At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763

JANE T. MERRITT
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9780807899892_merritt
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  • Book Info
    At the Crossroads
    Book Description:

    Examining interactions between native Americans and whites in eighteenth-century Pennsylvania, Jane Merritt traces the emergence of race as the defining difference between these neighbors on the frontier.Before 1755, Indian and white communities in Pennsylvania shared a certain amount of interdependence. They traded skills and resources and found a common enemy in the colonial authorities, including the powerful Six Nations, who attempted to control them and the land they inhabited. Using innovative research in German Moravian records, among other sources, Merritt explores the cultural practices, social needs, gender dynamics, economic exigencies, and political forces that brought native Americans and Euramericans together in the first half of the eighteenth century.But as Merritt demonstrates, the tolerance and even cooperation that once marked relations between Indians and whites collapsed during the Seven Years' War. By the 1760s, as the white population increased, a stronger, nationalist identity emerged among both white and Indian populations, each calling for new territorial and political boundaries to separate their communities. Differences between Indians and whites--whether political, economic, social, religious, or ethnic--became increasingly characterized in racial terms, and the resulting animosity left an enduring legacy in Pennsylvania's colonial history.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0373-5
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. MAPS, ILLUSTRATIONS, & TABLES
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS & SHORT TITLES
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. INTRODUCTION: At the Crossroads
    (pp. 1-16)

    In October 1736, during a treaty council outside Philadelphia at Stenton, Pennsylvania, 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...

  7. PART 1: LIMITS OF EMPIRE
    • 1 CULTURAL COMMUNITIES AND THE POLITICS OF LAND
      (pp. 19-49)

      In the late nineteenth century, a legend still circulated among the Scots-Irish communities of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, concerning their initial encounters with Indians in North America. “Tradition has it” that in 1728, “when the first settlers arrived, one of them asked for a drink.” “Where upon an Indian squaw said: ‘give me a gourd and I will fetch you some’; and at that she disappeared and returned with the gourd full of cool, sparkling water.” This encounter led to the discovery of Hay’s Spring and a site “for their future home,” Craig’s Settlement. Far from the violent confrontations between Scots-Irish...

    • 2 KINSHIP AND THE ECONOMICS OF EMPIRE
      (pp. 50-86)

      By the 1730s, new communities had sprouted along the Pennsylvania frontier. Complex relationships developed between these communities and with the colonial authorities to which they were loosely tied. Interactions among these groups were filled with contradictions. Whites sometimes displaced Indians, but they also shared space with them. Indians and whites became interdependent, but they also competed for material resources. Whether cooperating or competing, both groups needed to reach some kind of understanding about the boundaries of their relationships.

      Trade became a particularly important point of contact. During the eighteenth century, native Americans and Euramericans actively participated in the transatlantic market...

  8. PART 2: EMPOWERED COMMUNITIES
    • 3 THE INDIAN GREAT AWAKENING
      (pp. 89-128)

      In December 1747, Joshua, a Mahican Christian, told a Moravian missionary at Gnadenhütten, Pennsylvania, that he had seen “many Indians in a dream, who asked him to say something to them about his God.” When Joshua told the dream Indians about “the Lamb who was hung on the Cross for their sins” and about Christ’s sacrifice of blood, one of their leaders urged his followers to pay close attention and remember Joshua’s words. Several weeks after Joshua related his dream, the missionary Christian Heinrich Rauch noted in his journal that a Delaware arrived from the nearby village of Meniolagomekah, asking...

    • 4 MISSION COMMUNITY NETWORKS
      (pp. 129-166)

      In the spring of 1746, a group of baptized Mahicans from the Moravian mission at Shekomeko, NewYork, migrated to land near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Among those who moved were Tawaneem, baptized as Bathseba in August 1743, and her first husband, Jonas. At Shekomeko, they had lived with Jonas’s mother, but for several years she had been threatening to throw them out of her house if they continued to take communion with the Moravians. Other circumstances also made life in New York difficult for Bathseba and Jonas. White settlers in the Hudson Valley, who had long coveted the Indians’ land, pressured them...

  9. PART 3: WAR AND PEACE
    • 5 DEMONIZING DELAWARES
      (pp. 169-197)

      The Seven Years’ War did not necessarily create differences between Indians and whites, but it aggravated already existing divisions. Frontier alliances often involved delicate balances of power among participants, and colonialism had shaken the equilibrium of many relationships. White and Indian communities experienced as much internal discord as crosscommunity conflict, and these hostilities intensified as colonial powers vied for control of their respective dependent populations. The Pennsylvania government, for instance, feared that the ‘‘lower sort’’ of white frontier settlers and Indians might ally themselves against government agents to overturn Pennsylvania land policies. Similarly, the Six Nations feared that alliances between...

    • 6 QUAKERS AND THE LANGUAGE OF INDIAN DIPLOMACY
      (pp. 198-232)

      The Seven Years’ War provoked parties to reassess the social and economic accommodations so carefully negotiated during the first half of the eighteenth century. The breakdown of Indian-white relations was at times physical, at times psychological. Hostile Delawares attacked frontier settlements on disputed land and aimed to separate those whites they now considered strangers from those they still accepted as kin. Disgruntled white settlers, fearful that even Indian friends had turned against them, demanded that Pennsylvania prepare to fight native peoples on the frontier. Pennsylvania governor Robert Hunter Morris and the Assembly officially declared war against the Delawares on April...

  10. PART 4: BOUNDARIES REDRAWN
    • 7 AN UNEASY PEACE
      (pp. 235-263)

      By the end of 1758, although the Seven Years’ War raged on elsewhere, the Indian war in eastern Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley had effectively come to an end. Until the summer of 1763, however, the peace was an uneasy one. Despite factionalism among whites, the English eventually obstructed efforts to determine the genealogy of Pennsylvania land claims and acquisitions, leaving the Delawares without a historic claim to territory and, thus, without an indisputably permanent place for community. By collaboration, the Iroquois and Pennsylvania proprietors had denied the Delawares’ past of political independence and autonomy. Yet, through these diplomatic struggles,...

    • 8 INDIAN NATIONS AND EMPIRE
      (pp. 264-308)

      By the early 1760s, lingering resentments about the atrocities of war fueled demands for national boundaries between native Americans and Euramericans. Formal lines between cultures, such as the Proclamation Line of 1763, however, did not keep people apart. Indians still lived, worked, and traded with whites after the war, and the legacy of shared spaces and common practices continued to bring Indians and whites together. Drawn by more readily available land, white settlers once more moved to the Pennsylvania frontier. These new settlers relied less on Indians for survival or as trade partners, and Indians found it more difficult to...

  11. APPENDIX A: Moravian Indian Lebenslauf (Life Stories)
    (pp. 309-324)
  12. APPENDIX B: Native American Family Genealogies
    (pp. 325-332)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 333-338)