Published on February 8, 2013 by Carol
The Enoch Brown school massacre was “one of the most notorious incidents” of Pontiac’s War.
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On July 26, 1764, four Delaware (Lenape) American Indian warriors entered a settlers’ log schoolhouse in the Province of Pennsylvania in what is now Franklin County, near present Greencastle. Inside were the schoolmaster, Enoch Brown, and a number of young students. Brown pleaded with the warriors to spare the children before being shot and scalped.The warriors then tomahawked and scalped the children. Brown and nine children were killed. Two scalped children survived their wounds. Four children were taken as prisoners.
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. 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.
John McCullough, a settler who had been held prisoner by the Delawares since 1756, 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.
Incidents such as these prompted the Pennsylvania Assembly, with the approval of Governor John Penn, to reintroduce the scalp bounty system previously used during the French and Indian War. Settlers could collect $134 for the scalp of enemy American Indian male above the age of ten; the bounty for women was set at $50.
Settlers buried Enoch Brown and the schoolchildren in a common grave. In 1843, the grave was excavated to confirm the location of the bodies. In 1885, the area was designated Enoch Brown Park, and a memorial was erected over the grave