Teedyuscung and The conflict with neighbors ~ Delaware

Published on February 8, 2011 by Carol

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Conflict with Neighbors

Colonists continued to move onto Indian lands throughout eastern Pennsylvania and the Indians of the Wyoming Valley began to fight back. The Lenape in the Wyoming Valley felt pressure from three fronts. From the east came settlers from Connecticut which claimed the Wyoming Valley and all of Northern Pennsylvania. From the west were the French and their Indian allies who sought to prevent British expansion into the mountains of Pennsylvania. And from the south came colonists with land grants from the colonial government in Philadelphia. The Lenape were also under pressure from a severe drought that affected their crops. Teedyuscung had turned to the Pennsylvania colonial government for aid. Pennsylvania referred him to the Iroquois Six Nations government. Despite the fact that Teedyuscung’s people were being attacked by French allied Indians, the Iroquois ordered Teedyuscung to not fight back. The Iroquois were of no help and Governor Robert Morris was of little help. He and the colonial assembly could not agree on terms by which to aid the Lenape. Ultimately Teedyuscung chose to align his warriors with the western Delaware and French.

Teedyuscung and other leaders commenced periodic raids on colonial settlements in Eastern Pennsylvania. The Natives sought retribution for the series of “purchases” that resulted in massive loss of land to the colonists. Finally Teedyuscung and other leaders met in conferences in Philadelphia and Easton.
At the 1758 negotiations for the Treaty of Easton, Teedyuscung claimed to be the only person who could convince the French allied Delaware Indians on the western borders of the colonies to stop their raids against the British colonists. He also claimed to be the “King of the Delawares” and that he represented the Six Nations of the Iroquois, the Shawnee, the Mahican, and the Christian Munsee. In exchange for his work he sought a promise from the Pennsylvania government that the lands of the Wyoming Valley would be reserved for the displaced Indians of the area. The talks at Easton lasted 14 days. Teedyuscung agreed to peace with Pennsylvania in exchange for a promise that his people would be permitted to live in the Wyoming Valley. An official inquiry into the legality of the Walking Purchase was also promised.

Teedyuscung encountered opposition in the talks at Easton and in the period following the talks with the family of William Penn and the Iroquois Confederacy that he claimed to “represent” in the negotiations. The powerful Iroquois Confederacy claimed the Wyoming Valley and that the Lenape simply lived there with its permission. A combination of competing interests lead to the eventual demise of Teedyuscung and his settlement at Wyolutimunk.

Demise of Teedyuscung

The Iroquois were not pleased that Teedyuscung claimed to negotiate on their behalf and they refused to recognize the Lenape claim to any lands in the Wyoming Valley. The Quaker founders of Pennsylvania were losing control of their colony. As pacifists they did not fight against those who were willing to fight for the colony and settle on lands that the Quakers had promised to the Indians. The Colonies of Virginia and Connecticut settled lands in Pennsylvania that were part of their charters. The competing interests of the Iroquois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Virginia did not allow Teedyuscung and his people to live in the peace that was promised.

Teedyuscung was a casualty of the peace that brought about the end of the French and Indian War in Pennsylvania. The colonists agreed to pull back from settlements in the Ohio country in exchange for peace east of the Appalachians. The Iroquois refused to grant a permanent home for Teedyuscung and his people in the Wyoming Valley. The promised investigation into the Walking Purchased was passed from the colonial government in Philadelphia to the British government in London where it was eventually dropped.

Teedyuscung was left unsupported and unprotected. On April 19, 1763 his cabin and the village of Wyolutimunk was burned to the ground by arsonists. Teedyuscung was asleep in his cabin at the time and perished in the blaze. The residents of Wyolutimunk fled and settlers from the Susquehanna Company of Connecticut soon took their place. Teedyuscung’s dream of a Lenape home in the Wyoming Valley ended with his death

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