George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 19 October 1770]

Friday 19th. Recd. a Message from Colo. Croghan, that the White Mingo 1 & other Chiefs of the 6 Nations had something to say to me, & desiring that I woud be at his House abt. 11. (where they were to meet) I went up and receivd a Speech with a String of wampum from the White Mingo to the following effect.

That as I was a Person who some of them remember to have seen when I was sent on an Embassy to the French,2 and most of them had heard of; they were come to bid me welcome to this Country, and to desire that the People of Virginia woud consider them as friends & Brothers linked together in one chain—that I wd. inform the Governor, that it was their wish to live in peace and harmy. with the white People, & that tho their had been some unhappy differences between them and the People upon our Frontiers, it was all made up, and they hopd forgotten; and concluded with saying, that, their Brothers of Virginia did not come among them and Trade as the Inhabitants of the other Provences did, from whence they were affraid that we did not look upon them with so friendly an Eye as they coud wish.

To this I answerd (after thanking them for their friendly welcome) that all the Injuries & Affronts that had passd on either side was now totally forgotten, and that I was sure nothing was more wishd and desird by the People of Virginia than to live in the strictest friendship with them. That the Virginians were a People not so much engagd in Trade as the Pensylvanians, &ca., wch. was the Reason of their not being so frequently among them; but that it was possible they might for the time to come have stricter connections with them, and that I woud acquaint the Govr. with their desires.

After dining at Colo. Croghan we returnd to Pittsburg—Colo. Croghan with us, who intended to accompany us part of the Way down the River, having engagd an Indian calld the Pheasant3 & one Joseph Nicholson4 an Interpreter to attend us the whole Voyage. Also a young Indn. Warrior.

1The White Mingo (Conengayote) was a Six Nations chief of some importance in this area. He had been present at the conference at Fort Pitt in April and May 1768 of agents of Pennsylvania, the crown, and the Indians concerning settlers’ encroachment on Indian lands. He had apparently settled at “White Mingo’s Castle” on the Allegheny across the river from George Croghan’s establishment and was living there after 1777. He is said to have married Mary Montour, niece of Andrew Montour, which would have connected him with one of the frontier’s most important Indian families (craig description begins Neville B. Craig, ed. The Olden Time; A Monthly Publication Devoted to the Preservation of Documents and other Authentic Information in Relation to the Early Explorations and the Settlement and Improvement of the Country around the Head of the Ohio. 2 vols. 1848. Reprint. Cincinnati, 1876. description ends , 1:344, 419). He should not be confused with another well-known Seneca also called White Mingo (Kanaghragait or John Cook), who was murdered by a trader on Middle Creek in present-day Snyder County, Pa., in Jan. 1768 (hanna description begins Charles A. Hanna. The Wilderness Trail: Or The Ventures and Adventures of the Pennsylvania Traders on the Allegheny Path: With Some New Annals of the Old West, and the Records of Some Strong Men and Some Bad Ones. 2 vols. New York and London, 1911. description ends , 2:56; johnson papers description begins Milton W. Hamilton et al., eds. The Papers of Sir William Johnson. 14 vols. Albany, 1921–65. description ends , 12:454).

2See GW’s diary of his “Journey to the French Commandant,” 1753.

3The Pheasant had attended the Indian Congress at Fort Stanwix in 1768 with a delegation of 16 warriors. He may have been an Oneida (johnson papers description begins Milton W. Hamilton et al., eds. The Papers of Sir William Johnson. 14 vols. Albany, 1921–65. description ends , 12:628). GW paid the Pheasant and the young warrior £ 10 13s. for their services on the trip to the Ohio (ledger a description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 329).

4Joseph Nicholson was well known on the frontier as a trader and interpreter. As early as 1766 he was in trade with the Tuscarora (johnson papers description begins Milton W. Hamilton et al., eds. The Papers of Sir William Johnson. 14 vols. Albany, 1921–65. description ends , 5:384), and he acted as interpreter on Maj. Gen. Daniel Brodhead’s campaign in 1779. In May 1790 he was commissioned to bring the Indian chiefs Cornplanter, Half Town, and New Arrow to Philadelphia to confer with GW, and acted as interpreter during the talks.

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