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 Battle of Wyoming [Indians] (Luzerne) marker icon Braddock's Defeat (Allegheny)
marker icon Burnt Cabins (Fulton) marker icon Carbon County [Jim Thorpe] (Carbon)
marker icon Carlisle Indian Industrial School (Cumberland) marker icon Chief Logan (Mifflin)
marker icon Col. William Crawford (Fayette) marker icon Conestoga Indian Town (Lancaster)
marker icon Connecticut Settlement (Luzerne) marker icon Conoy Indian Town (Lancaster)
marker icon Conrad Weiser (Berks) marker icon David Brainerd (Northampton)
marker icon David Zeisberger [Indians] (Potter) marker icon Fishbasket Old Town (Clarion)
marker icon Fort Duquesne (Allegheny) marker icon Fort Lafayette [Indians] (Allegheny)
marker icon Frankstown (Blair) marker icon Frederick Post (Lawrence)
marker icon George Catlin [Indians] (Luzerne) marker icon Great Minquas Path (Chester)
marker icon Great Shamokin Path (Jefferson) marker icon Green Tree Inn (Cumberland)
marker icon Heckewelder House (Northampton) marker icon Indian Hannah (1730-1802) (Chester)
marker icon Indian Jasper Quarries (Lehigh) marker icon Indian Paint Hill (Warren)
marker icon Katharine Drexel (1858-1955) (Bucks) marker icon Kittanning (Armstrong)
marker icon Kuskuskies Towns (Lawrence) marker icon Kuskusky Path (Allegheny)
marker icon Logstown (Beaver) marker icon Mary Jemison (Adams)
marker icon McKees Rocks Mound (Allegheny) marker icon Meadowcroft Rockshelter (Washington)
marker icon Montour County (Montour) marker icon Moses Tunda Tatamy [Indians] (Northampton)
marker icon Penn Treaty Park (Philadelphia) marker icon Purchase of 1768 (Indiana)
marker icon Queen Aliquippa (Allegheny) marker icon Shikellamy (Northumberland)
marker icon Simon Girty (Dauphin) marker icon Sullivan Campaign [Indians] (Northampton)
marker icon Venango Path (Venango) marker icon Walking Purchase [Indians] (Bucks)
marker icon Warren County [Indians] (Warren) marker icon Warriors Path (Bradford)
marker icon Wyolutimunk (Wyoming)

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

Story Bibliography

Original Documents
icon full text John Smith's Description of the Susquehannocks, circa 1608.
icon full text A Delaware Creation Story, circa 1679.
icon full text David Brainerd Describes the Difficulty of Converting Indians, circa 1746.
icon full text Conrad Weiser's Diplomacy with the Ohio Indians, 1748.
icon full text Lieutenant Joumonville, on Indians and Oil, 1750.
icon full text Speeches from a French Council with the Ohio Indians, 1753.
icon full text John Shaw's Account of Jumonville's Murder, 1754.
icon full text Delaware Chief Shingas Explains Why the Indians Abandoned General Braddock, 1755.
icon full text Description of the Kittanning Raid, 1757.
icon full text Governor Denny's Message to the Ohio Indians, Easton Treaty, 1758.
icon full text Teedyuscung's Speech at the Easton Treaty Conference, 1758.
icon full text Mary Jemison Describes her Adoption into an Indian Family, circa 1758.
icon full text An Indian Warning About the British Occupation of the Forks of the Ohio, 1758.
icon full text The Return of Indian Captives, 1764.
icon full text James Dove, An Anti-Quaker Defense of the Paxton Boys, 1764.
icon full text Benjamin Franklin, "An Account of the Paxton Boys' Murder of the Conestoga Indians," 1764.
icon full text John Heckewelder, On Indian Communication Along Their Paths, circa 1770.
icon full text Logan's Speech, 1774.
icon full text David Zeisberger, On Indian Production of Maple Sugar, circa 1780.
icon full text The Examination of Indian Hannah, 1797.
icon full text David Zeisberger's Burial Notes on an Indian Convert, 1801.
icon full text John Heckewelder, Excerpt from History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations, 1818.
icon full text John Heckwelder on Delaware Indians' Use of Paint for Bodily Decoration, 1819.
icon full text George Catlin, on His Desire to Document All Indian Tribes, 1841.
icon full text George Catlin Explains His Life's Work Painting Indians, 1841.
icon full text Carlisle Indian Industrial School student Maggie writes home to her father, 1881.
icon full text Zitkala-Sa Reflects on Her Experiences at Indian Schools, 1900.
icon full text Iroquois Creation Story

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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