Native Americans

The major Pennsylvanian Indian tribes were the Delaware, Susquehannock, Shawnee, and the Iroquois.

Some records of American Indians in Pennsylvania have been filmed by the LDS FHL. Visit your local FHL and use the library catalog to search under Pennsylvania - Native Races.

See also:

Michael N. McConnell's A Country Between: The Upper Ohio and Its Peoples, 1724-1774, Lincoln Neb., U of Neb. Press, 1992, FHL call number 977.1 F3m.

Paul A. W. Wallace's Indians in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA Historical Mus. Commission, 1974.

Archaeology in Black and White Digging Somerset County's Past During the Great Depression By Bernard K. Means This article originally appeared in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine Volume XXVI, Number 3 - Summer 2000

Historical Overview

Prior to the Treaty of Fort Stanwix on November 5, 1768, the lands of Bedford and later, Somerset County, belonged to the Iroqouis or Confederacy of the Six Nations. The Iroquois, called "Mingoes" sold the land along with other territories in the treaty. It is believed that no permanent indian tribes lived in the region for many years leading up to the treaty. The Iroquois, The Delawares, and some of the Shawnee used the area of Bedford and Somerset County as a hunting ground.

Early trappers, however, reported that an Indian community known as "Kickenapulin's Old Town" was settled in Jenners Township. The indian settlement is now under the waters of the Quemahoning Dam. Other indian settlements were reported to be at Fort Hill in Addison Township, at Confluence in Turkeyfoot Township, at the William TROUTMAN farm in Southampton Township, and the Long Field on the south side of Salisbury in Elk Lick Township.

Burial grounds were later found in Elk Lick, and at Koontztown in Shade Township.

Early settlers in Pennsylvania were forbidden to settle on Indian lands. In 1763, a Royal proclaimation made it illegal to settle on these lands. Later on, Governor John Penn, also issued a declaration of "death without benefit of clergy" for anyone who settled in these areas. However, the early colonists, seeing the rich and fertile lands, settled here anyways. The indians, not seeing these settlers as a threat, did not protest their encroachment.

In 1768, the Treaty of Fort Standix, gave the early settlers legal right to own the indian land. Relationship with the early indians was tenuous at most. Early reports of Indian massacres did take place, however, it wasn't until the pre-Revolutionary days when the British paid the indians to harrass and terrorize the settlers. Every year, thereafter, except for 1780 (known as the year of deep snow), were raids made on the settlers deep into Bedford County. Many settlers were massacred and scalped in Bedford and Westmoreland Counties.

(excerpted from Somerset Past, Vol V, No. 2, pp. 20-21)

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Last Revised: January 27, 2016

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