:—I have understood that doubts have arisen in the minds of some gentlemen from the western counties of the State, as to the promptness and efficacy of the protection to be afforded the frontier counties, against the incursions of hostile Indians.

[544] I am commanded, Sir, by the President of the United States, to inform you explicitly that the most immediate and effectual provision shall be made for the defensive protection of the frontiers, this State included, by calling into service at the expence of the United States such proportions of the militia as the nature of the case may require.

I have the honor to be,
With great respect,
Your Excellency's, Most obedient humble servant,
H. KNOX. Sec'y of War.

His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania.


WAR DEPARTMENT, March 14th, 1791.

SIR:—I have the honor to enclose for your Excellency's satisfaction a copy of the letter written to the Lieutenants of the counties of Washington, Allegheny and Westmoreland on the 10th instant, and which was transmitted by express on the same day.

I am, Sir, With great respect,
Your Excellency's most
Obedient humble Servant,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania.


WAR DEPARTMENT, 10th March, 1791.

SIR:—In consideration of the present exposed situation of the County of ____ ____ the President of the United States hereby authorizes you to embody at the expence of the United States, as many of the militia by voluntary engagements or otherwise according to law, as in your judgment the defensive protection of the said county may require.

He is persuaded that from a regard to proper economy and your own character, you will not call out an unnecessary number of men.

[545] The rangers to be called into service in pursuance of this authority are to be upon the same establishment of pay and rations, as the troops of the United States, agreeably to the schedule herein enclosed.

The county lieutenants are to make an arrangement for supplying the said rangers with rations, provided each ration shall not exceed the amount of eight cents.

The county lieutenants are also to direct the said rangers to be mustered upon entering and leaving the service, and the officers commanding the said rangers are to make oath to the truth of their muster rolls.

That muster rolls and abstracts for the pay and rations of the said rangers are to be made out and certified by the county lieutenants, who are to transmit the same to the War Office for examination and payment; and also their powers of attorney to receive the money.

You will keep the said rangers in constant activity in such directions as may best serve to secure the inhabitants, and to give information of the approach of the Indians.

You will report to me and to the commanding general of the troops in writing, the number you may have called out by virtue of this authority, and the arrangements you have made for furnishing them with rations.

This measure is to be considered as temporary, until other and more efficient arrangements which are in train shall be carried into execution.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Sec'y of War.


FORT PITT, 16th March, 1791.

SIR:—The people on the frontier are exceedingly alarmed; parties of Volunteer militia have been sent from several parts of this county and Washington, as patroles, one of which fell in with a party of friendly Indians at the block house on Beaver creek (where they had been at a store) killed three men and one woman, notwithstanding the Indians called to them in English; two of them being Moravian Indians and known to several of the patrole.

[546] Although this action appears very much like deliberate murder, yet it is approved of, I believe, by a majority of the people on the Ohio.

I am,
Sir, &c,


PITTSBURGH, March 17th, 1791.

SIR:—The Indians have not committed any depredations on our frontiers since my last. Notwithstanding a party of militia from Ohio County, in number 30, came to the west side of Beaver Creek, opposite the block house where William Wilson of this place has been trading for some considerable time past, fell on some Delaware Indians who had been trading with Mr. Wilson, killed 3 men and one woman, took 9 horses, the Indians' arms, &c.—the residue of the Indians made their escape. This ill-timed stroke (to say no worse) has greatly alarmed the settlements opposite Beaver. They have left their houses along the river for some distance and collected in small bodies some miles back. Should the Indians revenge this injury done them on our frontier, (which it is more than probable they will,) that thriving settlement on Racoon will break up and fly a considerable distance into the interior part of the country.

I have the honor to be,
Your ob't h'ble serv't,


PITTSBURGH , March 17, 1791.

SIR:—When we raised from the great council of the Thirteen Fires, we mentioned that we meant to have a council with the chiefs of the bad angry Indians.

Through the whole Quaker State, as we came up the road, we was treated well, and they took good care of us until we came here. One misfortune happened only that one of our wagons is not yet arrived here, the one we first engaged with the goods you presented to us.

Father: Your promise to me was, that you would keep all your people quiet, but since I came here, I find that some of [547] my people have been killed, the good honest people who were here trading.

Father: We hope you will not suffer all the good people to be killed, but your people are killing them as fast as they can. Three men and one woman have been killed at Big Beaver creek, and they were good people, and some of the white men will testify the truth of this. When I heard the news, I found one boy had made his escape and got to the trader's house who saved his life; I now wait to see him.

Father: We have been informed that twenty-seven men came from another State and murdered these men in the Quaker State and took away nine horses and all the goods they had purchased from the trader. Our father and ruler over all mankind, now speak and tell me, did you order these men to be killed?

Father: Our words are pledged to you that we would endeavor to make peace with all warrior nations. If we cannot do it, do not blame us; you struck the innocent men first. We hope you will not blame us, as your people has first broke good rules, but as for our people, they are as friendly and as firm as ever.

Father: We must now acquaint you with the men's names who did this murder at Beaver creek. Samuel Brady, formerly a captain in your army and under your command, also Balden were persons concerned in this murder.

Father: I can inform you little more, therefore will conclude, with asking you how I should have came to the knowledge of this or how I could have informed you had it not been for our good friend Joseph Nicholas? I, therefore, beg you may grant him an appointment as interpreter, for we cannot see how we will do without him. I know of no other man who speaks your language and ours so well as him.

CORNPLANTER, his X mark.
NEW-ARROW, his X mark.
HALF-TOWN, his X mark.
BIG-TREE, his X mark.

P. S.—The boy who made his escape at Beaver creek has arrived at this place, and I have taken him under my protection.

Father: Your dispatches for Detroit has been unavoidably detained heretofore, but to-morrow Big-Tree and one other shall set off with it and will also take the boy mentioned here and deliver him to his relations. We part to-day at this place. Big-Tree is going amongst the cross Indians to see if they will make peace, and I go to my own people to call them to council.


To the President of the United States.


PHILADELPHIA, March 19th, 1791.

SIR:—The Artillery Companies of this City have on Loan, Seven Pieces of Brass Ordnance belonging to the United States of the following Calibres, viz: One Six Pounder, five four Pounders, and one three Pounder. The Six Pounder & three Pounder are now Wanted, and I have to request that you will be pleased to issue an Order addressed to the proper Officer for their delivery. If others are wanted in their stead, those of different dimentions shall be furnished.

I have the honour to be,
Your Excellency's Most Obedient Servant,
SAMUEL HODGDON, Commiss'y Mil. Store.

His Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN, Esq'r.


Woodville, Alleghany County,
March 25th, 1791.

SIR:—In the absence of the County Lieut, it devolves on me to inform your Excellency of our situation with Respect to the Indians, whose Intentions, generally, I fear, are inimical.

The frequent Murders they had committed during the latter part of the Winter, having greatly exasperated the People on the Frontiers. A Party about the 9th Inst., (I believe Virginians,) fell on a Party of Indians near the Mouth of Beaver Creek and killed five of them; that those Indians were not hostile, appears from their having with them articles of Trade and their Squaws, but that they either had been so, or were connected with unfriendly Indians, appears from their having with them several articles well known to be the property of a Family who sometime before was murdered at the Mingoe Bottom.

On the 18th Inst, one man was kill'd and three Prisoners taken from about four Miles above Pittsburgh, on the Alleghany Shore, and on the 23d Inst. Thirteen Men, Women & Children (mostly the latter) were kill'd about fifteen Miles above Pittsburgh, on the same River, (I believe at the Mouth of Bull Creek,) which has so alarmed the Frontiers, that I fear they will break up.

The settlement on the depreciation Tract, amounting to about Forty or Fifty Families, has fled to a Man, and many on the [549] Ohio have moved to more interior Situations. The Militia are in great want of Arms. I do not believe that more than one-sixth are provided for. Five or Six years of continued Peace had destroy'd all thoughts of Defence; and the game becoming scarce, the Arms have slipt off to Kentucky and other later Settlements, where there appeared to [be] more use for them.

The Corn Planter and his Party (about forty-five in number) are now ascending the Alleghany River to their Country; they left Pittsburgh four days ago. The first Murder on the Alleghany was committed in one Mile of his Camp, and he was not very distant from the other. Notwithstanding his Professions, some of his Party are greatly suspected, at least of being confederate in this Business, and Parties have been forming to pursue & cut them off. However, I hope it may not be carried into effect, it would add the Senecas to our Enemies, already too numerous for our defenceless Frontiers, & the Settlement on the French C'k would be an immediate Sacrafice.

With the Sentiments of the highest Esteem & Respect,
I've the honor to be, Your Excellency's
Ob't humb'e Serv't,

His Excellency Governor MIFFLIN.


WAR DEPARTMENT, 28th March, 1791.

SIR:—I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency, a representation made to the President of the United States by the Cornplanter, a Seneka Chief, upon the subject of the murder of some friendly Indians on the 9th instant, who had been trading at the Block house, on Big Beaver Creek within this State. It would appear both from the representation of the Cornplanter, and the information of persons of respectable characters at Pittsburgh, and its neighbourhood, herein enclosed, whose names it might not be proper to make public, that the act of killing the Indians aforesaid is considered by the good Citizens of the frontiers, as an atrocious murder and deserving of the severest punishment.

If such crimes as the murder of friendly Indians should be suffered to pass off with impunity, the endeavours of the United States to establish peace on terms of justice and humanity will be in vain; a general Indian war will be excited, in which the opinion of the enlightened and impartial part of mankind will be [550] opposed to us; and the blood and treasures of the nation will be dissipated in the accomplishment of measures degrading to its characters.

To avoid such deplorable consequences, every exertion will be immediately made within the power of the General Government.

Major General St. Clair will be instructed to enquire into the facts, and finding them as represented, to call the relations of the deceased Indians together; to disavow and disapprove of the murder in the strongest terms; to assure the Indians that every measure authorized by the laws will be immediately taken to bring the murderers to condign punishment: and to make the said relations entire compensation for the loss of the horses and property taken from the murdered Indians.

But the punishment of the murderers will not belong to the General Government. The crime having been committed within the jurisdiction of the State of Pennsylvania, is to be tried by its laws. No doubt can arise that your Excellency will view the transaction in its proper light, and that you will demand the accused of the State of Virginia, according to the Constitution of the United States, or take such other measures on the occasion, as you may judge proper.

I have the honor to be, with great respect,
Your Excellency's most obed. servant,
H. KNOX, Secretary of War.

His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania.


WAR DEPARTMENT, 31st March, 1791.

SIR:—I had the honor on the 7th Instant, to inform your excellency, that the President of the United States had directed a number of recruits to be raised in the State of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of completing the First regiment of Infantry in the service of the United States. I have now the honor further to inform your excellency, that the President of the United States, in pursuance of the authority vested in him by an act, entituled "An Act for raising and adding another regiment to the military establishment of the United States, and for making further provision for the protection of the frontiers," has directed that two battalions, of Levies of four companies, each amounting to three hundred and thirty-two, non-commissioned [551] and privates, should be raised within the State of Pennsylvania.

The said Levies to be enlisted for the term of six months from the time of joining the Rendezvous upon the frontiers

As soon as one company shall be completed at Carlisle or other rendezvous to the westward, it will be marched to Fort Pitt.

I have the honor to be, with great respect,
Your Excellency's most obedient servant,
H KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania.


PITTSBURGH, 31st March, 1791.

SIR:—The Indians have committed considerable depredations on the people living on the west side of the Allegheney river, which has caused our frontier people, for an extent of fifty miles, to fly. They have abandoned their farms, their stock and their furniture, and fled with the utmost precipitation. The Indians have killed one man & carried off three people prisoners within five miles of this town, & they have killed nine persons within twelve miles. The conjecture of most people with respect to the Indians who have done this mischief, is, that they were of the same nation of some who were killed when peaceably trading about thirty miles of this place, by a party of militia from Ohio County, Virginia.

Our country will be reduced to the utmost distress, unless government interferes decisively in their favor. Gen'l Knox has written to the respective County Lieutenants, directing them to turn out a sufficient number of Militia for the purpose of immediate defence. The county Lieutenant of our county being at Phila., received the letters of the Minister of War, & forwarded them here to a person to act for him. There has arisen a question with us, which I think a just one: If the Minister at War can order out our militia under a Penn'a Law, & direct them to be paid Continental Pay, when the law under which they are ordered out, allows them twice as much, whether the Governor of Penn'a ought not to be the official character in ordering out the militia under the laws of this State? & also, it has been questioned, whether the County Lieutenant, sitting at Phil'a, can authorise any person to act as deputy for him, especially when some of his directions are discretionary? These things occuring have prevented the people from acting with that unanimity & spirit which their situation required.

[552] We have heard of a Law of this State appropriating four thousand Pounds for the defence of the frontiers, which has given great hope, as you will have the direction of the manner in which it will be applied. If you think me capable of assisting you in this business in this country, I flatter myself you will employ me, and shall exert myself to do you justice & Credit to myself.

I have, as yet, no idea in what manner you will carry the views of the Legislature into execution, but I am confident of its being done in the best manner.

I have the honor of being, your
Excellency's most ob't & very Hum'l Servant,



To His Excellency Thomas Mifflin, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

HONOURED AND WORTHY SIR:—Permit Me to Address you thus by Presenting to your notice the Contents of a few Extracts of Military Discipline, which to My opinion, would be an Necessary Addition to that abstract set forth By the Hon'l Barron Steuben, Recommended to the officers & Privates of Pennsylvania Militia troop as an Excellent Method of forming.

Immediately after the forming of troops, Military Discipline is the first object that Presents itself to our notice. It is the soul of all Armies, and unless it be established among them, with Great Prudance, and Suported with unshaken Resolution, they become more Dangerous than Useful, more hurtful to ourselves than to our Enemys. It, therefore, becometh Every officer to pay the same attention to his Duty in time of Profound peace as when on the very theatre of War, in suporting authority in Decency and good Order. To honour & obey superiors, is setting an Example Which with the better sort will have its Effect.

It is a false notion to think that subordination and a passive obedience to superiors can be any Debasement to a Man's courage; so far from it, that it is a General Remark, that those armies (whether standing or Militia) which have been subject to the strictest Discipline, have always Proformed the Greatest Actions. For testimony, look back to good Reign of Queen Elizabeth, Who with the Assistance of the well Discipled Militia of England, Defended the Kingdom against the Spanish Armida had on board 30,000 Landsmen.

[553] Not willing to tire your Patience too long by way of an address, I shall only Give you here a summary abrigement of the contents as I am under the necessity of transmitting my address by Post, Living in the Western Department of your State, at the Distance of 307 Miles from the metropolis.

The Contents is as follows, viz: An Address to the several officers of a Regiment, Gentily tutching the Characters & Dutys they ought to adhear to; Cautions, Directions & Abservations for young officers; Some Particular Dutys of Adjutant General, Brigade Majors, Adjutant, &c.; a Roster for Detaching Battalions; Rendezvousing of an army; the Disposition of an Army Marching through an Enemy's Country; Manouvers to be opposed to the Enemy's false alarms; Manouvers & Explanations Proper on a field Day, with a field Return; Some Remarks proper to be made by the Reviewing Officer; an inspection Report; Several Exact copies & Directions for Making Muster Roles; Morning & Monthly Reports of Regiment or Compang When Stationed; forms & Directions for holding Court Martial, Regmental or General; instrutions for officers on Grand Guards, outposts of parties; Particular Dutys on which Light Cavalry are Generally Employed. These, with a Large addition of Useful instructions proper to qualify the young & Unexperanced officer for Military Service.

Honoured Sir: Pardon me if I have Unworthly Imployed My Pen, as it is the zeal Which I have for the Service and welfare of My Country that induces me thereto. If the above is thought of Consequence as to the Restoration of Military Discepline, I shall Count it My Duty and honour to be Employed Under your Authority. And as a faithful subject I Subscribe Myself,

Your Excellency's Most obedient
and Most humble Servant,


WASHINGTON, 11th April, 1791.

SIR:—Yours of the 18th ult. with its inclosure, I Received by Mr. Miner. Previous to the Receipt thereof, I was authorised by the President of the United States, thro' the Secretary of War, "to embody at the expence of the United States, as many of the Militia, by Voluntary engagement, or otherwise, according to Law, as the defencive protection of this County may require." In consequence of this author, I ordered on duty one Company of Militia for one Month, with the design of embodying within [554] that time, a sufficient number of active Woodsmen to continue in service six Months, (unless sooner discharged,) for the defence of our frontiers, and which I expect to effect by the 18th Inst. The General Government having thus provided for our defence until other and more efficient arrangements, which the Secretary of War writes me are in train, shall be carried into execution, supercedes the necessity, in my opinion, of calling out any Militia at the expence of this State at present.

We have not yet suffered any damage in this County by the Indians, that I know of. The frontier Inhabitants are, nevertheless, very much alarmed on account of the Murders committed on the Neighbouring frontiers, and several of the frontier settlements in this County have been evacuated before I was authorised to send out any men for their protection.

By the 20th Inst., I shall set out for Philadelphia, at which time I will be able to make as accurate a statement of the Number and equipments of our Militia, &ca., as practicable to obtain.

I have the Honor to be,
your Excellency's most obed't
and very Humble servant,

His Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN, Esquire.


WAR DEPARTMENT, April 20th, 1791.

SIR:—I have the honor to enclose to your Excellency, the copy of a letter from Lieutenant Ernest, at Fort Pitt.

The affair of which he speaks is of a most atrocious nature. It may be expected that a more particular account will be received by the post of to-morrow, when I shall have the honor of communicating further with your Excellency on the subject.

I have the honor to be,
with great respect,
Your Excellency's most obed't
and very humble serv't,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency Governor MIFFLIN.


FORT PITT, 10th April, 1791.

SIR:—Mr. Jeffers informed me by Express, two days since, that he had just received good information of one thousand of the lower Indians being within thirty miles of him, and that their views were to destroy the Cussawaga settlement and the post at Vinango; that his garrison is reinforced by forty Seneka Indians and white men from Cussawaga, and that he had then but ten days' provisions on hand, the contractor's boat having been stopped on its passage to Fort Franklin by the militia of Westmoreland county, on account of there being friendly Indians on board who assisted in navigating her up the Alleghany. These Indians were a part of Cornplanter's party who had with them the presents they received from Congress and State of Pennsylvania, which was taken from them and exposed at public sale. The party that did this mischief was under the command of Major Guthrie, of Westmoreland.

The Contractor's boat set out again from this place the 3d instant and expected to arrive at Fort Franklin the 14th or 15th at farthest. Mr. Jeffer's letter is dated the 5th, so that it is probable the supply may arrive seasonably.

Your obt. serv't,


April 29, 1791.

DEAR SIR:—I have just time to inform you by post that yesterday the Indians attacked the house of James Kilpatrick, on Crooked Creek, and killed two men and Broke a child's leg, &c., the people, however, supported the house. There were six Militia men stationed at the house and nine, I understand, at a house in the neighborhood. I am informed that a block house opposite to Pittsburgh has been attacked by the savages, but they have been repulsed. Col. Campbell has been much complained of for keeping the Militia out from their labors. (This affair will convince people of the necessity of the measure.) He called upon Genl. St. Clair for the few recruits that we raised here to supply in part the place of the first called Militia, but was refused, as the Gen'l is taking them to guard himself down the River. The people here were convinced that [556] they had not much assistance to expect from his industry or attention. I am sorry that these apprehensions are so much verified. My information is imperfect, for though a Boy came express this morning to my house for assistance to scout on the frontier, yet I not being in the house did not see him. Excuse haste and confusion, and believe me to be with sincere respect,

Your obed't humble serv't,

A. DALLAS, Secretary of the Commonwealth.


SUNDAY, 8th day of May, 1791.

SIR:—I have this day received information which may be depended on, that a party of Indians known to be Senecaes, some time in the last week of April, killed two men and one child (which account I expect your Excellency has received by this time,) at a place known by the name of Crooked Creek near Kitaning Old Town, and within twenty-eight or thirty miles of our Frontiers, which lye as much exposed as the place where they have committed the murder. Our Settlements are in considerable fear and danger, and unless some Guards are stationed along the wilderness back of our Settlement, I am afraid they will give way particularly as the murders were committed by a Nation we expected were upon the most friendly terms with us. A Capt. McGuire who lives the most exposed, informs me that he has discovered traces of the Indians in several parts of the Country in which he lives, and as he informs me they are Senecaes, we have too little right to expect anything from their placable disposition. Your Excellency, we trust, will take such measures as will be necessary to strengthen our Frontiers.

I am, with all possible regard and esteem.
Your Excellence's most obedient and very humble Serv't,

His Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


WAR DEPARTMENT, May 10th, 1791.

SIR:—I have the honor to transmit, for the information of your Excellency, the copy of a letter from Major Heart, respecting the consequences of the Indians who were killed near the block house on Big Beaver Creek.

I have the honor to be, with great respect,
Your Excellency's Most obedient
and very humble Serv't,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


PHILADELPHIA, 10th May, 1791.

SIR:—With respect to the murders committed by the Indians on the Alleghaney in March last, I can assure you they were not committed by the Munsee & Senecas, as has been publickly reported. Capt. Bullit, who was said to be killed, I have myself seen since that time, he with a number of Munsee had been hunting near the Susquehannah waters during the whole winter and spring. The Seneca, called Snip Nose, who was also said to be of the party, I did not see, but not long before the massacree he was near Fort Franklin, and went to Buffaloe creek where the chiefs say he now is and that he has not been absent. The Indian supposed to be Snip Nose, was a Munsee living on Beaver waters, and known by the name of Capt. Peters, a relation to some of the Indians killed by Capt. Brady. Another of the Indians who committed the murder was known by the name of Flin, had often been with the Senecas, but he lived and hunted on Beaver waters, was also connected with the families who suffered at the Beaver Block house, and there can be no doubt but the murders were committed by the friends and relations of those families who hunted on Beaver waters, and not by the Indians on the Alleghaney, who in every particular manifest the most sincere attachment to the United States.

I have the honor to be,
with due respect, Sir,
Your most hum'l Serv't,

Major General KNOX.


PITTSBURGH, May 23th, 1791.

SIR:—I take the liberty of inclosing you a Pittsburgh Gazette, which contains some accounts of the depredations of the Indians, and since publishing which I have rec'd an authentic account, that two men were taken on Sunday last about six miles from the Allegheny, in Westmoreland County, and about twenty miles from this place. There were three men in company, one escaped by being some distance behind the others, and informs that there were 20 Indians.

With sentiments of respect, I am
Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,

His Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN, Governor of the State of Pennsylvania.


PITTSBURGH, May 12th, 1791.

SIR:—In the absence of the County Lieut., I acknowledge the rec't of your letter of the 31st March, with an order for 200 Stand Musquets & Bayonets. They have, I hope, been distributed in the most Juditious manner to the Counties alluded to in your letter. By next post you may expect the necessary Vouchers. The Waggon mentioned in this letter sent off last Saturday with Arms, Ammunition, &c., we have not since heard of. Your letter of the 8th Aprile, by Mr. Dunwoodie, with an inclosed Invoice of Military Stores—a certain Mr. William Todd, of Westmoreland County, 10 miles from Greensburgh, has taken the liberty in the name of the County Lieut, to take possession of the whole—how he is to account to Government for his Conduct, the Governour may Judge. The Counties of Washington and Allegaheny, I am confident, acknowledge with Gratitude the attention paid them by Government. But you see the Misconduct of a Mr. Todd oversetts the designs of a good Government, & I am Confident the Exertions of a Majority of most Spirited Virtuous Citizens.—drop the subject. I hope your representation of this business to the Governour will be the line to have it sett right. I have nothing new to inform you of. We are got perfectly Easy on the subject of Tomhawking & Scalping, as it happens every two or three days. It is probable I may not [559] have the pleasure of writing you again, as I believe mine would be very acceptable to our Swarthy Neighbors.

Your Most Obedient Humble Serv't,
JOHN IRWIN, Major 4th Battln. Allegaheny Militia, Acting for the County Lieut.

Mr. CLEMENT BIDDLE, Q. M. Gen'l P. Militia.


PENNS VALLEY, 16th May, 1791.

D'R SIR:—We have received some tolerably well authenticated accounts of the Indians being on our Frontiers. Not many Day since they attacked a House on Crooked Creek, where a party of seven Men had assembled for their mutual Defence, & killed two Men & one Boy in the House. The Indians had one killed on the Spot and another appeared badly wounded.

Crooked Creek, where the above happened, I am informed, is not more than eighty or ninety Miles distant from my House. The Lieutenant of Huntingdon County has ordered out a scouting party to reconoiter, which marched last Saturday. The people here are a good Deal alarmed & are urging me to do something in the Way of preparing for Defence. Being without authority, I feel a Backwardness to proceed, tho' I see the Necessity of it now. I have taken this previous step to advise with you & shall wait your Answer. We have very few Arms & no Amunition. I have, therefore, been thinking that it would be very well for you to procure & send us some of both, & likewise to hasten the period of our Organization, as without some Establishment, that way you know Nothing can be well done. Besides, should Danger approach nearer, both you & I will be charged with Neglect & unnecessary Delay. I shall wait your answer & wish you to hasten it.

I am, Sir, with the highest Esteem,
Your Friend and most obe't serv't,

Col. SAM'L BRYSON, Lieutenant of Mifflin county.


WAR DEPARTMENT, May 19, 1791.

SIR:—Conformably to your Excellency' s request of this day, I have given Col. Clement Biddle, the quarter master general of this State, an order on Major Craig, at Fort Pitt, for two hundred arms and accoutrements, and a proportionate quantity of ammunition.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Your Excellency's
most obedient and very humble Serv't,
H. KNOX, Sec'y of War.

His Excellency Governor MIFFLIN.


NEW TOWN, June 27th, 1791.

HONOURED SIR:—I arrived at this place on the 19th Instant, where I found Col. Pickering and a few Indians, the waters being so low he could not reach the Painted Post, the place appointed for the Treaty, so he concluded to hold it at this place. Since I came here, there is to the amount of near two hundred warriors and others of the Oneida & Onondaga tribes arrived, and yesterday a runner came from the Senecas, informing that there were six hundred and eighty-two of them in a body, on their way, besides a considerable number from other Towns who were expected to join them; but the Cornplanter was not amongst them, and the runner could not inform me whether he would come to the Treaty or not, and as my business here was to see him, I concluded it would be only losing of time for me to wait for him, as I have other business to attend to, and it does not appear to me that the Treaty will be over this three weeks. I left a letter informing him of my having been here with an intention of doing his business, (to be forwarded to him if he does not attend the Treaty,) with my reasons for not waiting, promising, at the same time, to attend to the same as soon as I can go to that Country in safety.

I am, Sir,
with sentiments of esteem,
your most obedient humble Serv't,

His Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN.

Page 561 Insert

[562] the Countys of Allegaheny & Westmoreland. Yours of the 19th May, with the order for 200 Stand arms, Ammunition, &c, came Safe to hand. 50 of these, with a proportion of amunition, have been delivered to the Lieut. of Washington County. Gen'l Butler thinks it improper that any more arms Should be Issu'd on this order, as the levies are arriving almost every day, and there does not appear to be more Arms in Store at this place than will be Sufficient to arm them. The ammunition may be had if wanted. The (Gentlemen of Westmoreland must have been greatly allarm'd, and I am Sorry for it, but it may not be improper in this place to observe, that their Neighbouring County, Allegaheny, have Suffered four times as much in allarms & real attacks in the Course of three months past. We have lost from this County fourteen person Killed, Wounded & taken, & I recollect but three from Westmoreland. The County last mentioned, have now in their possession, Stores Stopt, & what they got of the first Order, for two hundred Stand arms, &c.

2,960 pounds ball, buck Shott, &c.
1,100 pounds Riffle & Musquet powders.
2,000 Flints.
127 Stand arms and the accoutrements; &c, Sent in your two last Waggons.

I am, Sir, your most
obedient Humble Serv't,
JOHN IRWIN, Major 4th Battl'n Allegaheny Militia, acting for the County Lieut. Col.

CLEMENT BIDDLE, Quarter Master General Penn'a Militia.


Narrative of Mr. Thomas Rhea who arrived at Pittsburgh from captivity the 30th of June, 1791.

On the 5th day of May, 1791, I was taken prisoner at a place called Cussawaga, and plundered of seven horses by a party of five Indians, partly Delawares, partly Munsees, among whom was one called Captain Peter, a Munsee, and one called Jacob Philips, who both talk English; Philips is well known at Detroit as a Delaware. They also took, at the same time, Cornelius Van Horne and two horses, part of the above seven, and killed and scalped William Gregg. They proceeded with us to Sandusky by the way of the mouth of Cayahoga river and the Moravian town, which is evacuated and the people moved be- [563] yond the Detroit river, to a spot near one Captain Elliott's of the Indian Department, where they have planted corn. We arrived at Sandusky the 12th day, which made it the 16th day of May. At this town was a Captain Coon with from one hundred and fifty to two hundred Indians, beside some war parties, who had brought in negroes, horses and other property, also a white prisoner who was left at a village seven miles up the Sandusky. During my stay at Sandusky, which was seven days, I was chiefly employed in planting corn; the eighth day, which was the 24th of May, an Indian came in with the news-halloo, and information that a large body of troops were discovered moving, he said, towards the Miami towns in three colums; on which the Indians were much alarmed, and immediately destroyed the corn which had been planted, burned their houses and moved to the great crossing of the Miami or Ottawa river, called Sandusky. Several war parties came in with prisoners and scalps. At this place (the Miami) were Colonels Brandt and McKee, with his son Thomas and Captains Bunbury and Silvie of the British troops. These officers, &c., were all encamped on the south side of the Miami or Ottawa river, at the rapids above lake Erie, about eighteen miles; they had clever houses, built chiefly by the Pottawatamies and other Indians; in these they had stores of goods, with arms, ammunition and provision, which they issued to the Indians in great abundance, viz: corn, pork, peas, &c. The Indians came to this place in parties of one, two, three, four and five hundred at a time from different quarters, and received from Mr. McKee and the Indian officers, clothing, arms, ammunition, provision, &c., and set out immediately for the Upper Miami towns, where they understood the forces of the United States were bending their course, and in order to supply the Indians from other quarters collected there. Pirogues, loaded with the above mentioned articles, were sent up the Miami river, wrought by French Canadians. About the last of May, Captain Silvie purchased me from the Indians, and I staid with him at this place till the 4th of June, (the King's birth day,) when I was sent to Detroit.

Previous to leaving the Miami river, I saw one Mr. Dick, who, with his wife, was taken prisoner near Pittsburgh in the spring—I believe by the Wyandots. Mr. McKee was about purchasing Mr. Dick from the Indians, but found it difficult. Mrs. Dick was separated from him, and left at a village at some distance from this place. I also saw a young boy named Brittle, who was taken in the spring from near a mill, (Captain O'Hara's,) near Pittsburgh; his hair was cut, and he was dressed and armed for war; could not get speaking to him.

About the 5th June, in the Detroit river, I met from sixty to [564] one hundred canoes, in three parties, containing a large body of Indians, who appeared to be very wild and uncivilized; they were dressed chiefly in buffalo and other skin blankets, with otter skin and other fur breech cloths, armed with bows, and arrows, and spears; they had no guns, and seemed to set no store by them, or know little of their use, nor had they any inclination to receive them, though offered to them. They said they were three moons on their way. The other Indians called them Mannitoos. About this time there was a field day of the troops at Detroit, which I think is from five to six hundred in number. The next day a field day of the French militia took place, and one hundred and fifty of the Canadians with some others turned out volunteers to join the Indians, and were to set off the 8th for the Miami village, with their own horses, after being plentifully supplied with arms, ammunition, clothing and provisions, &c., to fit them for the march. While I was at the Miami, or Ottawa river, as they call it, I had mentioned to Colonel McKee and the other officers, that I had seen Colonel Proctor, on his way to Fort Franklin—that I understood he was on his way to Miami or Sandusky, with some of the Senecas, and that he expected the Cornplanter would accompany him in order to settle matters with the hostile nations; and that he expected to get shipping at Fort Erie, to bring him and these people to the Miami, or Sandusky, &c. That the officers in their conversation with each other said, if they were at fort Erie he should get no shipping there, &c. That the Mohawks and other Indians that could speak English declared that if he (meaning Colonel Proctor) or any other Yankee messenger came there they should never carry messages back. This was frequently expressed by the Indians and Simon Girty; and a certain Patt Hill declared Proctor should not return if he had a hundred Senecas with him; and many other such threats were used, and every movement, appearance and declaration seemed hostile to the United States. And I understood that Colonel McKee and the other officers intended only to stay at the Miami till they had furnished the war parties of Indians with the necessaries mentioned above to fit them for war, and then would returned to Detroit. That Elliott had returned to Detroit, and Simon Girty; and that Girty declared he would go and join the Indians, and that Captain Elliott told him he was going the next day with a boat load of goods for the Indians, and that Girty might have a passage with him. That on the 7th of June the ship Dunmore sailed for Fort Erie, in which I got a passage. We arrived there in four days. About the 12th June I saw taken into this vessel a number of cannon, eighteen-pounders, with other military stores, and better than two companies of artillery [565] troops, destined, as I understood, for Detroit and the upper posts; some of the artillery-men had to remain behind, for want of room in the vessel. I have just recollected that, while I was at the Ottowa river, I saw a party of warriors come in with the arms, accoutrements, clothing, &c., of a sergeant, corporal, and (they said) twelve men, whom they had killed in some of the lower posts on the Ohio; that a man of the Indian department offered me a coat, which had a number of bullet and other holes in it, and was all bloody, which I refused to take, and Colonel McKee then ordered me clothes out of the Indian store.


Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, July 2d, 1791,}ss:

Personally appeared before me, one of the justices of the court of common pleas in and for the aforesaid county, the subscriber, Thomas Rhea, and being sworn according to law deposeth that the above narrative is a true state of facts, to the best of his knowledge and recollection.



FAYETTE COUNTY, Aug't 10th, 1791.

SIR:—With propriety your Excellency may conclude that I am guilty of a great neglect in not writing sooner, or before now, but the inclosed will, I hope, mitigate, as I will Shew that I was attentive When I intrutedit with the Gentlemen mentoned on the back, I thought I had a good conveyance, but he forgot my packett at home, and only handed it me a few days agoe. Since my last, General Richard Buttler call'd the County Lieut's of Ohio, Washington, Allegheni, Westmoreland & Fayette to a consultation for the protection of the frontiers in the absence of the Fœderal Troops, which was to be drawn Off the 5th Inst. We agreed that 300 Militia Should be kept up—Sixty-five, properly Officer'd, is my Quota, which is marched from the first & Second Batalions, First class. Their Station is One Capt., One Ens'n & 45 rank and file at the block House, near the mouth of bigg Beaver Creek, and One Lieut, and 20 rank and file at the mouth of Yellow Creek, on the Ohio. Should it be deemed necessary for them to continue longer for the defence of the Inhabitants, I mean to relieve them Once a month, as the burthen will then fall more equal. Hirelings and Servants in this Country is very scarce, and consequently, two months' tour to a farmer would be very injurious. This is all the Official transactions that has [566] lately passed which your honour requires me to transmits Should any appointment to Office lie before your Excellency that my abilities would be adequate to, in this part, should be happy to meet your approbation—and as it is a asking or seeking time, I humbly crave a continuance of my present Office, should your honour see fitt. For recommendation, I refer to Jno. Smilie, Esq'r, and the rest of Our representatives from Our County.

I am with due respect,
Your Excellency's most
Obedient and Very humble Servant,

His Excellencie THOMAS MIFFLIN.


GREENSBURGH, Aug't 13th, 1791.

SIR:—In Consequence of your Letter to me directed, of the Nineteenth of May, 1791, I Ordered, by Draught, a full Company of Millitia, of this County, to Guard the froonteers untill Sutch Time as the General Government would Grant them Protection, and as Soon as a part of Coll. Gibson's New Levies Was Sent on our Froonteers, I went to Maj'r John Clark, of the New Levies, who Had the Command of the Troops in our County and Wished to have the whole of the Millitia of the County discharged; But as the Men Under His Command was Not Sufficient to guard Sutch An Extensive Froonteer, He Wished Me to Continue fifty of the men. Upon whitch I did, and discharged the Captain and thirty of the men; the Remainder Served their Proper Tour, and Against that time was Expired General Butler gave me Information that He would With Draw the New Levies from their Posts, and Requested me to Protect the froonteers of Westmoreland County. I then Agreed with the Lieutenants of Washington, Feyete and Alegany Counties to furnish for my Quota to guard the Froonteers, Seventy-five men to give Protection To the froonteers of Westmoreland county, Whitch I Expected would have Been Sufficient, But Upon finding the Enemy Being so mutch On Our froonteers, and so Constantly a Stealing of Horses, But Hath not yet Done Other Damage, But often Seen; and as I found one Company of Men was Not Sufficent to give Protection to so Extensive a froonteer, I Ordered to thier Assistance one L't and twenty-five men, and with The Whole of them it is as mutch as I can Get the froonteers Inhabitants Not to Break up. I will do Everything in My [567] Power to give Satisfaction to the froonteers and Not to Let them Move from their Stattions. I have Apointed John Deniston Contractor for the Westmoreland County Millitia, and is to see him Paid Eight Pence Pr. Ration on the account of the Stations being so small. I Expect you Will Order the Expences to be Paid to William Findley, Esq'r, as my Charecter Is At Stake for the Punctual Payment of the Men and provitions.

I have the Honor to be, Sir,
your Obedient Humble Serv't,

His Excellency THOS. MIFFLIN, Esq'r.


PITTSBURGH, 11th December, 1791.

SIR:—In consequence of the late intelligence of the fate of the campaign to the Westward, the inhabitants of the town of Pittsburgh have convened, and appointed us a committee, for the purpose of addressing your Excellency. The late disaster of the army must greatly affect the safety of this place. There can be no doubt but the enemy will now come forward, and with more spirit, and greater numbers than they ever did before for success will give confidence, and secure allies. We seriously apprehend that the Six Nations heretofore wavering will now avow themselves; at least their young men will come to war. Be that as it may, the Indians at present hostile are well acquainted with the defenceless situation of this town. During the late war there was a garrison at this place, though, even then, there was not such a combination of the savage nations, nor so much to be dreaded from them. At present we have neither garrison arms, nor ammunition to defend the place. If the enemy should be disposed to pursue the blow they have given, (which it is morally certain they will,) they would, in our situation, find it easy to destroy us, and should this place be lost the whole country is open to them, and must be abandoned. The safety of this place being an object of the greatest consequence, not only to the neighboring country but to the United States, as it is the point of communication to the Westward, and the proper depository of their magazines, it must be of the greatest consequence to preserve it.

We state these things to your Excellency as the executive authority of the Government, that if anything can be done by your Excellency towards our immediate defence it may be done; if [568] not, your Excellency will communicate our situation to our State Legislature, or to the General Government, as it may seem expedient or proper. Having the highest confidence in your Excellency's good disposition towards the citizens of this State in general, and those of this place in particular,

We are your Excellency's obedient humble servants,

To His Excellency Governor MIFFLIN.


PHILAD'A, December 23, 1791.

SIR:—I have received your Excellency's letter of yesterday enclosing a copy of a representation to you from the inhabitants of Pittsburgh, relatively to their apprehensions in consequence of the late defeat of the troops under Major General St. Clair.

I can, with great propriety, assure your Excellency, that it is my earnest desire, that all the exposed parts of the frontiers should be as effectually protected, at the general expense, as the case may require.

I shall direct the Secretary of War to confer with your Excellency upon this subject, and to inform you of such measures as have been directed, and are in train of execution.

I have the honor to be,
your obd't serv't,

To His Excellency Thomas MIFFLIN, Governor of Pennsylvania.


PHILAD'A, 26th December, 1791.

SIR:—I have the honor, in pursuance of the orders of the President of the United States, to state to your Excellency the measures which are at present in train of execution, for the defensive protection of the Western parts of Pennsylvania, to wit:

First. That, on the sixteenth day of the present month, orders were issued to Major Craig to construct, immediately, a block house at fort Pitt, and to surround it with pallisadoes, so as to contain about one hundred men.

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