Shamokin (village)

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Shamokin (/ʃəˈmkɨn/; Saponi Algonquian “Schahamokink” "place of eels") (Lenape: Shahëmokink [1]) was a multi-ethnic Native American trading village on the Susquehanna River, located partially within the limits of the modern cities of Sunbury and Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania. It should not be confused with present-day Shamokin, Pennsylvania, located to the east. Early in the eighteenth century, the village consisted of Iroquois migrants from the north, as well as Shawnee and Lenape settlers moving away from the expanding white settlement of Pennsylvania and Saponi and Tutelo from Virginia.

The date of first human settlement of is not known. However, historian C. A. Weslager indicates that it was probably Shawnee migrants who first settled there.[2] A large population of Delaware Indians was also forcibly resettled there in the early 18th century after they lost rights to their land in the Walking Purchase. Canasatego of the Six Nations, enforcing the Walking Purchase of behalf of George Thomas, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, ordered the Delware Indians to go to two places on the Susquehanna River, one of which was Shamokin.[3]

From 1727 to 1756, Shamokin was one of the largest and most influential Indian settlements in Pennsylvania.[4] In 1745, Presbyterian missionary David Brainerd described the city as being located on both the east and west sides of the river, and on an island, as well. Brainerd reported that the city housed 300 Indians, half of which were Delawares and the other Seneca and Tutelo.[5]

In 1754, much of the land west of the Susquehanna was transferred from the Six Nations to Pennsylvania at the Albany Congress. However, Shamokin was not sold and was reserved by the Six Nations, "to settle such of our Nations as shall come to us from the Ohio or any others who shall deserve to be in our Alliance."[6] According to Weslager, "the Pennsylvania authorities had no opposition to the Six Nations reserving Wyoming and Shamokin from the sale, since friendly Delawares, including Teedyuskung (also known as Teedyuscung) and his people living in those settlements--and any other Indians who might be placed there--constituted a buffer against Connecticut."[7]

The French and Indian War brought fighting to much of the region. The Delaware Indian residents of Shamokin remained neutral for much of the early part of the war, in part because a drought and unseasonable frost in Shamokin in 1755 left them without provisions.[8] However, the Delaware Indians at Shamokin joined the war against Pennsylvania and the English after the Gnadenhutten massacre in 1755.[9] Pennsylvania Fort Augusta was built in 1756 at Shamokin. In April 1756, the government of Pennsylvania began paying a cash bounty for Indians scalps and prisoners.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  2. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 192.
  3. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 192.
  4. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 192.
  5. ^ Rev. John Edwards, ed., Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven, 1822, p. 233.
  6. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 215.
  7. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 215.
  8. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 225-227.
  9. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 229.
  10. ^ Weslager, C. A. (1972). The Delaware Indians: A History. Rutgers University Press: News Brunswick, p. 231.
  • Merrell, James H. "Shamokin, 'the very seat of the Prince of Darkness': Unsettling the Early American Frontier". In Andrew Cayton and Fredrika J. Teute, eds., Contact Points: American Frontiers from the Mohawk Valley to the Mississippi, 1750–1830. University of North Carolina Press, 1998, 16–59. ISBN 0-8078-2427-5.
  • C. A. Weslager. "The Delaware Indians: A History." Rutgers University Press, 1972. ISBN 0-8135-1494-0.

Coordinates: 40°52′N 76°47′W / 40.867°N 76.783°W / 40.867; -76.783