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Greathouse Point > Greathouse County > VA > Augusta

Greathouse of Augusta County, VA

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1774, Aug 23 - Deposition: Richard Butler, Account of the Rise of the Indian War, 1774

Account Of The Rise Of The Indian War, 1774.

As there is many different opinions concerning the Indian War it is the duty of every well meaning Person to declare what they know concerning it, the rise of it, and their opinion with regard to the Intent of the Natives. Therefore I do here briefly declare all I know of the matter, likewise the manner that the Shawanese Tribe behaved while I was amongst them, and the Treatment their People received while at Pittsburgh, after escorting the Property of the different Traders to this Place.

lstly. Through the last Winter they were as friendly as I have known them this four years past, and in general paid their debts as their ability would admit very well to me.

2dly. They were preparing for a great Summer Hunt, which I can't Interpret into any hostile Intent by them.

3dly. When they heard of my Canoe being Robbed, and one of my Hands killed and one wounded by the Cherokees there was some of the Head Men and many of the People much concerned for my Loss and the mischief done to the People.

4thly. When they heard of one of their Head men being murdered on the Ohio on his way home from Pittsburgh, it gave some uneasiness to think that one of their Head men should be so served; but charged it to the account of some ill minded People, and seemed to be content that mischief was not the general Intent of the English towards them, therefore in their own way they buried his memory with a dance and Presents to his name.

5thly. A second Canoe of mine was attacked, & one Compass a Delaware Indian shot dead in her, that Mr. Wm. Butler had hired to take his Cargoc and Hands to me, the Hands escaped but my Property was all made away with and lost to me which was to a considerable amount.

6thly. The barbarous Murder near yellow Creek on the Ohio of an Indian Family called Logans, alarmed the Shawanese very much, and I think the Traders and their People would have suffered by a few of the Mingoes that lived on the Sciota near to the Shawanese were it not for the pacific Intent and Interposition (I mean the friendly Intent of the Shawanese.)

7thly. On hearing the news of said murder three Mingoes men and one Boy, and one of the Shawanese People, the Son (as they say of an old negro called Caesar) set off to the Hockkockin with an Intent to murder & rob us in Revenge; on hearing which the Shawanese Head Men sent four of their own People, and one Mohickon man to preserve us from the danger that threatened us, which they did faithfully; for when the War Party came to our Camp they took them in and talked with them, and at length prevailed on them to turn home, which they did, and three of the Shawanese escorted me and one Robert George to the Towns, and the Nephew of one of the principal Head Men and the Mohickon Man stayed to preserve the People that staid with our Peltry and Horses 'till our Return, which was in .about eight days; but said Mingoes getting Drunk on the way home they left us and turned back and stole some of my Horses, which was all they could get done, owing cbieflyto the Vigilance of the Shawanese Men and two Mingoes called McClelans that wo had hired to stay there.

8thly. When we were ready to come away, the Corn-Stalk, a Head Man sent his Brother to escort us all the way to Pittsburgh, although the Report of Logan & his Party of Relations and Friends having gone to war had reached the lower Towns before we came away in Revenge for the Loss of his Mother and other Relations. One of the above named McClelans a Mingo and the Mohickunman came with us & behaved in a careful, faithful, and friendly manner the whole way. The Corn-Stalk sent a Speech by the advice of several of their Head men, addressed to the Governors of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Commandant at Pittsburgh, intreating them to put a stop to any further Hostilities, and they would endeavour to do the same.

9thly. When we arrived here the 16th of June, I waited on the Commandant Doctor Conolly, and requested he might afford Protection to the three Friend Indians that had so faithfully protected us, but he positively refused it. A few Days after I presented him with the Speech and again prayed his Protection, but was again refused, and he declared in a very ill-natured manner that he would not speak to them, in the Presence of Devr" Smith, Esqr.

10thly. The Sunday following an armed Party of near forty men went out as we were informed to take these poor Indians, but the Traders thought it so horrid an act, and acting in violation of all Laws of Friendship with trouble got them away in safety, and made them handsome Presents for their Friendship and Fidelity and sent them away well satisfied with us.

llthly. We were informed that a Party fired upon them near the mouth of Beaver Creek, & wounded the Mohickon Man, it is thought by one William Liti and his Party who we are likewise creditably informed intended to murder & rob the Traders as we came up the River.

These Fuels I think was sufficient to bring on a war with a Christian instead of a Savage People, and I do declare it as my opinion that the Shawanese did not intend a war this Season, let their future Intentions be what they might; and I do likewise declare that I am afraid from the Proceedings of the Chief of the White People in this Part of the Country that they will bring en a general war, as there is so little pains taken to restrain the common People whose prejudice leads them to greater lengths than ought to be shown by civilized People, and their Superiors take too little if any pains, and I do really think is much to blame themselves in the whole Affair.


Sworn & Subscribed the 23d of Augt, 1774, before me,

Ar. St. Clair.


1) Under authority of a resolution of Congress, dated July 15, 1776 (Journal, vol. 1, 411-419 (for the defense of the western frontier, to garrison the posts of Presqu' Isle, Le Boeuff and Kittaning, to consist of seven companies from Westmoreland, and one from Bedford, the Eight Pennsylvania was raised. On July 20, 1776, the convention of Pennsylvania then sitting, having recommended for field officers Colonel Aeneas Mackey (written McCoy), Lieutenant Colonel George Wilson, Major Richard Butler, they were elected by congress. Congress having resolved that the committees of the counties in which the companies were to be raised should name the company officers, and they naming them, Congress September 14, 1776 (Journal, vol. 1, 475), accepted them and ordered commissions.


Pennsylvania Archives, Series 1, Volume 4, Pennsylvania Archives 1774, J. Severns & Co., 1853. Page 568-570, Deposition: Richard Butler, Account of the Rise of the Indian War, 1774. View @ Google Books

Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Volume X, Chapter: Continental Line. Eighth Pennsylvania. July 20, 1776-January 17, 1781. Page 657, Colonel Aeneas Mackay, Lieutenant Colonel George Wilson and Major Richard Butler were commissioned and placed in command of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment. View @ Footnote


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