Stories from PA History
Story Details
The Indians of Pennsylvania
The first people to live in Pennsylvania were part of the earliest waves of human migration into the Western hemisphere. William Penn and his fellow colonists upon their arrival encountered native inhabitants who had their own name for this land and their own starting point for its history.

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Bring this subject into focus through the following chapters. These stories take exploration of the main story further by providing more detail for you to learn and explore.

Overview: The Indians of Pennsylvania
Chapter One: Before Penn's Woods: Pennsylvania's First Inhabitants
Chapter 2: Refugees, Traders, and Missionaries: Indians, Colonists, and the Remaking of Pennsylvania, 1600-1753
Chapter 3: War and Crisis in Indian Pennsylvania, 1754-1784
Chapter 4: Dispossession, Dispersal, and Persistence

Historical Markers In the Story
marker icon Carbon County [Jim Thorpe] (Carbon) marker icon Carlisle Indian Industrial School (Cumberland)
marker icon David Zeisberger [Indians] (Potter) marker icon Fort Lafayette [Indians] (Allegheny)
marker icon George Catlin [Indians] (Luzerne) marker icon Heckewelder House (Northampton)
marker icon Indian Hannah (1730-1802) (Chester) marker icon Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) (Bucks)
marker icon Purchase of 1768 (Indiana) marker icon Warren County [Indians] (Warren)

Lesson Plans for this Story
Take your students back in history with these discussions and activities for the classroom

Story Bibliography

700 - 1300 Mississippian Culture: last mound-building peoples in western Pennsylvania/Ohio Valley.
1000 - 1500 Late Woodland Period: distinct cultural groups inhabit Pennsylvania's major river systems: Delaware, Susquehanna, and Allegheny-Ohio.
1500 - 1600 European trade goods first appear in Pennsylvania archaeological sites, probably arriving by way of trade between coastal Indian peoples and early European explorers and traders.
1608 Captain John Smith encounters Susquehannocks in northern Chesapeake Bay.
1620 Dutch fur traders based in New Netherland (New York) build posts on Delaware River.
1638 Swedes establish colony of New Sweden on Delaware River.
1682 William Penn founds Pennsylvania.
1690 - 1740 Indian peoples displaced by colonization of eastern seaboard resettle in northern Delaware, Susquehanna, and Allegheny-Ohio valleys.
1737 Walking Purchase: Penn family's fraudulent acquisition of Forks of Delaware region (modern Easton-Bethlehem).
1740 Presbyterian and Moravian missionaries seek converts among Indians living at Forks of the Delaware and northern branch of Susquehanna River.
1744 Treaty of Lancaster: Iroquois of New York release their claim on Ohio Country to Virginia.
1753 Carlisle Treaty: Ohio Indians seek assistance from Pennsylvania government in resisting French intrusion into Ohio Country.
1754 Albany Congress Treaty: Penn family's agents purchase from Iroquois of New York lands west of Susquehanna River, including Juniata Valley. .At same treaty conference, Susquehanna Land Company of Connecticut purchases from Iroquois northern branch of Susquehanna River (Wyoming Valley).
1755 - 1758 Frontier warfare extends from Northampton County to Monongahela Valley.
1755 Braddock's Defeat on his approach to Fort Duquesne starts French and Indian War (also known as Seven Years" War) in Pennsylvania.
1758 Treaty of Easton: In exchange for Penn family's agreement to relinquish some of the western territory acquired at Albany Treaty in 1754, Delaware and other western Indians agree to cease their alliance with the French, making possible success of the Forbes Expedition and the fall of Fort Duquesne.
1763 Paxton Boys" massacre of Conestoga Indians.
1763 - 1764 Pontiac's War: Ohio Indians wage war against British soldiers and settlers for their failure to vacate the Ohio Country as promised after the removal of the French.
1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix: Iroquois of New York agree to cession of lands in Pennsylvania extending from Wyoming Valley to Forks of the Ohio.
1774 Lord Dunmore's War: Virginia's royal governor prosecutes war against Chief Logan and Ohio Valley Shawnee to force cession of modern Kentucky.
1775 - 1783 American Revolution: Indians in western Pennsylvania and New York, allied with British and American loyalists, war with Pennsylvanian militiamen and Continental Army.
1778 Battle of Wyoming: Most devastating Indian attack in Pennsylvania during the Revolution empties the Wyoming Valley of settlers.
1779 Sullivan Expedition: Undertaken by Continental Army as reprisal for Battle of Wyoming and to break the power of Iroquois in western New York
1782 Massacre of ninety-six unarmed Moravian Indians at Gnadenhutten in Ohio Country by Pennsylvania militiamen from Pittsburgh area.
1784 - 1794 Post-Revolutionary treaties between United States government and Iroquois and Ohio Indians complete Indian land cessions of territory within Pennsylvania's borders.
1791 - 1795 Ohio Indian Wars: continued resistance by Indians against U.S. expansion in western Pennsylvania and Ohio Country, ended by Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and Treaty of Greenville in 1795.
1818 John Heckewelder publishes: History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighboring States.
1832 George Catlin begins career painting Indians of trans-Mississippian West.
1879 - 1918 Carlisle School leads boarding school movement for Indian education in the United States.
1964 Seneca Indians living on the Cornplanter Tract in the northwest corner of the state lose their land with construction of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River. The Cornplanter Seneca move north to other Seneca communities in New York State.
2000 U.S. Census counts 52,650 Pennsylvanians who identify their heritage as all or part Native American.
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