Cherokee Phoenix

From the Maryville Intelligencer

Published September, 6, 1833

Page 3 Column 2a

From the Maryville Intelligencer


The Christian congregation from Shekomeko, having arrived at Bethlehem, built cottages in the vicinity of the Brethren's settlements, where their morning and evening prayers were regulated, and the service performed in the Mohigan language. This settlement was called Friedenshutten (tents of peace). But as the emigration continued, it was doubted whether an Indian town would support itself so near Bethlehem, and therefore the Brethren purchased land beyond the Blue Mountains, on which the Christians settled, and built a regular town and chapel, and called it Gnadenshutten. This settlement, having the gospel daily preached, was the means of exciting the attention of the Delawares, many of whom were converted and added to the church.

In 1717, the Brethren by invitation visited the Delawares at their village, near twenty miles from Bethlehem.- Many of these were converted,- favored with a teacher and school, till 1751, when they joined the congregation at Gnadenshutten. Here a new church was erected, the first being too small, as the congregation now consisted of 500 souls. Schools for the children of both sexes were put under proper regulations. The missionary teachers, mechanics, 'C. had their buildings about half a mile distant from the town. These, on the 24th of Nov. 1755 were burnt by the hostile Indians, (fighting for the French) and eleven persons killed, viz. seven men, three women and one child. Only two men, one woman and a boy escaped. The Christian Indians were from home on a hunting expedition. When they returned, they were removed from Gnadenshutten to Bethlehem; and on the first of Jan. 1756 the town was burnt by the hostile Indians.

In 1757, the Christian Indians commenced building a new town, two miles from Bethlehem, and called it Nain. In 1762, they had all the necessary buildings for themselves and their missionary completed; and also a chapel, which was consecrated on the 18th of October. This congregation increased so rapidly that it was soon found necessary to begin another establishment. The Brethren, therefore, purchased 1400 acres of land, beyond the Blue Mountain, and a new settlement was begun with thirty baptized Indians of the Delaware tribe, and the place called Wechquetank.

In the fall of 1793, reports of hostile Indians about the lakes, greatly exasperated the whites about Bethlehem; soldiers were raised for the defence of the country. Some of these soldiers when drinking murdered four of the inoffensive Indians of Wechquetank, viz. a man, his wife, and child, and a female friend. Soon after an armed mob threatened to kill ever Indian there and at Nain. The missionary finding that entreaties had no effect on this enraged mob, found it necessary for the congregation to break up and retire to Nazareth for safety; which they did on the 11th October, leaving their harvest and many of their cattle behind.

The Christian Indians at Nain, though but little more than a mile from Bethlehem, durst not go there, and were obliged to keep a watch, both by day and night in their nation; and also to place guards at the chapel doors during service, from apprehension of being surprised and murdered while assembled for Divine worship. Every morning their joys were renewed at seeing each other again, after the fears of the night. On the 19th of October, Pienatus, a harmless Indian, and the son of aged and venerable parents, was seized and taken to Philadelphia and imprisoned.

As the Christian Indians could not rest in peace or safety, either in their own town, or in Bethlehem, the Governor ordered them to Philadelphia for protection. Here they arrived on the 11th of November, having on the 8th attended a farewell sermon in the church at Bethlehem, preached by the Bishop, Peter Beohler, from Ps.5:8

The soldiers would not admit them into barracks, though the Governor had ordered it. They were, therefore, kept in the street from 10 o'clock, A.M. until 3 p.m. In the meantime a great mob assembled round them, deriding, reviling and charging them with all the outrages committed by the enemy; and at the same time threatening to kill them on the spot. To all which they were silent, relying on the Providence of God, to whom alone they afterwards ascribed their preservation. They were for a time secured from the mob in the common jail, and afterwards sent to Providence Island, where the missionaries held with them daily meetings.

About this time, fifty-seven white men from Paxton, sat (sic) out to attack and destroy a small town of peaceable and inoffensive Indians, in Conestoga, near Lancaster, where they had resided more than a century; and whose ancestors were those who welcomed Wm. Penn, on his first arrival in this country, presenting him venison, 'c. These Indians were not all at home, but the mob murdered those who were at home-men, women and children. The rest learning what had befallen their friends and relations, fled to Lancaster for protection, and were there placed in the jail for safety. The mob, however, soon arrived-broke open the door; and most cruelly murdered every one, and threw their bodies into the yard, with a dreadful shout as if they had gained a great victory, threatening with the same fate, all the Christian Indians on Providence Island. Sir Heckewelder here introduces an extract of a letter from a respectable gentleman, relative to the above murder. 'There are,' says he, 'few if any murders to be compared with the cruel murder committed on the Conestoga Indians, in the jail at Lancaster in 1763 by the Paxton boys, (as they were then called). From fifteen to twenty Indians, report stated, were placed there for protection. A regiment of Highlanders were, at the time quartered at the barracks in the town, and yet these murderers were permitted to break open the doors of the city jail and commit the horrid deed. The first notice I had of this affair, was, that while at my father's store, near the court house, I saw a number of people running down street towards the jail which enticed me and other lads to follow them. At about sixty or eighty yards from the jail, we met from twenty-five to thirty men, well mounted on horses, and with rifles, tomahawks, and scalping knives for murder.

I ran into the prison yard, and there, O what a horrid sight presented itself to my view!! Near the back door of the prison, lay an old Indian and his squaw, particularly well known and esteemed by the people of the town, on account of his plain and friendly conduct. His name was Will Sock, near him and his squaw, lay two children of about the age of three years, whose heads were split with the tomahawk, and their scalps all taken off. Towards the middle of the jail yard, along the west side of the wall lay a stout Indian, whom I particularly noticed to have been shot in the breast, his legs were chopped with the tomahawk, his hands cut off, and finally a rifle ball discharged in his mouth, so that his head was blown to atoms, and the brains were splashed against, and yet hanging to the wall, for three or four feet around. In this manner lay the whole of them, men, women,and children; shot, scalped, and hacked to pieces.'

Though the Governor forbid such outrages, and offered $200 to any one who should bring the two ring leaders of the party to justice, yet it soon became evident that even in Philadelphia, many were in secret connection with these ring leaders, who paid so little regard to the Governor's orders, that they not only publicly walked the street, but even presented themselves in front of the Governor's house, deridingly bidding him defiance.