Enoch Brown school massacre

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Memorial erected in 1885, near Greencastle, Pennsylvania

On July 26, 1764, four Delaware (Lenape) Native Americans entered a settlers' log schoolhouse in the Province of Pennsylvania and killed the schoolmaster, Enoch Brown, and nine students, wounded two other students and kidnapped four others.[1] Historian Richard Middleton described the massacre[2] as "one of the most notorious incidents" of Pontiac's War.[3]


On July 26, 1764, four Delaware (Lenape) Native Americans entered a settlers' log schoolhouse in the Province of Pennsylvania in what is now Franklin County, near the present-day city of Greencastle. Inside were the schoolmaster, Enoch Brown, and a number of young students. Brown pleaded with the warriors to spare the children; nonetheless he was shot in the chest and scalped.[4] The warriors then tomahawked and scalped the children. Brown and nine children were killed.[3][4] Two scalped children survived their wounds.[4] Four children were taken as prisoners.[3]

A child survivor recounted "Two old Indians and a young Indian rushed up to the door soon after the opening of the morning session. The master, surmising their object, prayed them only to take his life and spare the children, but all were brutally knocked in the head with an Indian maul and scalped."[5]

A day earlier, the warriors had encountered a pregnant woman, Susan King Cunningham, on the road. She was beaten to death, scalped, and the baby was cut out of her body.[4] When the warriors returned to their village on the Muskingum River in the Ohio Country and showed the scalps, an elder Delaware chief rebuked them as cowards for attacking children.[4] John McCullough, a settler who had been held prisoner by the Delaware since 1756,[6] later described the return of the raiding party in his captivity narrative:

I saw the Indians when they returned home with the scalps; some of the old Indians were very much displeased at them for killing so many children, especially Neep-paugh'-whese, or Night Walker, an old chief, or half king,—he ascribed it to cowardice, which was the greatest affront he could offer them.[7]


Incidents such as these prompted the Pennsylvania General Assembly, with the approval of Governor John Penn, to reintroduce the scalp bounty system previously used during the French and Indian War.[4] Settlers could collect $134 for the scalp of an enemy American Indian male above the age of ten; the bounty for women was set at $50.[8]

Settlers buried Enoch Brown and the schoolchildren in a common grave.[9] In 1843, the grave was excavated to confirm the location of the bodies. In 1885, the area was named Enoch Brown Park and a memorial was erected over the gravesite.[10]


  • Dixon, David (2005). Never Come to Peace Again: Pontiac's Uprising and the Fate of the British Empire in North America. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0806136561.
  • Middleton, Richard (2007). Pontiac's War: Its Causes, Course, and Consequences. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415979145.


  1. ^ "Enoch Brown Incident". National Teachers Hall of Fame. 2014-05-13. Archived from the original on 2018-09-29. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  2. ^ Variations on the name in sources include the "Enoch Brown massacre" and the "Enoch Brown Indian massacre". Dixon calls it the "Enoch Brown Schoolhouse Massacre" (p. 223).
  3. ^ a b c Middleton, p. 171
  4. ^ a b c d e f Dixon, p. 223
  5. ^ Hand, Bill. "The first school shooting was in 1764". New Bern Sun Journal. Archived from the original on 2018-09-29. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  6. ^ Dixon, p. 95
  7. ^ Archibald Loudon, A Selection of Some of the Most Interesting Outrages Committed by the Indians in Their Wars with the White People (New York, 1808; reprinted 1888), volume 1, p. 283
  8. ^ Dixon, pp. 223–24
  9. ^ Herald, Zach Glenn/The Record. "July 1764 Enoch Brown schoolhouse massacre commemorated". Waynesboro Record Herald. Archived from the original on 2018-09-30. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  10. ^ Dixon, p. 318

Coordinates: 39°49′29″N 77°45′21″W / 39.8246°N 77.7559°W / 39.8246; -77.7559