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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

They Cast a Giant Shadow

The mighty Susquehannock once roamed the Susquehanna River from the Chesapeake Bay to the Sayre, PA region. They were first described by John Smith in 1608 as giants: 

". . . 60 of those Susquehannocks came to us . . . such great and well proportioned men are seldome seene, for they seemed like giants to the English . . .these are the strangest people of all those countries both in language and attire; for their language it may well beseeme their proportions, sounding from them as a voice in a vault. Their attire is the skinnes of beares and woolves, some have cassocks made of beares heades and skinnes . . . The halfe sleeves coming to the elbows were the heades of beares and the arms through the open mouth . . . one had the heade of a woolf hanging from a chain for a jewell . . . with a club suitable to his greatness sufficient to beat out ones brains. Five of their chiefe wereowances came aboard us . . . (of) the greatest of them his hayre, the one side was long and the other shorn close with a ridge over his crowne like a cocks combe . . . The calfe of whose leg was ¾ of a yard around and all the rest of his limbes so answerable to that proportion that he seemed the goodliest man we ever beheld!"

Here's a link to one of my favorite historical sites that provides some excellent background information.

Constantly at war with the much larger Iroquois Confederacy to the north, the Susquehannock were finally defeated in 1675, and after being assimilated into the Seneca tribe, they were slowly allowed to return to their homelands over several generations, where they eventually became known as the Conestogas.

After the French and Indian War, several tribes to the west of the Susquehanna who were still not happy with British policies began what became known as Pontiac's Rebellion. The Paxton Boys' role in frontier skirmishes is briefly mentioned at that website.

Enough history for now. Be back in a day or two with some excerpts from the recently discovered journals of Ezekiel Williams (~1740 - 1822 ).

1 comment:

  1. And from this history we see the conflict of humans with one another. But what wasn't there was the utter disregard for the river that sustained them. Unlike today...