Pennsylvania Politics and the Growth of Democracy: 1740- 1776

By Theodore Thayer | Go to book overview

V FRANKLIN THE TRIBUNE. 1756-1757

T HERE MAY BE some significance in the fact that the first Indian raid on Pennsylvania occurred against the Penn Creek settlement. This region was part of the land purchased from the Six Nations in 1754 without consulting the Delawares and Shawnees who occupied it. The Pennsylvania authorities did not feel obliged to treat with the occupants of the land who were tributaries to the Six Nations.

Pennsylvania started the practice of conducting business with the Pennsylvania Indians through the councils of the Six Nations early in the Eighteenth Century. When the Delaware lands on the Lehigh were taken over by the "Walking Purchase" in 1737, the Six Nations were called upon to officiate at the meeting held in 1742 with the Indians. As the Delawares showed a reluctance to leave their homes, the Mohawks ordered them to move to the Wyoming Valley. The Delawares had no recourse but to obey. In 1749 the Penns purchased directly from the Six Nations a great tract of land east of the Susquehanna. Five years later the Proprietors bought from them an immense tract to the west of the river.

The last purchase was occasioned by the fact that there was comparatively little good land in the purchase of 1749, the area which included the Poconos and adjacent mountain regions. The line of march of the settlers was generally west and not north as settlers pushed into the Juniata Valley and westward toward the Allegheny and Ohio. In 1749 Peters reported to the Proprietors:

Now there is peace numbers are going over the hills to settle in the lands at Juniata, & all along the road to Allegheny, & tho' the sheriff & four of the most prudent & intrepid magistrates will be sent to remove them, yet I cannot promise that it will be in the power of the government to prevent these mutinous spirits from settling those lands.

1

Three years later, with hundreds of settlers moving to Virginia and the Carolinas for want of available land in Pennsylvania, Peters declared that "a new Purchase is absolutely necessary."2

An opportunity for making a new purchase from the Six Nations presented itself in 1754 when the Board of Trade called a meeting with these Indians at Albany for the purpose of reaffirming the friend-

____________________
1
Peters to Proprietors, April 29, 1749, Peters Letter Book, 1737-1750.
2
Penn MSS., Off. Corresp., V, 219.

-49-

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