The Susquehannock of Pennsylvania
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*Topic Relevance:  The Natives of this region are relevant to both the the Howard and Allied Ascendancy and the Swope and Allied Ascendancy. which together form the genealogical basis for the Within the Vines Website.
 The Susquehannock of Pennsylvania: [the name by which the ' Susquehannock' called themselves is lost to history]
They are found referred to as the Susquehannocks, the Andastes, the Minguas, and the Conestogas. Relatively few in number and isolated by their inland location, they managed to become an important trading partner with all of the competing European powers involved in Penna history-an achievement unmatched by any other tribe 6.  Iroquoian by language and unconquerable by their native enemy the Iroquois of the League until the mid 17th   as a result of related  European introduced disease,  Wm Penn encountered the Conestoga, their remnant people with whom he sought treaty , on his arrival in 1682,  only to understand them recently subjugated to NY's Iroquois League. In the 1720s, the Iroquois League  deeded "All land west of the Susquehanna to the Setting Sun" to Penn heirs, thus opening the westward expansion involved in the settlement of Adams County by our European forebears.  The remnant Susquehannock  people thus saw the land they held so long, amidst and against so many, lost forever.  By 1700 there were only 300 Susquehannock. The history of the Susquehannock nation ends with "Conestoga Town" a new town in their ancestral homeland  to which some of the original tribe returned as allowed by the Iroquois, located somewhere on the Conestoga river. 6While William Penn himself visited it in 170010, the town was diminuitive, having ever less occupants always peaceful in nature.  Their last small band was wiped out by the Paxtang Gang  in 1768 Lancaster Co., Pa  but their blood continues to run in veins of other Native American descendants with whom this people mingled. 
Cartouche of Susquehannock from  John Smith's map
aaPre Contact Area Map
Click images for enlargements 
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaPost 1682 French Map 
and/or sources
Table of Contents This Page: 
A)How The Susquehannock were Known, and Who Called them What
B) Precontact Numbers, Region of Habitation, and Influence
C) Susquehannock History to 1656
D) Penn's Arrival and the Susquehannock
E) The End of the Susquehannock Nation

A) How The Susquehannock Were Known:
Their own name for themselves is lost to history. 

Apparantly the Powhatan called the Susquehannocks by the name Pocoughtaonack or Bocootawwanauke. 
Lee Sultzman,in his excellent  online study pages detailing native history and culture , states they were known as 'the Cannibals'  by the same Confederacy7. The Powhatan were terrorized by Susquehannock  canoe roving bands and John Smith of Jamestown , Va. was the first European to encounter them [1608]; His Alqonquian interpreter called  them People at the Falls, or People of the Muddy River. 

They were Andaste to the French, Andastoerrhonon to  their friends the Huron and Mingua to the Swedes and Dutch.
In Penna they were called Conestoga [from  Kanestoge]. William Penn knew them as the Conestoga. 
The Susquehannock  also appear in our Virginia and our Virginians Chapter in the subject heading The Natives of Virginia subject heading as a result of their antagonistic relationship to the Powhatan Confederacy with whom our early Virginians were entwined.

" The Hurons called them the 'Andastoerrhonons', the French called them the Andasta, later this name was modified to Andastogas. In Jesuit Relations for 1663 (p. 47)1 they are  called Andastogueronnons (using the Huron word) and are  said to live near New Sweden (the Philadelphia area) which is the first reference to them in this area although its thought they had been in this area for some time. The next change in the name is Gandastogas which first appears in Jesuit Relations  for 1667(Mission Du Sault, 1667, p. 153), in this citation they seem to make a distinction between Gandastogue which is a place name and Gangdastogues which is the people's name (Jesuit Relations, 1669-1670, p. 105). The last change in the name is to Conestoga, probably developed after contact with Europeans. "31.

"On the lower Susquehanna dwelt the formidable tribe called  the Andastes. Fierce and resolute warriors, they long made head against the Iroquois of New York and were vanquished at last more by disease than by the tomahawk. They were known to the Dutch and Swedes as the Mingoes; the Marylanders as the Susquehannocks, and 
to Penn as the Conestogas. Upon their reduction in 1672, by the five nations, they were, to a great extent, 
mingled with their conquerors."30


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B) Susquehannock Pre Contact Numbers, Region of Habitation and Influence:

The Susquehannocks, an Iroquoian speaking group in an Algonquian region, were a physically large people & the dominant tribe 
living in the Northern Chesapeake watershed, holding sway over a large swathe of land . Powerful and formidable before decimation 
by war and disease in the post contact era , theirs was the Susquehanna River and its branches from the north end of Chesapeake 
Bay in [now] Maryland,  across [now] Pennsylvania, and  into southern [now] New York.

Pre Contact Native American Territories
They are known to have travelled along the coast of now Delaware where they terrorized the Lenape/Delaware, and along  the coast of now Virginia to the region of the Powhatan confederacy who moved their villages back to avoid their attack.  It is because of the Susquehannock, perhaps, that the Powhatan Confederacy  did not immediately attack the English arriving to Jamestown, thinking the newcomers a possible buffer able to further protect the Powhatan from this fierce enemy for which only the Powhatan Confederacy amongst the Algonquian peoples was a match. The Susquehannock, whom the "Powhatan  called cannibals ... had placed their villages well-inland to protect them  from Susquehannock war parties who ranged the coastline by canoes....the Susquehannock still attacked the Potomac (Powhatan) villages in northern Virginia during  1610" 7 despite Jamestown's presence there.
John Smith of Jamestown , Va was the first European to encounter them, in 1608. 
There were at least five tribal groups in the Susquehannock nation and the  population is thought to have been somewhere
between 5-7000 in 1600.  The Suquehannock " had a formidable village in the lower [Susquehanna] river valley near present-day Lancaster,  Pennsylvania, when Captain Smith met them. He estimated the population of their village to be two thousand, although
he never visited it. Modern estimates of their population, including the whole  territory in 1600, range as high as seven  thousand." 10
C) Susquehannock History  to 1656:
Historically the  Susquehannocks were allies of the Iroquoian language affiliated Huron and enemies , like the Huron , of the Iroquoian language affiliated  Iroquois Confederacy found at  the north border to  the Susquehannocks ancestral homeland. Since the Susquehannock apparently had been good friends with the Huron from times long before contact, it is possible they migrated to the Susquehanna Valley from the north. 7 
"The earliest village sites identified as Susquehannock were located on the upper Susquehanna River and date from about 1550, but they probably had occupied the region for at least 400 years before this.  Although they inflicted a major defeat on the Mohawk [of the Iroquois Confederacy] shortly before 1600,  wars with the Iroquois Confederacy had   forced the Susquehannock south into the lower Susquehanna Valley by 1570."6"Hardened by years of constant warfare, [the Susquehannock]  overwhelmed the Algonqui[a]n tribes along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and began extending their control southward." 6
Post Contact Map of Native American 
 settlement ca 1500

Cartouche of Susquehannock
from  Smith's map
Little is known of the Susquehannock culture.  First European contact was  by John Smith in 1608 while he was exploring the north of Chesapeake Bay, but Smith did not visit their villages.  In 1615 France's Brulé explored the area south of the Huron homeland and crossed the  the Niagara River, reaching the Susquehannock villages on the upper Susquehanna River, where he discovered the Susquehannock were more than willing to ally themselves with the French and Huron in their war against the Iroquois League." 6 It was not until they had been decimated by epidemic and wars with other natives that their villages were visited by other Europeans, leaving Susquehannock description incomplete. 

Smith's contact with the Susquehannock in 1608  "was friendly enough, but  Smith was wary because of their reputation and awed by their size. His later reports described them as giants."6 The name by which we know these people and their river comes from Smith's Alqonquian interpreter who called  them People at the Falls, or People of the Muddy River.
Smith's map includes a caption beneath a Susquehannock image [see left]  that they  "are a Gyant  like people & thus Atyred" and the Swedes thirty years later also commented on their size.

The Susquehannock were soon trading with the English in Virginia, pushing aside the Powhatan and their Confederacy8  The Atlantic Coast Tribes engaged in warfare in the 1600s over the right to trade  the Dutch and the Swedes, both of whom were trading partners of the Susquehannock. Owing to Susquehannock willingness to fight with the French against the Iroquois League, [ see footnote two : The French and the Susquehannock] the Susquehannock  had succesful trade with that Colonial Power as well. The Susquehannock were the only nation in the state of now Pennsylvania  who had succesful trade with all four of the colonial powers involved in Penna history.  See the succinct description of  Susquehannock trading relationships with the European powers in Footnote Two below. 
They also traded with  Iroquoian speaking neighbors not of the Iroquois League. 

Friendly with  the Huron [Iroquoian language  people] ,  the Susquehannocks  also traded  with the Erie [another Iroquoian language  people-see Footnote One briefly describing them]  who received European goods from them at an early date.  The Erie [see Footnote One] were just as determined as the Susquehannock not to be intimidated by Iroquois Confederacy  threats, but in 1651 the Mohawk and Oneida [of the Iroquois Confederacy ]  had begun a long war against the Susquehannock , thus  isolating the Erie [see Footnote One
from their only possible ally, and exposing the Erie to their  subsequent  destruction by the Iroquois League.  The Susquehannock meanwhile subjugated the Lenni Lenape/  Delaware [an Algonquian  language people] while by 1656 the Iroquois of the League had conquered and assimilated their Iroquioan-speaking rivals except the Susquehannock , starting at this time  to clear the Algonquian
tribes from the Ohio Valley and lower Michigan but as yet not  dominating the Susquehannocks or the Lenni Lenape/  Delaware  over whom the Susquehannocks held dominion. It was the introduction of European disease which was to prove the demise of the mighty Susquehannock, leading to their subjugation by the powerful Iroquois League which had been unable to subjugate them through 
warfare alone. William Penn, in seeking a treaty with the Susquehannock in 1683, found that this nation was subservient to
the Iroquois of the League, just as were the Lenni Lenape/  Delaware over which the Susquehannocks themselves had held 
dominion 40 some years before.

To Footnotes Referred to in above
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Footnotes :
Footnote One: The Eries in Brief
The Erie, or Cat Nation, belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic group, lived in central and western Pennsylania, New York State as far east as the Genesee River31, and in Ohio along the shore of Lake Erie as far west as the Maumee River31. In 1655 the Iroquois of New York State "destroyed the Erie Nation. The Iroquois had the advantage of guns, provided by the English and Dutch settlers in the East, and those Eries who could not escape to the West were killed or captured. For fifty years after that massacre no Indians dared migrate into the Ohio country. These same New York Indians in 1649 invaded Ontario, driving out the Hurons, who eventually moved into the Maumee Valley, where they became known as the Wyandots." 32

Footnote Two: The Susquehannock and Their Trade with the Colonial Powers

Background: The French had early emnified the Iroquois of the Confederacy. 
See The French effect on Pennsylvania in Native of Pennsylvania's General History Page.

Lee Sultzman writes: "Friendly relations with the Susquehannock were particularily valuable to the French, not only for purposes of trade, but because they trapped the Iroquois between two powerful enemies. Unfortunately, the new alliance alarmed Dutch traders on the Hudson River, and they actively supported the Mohawk in 1615 against the Susquehannock. Although they were relatively few in number and isolated by their inland location, the Susquehannock managed to become an important trading partner with all of the competing European powers - an achievement unmatched by any other tribe. Also handicapped by their inland location, the Iroquois first had to contend with the powerful Mahican confederacy in order to trade with the Dutch, and it took four-years of war (1624-28) before the Mohawk [of the 6 Nations]  emerged as the pre-eminent trading partner of the Dutch in the Hudson Valley. The Susquehannock, however, had an easier time against the numerous - but peaceful and disorganized - Delaware tribes  who traded with the Dutch along the lower Delaware. Beginning in 1626, the Susquehannock attacked the Delaware and by 1630 had forced many of them either south into Delaware or across the river into New Jersey. The Dutch accepted the outcome, but when they began to trade with the Susquehannock, they were pleased to discover the Susquehannock (skilled hunters and trappers) had more (and better) furs than the Delaware . By the time the Swedes made their first settlements on the Delaware River in 1638, the Delaware were entirely subject to the Susquehannock and needed permission from the 'Minqua' to sign any treaties.".6
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D) Penn's Arrival and The Susquehannock:
By the time of Penn's arrival in Pennsylvania, the Susquehannock had been greatly reduced by epidemic and war-they were subjugated by the Iroquois Confederacy, and the Susquehannock former vassals, the Delaware and Munsee Indians, were subjugated along with them. 

"In 1683 William Penn attempted to sign a treaty with them [ed note, the susquehannock]  only to learn that  the Susquehannock (like the Delaware) first needed Iroquois approval to sign. Subsequent dealings by the Pennsylvania government  concentrated on the Iroquois and ignored the subservient tribes. The Iroquois eventually  allowed 300 Susquehannock to return to the Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania. No longer a powerful people, they became known as the Conestoga (from the name of their village). The Iroquois kept a watchful eye on them and used their homeland as a kind of supervised reservation for the displaced Algonqui[a]n and Siouan tribes (Delaware, Munsee, Nanticoke, Conoy, Tutelo, Saponi, Mahican, Shawnee, and New England Algonqui[a]n) who were allowed to settle there as members of the 'covenant chain.' " 6

Above: Post Penn Arrival [1782] French Map
of the Susquehannock Territory
Map to Right:  Region of Influence Pre Contact 

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On to The End of the Susquehannock Nation

 E) The End of the Susquehannock Nation:

Above is the Map 
detailing the Conestoga 
River on which the 
Conestoga Settlement 
existed,  the exact location 
of which is not known. 
This was the last abode 
of the last full blooded 
descendants of
the Susquehannock.
Click image for enlargement
By 1700 there were only 300 Susquehannock. The history of the Susquehannock nation ends with "Conestoga Town" a new town in their ancestral homeland  to which some of the original tribe returned as allowed by the Iroquois, located somewhere on the Conestoga river. 6While William Penn himself visited it in 170010, the town was diminuitive, having ever less occupants always peaceful in nature. But Indian uprisings in the Great Lakes region relevant to Pontiac's War erupted into acts of great violence and rage against these now docile remnants of a once fierce people in south central Pennsylvania. As feelings rose, fourteen Conestoga were arrested and placed in the jail at Lancaster, Lancaster County, Penna.,  for their own protection. In 1763, the Paxton boys murdered the six people they found in the settlement6 , 10and within weeks  proceeded to the jail where the beat the remaining to death6. Two survivors , not present at the time of the attacks and named Michael and Mary , were later protected by the Gov, but when they died, the Susquehannock nation died with them.6. Descendants, however, are felt to exist among the Delaware, Tuscarora, Oneida [of the Iroquois League], and Oklahoma Seneca [of the Iroquois League] peoples.6
 Detailed history on the Susquehannock can be found at Susquehannock History while more information is found at's Where are the Susquehannock now?

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Sources for This Page:
1. State Museum of Pennsylvania. Brief Summary of the 1681 Charter.
2. From York County History Pages of York County Webpages.
3. Penn and the Indians page of site entitled " William Penn. Visionary Proprietor"  by  Tuomi J. Forrest
4 Indians, Sources, Critics by Will J. Alpern (Prudential-Bache Securities). Presented at the 5th Cooper Seminar, James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, July, 1984. ©1985 by State University of New York College at Oneonta ["may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or instructional use, or by libraries" ] Originally published in James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art, Papers from the 1984 Conference at State University of  New York College -- Oneonta and Cooperstown. George A. Test, editor. (pp. 25-33)
6.  SUSQUEHANNOCK HISTORYpart of First Nations, Issues of Conesquence pages. Lee Sultzman
7. SUSQUEHANNOCK HISTORY, Lee Sultzman. Part of First Nations Histories
8.Information on the Susquehannock Indians from Pagewise
9.  Delaware History by Lee Sultzman.. Part of First Nations Histories
10. Where are the Susquehannock now?  part of the pages of
12. Native Americans Post Contact:, from The Mariners Museum, Newport News, Va pages
13. Internet School Library Media Center, Monacan Indians page.
14. AN AMERICAN SYNTHESIS The Sons of St. Tammany or Columbian Order . [ the footnotes evident in the text takent from "an American Synthesis" can be accessed at the link given in source
15. Iroquois . By: Joe Wagner, with references provided.
16. The Iroquois. by Lee Sultzman. Part of First Nations Histories
17 William Henry Harrison and the West  , part of Dr James B. Calvert's pages at University of Denver Website.
At the time of Penn's arrival in 1682, the Susquehannock were subservient to the Iroquois Confederacy, just as their enemies and neighbors, the Delaware , were. The Susquehannock were decimated by war and disease, but the Lenape remained vital.
18. Shawnee's Reservation  a detailed site on Shawnee History
19. Shawnee History by Lee Sultzman. . Part of First Nations Histories
20. Marjorie Hudson, Among the Tuscarora: The Strange and Mysterious Death of John Lawson, Gentleman, Explorer, and Writer,  North Carolina Literary Review, 1992 [transcribed at East North Carolina Digital History Exhibits]
21. Chief Logan: Friend, Foe or Fiction?  by Ronald R. Wenning.  The Journal of the Lycoming County Historical Society, Volume XXXVII, Number 1, Fall, 1997
22. Mingo Indians part of The Allegheny Regional Family History Society's Web pages
23. Weiser, Shikellamy and the Walking Purchase By  Al Zagofsky

24. Conrad Weiser from the   Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
25. The Walking Purchase from   Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
26. James Logan , Mingo Indian from The American National Biography, published by Oxford University Press under the auspices
 of the American Council of Learned Societies.
27. The Lineage of Mother Bedford from Mother Bedford ,  a website devoted primarily to the history of Old-Bedford County, Pennsylvania during the American Revolutionary War period.
28.  Year 1736.  part of the webpage entitled "Ben Franklin :A  Documentary History"  by J A Leo Lemay , English Department , Professor University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.
29. Shawnee' entry from Hodge's Handbook Abstract: The 'Shawnee' entry from Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, edited by Frederick
Webb Hodge (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 30. GPO: 1910.)
30. PATH VALLEY BEFORE THE REVOLUTION. Hon. A. N. Pomeroy. April 28, 1898.compiled from information supplied by the Coyle Free Library in Chambersburg , PA and provided to by Linda Carter
31 Text from Selected Manuscripts of General John S. Clark Relating to the Aboriginal History of the Susquehanna Edited by  Louise Welles Murray, Director, Tioga Point Museum Athens, Pennsylvania, 1931, found within Native American Topics as transcribed in  An Interesting account of the Susquehannocks part of f The History and Culture of Lancaster County at and described as copyright 2003 The Conestoga Area Historical Society and Historical Lancaster County Heritage Resource  Website
32. from Chapter One.The Indian Lands prehistory - 1814. from " Toledo Profile A Sesquicentennial History", by Tana Mosier Porter. Co Editors: Dr. Charles N. Glaab, James C. Marshall. Produced by the Toledo Sesquicentennial Commission,  Toledo, Ohio. 1987   Second Printing 1987. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 87-50218. ISBN Number 0-9618210-1-9. Copyright © 1987 by Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Printing by Buettner  Toledo, Inc, Toledo, OH.
33. (New Jersey) Extract from  The Indian Tribes of North America  by John R. Swanton.  Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145ó1953. [726 pagesóSmithsonian Institution] (pp. 48-55). Presented in pages of the Northern Plains Archive Project web site.

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