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A   -  Abenaki to Awl




Abenaki.  Also Abnak and sometimes Wapananhki.  Algonquin-speaking Indian confederation living in the Kennebec Valley and to the north in present-day Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec.  They befriended the French in the early 1600s and many were converted to Christianity by Jesuit missionaries.  The Abenaki umbrella includes several groups such as Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Maliseet.  Some Abenaki chiefs sold land to English settlers without approval of their tribesmen resulting in animosity and eventual raiding wars between the Abenaki with their French allies against Massachusetts militias.

Abenakis were included in the “Canadian Indian” category with Villiers at the battle at Fort Necessity in July 1754 and then again with Beaujeu and Dumas in July 1755 at the Battle of the Monongahela.

After the British surrender by Lieutenant Colonel Monro at Fort William Henry in 1757 to French General Montcalm, English troops were attacked during their “safe passage” retreat to Fort Edward.  Some historians write that the Indians breaking the agreement between Montcalm and Munro were Abenakis.  The “massacre” became a rallying-cry for the English colonials and is said to have heavily influenced the anti-Indian attitude of General Jeffery Amherst.

When General Forbes was advancing on Fort Duquesne in 1758, he was a part of William Pitt’s drive to remove the French from North America.  General Amherst took the French fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia in July 1758.  The French defense included 300 Indians—which were probably a combination of Abenaki and Micmacs.  This defeat, along with other French losses, was a factor persuading the Indians at Fort Duquesne that remaining with the French would likely bring death to the defenders. 

When the Ohio Valley Indians decided to evacuate Fort Duquesne in 1758, the French commander, Ligneris, realized he had no choice but to vacate the fort and lead the majority of his men north to Fort Machault (Franklin, PA) in order to regroup for a major counterattack on the fort plus serious raiding on British supply trains attempting to reach the confluence (later to become Fort Pitt) from Carlisle.  Other of Ligneris’s troops rowed down the Ohio River to join French groups on the Mississippi, while another portion rowed up the Allegheny and then portaged into Lake Erie for the trip to Montreal.

During the Revolutionary War, most northeast Indian tribes remained neutral—presumably this would include the Abenakis, Micmacs, and others.

The word “Abenaki” is Algonquin and has a meaning denoting “easterner” or "people of the dawn land."

(See Deerfield and Fort William Henry.)

Abercromby.  (Also Abercrombie)  Major General James Abercromby.  (1706-1781).  Scot.  After being his assistant, Abercromby replaced the Earl of Loudon as British military commander in North America.  Abercromby’s assault in July 1758 on the French Fort Carillon (later Fort Ticonderoga) resulted in 2,000 dead and wounded British and colonial forces. The French, on the other hand, lost some 375.   Abercromby continually spoke in critical terms of all things colonial—militias as well as merchants.  This criticism became standard fare for British generals frustrated by the short enlistments, high desertion rates, and undisciplined nature of the militia troops.  Abercromby was replaced by forty year-old Jeffery Amherst who had recently been promoted to Temporary Major General in 1758.  A question exists whether Amherst replaced Abercromby or was it Wolfe?  Most believe it was Amherst.  Some sources maintain that when Wolfe arrived to be reporting to Abercromby, he (Wolfe) became the de facto commander. Also, the thirty-three year old George Augustus, Viscount Howe had been promoted to brigadier with the purpose of assigning him to help Abercromby.  Howe was killed near Ticonderoga—leaving Abercromby to make the decisions.  Abercromby is treated roughly by most historians who write that he was overweight, knew little about the military, and was a blatantly political appointment.  Whatever the actual command structure designed by London—command defects did in fact exist.  Historians disagree on whether Abercromby replaced Shirley or whether he actually replaced John Campbell, the Earl of Loudon, who is often cited as his superior when Abercromby arrived in North America.  Loudon succeeded Shirley in 1756.

(See Amherst below and Shirley.)


Acadia.  (New Brunswick/Nova Scotia)  The peninsula of Nova Scotia was conquered by General Nicholson in 1710 and formally transferred from France to Britain in 1713 by the Treaty at Utrecht.  The terms provided that the inhabitants could “enjoy the free exercise of their religion according to the usage of the Church of Rome…but that any who choses may remove…willing to remain are subject to the Kingdom of Great Britain….”  For the next 20 years arguments persisted as to the physical boundaries of “Acadia”—some said Nova Scotia, some said New Brunswick, others said both.  (Compiler's note: the original French colony was along the north shore of Nova Scotia off the Bay of Fundy). After the late 1740s the  British issued an edict to the French inhabitants that they could continue their religious beliefs but would be required to swear political allegiance to the King of England.  A generation had passed since the original  “loyalty” oath had been issued.  In 1749 twenty-five hundred immigrants arrived from Britain with offers of free land.  Another fifteen-hundred arrived a couple years later.  Halifax began looking like a real town.  Edward Cornwallis was governor (uncle of Lord Cornwallis of Yorktown fame).  In spite of the relative calm, it was certain that the French Canadians had never really accepted that Acadia was British.  Young Acadians were taught that they could not be Catholic and at the same time accept Protestant George II as their king.

                The edict had earlier caused some Acadians to leave and move to other sections of Canada or Louisiana.  Most stayed.  The “Loyalty oath” provided an exemption from military service, but fewer and fewer were willing to take it.  With the military conflict starting down in western PA, the British determined they could not have persons on ”their” lands who were not loyal to ”their” king.  When Acadians again refused the oath, the British began exporting them to France, the Caribbean, and elsewhere—all the way across the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi to Louisiana.  Today’s “Cajuns.”

                The orders for the expulsion came from Governor Shirley of Massachusetts and were executed by  Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton.  This is the same Monckton who was later commander of Fort Pitt and whose younger brother, Henry, was killed during the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778.

                This ”exodus” is a stage in the French and Indian War.  Some sources refer to the evacuation of the “Cajuns” as ethnic cleansing, but—others argue that the British didn’t ask them to change their religion—just their political affiliation.  The French-speaking Acadians had always been able to evade the “loyalty oath,” but this time a force of British and American soldiers and militia rounded-up 5,000 of them, put them on boats, and shipped them off.  Some ended up in England, but apparently most ended up in Louisiana.  One source states that by 1760, only 1,000 of the original 10,000 Acadians remained.  This evacuation prompted Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Evangeline.

                New Brunswick today is a bilingually administered province with maybe one-third of the population speaking French.  Nova Scotia is English-speaking.

                (See New Brunswick.)


Address.  Indian terms of address.  The term of address used by an Algonquin or Iroquois Indian can speak volumes about the relationship the speaker feels towards the object of his remarks.  “Addresses” are a study in the use of metaphors. Brother is an equal.  Father carries respect, but not always obedience.  Grandfather displays respect and perhaps reverence, but not obedience.  An uncle or nephew denotes an obligatory duty to protect and defend, but the uncle or nephew is expected to obey the speaker.  The term of address causing the greatest problem was woman.  The Iroquois often referred to the Lenape as women.  Many posit that the term woman originally was used to designate a third party in a dispute—a neutral arbiter.  The white settlers assumed the word denoted subservience.  It is possible the Iroquois picked-up on this interpretation and used it to goad the Lenape.  When this was brought to the attention of several Lenape warriors, it is said they drew their knives and challenged, “We are not women!”

"Great White Father" is an Indian expression denoting the U.S. Government. Common usage has picked-up the phrase and is found used in a normally derogatory manner.

(See Onontio and Shackamaxon.)


Adena Mound. This mound is found near the Scioto River in Ohio and is maintained within a small park.

The Adena Culture/Shrum Indian Mound. McKinley Avenue—about a half-mile southeast of the intersection with Trabue Road in Columbus, OH. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged marker and enlarged plaque.

Marker "The Adena Culture. Native Americans of the Adena culture were some of Ohio's first known settlers. They lived in the upper and middle Ohio Valley during the late Archaic and Early Woodland periods, roughly 1000 B.C.-100 A.D. The Adena people were hunters, gatherers, traders, and farmers. They carved effigy figures, made ceramic pots, built extensive houses, and developed significant burial mounds. These mounds were made of earth, stone, remains of deceased members, and token objects, and were built on uplands near major waterways such as the mound here near the Scioto River. The Ohio Historical Society."

Plaque "Shrum Indian Mound. One of the last remaining earthen mounds in this area of Ohio. Built by Native American people of the Adena Culture (800 BC-100 AD). The Land was deeded to the Ohio Historical Society in 1928 by the Shrum family. Dedicated August 9, 2008 by the Ohio Society National Society Colonial Dames XVII century.".

The photo on the left enlarged is taken from the perimeter of the park and gives an accurate picture of the shape of the mound. The picture on the right enlarged is taken from the same side (the rear) and shows a person atop the mound in order to provide "scale" to the photo. A second highway marker at the site is devoted to James E. Campbell, a former governor of Ohio (1890-1892) and president of the Ohio Archeological and Historical Society (1913-1924).


Adena People.  Ancient people in southwestern PA who left two large burial mounds in Washington County.  Artifacts (skeletal remains, clay bowls, copper utensils, etc.) indicate habitation some two or three thousand years ago.  Mounds in the region vary from the large mound at Moundsville, WVA to smaller mounds found in McKees Rocks, one atop Grant’s Hill (downtown Pittsburgh), and two burial mounds at Monongahela, PA.

The Mounds. Memorial Park in Monongahela, Washington County. Drive uphill on 4th Street to Mound Street—angle left and continue to Park on the left. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged Photo.

"Site of two Indian Burial Mounds built between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago by the Adena people. Late 19th century excavations found skeletons, pottery, copper implements, and other antiquities.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission...1954."

These mound builders are believed to be directly related to the other mound builders along the Ohio River and then up the Mississippi to Cahokia, IL (across the river from present-day St. Louis). During the period between 1000 BC and 400 AD, the Adena/Hopewell peoples built the "serpent" mounds near Locust Grove, OH paralleling Ohio Brush Creek. The "serpent" contains no human remains, and—if uncoiled would stretch to more than a quarter-mile (the longest "serpent" mound in the world). The "serpent" effigy was also used by the Maya, Greeks, Chinese, Hindus, and others.

The “digs” in Allegheny County were performed by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the late 1890s and predated the more sensitive attitude towards disturbing Indian burial grounds.  Persons involved in the unearthing of skeletal remains tell of finding bones of persons who would have measured six-foot seven inches, or more.  That these people were tall in stature is no surprise as the Native Americans were, as a rule, several inches taller than the European immigrants.  When Lewis & Clark made their noted expedition, they found the Osage Indians in Missouri to average being six-feet tall—with chiefs up to six-feet seven inches.

(See Alligewi below, Anthropological Sequence, Hopewell, Mounds, Serpent Mound, and Wampum.)


Adze. Adz.  A heavy iron/steel tool with a wooden handle used to dress—or flatten the sides of logs for use in construction.

Enlarged drawing.

The metal blade is curved and performs a chisel-like operation.  A colonist might have two or three adzes for use on rough logs, finishing work, and other.  Several adzes were an absolute necessity in building a log house. The adze is unusual in that the head must be removable. This characteristic is because the blade is normally sharpened using a large, round grinding stone which cannot reach the blade due to the handle.

  (See Log Cabin.)


African AmericansBlacks.   Negroes. Afro-Americans.  Blacks were in PA in the late 1630s held by Swedes and English as enslaved persons. When William Penn settled PA, he had several enslaved African Americans within his "property." These early African Americans in PA were centered in the southeast corner of the commonwealth. Their number totalled around 1,000 in 1700—increasing to 2,500 in 1725. At the time of the French & Indian War (1756-1763) there were perhaps 6,000—some say as many as 11,000. At the time of the first census, in 1790, 3,737 slaves were counted among the 434,373 inhabitants of PA.

As early as 1688, Francis Daniel Pastorius—a German immigrant, organized and issued an absolutionist document (which was turned down by a Quaker Meeting as being "radical and untimely"). The document became known as the "Germantown Protest."

 Blacks were very early entrants into western PA.  When Christopher Gist was sent by the Ohio Company to explore the Ohio River Valley in 1750-51, one member of his party was a Black slave from the Yadkin Valley of NC.  When George Washington and his troops had their encounter at Fort Necessity in 1754, one of those killed was a Black slave from Mount Vernon.  Blacks were certainly with Braddock and Forbes in 1755 and 1758.  As has been said, George Washington was the last American general to lead an integrated army until the Korean War in the 1950s.  During the Revolutionary War, Blacks sided with the group offering the greatest hope of their emancipation. In the South, Blacks took up the British offer of their freedom if joining the Royal standard. In the North, Blacks tended toward the rebel cause. Available information indicates that 10,000 Blacks joined the British cause while 5,000 joined with the rebels. At the Battle of Monmouth (NJ) in August 1778, one report gives the number of "free negroes" participating as 755 on the rebel side. An irony of the choice made by Blacks is that 20 of George Washington's slaves joined the British Army together with 23 of Jefferson's slaves (some say as many as 35 of Jefferson's slaves went over to the British side). The question of why the Continental Congress did not offer freedom to slaves joining the army is perhaps financial; the Continental Congress was broke and didn't have the money to reimburse slave owners—besides, Southern colonies like South Carolina would not permit their "slaves to be armed." As the war continued, some early bans on slaves as soldiers were forgotten and these men were permitted into the colonial army as substitutes paid by white draftees. Settlers in western PA from Virginia often brought Black slaves with them. but it is not known whether they were allowed within the militias.

The Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 in PA saw slavery nearly eliminated by 1820 in western PA.  In the 1790s, free Blacks lived in Pittsburgh and had joined the ownership class.  James and George Coleman with Abraham Lewis established the first African-American church in 1808 in a home.  In 1817, the Bethel African-Methodist-Episcopal Church was established in Old Allegheny (North Side in Pittsburgh) to serve the Black population of perhaps two hundred.

The African-American population of the colonies started around ten years after Jamestown (1607). The growth was slow, but was able to reach around eight per cent of the population by 1700. The next half-century found a rapid expansion up to 20 per cent in 1760. This replicated the rapid white growth. The great preponderance of these were found in the Southern colonies (90%). Pennsylvania and parts of New England were at the bottom of the scale with maybe two per cent of the population being African American. (See Population.)

(See Richard Allen below, Benjamin Banneker, Gradual Abolition Act of 1780, William Lee, Slavery, and Charles Richard.)


Albany Conference.  1754.  Seven of the British colonies in North America got together and discussed a plan developed by Benjamin Franklin that would form a union with taxing power and able to make decisions on war and peace.  The British Board of Trade favored such a unifying pact as being useful in opposition against the French—but was ambivalent about too much cohesiveness among the colonies.  Colonies would be represented according to population and the Crown would appoint the president/general.  Franklin saw such a pact as being especially useful against Indian incursions on the western frontier.

Virginia and several other colonies did not send representatives to the conference, and when the agreement went back to the other colonies—there was nearly a complete lack of support.  Franklin was unable to persuade PA it would be a good idea.  The Quakers in the PA assembly scheduled debate on the issue only when certain Franklin would not be able to attend.  Being devout pacifists, they would not approve anything of a military nature.

The Albany Conference of June-July 1754 between the British authorities and the Iroquois ceded to PA the land west of the Susquehanna River “as far as the Province extends,” and south to the Kittochtinny Hills.  This agreement formed the justification for settlers moving into western PA. The agreement angered the "Ohio Indians" and drove them deeper into the French camp. In order to curry favor with the Indians in the Ohio area, Britain later rescinded this treaty promising the land west of the Alleghenies to the various tribal groups in a Proclamation in 1763 and then formalized the agreement in the Quebec Act of 1774.  By the time these rules came into effect, settlers had already moved west of the Alleghenies, and the Quebec Act became an "intolerable act."

(See Franklin and Lydius.)

The town of Albany (NY) grew from a Dutch settlement c1614 as a trading post (Fort Nassau). It became an important trading center in the 17th and 18th century and is mentioned in several commentaries on trade and treaties. The trade began with the Mahicans, but when the Mohawk recognized the benefits, they had several fights with the Mahicans until the trade became split between the two Indian Nations. The Hudson River carried the ocean vessels of that time up-river to Albany and beyond (Troy, NY).  The original Dutch settlement was sometimes referred to as “Orange” (Fort Orange built in 1624).  When Canadian Indians traded with “Orange,” they were smuggling. The French did not appreciate "their" Indians trading with the Dutch, but fear of upsetting the sometimes tenuous relationship with their fickle "brother" stopped them from interfering. The Dutch in Albany got into an argument with the "Esopus" Indians in the Hudson Valley, and—in one of those strange alliances, enlisted the help of the Susquehannocks together with Mohawks to settle the dispute. A peace settlement was arranged with the Mohawks and Susquehannocks as allies.

 (See Caghnawagas.)


Albemarle.  (1724-1772).  Honorable George Keppel, Earl of Albemarle, was “governor” of Virginia (1737-54) during most of the time Robert Dinwiddie was Lieutenant Governor. Albemarle was an absentee governor in that he never visited the colony.  Albemarle did lead a naval attack from Portsmouth, England to Havana, Cuba culminating in a successful two-month siege in the summer of 1762.  Although the siege was considered a success, Albemarle suffered battle and disease (yellow fever) casualties in the multiple thousands—perhaps a total of 6,000. Albemarle led a force of 40 warships, 135 cargo vessels, and some 15,000 troops.  It was the sort of victory commanders pray to avoid.

The Spanish loss of Havana, in the summer of 1762, was followed by their loss of Manila in the Philippines two months later.

Albemarle is also sometimes noted as “Governor of Jersey.”  His family, Keppel, furnished several generals and admirals to the English Crown and was related to the royal family.  It might be remembered that George III was the first of the Hanoverian English kings to speak English as his primary language.

(See Dinwiddie.)


Alcohol.  In the second half of the 1700s, PA was the leading wheat producer in the English colonies.  The western PA farmers could sell wheat for flour, but needed to supplement that income with cattle, hogs, poultry, or whatever—and the “whatever” often became distilling grain to produce alcohol.  A rule-of-thumb was that a packhorse that could carry $1.00 worth of wheat could carry $10.00 worth of alcohol.

Alcohol was a problem with fur traders who would binge-drink when coming to the trading post.  The Indians were also serious binge-drinkers and sometimes drank heavily when involved in fur trading or treaty making.  When sober, they would demand that the agreement be nullified.  White traders were often accused of purposefully filling the Indians with alcohol in order to take advantage of them in trading.  The sale of alcohol, particularly rum, to Indians was a mixed problem in that several Indians complained that the English made rum unavailable to those wanting it, but—at the same time, many Indian chiefs and sachems wanted rum to be withheld from those same Indians due to its detrimental effect.

Many argue that Indians are naturally predisposed to alcoholism.  Modern day studies of physiological characteristics do not validate the premise.  A higher level of alcoholism in the Indian population than in the general population appears to be socio-psychological in nature.

 (See Brandy, Indian giver, Rum, Teedyuscung, and Whiskey Rebellion.)


Algonquin  Algonkian. Language grouping of tribes from Labrador to the Rocky Mountains and from Hudson Bay to the Carolinas.  Includes Powhatan, Pocahontas, Pontiac (Ottawa), King Philip (Wampanoag), Tecumseh (Shawnee), and Uncas (Mohegan).  Most Indian words coming over to the English language stem from Algonquin; i.e. moccasin, wigwam, tomahawk, hickory, chipmunk, moose, hominy, squaw, canoe, pow wow, raccoon, skunk, etc.  The Algonquin tribe for whom the language is named lived along the Ottawa River in Ontario.  A partial list of Algonquin-speaking tribes follows: Abenaki, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Conoys, Cree, Fox, Illinois, Kickapoo, Lenni Lenape (Delaware), Menominee, Miami, Micmac, Mohegan, Nanticokes, Narragansets, Ojibway (Chippewa), Ottawa, Penobscot, Pequod, Pottawatomi, Sac, Shawnee, and Wappinger.

The Algonquin family of nations was the largest Indian group in what became the United States of America and Canada.

Indians in the northeast of North America who spoke Algonquin perhaps had one common thread woven through their culture and beliefs.  The one point on which they all agreed was hostility toward the Iroquois. In fact, Algonquin-speaking Indians interpreted the word "Iroquois" as "terrifying man."

(See Canadian Indians, Siouan, and Iroquois.) 


Allegheny.  Indians (Lenni Lenape/Delaware) referred to Tallegawe or Talligue or Talligewi  Indians in the forks of the Ohio area—morphed into Alligewi and the river to Alligewi Sipu, or River of the Alligewi. The Allegewi Indians are sometimes said to have occupied the territory east of the Mississippi encompassing the Ohio River Valley and the area of many of its tributaries. Early maps of western PA sometimes are shown with the present day Allegheny River as the Ohio River—as the Indians and French often referred to the two as one continuous river.  In French the river is called la belle riviére (the beautiful river).

Allegheny River. At Port Allegany - McKean County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

The Allegheny River begins in Potter County, angles northwest into NY state toward Lake Erie, where glacial deposits block its path forcing it south past Warren and on to Pittsburgh where it meets the Monongahela and forms the Ohio.

(See McKee’s Rocks Mounds and Ohio—river and state.)


Allegheny Alligator.   A giant salamander.  Eastern Hellbender.  Cryptobranchus alleganienis. The largest salamander found in the United States.  Normally 12-18 inches long—is known to approach three feet in length.  Its girth would be similar to that of the heavy end of a baseball bat.  Indians would catch and eat them.  Nowadays, it’s strictly catch-and-release if you happen to hook one.  They eat mostly crayfish and snails and prefer clear fast-moving water with lots of rocks and debris.  Its coloration is gray, olive-brown, and black.  Its mouth is wide like a frog and its skin is slimy and without scales.  Some say the “slime” is poisonous, but is probably no more than slightly toxic.  No one will have to remind you to wash your hands after grasping one.  The aquarists haven’t come up with much of an explanation as to the environmental function of the creature.  The best thing to do is to just let them live and do whatever it is they do.

The other large salamander western Pennsylvanians run into is the “mudpuppy” (Necturus maculosus maculosus). It may grow to be a foot long (8-13 inches) .  It’s seldom seen as it is nocturnal and thoroughly aquatic.


Allegheny City.  Area immediately north of the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh (today is North Side or North Shore).  From early times in the 1750-60s, Indians and others settled this area.  The U.S. Census in 1800 listed its population as 275.  In 1900, the population was 129,896.  Allegheny City was annexed into the City of Pittsburgh December 7, 1907.


Allegheny County.  County formed out of Westmoreland and Washington Counties on September 24, 1788.  Named for the Allegheny River—justifiably so, as it comprised most of PA northwest of the Allegheny River.  County seat of Pittsburgh was laid-out in 1764.  Population in 1790 Census was 10,309.


Allegheny Indians.  Expression sometimes used by Delawares and others living at the forks of the Ohio when referring to themselves and other tribes in the area—presumably Seneca, Shawnee (Shawanese), Mingoes, and others (possibly Miami, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Ojibway, Wendat, etc.).  “We Allegheny Indians….”


Allegheny Portage.  The portage between a tributary (Portage Creek) of the west branch of the Susquehanna River and the Allegheny River.  The portage began at “canoe place” and extended some 23 miles to the Allegheny River.  McKean and Cameron Counties.  This portage connected rivers flowing to the Gulf of Mexico with rivers flowing to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Allegheny Portage. Junction of PA 120 and PA 155, east of Emporium in Cameron County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"The 23-mile crossing from Susquehanna West Branch to the Allegheny River began at a "canoe place" near this point. Indians and pioneers went north to Portage Creek, and at present Port Alleghany resumed travel by canoe.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission."

                (See Sinnemahoning.)


Allen.  George Allen.  Appointed Indian Agent at Fort Pitt in March 1759.  He was a trader and keeper of the first account ledger kept in Fort Pitt preserved today—dated 1759.

                (See James Kenny.)


AllenRichard Allen.  (1760-1831).  African-American who bought his freedom from slavery at age 20.  He lived in Philadelphia and by age 27 was an accomplished Methodist minister.  When white elders required Black Methodists to sit in a gallery at the rear of St. George’s Methodist Church, Allen led the refusal at being segregated.  Allen and others founded the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in 1794.  He was elected bishop of that church in 1816.  Although not an academically educated man himself, Allen was active in forming schools for Blacks and contributed heavily to the adjustment of Blacks moving north from southern slavery. The Bethel AME Church in Pittsburgh was the first formal African-American congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains.  Its first pastor was the Reverend Lewis Woodson in 1830.

                (See African American above.)


Alligewi.  See Allegheny above.  Ancient Indian tribal people.  Some believe the Alligewi were mound builders.  Others maintain the Alligewi were a branch of the Cherokee


Alligator Mound. Mound (possibly) built by the Hopewell people about 2,000 years ago. The area of the mound was later converted into farmland and the terrain has been seriously altered.

Alligator Mound. Bryn Du Drive in Granville, Licking County, OH. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged marker and enlarged site.

"On this bluff lies one of the two great animal effigy mounds built by Ohio's prehistoric people. Shown here, Alligator Mound is a giant earthen sculpture of some four-footed animal with a long, curving tail. Archaeologists believe the animal is perhaps an opossum or a panther, but not an alligator. The earthwork is approximately 250 feet long, seventy-six feet wide, and four feet high. Like the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio, Alligator Mound is not a burial mound. The Newark Earthworks, built by the Hopewell people between 100 B.C. and A.D. 400, are three miles to the east. Scholars do not know who built Alligator Mound, but it may be the work of the Hopewell.

"Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Licking County Historical Society, The Ohio Historical Society. 1998."


Alliquippa. Also Allaquippa, Aliquippa. (AL-uh-KWIP-uh). Queen Alliquippa.  Seneca Indian.  (c1679-1754).  As a young woman she met William Penn who treated Indians respectively and left a lasting impression on Alliquippa.  An Iroquois leader at the forks of the Ohio.  Visited by Conrad Weiser in 1748.  She refused to meet the Frenchman Céloron de Blainville when he made his trip through Logstown in 1749.  She lived at the mouth of Chartiers Creek in 1752.  Visited by George Washington in December 1753 at the mouth of the Youghiogheny River.

Queen Aliquippa. In Highland Grove Park-the 2900 block between Bowman and Highland Avenues in McKeesport. Follow Elm Street off 5th Avenue (PA 148) up the hill to Bowman. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"Queen Aliquippa. An influential leader of the Seneca Nation in this area and ally of the British during the time of the French & Indian War. Encamped near here when George Washington paid respects to her, 1753. Died, 1754; according to legend, buried nearby.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission."

In June 1754 she met with Washington at the Great Meadows along with Tanagharison and decided to not stay.  She and Tanagharison both felt Fort Necessity to be an unsuitable defensive position.  They retreated to George Croghan’s trading post in Aughwick, PA.

Alliquippa was a trusted friend of the English.  The word “alliquippa” in Delaware (Algonquin language) has a meaning of “hat.”  The name may hint that “the queen” was given to wearing distinctive head ornamentation.  That she did not use her original Seneca name is no surprise.

She died at Aughwick, PA on December 23, 1754.

(See Indian Personal Names.


Allumapees. (See Sassoonon.)


AME Church.  (See Richard Allen above.)


Amherst.  General Jeffery Amherst.  (1717-1797).  Commander of British Operations in North America in 1758 and forward.  He joined the army when he was eighteen and had served in Germany (Flanders) under the Duke of Marlborough and when sent to the colonies received royal instructions March 3, 1758 to take Louisbourg from the French.  Amherst was promoted to Major General upon the insistence of William Pitt.  He captured forts at Ticonderoga (French Fort Carillon) July 26, 1759 and then Crown Point (French Fort Frédéric) July 31, 1759.  

The fall of New France followed Amherst’s capture of Montreal in 1760.  In August 1761, he banned the practice of gift-giving at the western posts and instituted new rules regulating trade practices with the Indians.  In addition, powder distribution to Indians was to be no more than the minimum required for hunting  (5 pounds of powder and 5 pounds of lead shot per visit to the trading post).  Trade was limited to the actual trading posts—no visits to the Indian villages (thus, Indians might be forced to travel a hundred miles to trade for anything, no matter how minor).  Whether caused by the new trading policy or not, famine rose in the western villages in 1762 and much of the blame was placed on AmherstAmherst's action weakened the influence of the older sachems and brought many of the younger, more ambitious, warriors to power within many of the Indian nations. Indians in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes regions (Ottawa, Ojibway, Wyandot, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Miami, etc.) gathered and formed an anti-British alliance.  Many fell under the influence of Neolin.    (See Neolin and Pontiac.)

Leading into Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763, the experienced Indian hands George Croghan and William Johnson warned Amherst of Indian problems brewing on the frontier, but Amherst appeared to ignore their cries.  Amherst was adamant in his refusal to pay “gifts” to the Indians to appease and to gain favor.  He was determined that “gifts” were a waste of money and an unhealthy precedent.  Amherst felt the Indians must hunt, trade, raise food, and otherwise perform in a manner insuring their ability to maintain themselves.  It was Amherst’s order that took Colonel Bouquet west in 1764 to Muskingum.  Amherst was never a great backer of Fort Pitt.  He criticized its construction.  When flooding on the Allegheny River nearly destroyed the fort, he declared the design should be redrawn, and the fort rebuilt at a different site.  Amherst was exasperated by the lack of interest by the Penn Proprietary in the defense of its western frontier.

On July 16, 1763 in a letter to Colonel Bouquet he authorized genocide against the Indians.  This order followed an event in May 1763 at Fort Venango when a group of Senecas on the pretense of a peaceful mission entered the fort and killed the occupants.  The captain of the fort (Lt. Francis Gordon) was tortured for several days before being killed.  The fort was burned to the ground.  Amherst’s concluding words were “…no punishment we can inflict is adequate to the crimes of those inhuman villains...I need only add that I wish to hear of no prisoners, should any of the villians be met in arms....” 

In 1763, Amherst was appointed temporary Governor of Virginia—which proved to be his final service in the colonies as he was then recalled to England in the fall of the same year.  When the Revolutionary War started,  Amherst declined command over British forces due to his belief that the colonists would prevail.   Amherst’s wife developed considerable emotional problems and the General grew to detest nearly everything about North America.

Historians write of Amherst as both brave hero and despicable villain—a complex character.

(See Bouquet, Ecuyer, Gifts, Louisbourg, Neolin, Pontiac, Smallpox, and Stockbridge Indians.)


Amish. (See Anabaptist.)


Anabaptist. Name given to several protestant religious groups. As the name implies, these groups do not practice infant baptism. They preach baptism for adults. In early PA, this group largely centered around a Swiss reformed group—Mennonites. When the Mennonites gave-up the practice of "shunning" members who married outside the church, another group broke away—under the leadership of Jacob Ammann. Those with Ammann became known as "Amish." Both groups are pacifists, believe in plain-living, reject the taking of oaths, or participating in politics.

Note: The compiler has lived among both Amish and Mennonites and has found that although they have many similarities, the Mennonites adopt to change and technology with little hesitation as long as they are able to maintain their core spiritual values within its framework. One might say that the Amish maintain a "horse and buggy" view of technology. The young men in both groups avoid military service as they are "conscientious objectors."

Amish Buggy and Horse. New Wilmington in Lawrence County. Photo by compiler. Enlarged photo

The New Wilmington area is a region of considerable Amish population. Although they were originally farmers, they have branched-out into several timber-related trades, such as, flooring and furniture making. An attempt to photograph an Amish sawmill was met with the owner's objection. After a brief discussion and handshake between the owner and the compiler, this particular objection was withdrawn. However, to honor the Amish and their beliefs, none of these citizens will be pictured on thelittlelist. Thus, the "horse and buggy" are shown sans driver.

(See Mennonites.)


Andastes.  Also—Susquehannock and Conestoga Indians.  "People of the blackened ridge pole." Iroquois speaking. When James Smith sailed up the Susquehanna River in 1608 up into Maryland, these were the Indians he met. They lived in longhouses inside a stockaded wall. Each village had a chief. Families were organized in a matriarchal form with an elder woman holding sway over the several "fires" in the longhouse. They inhabited the Susquehanna River valley—both north and western branches—plus, regions along the Juniata and Potomac.

In 1647, the Andastes formed an alliance with the Hurons.  The Iroquois interpreted the alliance as being against them.  The Iroquois terrorized the Hurons in 1649 and then turned their attention to the Andastes.  War dragged on for years, but in 1675 (some say 1672) after smallpox and former Maryland friends made a pact with the Senecas—the Andaste/Susquehannock tribe was defeated and ceased to exist—although many of them apparently merged with other tribal groups.  Sometimes they were referred to as Conestogas (in French, Gandastogues).  When William Penn arrived in the 1690s, he made several overtures and agreements with the ”Conestoga Indians.” 

The virtual end of the Andaste/Susquehannock/Conestoga tribe was the result of a 1763 action by the “Paxton Boys” in what was seen by many as an attack on a friendly Indian group by persons seeking revenge against whatever Indian was available. 

(See Conestoga and Paxton.)


Anderson, the Reverend John. Born c1748 on the border of England and Scotland of Scotch parents. After university graduation, he studied theology and was licensed by a Presbytery of the Secession Church. A physically small man, no more than five-feet tall, with a troublesome voice and appearance (black, piercing eyes and a large shock of tangled hair), he appeared as a man who would devote his career to the writing, the reading, and the editing of church matters. He sailed for the new United States in June, 1783. After arrival in Philadelphia and four years of study, he was ordained in Philadelphia October 31, 1788 (sine titulo—"without title"). He then was sent to western PA where he spent the remainder of his life.

John Anderson - Service Presbyterian Church. Service Church Road 1.5 miles north of PA 18 alongside the Ambridge Reservoir in Beaver County. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged stone and enlarged plaque.

Besides his direct ministry, he devoted his considerable energy as professor of theology in the seminary of the Associate Church at Service. In the early days, Dr. Anderson's own log house was the "seminary." Harvard, Yale, and William and Mary colleges had professors of theology, while the Dutch Reformed Church formed a seminary in New Brunswick, NJ in 1784, and the Roman Catholics at St. Sulpice and St. Mary's in Baltimore in 1791.

"Service Seminary, Beaver C. PA. 1794." Copy of drawing found at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary—which was founded in 1794. Enlarged photo.

Anderson's "Eudolpha Hall" was founded in 1794. The practical effect of Anderson's seminary was that, prior to its formation, if a Presbyterian church wanted a pastor, they went to Scotland to find one. Besides his considerable legacy in religious education, he was perhaps known as a prototypical absent-minded professor—riding a horse from home to church with a book propped between his legs—oblivious to the world around him, wandering off the path in a state of complete concentration. He was known to read and study 10-12 hours a day.

A stone marker at the Service Creek Church is worn heavily with age, but one may decipher the inscription:


"The Rev'd John Anderson

Doctor of Divinity

Died April 6, 1830


I have fought a good fight

I have finished my course

I have kept the faith"


Compiler's note: For those needing a reminder, "I have fought a good fight...." is from 2 Timothy, IV,7. The opening phrase is the basis of the first line of a popular hymn.

(See Service Presbyterian Church.)


Anishinabeg.  "The Three Fires Confederacy." Collective name given to the Ottawa, Ojibway, and Potawatomi.  They spoke an almost indistinguishable Algonquian tongue.  The Anishinabeg intermarried and traded as a confederacy—although no common governing body kept them together like the Iroquois.  As did the Lenape, the Anishinabeg referred to themselves as the "original people." They were pro-French during the French & Indian War and then pro-British during our Revolution.

(See Ojibway, Ottawa, and Potowatomi.)


Ankeny Square.  Plot in town of Somerset originally set-aside for church and burial ground by Urich Bruner (1787) and Peter Ankeny (1789). The PA Historical and Museum Commission has placed a marker on Patriot Street at the cemetery. Town was originally Milfordstown and changed to Somerset in 1795.

Ankeny Square - Marker and Plaque. West Patriot Street at cemetery, Somerset. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged marker and Enlarged plaque.

"Set aside for burial ground and place of worship on the original plat of Milfordstown by Ulrich Bruner, 1787, and by Peter Ankeny in 1789 when he laid out the south side of the settlement renamed Somerset in 1795.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission..."

Plaque."Ankeny Square. Donated 1795 by Captain Peter Ankeny, Revolutionary Soldier"

(See Somerset.)


AnsonGeorge, Lord Anson.  (1697-1762).  First Lord of the Admiralty.  Admiral Anson and General Ligonier were military co-chiefs of staff under William Pitt.  Anson was effective politically, strategically, and militarily—his patrons were the Earl of Sandwich and the Duke of Bedford.  He had a close personal relationship to both George II and the First Duke of Newcastle, and was able to build a navy that dominated the Atlantic.  The Battle of Quiberon Bay (near the port of Brest, France) in November 1759 crippled the French fleet.  Anson neutralized the French navy and blocked their entry into the St. Lawrence River.  The fall of Quebec in 1758 and Montreal in 1760 must be attributed—to a large extent, to Anson’s effectiveness.


Anthropological Sequence. The period of first habitation may be called the "Lithic" stage (Stone Age). Within the period, we first find the "pre-projectile point stage," then the "paleo-Indian stage," and finally the "protoarchaic stage." These stages are often grouped together and referred to as the "paleo-Indian" stage. This "stage" or "period" includes the passage by Asiatic people across the Bering land-bridge up until the end of the Wisconsin glacial advance—that is, around 8,000 BC.

During this first period, the paleo-Indians were nomadic hunters who used rock overhangs and an occasional cave as shelter. They hunted large animals, such as mastodons, musk-ox, saber-toothed tigers, mountain lions, and early bison. They followed rivers and searched-out the feeding sites of the animals. The cultures were identified as the Plano, Clovis, Folsom, Sandia, and Old Cordilleran. Most sites for these groups have been found in the western and central regions of the present United States. This is the period of the Meadowcroft findings near Avella and it extends up to the beginning of specialized tools and farming. (See Meadowcroft.)

The next period is the "Archaic." It extends from about 8000 BC to 1500 BC. The Indians in this period began to form clans of maybe forty and practiced seasonal migration to take advantage of foraging opportunities and the migratory patterns of small game. They were avid fishermen. In the winters they would move up the hills to where larger game could be found. Also, more shelters could be found on the hillsides where they could protect themselves from the cold wind blowing in the flats along the rivers. They developed and/or improved on a variety of specialized tools, such as drills, axes, knives, spears, hammers, drills, and forms of mortar and pestle. They made baskets and cloth from reeds, bark, and other available plants. From a practical point of view, the biggest change in the "archaic" over the "paleo-Indian" periods was the end of the nomadic existence. People now moved short distances following the seasons. They began living in the same vicinity year after year. The continent was no longer inhabited by roving clans.

The third period is the "Transitional." Some anthropologists fold it into the "Woodland," but it perhaps deserves to stand on its own. From about 1500 BC to 1000 BC we find the Anasazi as cliff dwellers in the southwest. This is probably when maize (corn) was introduced. In the upper Mississippi and Ohio River valley we now have the Adena, or mound-building cultures. The Adena of our region left evidence of several varities of spear points and carved soapstone bowls. (See Adena.) The bowl enabled the cook to heat directly over a fire rather than dropping a hot rock into a pouch with water and food in it. To the Indians of our region, a vital innovation was the canoe. Prior to the canoe, transportation meant walking. Now they could move up and down the rivers and find preferred stones for spear points or more desireable fishing or hunting areas.

The "transitional" or Adena culture period moves almost seamlessly into the "Woodland Period." This period feeds off the Adena culture with its clay pottery tempered with limestone and thin spear points looking like they may have been fashioned for use as arrows to be shot with a bow. We move from the Adena culture to the Monongahela people of the upper Ohio River from around 600 to 1300 AD, or later.(See Monongahela.)

What happened to the Monongahela people? We don't know. We do know that the Susquehannocks lived in central PA. In the western part of the commonwealth we have evidence of traveling groups of Miami, Shawnee, Seneca, Mingo, and others moving in and out after the Monongahela people and prior to colonization. We refer to these groups as "Eastern Woodland Indians." Some frustration is met when studying the Indians of western PA. We do not understand the transition of the Adena or Monongahela peoples into another Indian grouping. Did they become Cherokees? Susquehannocks? or maybe Erie? Answering these questions would be an interesting doctoral study for some enterprising anthropology student.

The culture of the North American natives was upset with the coming of the Europeans at the end of the 15th century. Perhaps other visitors, such as Chinese, Vikings, or others came to the continent earlier, but they did not establish permanent residence. The Europeans after 1492 came and built harbors, villages, and brought a different civilization.

Reproductions of Niña and Pinta on the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh. Photos by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged Niña and enlarged Niña and Pinta.

Replicas of the two caravels (Niña 65 feet long with an 18 foot beam and Pinta 85 feet long with a 24 foot beam) visited Pittsburgh in the fall of 2009 on the north shore. Columbus' larger decked ship (approximately 117-feet long), the Santa Maria, ran aground on Christmas Eve 1492 at Cape Haitien (Hispaniola) and Columbus had to make do with the smaller vessels. The trip across took slightly over two months—the return trip took about the same length of time. The trip was sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Later trips were sponsored by England, France, Holland, Sweden, Portugal, and many independent trading companies. The two replicas were built using adzes, hand saws, chisels, axes, and naturally-formed timbers in Valenca, Brazil (See www.thenina.com).

(See Culture.)


Appalachian Mountains.  Mountain range extending from southern Quebec Province south to the region of northern Alabama and Georgia.  The ridge of this range forms the eastern continental divide with rivers and streams on the east side flowing to the Atlantic and those on the western slope flowing to the Gulf of Mexico or the St. Lawrence.  The English colonies in eastern North America of the 1600-1750 period were limited in their western expansion by this ridge.  Several river valleys and passes connected the two sides of the ridge, but until the end of the French and Indian War (1763) France was the more dominant political power in the Mississippi Valley.

Due to the continuing ridges and valleys in PA of the Appalachians, early settlers described this obstacle to westward expansion as the "Endless Mountains." Two waterways led deep into, but not through, the mountains—they were the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Juniata River.

In Choctaw the word “a’palachi” translates as “people on the other side.”  The Choctaw lived in the area east of the Mississippi River in what is now Mississippi and Alabama.  Their language is a variant of the Muskhogean tongue.  The Chickasaws and Creeks spoke dialects in this same family.  Some point to “Appalachia” (also Apalachee) being the name ascribed to a small tribe that lived in the area from South Carolina down to Florida.


Apple.  Common fruit tree.  Malus pumila, etc.  A tree commonly found in the northern Temperate Zone dating back to pre-Biblical days.  It migrated from the lower Himalayas west across the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea to North America.  The trees were planted in orchards as well as forming fence rows and delineating property lines.  Varieties of apple trees are planted and grown according to soil conditions, annual rainfall, average temperatures, length of growing season, average date of first frost, and so forth.  Settlers moving west would often plant apple trees almost simultaneous to building their cabin.  A good stand of apple trees on a farm increased its sale value. 

The common potato being indigenous to the western hemisphere was greeted by the French with the appellation pomme de terre (apple of the earth).

(See Appleseed below and Cider.)


Appleseed.  Johnny Appleseed, the character renowned in folk stories was in reality—John Chapman.  Born in Massachusetts on September 26, 1774, he moved to Franklin in what is now Venango County in 1797 and lived there until 1804.  He had a nursery on French Creek and another in Warren.  He moved to the Pittsburgh area, Grant's Hill, on property owned by James O'Hara before moving to Ohio and later to Indiana where he died on March 18, 1845. He led a nomadic existence mixed with preaching and distributing apple seeds to whomever he met. From a practical point of view, Chapman sold the seeds and plantings he developed from them. Some believe that the apple trees of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana owe their existence, to a large part, to the efforts of Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny Appleseed. Franklin Avenue and 13th. Franklin, Venango County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged Photo.


"John Chapman, an actual person as well as a folk hero, lived nearby along French Creek between 1797 and 1804. Records indicate he had a nursery there and one near Warren, Pa., before moving on to Ohio. Born 1774 in Massachusetts, he died in Indiana in 1845.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission..........1982"



Johnny Appleseed's Early Land Holdings. Phillips Street (by the Kokosing River) in Mount Vernon, OH. Photo by the compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo.

"This is the site of Johnny Appleseed's earliest known recorded landholdings. Appleseed (whose legal name was John Chapman) purchased two parcels from Joseph Walker in September 14, 1809: Mount Vernon town lot 147, upon which you stand, and lot 145, which is across the road and north of this site.

"Johnny Appleseed likely rested here on August 10, 1813, after arriving from Mansfield with alarming news of a rumored Indian attack. Appleseed returned to Mansfield with reinforcements from Mount Vernon that same day—a round trip of over fifty miles.

"Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center, the Ohio Historical Society. 1999."


Arbor Vita.  Also Northern White Cedar.  Thuja occidentalisArbor Vitae is the name given this tree by the French (“Tree of Life”).  An Indian travelling with Jacques Cartier in the 1530s grew sick, along with most of Cartier’s expedition.  The Indian made a drink of crushed leaves of a tree, drank it,  and regained his health.  Cartier did the same for his men and they all recuperated.  The disease was probably scurvy.  As a token of respect, the tree was later shipped and transplanted in France.

(See Spruce Beer.)


ArmstrongMajor George Armstrong.  During the advance of Forbes across PA in 1758 after establishing Fort Bedford, Armstrong and a small detachment traveled over the Laurel Ridge and down to Loyalhanna, which he reported to be favorably situated for a fort.

(See Loyalhanna.)


Armstrong.  John (Jack) Armstrong.  A fur trader killed February 21, 1744 by Mushemeelin, a Delaware Indian.  Mushemeelin ran up a debt with Armstrong.  When Mushemeelin was delinquent in payment, Armstrong “collected” the debt in the fall of 1743 by taking a horse and gun belonging to the borrower.  In early 1744, Mushemeelin demanded his horse back—Armstrong refused.  Later Mushemeelin’s wife asked for the horse.  Her request was rejected.  In February 1744, Mushemeelin followed Armstrong and caught-up to him at a narrows on the Juniata River.  Armstrong had two servants with him (James Smith and Woodward Arnold).  Mushemeelin had two hunting friends with him (John and Jemmey).  When finding Armstrong’s servants, Mushemeelin killed them and then hunted down Armstrong and killed him as well.  Armstrong was shot in the back and a hatchet penetrated the back of his head.  Mushemeelin, who lived in Shamokin on the Susquehanna River, was surrendered by his own people and after long pre-trial arguments was tried and convicted. 

The murder investigation involved Sassoonan, Shickellamy, Conrad Weiser, Andre Montour, Thomas McKee, and—even Governor George Thomas of PA.  Mushemeelin was hanged November 14, 1744.  John and Jemmey were found innocent.  The killing site on the Juniata River is known today as “Jack’s Narrows” (near Mt. Union in Huntingdon County).

(Note: a more complete description of this affair is given by I. Daniel Rupp—see Sources and Readings. The History and Topography....pages 59-66.)

(See Captain Jack and Jack's Narrows.)


ArmstrongColonel (Major General) John Armstrong.  (1717/1725 to 1795)—disagreement over date of birth.  Born in Northern Ireland. 

Compiler's note: the 1717 date of birth is probably correct. Many have given Armstrong's age at the time of his attack on Kittanning (1756) as being forty.

Armstrong led an attack on the Delaware Indian stronghold at Kittanning on September 6, 1756.  Delaware chief Captain Jacobs sent his women and children to the woods and led the defense from his own cabin which was eventually torched and Jacobs killed.  Legend has it that Jacobs killed a dozen or more of Armstrong’s men during the fight.  A counter-attack by other Indian forces forced Armstrong to retreat.  Armstrong himself was injured in the fight—as was Hugh Mercer.

Although suffering considerable casualties, Armstrong’s incursion was considered a victory by forcing the Indians back to the Beaver River.  The Indians considered the attack to have been a massacre.  The months preceding the Kittanning fight had seen a long stream of raids on individual settlers and small communities by western Indians.  Kittanning was seen as a psychological turning point in the struggle. A medal was struck in Armstrong's honor in Philadelphia.

John Armstrong. Entrance to Armstrong County Courthouse, Kittanning. Armstrong County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo

"In memory of General John Armstrong, a Scottish Coventer and a soldier of the American Revolution. Lieutenant Colonel, 2nd Battalion Provincial troops 1756. Brigadier General Continental Army, 1776. Major General Pennsylvania Militia at Brandywine and Germantown. Died 1795. Erected by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission and the Pennsylvania Daughters of the American Revolution to honor the memory of the hero of Kittanning for whom this county is named, 1917."

In 1770, Armstrong was in charge of the Land Office in Carlisle, PA.

In March 1, 1776, he was commissioned as a brigadier general in the Continental Army.  He was sent to the Continental Congress (1778-80) and became a Major General later in the war.  He was the commanding officer of the Pennsylvania Militia at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown.

Armstrong County. Courthouse steps, Kittanning. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo

"Armstrong County. Formed March 12, 1800 out of Westmoreland, Allegheny and Lycoming counties. Names for Gen. John Armstrong, who had destroyed the Indian village at Kittanning, 1756. Here, county seat was laid out, 1803, and "Daughery Visible" typewriter invented in 1881.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission..........1982."

John Armstrong died March 9, 1795 in Carlisle, Cumberland County.

Armstrong had a son, John (1758-1843), who was also a soldier in the Revolutionary War and a man of some distinction.  He was an aide-de-camp to General Hugh Mercer when Mercer was killed at Princeton.  Some stories have it that young Armstrong was the one carrying the wounded Mercer from the battlefield to the farmhouse where he was to die.  John Armstong was a major on the staff of General Gates.  He later became active in PA politics—secretary of state and adjutant general.  After moving to NY, he was a U.S. senator, minister to France and Spain, promoted to brigadier general, and secretary of war.  During his tenure as secretary of war the disastrous venture against Canada and the British sacking of Washington, D.C. (1814) made John Armstrong a less than popular figure.

(See Jacobs and Kittanning.)


Armstrong.  Joseph Armstrong.  Home in Franklin County was a staging area for troops during both the French and Indian War as well as during Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763.  Armstrong was a militia captain in 1755 and then in a PA regiment in 1756-57.  Died 1761.


Arnold. Benedict Arnold. (1741-1801). Born in Norwich, CT, he married into a well-to-do family and participated in the French & Indian War. He joined the military again at the beginning of our Revolutionary War as commander of a CT militia company. He held a minor role with Ethan Allen in the attempt to capture Fort Ticonderoga. His reputation grew when he led around 1,000 men through the Maine countryside up to the unsuccessful attack on Quebec in December 1775. He performed well and after being wounded was retired temporarily from the service. In 1777, Arnold was assigned under General Horatio Gates and, after a disagreement with the General, was ordered to the rear where he performed well in the Battle of Bemis Heights on October 7, 1777. Wounded again, he was transferred to Philadelphia in June 1778. His first wife had died, and he then met and married nineteen-year-old Margaret (Peggy) Shippen. This is the Shippen family of William, Edward—founder of Shippensburg in Franklin County (whose daughter Sarah married James Burd, who built a fort on the Mon and was a construction leader in both the French & Indian War as well as our Revolution), Joseph (a colonel in the French & Indian War), and others.

After a courts-martial where he was acquited on most accounts, he began his correspondence with General Sir Henry Clinton leading to his demand of £20,000 for surrendering West Point with its 3,000 troops. When Major John André was captured with incriminating papers, Arnold was was found out. He fled to New York city and then to England. Peggy Shippen is believed to have been in on the deceit. Arnold's name is now a synonym for "traitor."

(See Burd and Shippen.)


Arrowheads.  The Indians made arrowheads and other sharp instruments from flint, agate or other varieties of quartz.  Flint and other quartzite rocks are not common in western PA; therefore, many flints found in the area were brought in from the outside.  Occasionally an arrowhead was formed from an animal bone.

(See Flint.)


Articles of Confederation. (1781-1788).  The United States Constitution was first drafted in 1775 by Benjamin Franklin and then a series of drafts by Silas Deane of CT and others until John Dickinson of PA in June 1776 drafted one that with alterations was presented to the colonies for approval.  The Articles were not approved until March 1, 1781.  The major hang-up was ownership of the land west of the Alleghenies.  Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all claimed their territory extended to the Mississippi River and beyond.  Charters of PA, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island limited their western borders to a few hundred miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean.  The logjam was broken when Thomas Jefferson persuaded his fellow Virginians to forfeit their demands and to accept the west to be divided into states and brought into the United States on an equal basis as the original thirteen.  The land speculators would be cut out of the deal—and the sale of the western land could be used to pay the war debts owed to other countries, war veterans, local suppliers, etc.  Representatives to the Congress elected a new president each year with three Pennsylvanians serving—Thomas Mifflin, Arthur St. Clair, and Thomas McKean.

As might be expected, taxes were a central problem. Some representatives wanted taxes to be apportioned on a "per capita" basis. The southern states rejected a count that would include Blacks. With a war going on, the question of the slave trade and fugitive runaways was placed on the back-burner. The rebels needed money and fell to gathering it on the value of land and improvements. The slave problem would have to wait.

The Confederation had a unicameral congress with each state having one vote. Delegates were elected by the state legislatures. People and trade could move across state lines without interference. All states needed to agree to important actions; such as, declaring war, making treaties, introduction of amendments—with simple majorities required of lesser items. Wartime problems of gaining acceptance of foreign countries and borrowing money persuaded many that a loose confederation could not satisfy the needs of a people determined to be an equal among the nations of the world.

The Articles were in effect from 1781 to 1787 when they were rejected in favor of a new Constitution for the United States.

(See Thomas Mifflin, Northwest Ordinance, and Arthur St. Clair.)


Ash.  A broad-leafed deciduous tree common to PA.  The most common in the family is the white ash (Fraxinus americana ).  Like oak and hickory, ash was popular firewood.  Ash wood was highly desirable for use in furniture, tool handles, and anything else requiring hardness and durability.  A good-sized tree at 70-80 feet tall with a diameter of two or three feet.  Nowadays it is preferred for baseball bats.  Its relative, the black ash, could be sawed into short logs and then hammered until splitting.  The splits can be pulled apart into thin strips for use in making baskets, chair seats, and other uses.  A good ash basket could be used by generations of settlers.  The white ash would be found up on the hills, while the black ash grows in bottom lands and mucky soil.

"White Ash. In the park area across from the toll house in Addison, Somerset County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged tree and enlarged leaves.

The leaves of the white ash are shaped like the leaves of the black cherry, but are much larger. Note: the tree photographed was noted as a white ash, but the compiler's opinion leans toward it being a black cherry.


Ash.  American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana).  A moderate tree at 40 feet tall and maybe a foot in diameter.  Noted for its red-orange clusters of small fruit.  The clusters often are heavy enough to pull the branches downward in an exaggerated fashion.  The abundance of the fruit attracts grouse and other game birds as well as birds not good for hunting.  When the fruit is abundant and one is in the woods, locate a mountain ash, and with some patience, a wait will almost assuredly produce a good variety of birds for viewing (or shooting).


Assassination.  A single word that some believe may have started the French and Indian War.  The surrender terms given to George Washington by the French at Fort Necessity contained the word “assassinat " in the original French.  The word was used in a sentence pertaining to the death of Ensign Coulon de Jumonville in the fight between Jumonville with his force of 33 militia against Washington and a contingent of forty Virginia volunteers plus approximately a dozen Indians led by Tanagharison (The Half King) and Scarrooyady.  This fight was the prelude to the battle for Fort Necessity.

The surrender document was written in French and the translation was made by Jacob Van Braam—a Dutch lieutenant /captain on Washington’s staff.  William Peyronie (a French Huguenot), had participated in earlier negotiations with the French but a wound caused him to collapse and not be available for translation of the final surrender document.  Andre Montour, son of Madame Montour and presumably also French speaking, was absent from the Fort at the time of the surrender.  Thus, the surrender document stated that Washington and his forces had “assassinated” Jumonville—rather than Jumonville being simply “killed” in the conflict.

The assassination became a rallying cry for French indignation.  Van Braam read assassinat" as killed.  Washington is said to have been angry with Van Braam when he was informed of the faulty translation.  The argument on this point continues to this day.  Some say an assassination is the killing of a prominent person—not an” infantry ensign” sent out on a scouting patrol.  Jumonville was not a prominent person under this definition.  Assassination normally indicates a pre-meditated act, while wilful murder is manslaughter. This parsing of words is similar to the use of the word tragedy.  For one’s death to be a tragedy, one must be a prominent person.  Under this definition the death of a normal person is not a tragedy

Van Braam’s translation may be understandable in that assassination was not a word used in normal conversation—although “assassination” had permeated European political intrigue for centuries.  Assassin comes from the name of a small Islamic sect involved in secret murders back in the 11th century—they were called assassins.  The pronunciation stems from the word hashish, which was offered as a reward to successful assassins

As the French and Indian War progressed, we find the hatcheting of wounded prisoners to become an all too common practice.

(See Contrecoeur, French and Indian War, Jumonville, Montour, Peyroney, Tanagharison, and Van Braam.)


Assimilation.  The conflict between the White settlers and the Indians was a subject of continued debate during and after colonization.  Successful attempts to convert Indians to Christianity were spotty at best.  Some leading colonists such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and others believed the Indians could and should be assimilated into the dominant society.  George Washington wrote, “The Country is large enough to contain us all.”

On the opposing side, persons such as Jackson, Crockett, Houston, and many others believed the Indian would never be assimilated and thus should be settled in a separate territory.  Some white settlers were assimilated into the Indian society and in some instances assumed positions of authority. 

Today, even with the advantage of hindsight, disagreement exists on the efficacy of assimilation

(See Blue Jacket, Girty, Jemison, Marriage—Inter-racial, and Métis.)


Attiqué Indian TownKittanning. Area on the flats next to the Allegheny River when in the 1720s the Delaware Indians settled during the period when they were emigrating west after being pushed out of the Delaware River Valley and then the Susquehanna River Valley.  Colonel John Armstrong destroyed Attiqué  in September 1756.

Kittanning or Attiqué Indian Town. Market and Water Street (east bank of Allegheny River), Kittanning, Armstrong County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler. Enlarged photo


"Kittanning or Attiqué Indian Town was located on this river flat. The chief settlement as early as 1727 of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians in their early westward movement from the Susquehanna River. Became the most important Indian center west of the Allegheny Mountains. Destroyed September 8, 1756 by Colonel John Armstrong and his 300 frontier troops from the Cumberland Valley. Marked by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission and the Armstrong County Historical Society, 1926."

(See John Armstrong above, Jacobs, and Kittanning.)


Auger. A hand-tool used to form a hole in wood by cutting.

Enlarged drawing.

The point of an auger is sharpened so that a twisting motion will cut the wood fibers and deepen the hole. The cutting edge of the auger may be no more that appearing like a sharpened spoon, while others may contain a more elaborate spiral form. The "spiral form" of the auger is now-a-days used to describe the form inside a cylinder rotating and "spiraling" through material such as coal, wheat, or other.

(See Tools (Woodworking).)


Aughwick.  Now Shirleysburg in Huntingdon County. About 40 miles west of Carlisle.   Location of a George Croghan trading post.  On Aughwick Creek leading into the Juniata River.  Tanagharison, the Half-King, died there October 4, 1954 after the unsuccessful defense of Fort Necessity.  Queen Alliquippa died in Aughwick that same year. George Croghan had purchased some 4,000 acres from the Iroquois and was to use it as a a station between his eastern sources and Pine Creek at the confluence.

                The word Aughwick is a variation of “achweek” having a meaning of “overgrown with brush.”  “Wicker” is a slender, pliant twig sometimes used in furniture.  The physical appearance of the area probably gave rise to the name.

(See Croghan, Queen Alliquippa, Tanagharison, Scarrooyady, Shirleysburg, and Fort Shirley.)


AugustaAugusta Town is three miles southwest of Washington, PA on US 40.  During the period of Virginia’s claim to much of western PA, a court was held there in August 1776.  This action made it the first court held west of the Monongahela River.

Augusta Town. US 40 three miles southwest of Washington. Washington County. Photo by compiler with Joyce Chandler.Enlarged Photo.

"Here met, in August 1776, under Virginia's claim to western Pennsylvania, the first court west of the Monongahela River. The site is a mile south and marked by a monument.

"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.....1947"


Awl.  A small hand tool used equally by Indians and settlers.

Enlarged drawing.

An awl resembles a sharply pointed nail protruding in a perpendicular fashion from a wooden handle—or directly from a small handle.  An awl would be used for punching holes in leather or thin bark. When an awl enters wood, it does not"cut" the wood fibers, rather—it spreads them apart. A wood-worker might locate the site where he wants a hole, push in an awl, and then enlarge the hole with a spoon-auger and then maybe finally a chisel or other larger tool.

(See Tools (Woodworking).)


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