Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Conner, 10 January 1803

From John Conner

10 January 1803—
Washington Sitty

President of
the United States

in Consyquence of the misunderstanding among the Indin Nations agrebly to what they have laid before the president I felt my Self Interrested in behalf of the United States as well as of the Indins—and by their earnast Request was endused to Come forword as thir Interpertar, but not from pecuniery motives—I am not able to Judge whether ther atention at the seat of Gaverment is Cunsiderred of much Consyquence here, but am Shure the Indins are Very much Interestd—When I Considerred to Come with theme they Required of me their Subsistanc on the Way, which I have given them as fare as pitsburgh, but my Acct is Rejectted at this place—they also Require mony to eneble them to Return, it apieres that Some mony has been advanced for that purpose to a person withhoom they are not a quented & who knows not their Lenguage, or is Even going to their Cuntry—while I am left to find my way back to the Nations as I Can, after having bourn their Expences mostly to this place—I do not present this to Your Excellency with an Intintion to prove my Right to Claime eny thing from the Gavernment, but leave it to your Consderetion with which I Shall be Satisfied—

I am Sir Your Obet. Servant

John Connor

RC (PHi); endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. and so recorded in SJL; endorsed by Dearborn.

John Conner or Connor (1775–1826), a trader, resided on the upper White River in Indiana Territory. He was born in a Moravian mission settlement on the Tuscarawas River. Neither of his parents was an Indian, but his mother, who had been captured on the Pennsylvania frontier as a young child, grew up among the Shawnees. Conner spoke several Native American languages and married a Delaware Indian woman. In the winter of 1802–3, Conner accompanied the Miami chief Owl and the delegation from the White River tribes on their visit to Washington. He acted as a translator at treaty conferences and maintained good relations with Moravian missionaries. In 1816, he was elected to the state senate of Indiana (Charles N. Thompson, Sons of the Wilderness: John and William Conner [Indianapolis, 1937], 9–12, 15–17, 40, 42–3, 89, 156; John Lauritz Larson and David G. Vanderstel, “Agent of Empire: William Conner on the Indiana Frontier, 1800–1855,” Indiana Magazine of History, 80 [1984], 301–28; Lawrence Henry Gipson, ed., Harry E. Stocker, Herman T. Frueauff, and Samuel C. Zeller, trans., The Moravian Indian Mission on White River: Diaries and Letters, May 15, 1799, to November 12, 1806 [Indianapolis, 1938], 99, 194, 273–4, 329n, 332–3, 350, 379, 605, 614; Esarey, William Henry Harrison description begins Logan Esarey, ed., Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison, Indianapolis, 1922; repr., New York, 1975, 2 vols. description ends , 1:118, 123, 242, 248, 291; C. A. Weslager, The Delaware Indians: A History [New Brunswick, N.J., 1972], 333–4, 346–7).

laid before the president: see TJ to Owl and Others, 8 Jan.

When the War Department advanced funds for the delegation’s return journey, Dearborn arranged for some of the money to go to Conner, who intended to escort part of the delegation home by way of Philadelphia (Dearborn to J. W. Brownson, 12 Jan., and to Mr. Larwill, 12, 13 Jan., in DNA: RG 75, LSIA).

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