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Greathouse of Augusta County, VA
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1774, Jun 10 - Letter: Devereux Smith to Dr. Smith, 1774
Pittsburgh, June 10th, 1774.
I returned this place the 12th May, and found my Family in the greatest confusion, owing to the appearance of an Indian War, and the Tyrannical treatment they received from Doctor Connolly in my absence.
Before I was illegally taken from my Family the 10th of April, I understood from some of the Shawaneese Chiefs at a Council with Mr. McKee, the Indian Agent under Sir William Johnson, that they were much dissatisfied at the Rapid Progress the Virginians had made down the Ohio, in Settleing Lands below the purchase, viz., below Siota river, which they looked upon as a great Encroachment on their liberties and Properties. They also expressed their Surprize to see a number of armed men assembled at this place, with their colours at different times, making a Warlike appearance, and said, that after the first Muster of the 25th January, some of the Militia fired on them at their camps near the mouth of the Sawmill Run.
These Shawaneese Chiefs were sent for by Mr. Croghan, last Summer, and came here about the 25th of December, and remained till the first of April, during which time they often complained to the Inhabitants of this Place, that Mr. Croghan had sent for them to do business, and kept them in great distress for want of Provision and Clothing. Upon which the Inhabitants were at some expence Supplying them during their stay, and when they were going Home, made a Collection of Goods for them, in order to send them off Satisfied.
On the 15th of April, Mr. Wm. Butler sent off a Canoe loaded with Goods for the Shawny Towns, and on the 16th it was attackted about forty miles from here, by three Cherokee Indians, who had waylaid them on the river Bank; they killed one White man, and wounded another, and third made his Escape. They plundered the Canoe of the most valuable part of the Cargo, and made off, but as they were Cherokees, we were sure they did this for sake of Plunder alone, therefore thought no more of it than the Loss. As Mr. Butler was under the necessity of sending People to assist in bringing his Peltry from the Shawny Towns, he sent off another Canoe on the 24th of April, in care of two Indians who were well known to be good men, and two White men; on the 27th, about 90 miles from here, they were fired upon from Shore, and both the Indians were killed by Michael Cresap and a party he had with him, they also scalped the Indians. Mr. Cresap then immediately followed the above mentioned Shawneese Chiefs some small distance down, where they were encamped, and fired upon them, killed one and wounded two more. The Indians fled to the Delaware Towns, which were the nearest, and are greatly Exasperated at this treatment, as they did not expect any such thing from the English. About that same time a party headed by one Gratehouse, barbarously Murthered and Scalped nine Indians at the House of one Baker, near Yellow Creek, about 55 miles down the river. Owing to these cruelties committed by Cresap and Gratehouse, the Inhabitants of Racoon and Weiling [Wheeling] fled from that Settlement, and are chiefly gone to Virginia. After Cresop had been guilty of these cruelties, he returned to Maryland, but has since come back with a Party of men. Cresop wrote to Connolly and Mr. McKee, threatening that if they did not give him security, taht the Indians would not do any mischief for six months, the he Cresop, would immediately proceed to commit further Hostilities against the Indians. About the 21st of April, Connolly wrote a Letter to the Inhabitants of Weiling, telling them that he had been informed by good authority, that the Shawneese were ill disposed towards the White men, and that he therefore required and Commanded them to hold themselves in readiness to repell any Insults that might be offered by them. This fell into the hands of Cresop, and he says that it was in consequence of this letter and the murther committed by the Cherokees on Mr. Butler's People, that he committed the Hostilities above mentioned. I am informed that the 6th of May Mr. Croghan sent Capt. White Eyes, (one of the Indian Chiefs,) in company with some of our Traders, to acquaint the Shawneese & Delawares, that the outrages which had been committed, was done by some of our ill disposed People, and without the least Countenance from Government, this Indian promised to us his best endeavours to accommodate matters, and returned here the 24th of May, and brought with him ten White men, who had been protected by the Delawares eight days in their Towns, and guarded safe to this Place; he also brought a Speech from the Delawares, from which we have great reason to believe they are not inclined for war; we also believe that they will endeavour to Preserve the lives of the Traders that are now amongst the Shawneese: he also brought from the Shawneese Chief, (called the hard man,) an answer to a Speech sent to them by Mr. Croghan, upon this occasion, in which he signifies that the Shawneese are all Warriors, and will not listen to us untill they have satisfaction of us, for what Injuries they have received from the Virginians, &c.
White-Eyes informs us that Mingo man called Logan, (whose Family has been murthered in the number,) had raised a Party to cut off the Shawny Town Traders, at the Canoe Bottom on Hawkhawkin Cree, where they were Pressing their Peltry, but we have heard since that the Shawneese have taken them under their Care untill matters are further settled, but God knows what fate they have met with; we hope they are still alive, and it it be so, they have a chance to come in, if the outrageous behaviour of the Virginians do not prevent them. The 6th of this month we had account from Muddy Creek, (empties into the river Monongahela near Cheat River,) that the Indians had killed and scalped one man, his wife and three children, and that three more of the same man's children were missing, and has since been confirmed; we suppose this to be Logan's party, and that they will do more mischief before they return. About 20th of May, one Campbell, lately from Lancr, was killed and scalped near Newcomer's Town, and one Proctor at Weiling, by a party of Shawneese and Mingoes.
Pennsylvania Archives, Series 1, Volume 4, Pennsylvania Archives 1774, Page 511-513, Letter: Devereux Smith to Dr. Smith, 1774.
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