The Shawnees and Their Place in Settlement Pennsylvania History.
aThis Page is Part of The Subject Heading: Native Tribes of Southeastern and Southcentral Pa [See Subject Heading Table of Contents]
aaThis Subject Heading  is part of The Chapter EntitledPennsylvania & Our Pennsylvanians [See Pa Chapter Index]
aaaThe Chapter is found in Our American Immigrants, a section of the  Within The Vines Website [See General WT Vines Site Map]

Within The Vines Home * * Copyright & Terms of Use * * Email Webmistress
The Shawnee in Pennsylvania History [also known as the Savannah , Shawano, and Cumberland Indians ]
The Shawnees were an important Algonquian-speaking tribe who came to Pennsylvania from the west in the 1690s, some groups settling on the lower Susquehanna and others with the Munsees near Easton. In the course of time they moved to the Wyoming Valley and the Ohio Valley, where they joined other Shawnees who had gone there directly. They were allies of the French in the French and Indian War and of the British in the Revolution, being almost constantly at war with settlers for forty years preceding the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. After Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers (1794), they settled near the Delawares in Indiana, and their descendants now live in Oklahoma. The Shawnee History in Pennsylvania is closely associated with both the Iroquois of the Iroquois League and the Lenape / Delaware Indians, both with dedicated pages in this site.
Abstract of Page Contents:
Page Contents: 

Click on Images shown throughout this page   for Image Source Details
The Shawnee Background
The Shawnee are mentioned as being both western and eastern in branches. These were an Algonquian speaking people often associated with the Carolinas. In 1660, as a result of the Beaver wars, and owing to  the might of the Iroquois Confederacy, they were forced south from their ancestral pre contact regions,  to the locale  with which they are traditionally associated and  far removed from their ancestral grandfathers : The Lenape or Delaware people.  The Shawnee of South Carolina included the Piqua and Hathawekela divisions of the tribe but the Shawnee were pursued to the south by the Seneca of the Iroquois Confederacy, and more migration of their peoples was the result.  The Piqua thus  appear in the earliest European settlement of Lancaster County,  Pennsylvania, but the Shawnee importance to our study is not limited to Lancaster County. As a result of the Seneca's hostile persistence in harassing them,  the Shawnee  migrated north in subjugation to the Iroquois Confederacy, through Pennsylvania,  with some of  the Shawnee settling IN Pennsylvania beside the ancestral grandfathers, the Lenape,  likewise dominated by the Iroquois Confederacy. The period of the migration north from the Carolinas corresponds with the Iroquois domination of the Natives of Pennsylvania, and is part of the reason that the Iroquois sent a diplomat of their people to Pennsylvania to assure the contact of the migrating indians to the Susquehanna Valley. {see the Iroquois Chief of  the Susquehanna Valley}

The "western Shawnee are mentioned about the year 1672 as being harassed by the Iroquois, and also as allies and neighbors of the Andaste, or Conestoga [ed note, AKA Susquehannocks] , who were themselves at war with the Iroquois. As the Andaste were then incorrectly supposed to live on the upper waters of the Ohio river,  the Shawnee would naturally be considered their neighbors. The two tribes were probably in alliance against the Iroquois, as we find that when the first body of Shawnee removed from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, about 1678, they settled adjoining the Conestoga , and when another part of the same tribe desired to remove to the Delaware [editor's note: the Delaware Native Nation] in 1694 permission was granted on condition that they make peace with the Iroquois. Again, in 1684, the Iroquois justified their attacks on the Miami by asserting that the latter had invited the Satanas (Shawnee) into their country to make war upon the Iroquois. This is the first historic mention of the Shawnee -- evidently the western division -- in  the country N. of the Ohio river" Text From Shawnee' entry In  Hodge's Handbook

Click on Image for  Source Details
Useful Links:
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.)

Click on Image for  Source Details
Useful Links:
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.)



Shawnee Appearance in Pennsylvania
There is no proof that these people  had a part in Penn's first treaty in 1682. The Shawnee seem to have first appeared in eastern Penna. in 1677 or 1678, due to native warfare forcing their migration. In 1694, by invitation of the Delaware's and their allies, another large party came from the South and settled with the Munsee on the  Delaware, the main body fixing themselves at the mouth of the Lehigh river, near present Easton, Pa., while some went as far down as the Schuylkill. As a result of the subjugation of the Delaware by the Iroquois, the Shawnee also migrated west, corresponding with the removal of the Delaware. Pequea in now Lancaster County was their town. The Pequea Valley and its native inhabitants  figures in importance in the early history of our Mennonites of Lancaster County, Penna., where they are described and mentioned..  In addition, Andrew Shriber's early experience in now southern Adams County seems to indicate Shawnee presence in that region, as comment on the Catawba with whom the  Shawnee warred are mentioned. 
"In October 1736, during a treaty council outside Philadelphia at Stenton, Pennsylvania [editor's note,: Stenton is the home of our ancestor James Logan whose home often featured for negotiations] , the Seneca chief Kanickhungo, representing the Six Nations, explained to the proprietor Thomas Penn that, soon after his father William Penn 'came into this Country, he and we treated together.' 'He opened and cleared the Road between this Place and our Nations, which was very much to our good Liking, and it gave us great Pleasure. We now desire that this Road, for the mutual Accommodation and Conveniency of you and us, who travel therein to see each other, may be kept clear and open, free from all Stops or Incumbrances.' In a few words, the Iroquois leader invoked a simple element of the landscape, ' the Road,' as a metaphor for communication, diplomacy, and cultural exchange between Indians and whites. Yet the road also referred to a physical space, a passage that connected national territories, communities, and people, a space used by many parties. Experience had taught Kanickhungo that shared roads often suffered from 'Stops or Incumbrances'ólike brambles, competition for resources and political power stood in the way of cooperation. He thus invoked the memory of the first colonial peacemaker who had advocated tolerance toward native peoples, and he gently reprimanded the son for his apparent deficiencies. Kanickhungo, like many eighteenth century Americans, tried to articulate ways that coexistence could work. As representative of one imperial power addressing another, he drew on metaphors that implored native Americans and Euramericans to be equally responsible for keeping the route between their communities clear, to share that frontier as they negotiated a better understanding.[1] " 30:sample chapter of At the Crossroads  Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763 by Jane T. Merritt 

The Known History of the Shawnee from Pre Contact to Present
The migration to South Carolina of the Shawnee as a result of the post contact Beaver Wars and the Strength of the Iroquoian Iroquois Confederacy
The Shawnee were  Algonquian speakers like their "grandfathers" the Lenni Lenape [AKA Delaware] , and are mentioned by name in the Walam Olum [or Wallam Olum] of the Lenape people; It appears from that source that they migrated  with the Delaware and were present by a great inland lake thought to be  Lake Erie by 1500.  Theirs was a patrilineal culture present in  Ohio, West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania19 [southern Ohio and northern Kentucky18] disrupted by the Iroquoian speaking Iroquois Confederacy who, in 1656,  having  conquered and assimilated their Iroquian-speaking rivals except the Susquehannock, started to clear the Algonquin tribes from the Ohio Valley and lower Michigan19. In 1660  the Shawnee were forced to flee the Ohio Valley during the first part of the Beaver Wars (1630-1700) 19. Bands of Shawnee scaterred from " the Gulf Coast to the Delaware valley in western New Jersey. Some went south, occupying parts of Georgia and South Carolina, where they assisted the English in their wars against the Westos. Others fled first to Illinois, then Pennsylvania and Maryland, settling near their ' grandfathers,'  the Delawares" 18

About those Shawnee Who Went South

Those among the Shawnee who went south  gained approval by the Cherokee to settle in South Carolina , thereby offering a buffer for the Cherokee  against the Catawba  with whom the Cherokee warred, and setting an obvious stage for the subsequent war between the Shawnee and the Catawba19. At the same time, the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy continued to harass and attack the Shawnee escaped to the south, bringing in a dangerous element for all, including the Cherokee and white settlers , of the region; The Iroquois  were sometimes  accompanied by the Lenape [AKA Delaware] in their war parties, the 5 Nations [later 6]  having  gained dominance over the  Lenape [previously subjugated by  the Susquehannock ] . 

Click on Image for  Source Details
Why the Recently migrated Southern Shawnee went North to the Land of Their Ancestral Grandfathers

In 1707  a final Catawba victory over the Shawnee  forced another scattering of the Shawnee.  "Some of the Hathawekela [editor's note: The Shawnee of South Carolina  included the Piqua and Hathawekela divisions of the tribe 29] went north to Pennsylvania in 1706 and joined the Shawnee who were already part of the Iroquois covenant chain. Others found refuge with the Creek in Alabama settling first on the Chattahoochee and later the Tallapoosa. The rest joined their relatives in Tennessee" 19.Those of the Carolina Shawnees who went  north to Pennsylvania found paradoxical refuge among the Delaware and Iroquois. 19 "
Image  Source Details
"The first Shawnee seem to have removed from South Carolina in 1677 or 1678, when, according to Drake, about 70 families established themselves on the Susquehanna adjoining the Conestoga in Lancaster co., Pa., at the mouth of the Pequea cr. Their village was called Pequea, a form of Piqua. The Assiwikales (Hathawekela) were a part of the later migration. ... The chief of Pequea was Wapatha, or Opessah, who made a treaty with Penn at Philadelphia in 1701, and more than 50 years afterward the Shawnee, then in Ohio, still preserved a copy of this treaty. There is no proof that they had a part in Penn's first treaty in 1682. In 1694, by invitation of the Delaware and their allies, another large party came from the S. -- probably from Carolina -- and settled with the Munsee on the  Delaware, the main body fixing themselves at the mouth of Lehigh r., near the present Easton, Pa., while some went as far down as the Schuylkill. This party is said to have numbered about 700, and they were several months on the journey. Permission to settle on the Delaware was granted by the Colonial government on condition of their making peace with the Iroquois, who then received them as 'brothers,' while the Delawares acknowledged them as their ' second sons,' i. e. grandsons. The Shawnee to-day refer to the Delawares as their grandfathers. From. this it is evident that the Shawnee were never conquered by the Iroquois, and, in fact, we find the western band a few years previously assisting the Miami against the latter. As the Iroquois, however, had conquered the lands of the Conestoga and Delawares, on which the Shawnee settled, the former still claimed the prior right of domain. Another large part of the Shawnee probably left 
South Carolina about 1707, as appears from a statement made by Evans in that year (Day, Penn, 391,1843), which shows that they were then hard pressed in the S. He says: "During our abode at Pequehan [Pequea] several of the Shaonois Indians from ye southward came to settle here, and were admitted so to do by Opessah, with the governor's consent, at the same time an Indian, from a Shaonois town near Carolina came in and gave an account that four hundred and fifty of the flat-headed Indians [Catawba] had besieged them, and that in all probability the same was taken. Bezallion informed the governor that the Shaonois of Carolina -- he was  told -- had killed several Christians; whereupon the government of that province raised the said flat-headed Indians, and joined some Christians to them, besieged and have taken, as it is thought, the said Shaonois town." Those who escaped probably fled to the N. and joined their kindred in Pennsylvania. In 1708 Gov. Johnson, of South Carolina, reported the "Savannahs" on Savannah r. as occupying 3 villages and numbering about 150 men (Johnson in Rivers, S. C., 236, 1856). In 1715 the  "Savanos" still in Carolina were reported to live 150 m. N. W. of Charleston, and still to occupy 3 villages, but with only 233 inhabitants in all. The Yuchi and Yemasee were also then in the same neighborhood (Barnwell, 1715, in Rivers, Hist. S. C., 94, 1874). "29
William Penn's Documentation of Shawnee People in Pennsylvania
At the time of Penn's arrival 1782, he encountered Shawnee and Delaware near present day Philadelphia and he documented the Shawnee  in 1702  at a settlement "being not above 30 Cabanes [cabins] at the most  on the mouth of Pequea Creek in Penna. î [The Pequea is in now Lancaster County and The Piqua Shawnee  likely some of  the Indians as Marie Werrebaur described them  , along with the Delaware known there  , relevant to  our Mennonite forebears who were the first settlers of what is now Lancaster County . In addition, as the Shawnee battled with the Catawba, it is likely it is the Shawnee who are described by Shriver, an early settler of York, now Southern Adams County, Pa, passing frequently to use the spring on their family's land ].    "The Piqua (Pekowi, Pequa)  river  in now Lancaster County and the valley with which it is associated  owe  their name [Pequa]  to one of  the 5 subnations of the Shawnee people. By 1725 most of the southern bands had rejoined their kinsmen in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but pressure from the expanding white frontier and from the Iroquois slowly pushed the Shawnees westward, where they established new villages in the Wyoming and Susquehanna valleys." 18
This region itself would soon feel strenuous crowding.

The Removal of the Shawnee from Eastern Pennsylvania

"In 1737 Pennsylvania cheated the Delaware out of their last lands in the Lehigh Valley. The loss forced the Shawnee to also leave the area. They settled for a time with the Munsee and other Delaware on Iroquois lands in the Wyoming and Susquehanna Valleys, but the crowded conditions soon had them looking at western Pennsylvania.  Except for the Wyandot, who the Iroquois were trying to lure away from the French alliance, and a few groups of Mingo (Iroquois descended from Huron, Neutrals, and Erie adopted during the 1650s), no tribe had occupied the area since the onset of the Beaver Wars. Small hunting camps on the upper Ohio were soon followed by permanent Shawnee villages, and the Mingo not only did not object to this, but even settled with them in the same villages. Encouraged, the Shawnee invited the Delaware to join them, and during the
1740s, thousands of Delaware and Shawnee left Iroquois domination on the Susquehanna and moved to western Pennsylvania."18

The known Villages of the Shawnee in Pennsylvania
Among the villages of the Shawnee or mixed nation villages of Shawnee and other tribes  in Pennsylvania [the other nations involved being mentioned when given ]   were Logstown (Delaware-Mingo),   Chartierstown  , Logstown (Delaware-Mingo) , Nutimy's Town  (Delaware-Mahican) , Paxtang (Delaware) , Peixtan (Nanticoke)  , Sawcunk (Delaware-Mingo) , Sewickley (Delaware-Mingo) , Shamokin (Delaware-Iroquois-Tutelo),  Venango (Delaware-Ottawa-Seneca-Wyandot) , Will's Town , and Wyoming (Delaware-Iroquois-Mahican-Munsee-Nanticoke) [list annotated from Villages of the Shawnee in Lee Sultzman's excellent native tribes pages]
General Comments on the Shawnee and Their Role in the French and Indian War Affecting Pennsylvania's Frontier.
  • See also  mention of the Shawnee in Pennsylvania historical texts up to 1692 in  the historical entries on Shawnees of Penna
  • Tecumseh , revered among his own people and honored  by a popular naming pattern among white Americans including Tecumseh Sherman ,  was a Shawnee.
  • Like the Lenape [aka Delaware] , the Shawnee were traditional enemies of the Iroquois . T he Delaware, were subordinated by the confederacy  in 1694. The Shawnee and the Lenni Lenape [Delaware] were the tribes affected by the Walking Purchase, and the Shawnee migration to more westward Penna. corresponds with the Delaware dispertion to that region in the 1740s.  "The history of the Shawnee after their reunion on the Ohio is well known as a part of the history of the Northwest territory,  and may be dismissed with brief notice. For a period of 40 years -- from the beginning of the French and Indian war to the  treaty of Greenville in 1795 -- they were almost constantly at war with the English or the Americans, and distinguished themselves as the most hostile tribe in that region. "29


    No comment on the Shawnee  portrayal is offered in regards to the 
    image at left; The image is offered as a glimpse of white culture
    portrayal of the Shawnee APART from their substantial 
    historical role.  Click on image for its source detail

Sources for This Page Are Included in the larger Reference Library Given for the Natives of Pennsylvania, all of which Involve:

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. sample chapter of At the Crossroads  Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763
by Jane T. Merritt [book content , availability and sample chapter  viewable and obtained via The University of North Carolina Press]

31. (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.

To Within The Vines Home
To Our American Immigrants
To Our Pennsylvanians -See Pennsylvania Index 
Email Webmistress