Historical Markers
Green Tree Inn Historical Marker
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Green Tree Inn

Hershey/Gettysburg/Dutch Country Region


Marker Location:
S. Hanover St. between Pomfret and High Sts., Carlisle

Dedication Date:
November 30, 1949

Behind the Marker

Image of the Grand Chief of the Iroquois Warriors.
Grand Chef de Guerriers Iroquois (Grand Chief of the Iroquois Warriors).
The delegates appointed by the Pennsylvania legislature to conduct an Indian treaty in Carlisle in September 1753 were in a pinch. After receiving their commission from the governor in Philadelphia shortly after Braddock's Defeat, George Washington and his entourage hurried to Carlisle, a small frontier town on the western side of the Susquehanna.

The Indians they greeted there represented some powerful groups from the Ohio Country, including Delaware, Shawnee, Seneca, and Miami. These Indians came to Carlisle to ask the Pennsylvanians marker for assistance in protecting their homelands from French soldiers who had recently begun building forts in the Allegheny-Ohio Valley. Before coming to Carlisle, these same Indians also visited Winchester, Virginia to make the same request for aid from the government of that colony.

The Pennsylvania delegates knew what was at stake. The French, Virginians, and Pennsylvanians all coveted the Ohio Valley, but the Indians who lived there held the key. The Pennsylvania government could not afford to alienate these potential allies if it wished to pre-empt the French and Virginian claims to this region. They had to impress the Indians with their generosity and convince them of their friendship.
The warrior depicted here has been outfitted with a European musket, hatchet, pipe tomahawk, peace medal, and clasp knife
Guerrier Iroquois (Iroquois Warrior).

Impressing the Indians meant following their diplomatic customs and rituals and providing them with plenty of "presents": trade goods like clothing, arms, kettles, and liquor that would serve as material evidence of the Pennsylvanians' friendship. Unfortunately, the delegates had traveled so quickly to Carlisle that they had outpaced the wagons bringing those trade goods.

Was it possible to conduct the treaty without having the presents on hand that the Indians expected? The delegates approached the Indians' leader; an Iroquois chief named Scarouady, and asked him if they could open the proceedings by presenting the Indians with a list of the goods rather than the actual presents themselves. Scarouady, perhaps made wise by years of experience in dealing with Europeans, "frankly declared that the Indians could not proceed to Business . . . unless the Goods . . . were actually spread on the Ground before them." Their hands tied by Scarouady's insistence, the commissioners delayed the negotiations until the wagons arrived.

This bit of bargaining that went on at the Carlisle Treaty was indicative of the hard-nosed diplomacy in which Indians and colonists engaged in colonial Pennsylvania. The colonists may have had the goods, but the Indians were sticklers for form, and they insisted that such encounters follow their customs. So long as the colonists needed to win the Indians' alliance and trade from rivals such as the French and Virginians, they had no choice but to comply with the Indians' wishes.
Like many Iroquois women of the time, she wears a cloak and skirt made from European trade cloth and native-style jewelry in her hair and ears.  She also carries two cradleboards, which  Indian women used to carry and attend to small children.
Sauvagesse Iroquoise (Iroquois Woman).

Treaties like the one convened at Carlisle in 1753 typically began with a condolence ceremony in which each side exchanged speeches and presents to assuage grief and mourn the deceased. Over the following days, each side would take turns composing and delivering speeches, which would be punctuated by the exchange of strings and belts of wampum, beads manufactured from marine shells. After all points had been settled, each side would exchange gifts again, as testimony to their continued friendship and alliance. Such treaties often convened in frontier towns like Carlisle where native and colonial peoples could literally and figuratively meet each other half way.

The parties involved in a treaty conference often arrived with conflicting agendas and interests. It was the job of each side's leaders to iron out these differences and assure that an air of friendship pervaded the negotiations. The Pennsylvania commissioners were aided by the colony's official interpreter markerConrad Weiser, a man well-versed in Indian customs whose advice was indispensable to following their diplomatic protocol. In addition to the savvy leadership of Scarouady, the Ohio Indians were assisted by Andrew Montour, an interpreter whom they empowered to speak on their behalf.

marker The negotiations that occurred in Carlisle in fall of 1753 did not quite accomplish what the Indians and Pennsylvanians had hoped. The Pennsylvania delegates - Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Norris, and Richard Peters - renewed Pennsylvania's "Chain of Friendship" with the Ohio Indians and assured them of the colony's support in their resistance to the French. The Indians, however, were naturally suspect of such pledges, because they knew Pennsylvania lacked its own western fortifications, and they were also well aware of the lust for Indian lands that lay behind such promises.

In their speeches to the Pennsylvanians, the Indians raised complaints about fraud and abusive treatment in the Pennsylvania fur trade. The Pennsylvanians promised to reduce the amount of liquor carried by the traders, which both sides agreed was the chief cause of all other problems in that commerce. Despite hearing these complaints, the commissioners at the close of the treaty entrusted the distribution of the Indians' presents to George Croghan, a western fur trader! From the Indian perspective, this manner of doing business might have seemed a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Upon their return to Philadelphia, the commissioners recommended to Governor Hamilton a thorough-going regulation of the colony's fur trade. The outbreak of the French and Indian War a year later pushed that issue aside for another ten years, but it would remain a thorn in the side of Pennsylvania's Indian relations through the Revolutionary era.
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