Monday, May 20, 2013

Moravian History - My Students Are Guest Writers First of Four

Today you will hear the first of four posts written by my students about the early colonial period from the Walking Purchase of 1737 up to the end of the French and Indian War here in Carbon County.  
Congratulations to Matthew Smith, Samantha Miller, Kaia Slaw, and Alexander Zeigenfuss for some excellent research and writing!

Part 1 - The Walking Purchase
 by Matthew Smith (Mr. Semmel’s Class)

Thomas Penn, son of William and Hannah Collowhill Penn was born on March 20, 1702 in Bristol England.  In 1718 Thomas Penn inherited the position of Proprietor of the Colony of Pennsylvania along with his brothers John and Richard. 

A 'walking purchase' is an agreement with the Indians to buy land. This agreement is measured in how far a person can walk in time agreed. William Penn did a fair walking purchase with the Indians to get land for the more settlers. Thomas took his Dad’s original deed and got the natives to write a new deed for his walking purchase.  Thomas wanted more land so he decided to do a fake the walking purchase.  He convinced two elders from the Colony to say that William’s walking purchase was never done. 

The deed was written for a much as a man could walk in a day and a half. But that's not what happened.  Thomas thought that wouldn’t be enough land so he hired three men to run and not walk. The three men were Edward Marshall, Solomon Jennings and James Yeates.  Marshall was a very skilled athlete and hunter. Yeates brought a tonic for energy throughout the race. On September 17, 1737, the day of the walking purchase the Indians said to go and the men started to run. The Indians were confused by this. 18 miles in Jennings collapsed and did not finish. He died a few years later. That night Yeats and Marshall spent the night in Northampton. They were so afraid of being attached by Indians that they slept in a tent guarded by soldiers. The next day they continued north. While crossing the Tobyhanna creek, Yeates collapsed and became blind. He died a few days later. Marshall was the only one to finish the day and a half run in what would now be known as Jim Thorpe. Thomas did not give him his land he was promised. The Indians were so upset they killed Marshall’s wife and son. Marshall spent his last 79 years in a town in Stroudsburg by Marshall’s Creek.

Thomas Penn’s unfair treatment of the Indians later led to massacres and Indian attacks.

Part 2 - The Moravians Come To Pennsylvaia
 by Samantha Miller

            Soon William Penn would move to Pennsylvania and start a new colony.  The start of the new colony “Pennsylvania” began when William Penn’s father was owed money by King Charles II.  William Penn’s father asked the King to pay him back with land.  The King chose land below New York and above Maryland.  This area would be named “Pennsylvania” or “Penn’s Woods”. 
            When Penn established Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love) he decided to start The Holy Experiment there.  The Holy Experiment was an idea where people of different nationalities and languages could live together in peace.  He invited many people to live in Pennsylvania, who were previously persecuted for their religion. 
            A few years later Count Nicholas Zinzendorf moved to America because of English persecution.  When Zinzendorf came, he spoke to many natives but was almost always turned away or nearly killed.  He was almost killed by 'puff adders" (rattlesnakes), scalping, and drowning, all very close calls.  The natives did this because they were afraid he would steal their land and silver.  After this, Zinzendorf probably moved to Pennsylvania.  When he came, he felt a deep concern that natives should be preached to.  He loved freedom so much in Pennsylvania, that he invited other people to come join him, among those were the Moravians.
            When the Moravians came, they started a settlement called Gnadenhutten (which is now known as Lehighton).  It was originally a temporary settlement so they could move to the banks of the Susquehanna River.  However, they ended those plans and settled below what is now Iron Street.  Seventh Street was to the left and Fourth Street was to the right and down to the Mahoning Creek. 
After they were settled they were convincing natives to convert to Christianity and live with them.  Teedyuscung (also know as Teed) was one of the natives who became a Christian native.  Teed lived happily with the Moravians for a little while, then there was a small pox outbreak in Bethlehem, which spread to Gnadenhutten, killing 18 natives.  Many natives were killed because they were more vulnerable to diseases from Europe.  The English were exposed to these types of diseases for centuries and they became immune.  This was not the case for the natives, and they were more likely to become sick.  After this, Teed likely became miserable and left to become a traditional native again.
When he left Gnadenhutten he spoke to the other natives about how unfair the walking purchase was in 1737.  For example, he told the natives how they ran instead of walked and had 3 men.  While talking about all of this, he stirred them up and started trouble in 1755.

Part 3- The Massacre Of 1755
by Kaia Slaw
Introduction- On November 24th, 1755, Natives wanted to reclaim land stolen in the Walking Purchase. They started with the peaceful, pacifist settlement of Gnadenhutten. Fourteen people lived there, but only four survived. One was taken captive and died six months later, but the rest were killed in the massacre. Here’s how it happened.

Step 1- During the French and Indian War, most natives were on the French’s side. The French wanted to gain more land and the Natives wanted to get back land stolen in the Walking Purchase. So the French coaxed the Natives to take back their land. It was a prime time, too. Five months prior, the French had inflicted major damage on the British army, killing many soldiers and the #1 defender, General Braddock. This left the British unprotected. So at dusk, twelve Shawnee Natives set out to Gnadenhutten.

Step 2- At dusk when the Moravians were finishing their evening meal, they heard a pounding on the gates and dogs barking. The Moravians got worried. Just then, Joachim Senseman remembered the meeting house was not locked, went to lock it, and this action saved his life. Martin Nitschman opened the gate. When he looked out, he was instantly killed.  Natives poured in wounding John Lesley, Martin Presser, and John Gattermeyer.

Step 3- Eight remaining settlers went up into the attic to hide. Susan Nitschman did not make it and was taken captive. Since they couldn’t find a crossbar, George Schwiegert used his arm instead. For a long time, Natives pounded on the door and shouted to each other. Then suddenly it stopped. Hope returned to the settlers. But it was short-lived. They soon realized that the Natives were going to burn the building.

Step 4- When the Natives lit the buildings, three settlers decided to jump. The first one who attempted was Joseph Sturgis. He made it past the Natives and escaped. The second to jump was Susan Partsch. She also escaped. But the third wasn’t so lucky. When George Fabricius jumped, he stumbled. He was shot twice and then scalped by the Natives.  All told there were four survivors: Susan and George Partsch, Peter Worbas, and Joachim Senseman.

Step 5- All the rest of the settlers died in the fire. All except Susana Nitschman, who was taken captive. She was taken to a Wyoming Valley Christian Indian to get her wounds treated. Afterward, she was taken to a Native and was forced to be his squaw but died six months later. After all the settlers were dead, the Natives proceeded to take anything valuable from Gnadenhutten and burn the remaining houses. Soon Gnadenhutten was nothing more than a few ashes and a memory….. 

Part #4 - Building Fort Allen & Pontiac’s Rebellion & Proclamation of 1763
By Alexander Zeigenfuss

The settlers needed a defensive play.  They were losing to the French and the Indians.  On January 1, 1756 six colonial soldiers were having fun ice skating when some Natives ambushed them.  So when the Governor Morris heard about this, he wanted to build a fort to protect them.  He told Ben Franklin and he came with 50 men and more people joined him because Captain Anthony “Mad” Wayne brought 50 people too. They started building the fort on January 18, 1756. The fort they built was named Fort Allen.  It had a well that was 16 feet deep. It also had two cannons. This fort also had three houses. It was located in Weissport.  At the end of the French and Indian War, the French lost but the Natives were still angry. 

Other parts up North there were killing and wars called the Pontiac’s Rebellion.  It was called that because the guy that did all the attacking was an Indian named Pontiac.  When the French and Indian war was over, the British made this thing called the Proclamation of 1763.  This is a formal announcement.  The announcement was that the Natives get land west of the Appalachian Mountains and the “white men”/settlers got everything east of the Appalachian Mountains. Everybody hated it.  No one was allowed to move west.  Even though the war ended, the Indians still were fighting back for their land that was stolen.

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