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Historical Background


A man using blacksmithing tools
Blacksmithing became a barter skill on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

As I was doing my research on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (also known as the Corps of Discovery) Most of the information I am using for this blog comes from archives of the actual journals of the explorers themselves.

In my research, I have discovered that these men didn’t take most of the food or supplies that they needed with them. They either procured or built what they needed. Though Captain Lewis bought surveying equipment, medicine, and trinkets to trade to the Indians in Philadelphia and had the original boat built in Pittsburgh, some of the boats were built in Camp Wood (Dubois). They hunted, hunted fished and foraged for much of their food. If something broke, they either fixed it or replaced it. The men got good at making tow ropes on their trek upriver.

They didn’t simply hunt and fish to supply them with all their food and other supplies. Nor did they just trade trinkets to the Indians for what they needed. They also bartered their skills with the Native Americans.

The skill that proved to be best for bartering with the indigenous people was blacksmithing.

Two blacksmiths accompanied the expedition. One was Private Alexander Willard, and the other was Private John Shields.

Private John Willard

Willard was recruited at Fort Kaskaskia from Captain Amos Stoddard’s artillery company, He was convicted of sleeping while on guard duty, which was punishable by death. He was given 100 lashes instead.

In the Mandan village, both blacksmiths set up shop and spent the entire winter of 1804-05 fixing Mandan tools and weapons in trade for the corn they ate that winter and the corn they took with them on their continued trek west.

Willard often assisted Shields in his work during the first year of the expedition. Because of his misconduct, he was detailed to the return party in 1805. He later served during the War of 1812.Willard later served during the War of 1812.

Private John Shields

Shields was such an invaluable blacksmith that Captains Lewis and Clark broke one of their own rules and allowed him, a married man, to go on the trip with them. (Only unmarried young men were wanted for the expedition.)

During their winter on the Pacific coast, Shields demonstrated his talents to repair their weapons including Captain Clark’s favorite gun.

Shields proved so valuable that Lewis requested that Shields be given more than the salary given to most privates in the Army at that time.

I am enjoying learning about people behind the scenes of this great adventure by the Corps of Discovery. If you enjoy this series about these amazing explorers, let me know in the comments section below.


Not the end of The Locket Saga series, just the most recent.

For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all the books that I have written to date. I am continuing book club with my most recent published book in the Locket Saga Series: The Anvil

Book Six of the Locket Saga finally takes us full circle in 1800, not back to Boston, but to the wilds of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Robert McCray, the eldest son of Phillip and Elizabeth McCray is a young blacksmith who is missing one of the most important tools of his trade after his employer cheated him. At the same time, the girl of his affection shuns him for another man. He builds a house on his mother’s land and hopes to get his own property only to discover that the land that he desires was purchased by the Campbells.

Robert McCray makes the best of a bad situation and allows the Campbell family to live in the cabin that he built on his mother’s land next to the land that he had wanted and where the Campbell’s land was.

Though he thinks that he has lost everything, over the upcoming months he learns that everything he needs and wants is right in front of him.

Writing The Anvil had been on my mind from the day that I wrote the first line of Soldiers Don’t Cry. I had wanted to bring the family back to northwestern Pennsylvania because that was where the story began between Elizabeth and Phillip. It was also where I grew up and where most of my ancestors live. The Anvil does that. It brings them back to the land where, well, if you haven’t read any of the series, I won’t give a spoiler here. You’ll have to read the book.

I hope you take this opportunity to read the free sample of The Anvil on Amazon and the rest of the Locket Saga. Remember also to follow Cygnet Brown on my Amazon Author Page so you don’t miss the next book in the series: Two Rivers and other subsequent books when they come out.  

When you love it, you can purchase a kindle copy or get it (at no extra charge) on KindleUnlimited

If you prefer paperback, you can purchase your copy on Lulu.com

When God Turned His Head

Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues

A Coward’s Solace

Sailing Under the Black Flag

In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

The Anvil


Do you like good American History and a good who-dun-it, you’ll love In the Shadow of the Mill pond!

For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all the books that I have written to date. my next published book in the Locket Saga Series: In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

Book five of the Locket Saga takes us several years after the end of the American Revolution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the time known as The Whiskey Rebellion. Under this backdrop of history, Lacey Mayford has fallen for Matthew Thorton, but Matthew is accused of murdering another member of the community. Lacey, though just a young teen, believes it is up to her to discover who the real culprit is and in so doing finds danger herself.

It still wasn’t time yet for our family to move to the wilds of Northwestern Pennsylvania, so I decided to explore an event that occurred in that part of the country in the 1790s which was termed The Whiskey Rebellion. What most people don’t know is how this could have been our first civil war, not between north and south but between east and west.

Back before the Federal Income Tax Amendment was put into effect, they had to get taxes in another way, and it was decided that they would tax whiskey. What many people did not know was that this tax on whiskey was more of a problem with the pioneers west of the Appalachian Mountains because making whiskey and selling it was the most profitable way to transport corn across the mountains was in whiskey jugs.

These people west of the mountains were livid because they believed that the tax wasn’t fair, they just weren’t going to pay it. The tax collectors that the US government sent were met by armed vigilantes who refused to share their profits when the population east of the mountains didn’t have to.

Add to this the murder and the fact that Matthew,  a half-breed Native American is accused of the murder, and you have an action-packed adventure.

I hope you take this opportunity to read the free sample of In the Shadow of the Mill Pond on Amazon:

When you love it, you can purchase a kindle copy or get it at no extra charge on KindleUnlimited

Look here on lulu.com if you prefer getting a paperback

The Locket Saga Series Includes

When God Turned His Head

Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues

A Coward’s Solace

Sailing Under the Black Flag

In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

The Anvil


Book IV of the Locket Saga

For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all the books that I have written to date. I am continuing the book club with my next published book in the Locket Saga Series: Sailing Under the Black Flag

This is the story of the impetuous and tenacious Jonathan Mayford who during Soldiers Don’t Cry was a starry-eyed patriot who wanted to bring King George to his knees. At the beginning of the story, he tries to join the Continental troops, but instead, his father, Peter Mayford convinces him to crew on one of his own ships. Through his time on the ship, the boy becomes a man as he endures hardships and falls in love with the raven-haired beauty Lowry Howells whose father keeps them separate.

A Privateer Was Legal, but Pirating Was Not

I wanted to see a side of the American Revolution that most people don’t know. For instance, before my research, I thought that pirates and privateers were the same, but they are not. A privateer is someone who had legal rights under the rules of military law to confiscate a ship, its cargo, crew and passengers and hold it for ransom during an official war. They were legally entitled to the spoils of war and if they were captured, they were considered prisoners of war. Pirates didn’t have that distinction. They were considered thieves and murderers and were hung or worse for their “crimes”. During much of the American Revolution, however, the British did not consider most American privateers as privateers but as pirates which meant that if caught, they would most likely lose their lives for their conduct.

John Forten-African American Revolutionary War Hero

As I was doing my research, I learned about James Forten and how on ships African Americans were treated like any other member of the crew. I also learned that being on a ship wasn’t like we see in the movies where a crazy pirate captain rules with an iron fist. Most ships during that time were democratic and the crew voted on a lot of what went on when they weren’t in battle. However, when they were, they had better listen to the captain or face a severe penalty.

The story of James Forten (a real person, not just one of my character creations) told of what it was like on prison ships and how he generously. . . well, you’ll have to read for yourself.

I hope you take this opportunity to read the free sample of Sailing Under the Black Flag on Amazon:

When you love it, you can purchase a kindle copy or get it at no extra charge on KindleUnlimited

If you prefer paperback, you can purchase your copy of Sailing Under the Black Flag on Lulu.com

The Locket Saga Series

Sailing Under the Black Flag is Part of The Locket Saga Series

When God Turned His Head

Soldiers Don’t Cry

A Coward’s Solace

Sailing Under the Black Flag

In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

The Anvil


I didn’t start writing The Locket Saga with the first book. Soldiers Don’t Cry was the first book I started writing in The Locket Saga.

For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all of the books that I have written to date. Today the featured book club is: Soldiers Don’t Cry.

It Probably Started When I Ate Pizza Just Before Going to Bed

The idea for Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues started with a dream that I had one night. I dreamed that there was a young woman and a young man sitting on two ends of a puncheon log bench that was along a log cabin wall. The bench was about twelve feet long and she sat at one end of the bench and he sat at the other end. I KNEW that what I was seeing was a scene from before 1800.

He said, “Don’t I know you from somewhere.” And she said, “Yes, we knew each other as children.”

It was from this dream that I got the idea of a girl who had grown up in Western Pennsylvania before the American Revolution. I determined that however she grew up in Boston with her sister and the boy grew up in England and that something brought them back together. That something I determined was the American Revolutionary War and he came back as a British Officer. She was an American spy and smuggler. Getting them together in the same place was easy. Before the war, Boston and other parts of New England were to quarter soldiers in their homes. This infuriated patriots so much that they included “no quartering of soldiers during peacetime” as the third amendment to the Constitution. It did, however, set it up so that Phillip Randolph, the hero of the story was quartered in Elizabeth’s (the heroine) in the same home. Add to that and you have the makings of quite the twisted adventure story.

Even though it is the second book published, Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues was the first book that I started writing in the Locket Saga, but as I was writing it, I wondered what happened to the parents of Elizabeth and Rachel. This led me to write When God Turned His Head the first book which I wrote about earlier in the week. (See post)

The Original Manuscript Was Deleted!

One thing about this book that many people don’t know is that I had to write the book twice. Years ago, just after When God Turned His Head was published, I had the completed manuscript of Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues on my computer and the computer didn’t have enough memory left on it, so a friend suggested that we “wipe the data and clean out unwanted files”. He said we could save what we wanted to keep but anything that we didn’t put behind a wall would be erased forever. A agreed to let my husband and my friend wipe the files from the computer, but asked that he save all of the document files. He saved only a single file that had the Word document in it and all the books that I had on the computer were gone forever.

Rather than whining about my loss, (Okay, so I did whine a little, Okay, a lot. I am human, after all) I decided to recreate the book and I think that in a lot of ways I came up with a better book than the original. The book was rewritten in less than a year. I learned a valuable lesson. When something bad happens, don’t let it get you down, let it fire you up!

So how about you? Have you ever finished a project that you spent years on that you had to re-do because of a technical error? I would love to hear about it. Share your experience in the comment section below.

Did you know that you can read a free sample of Soldiers Don’t Cry right on Amazon? LOOK INSIDE

The Locket Saga Series

When God Turned His Head

Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues

A Coward’s Solace

Sailing Under the Black Flag

In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

The Anvil


For the entire month of June, I am sharing my books in the first annual Cygnet Brown Book Club Month! All throughout the month, I will be featuring not one, but all of the books that I have written to date. I am beginning the book club with my first published book: When God Turned His Head.

The First Book in the Locket Saga

The Story Behind the Book

When God Turned His Head is the first book of the Locket Saga, but it was not the first book of the series that I started writing. I started with the second book Soldiers Don’t Cry, The Locket Saga Continues and rather than making When God Turned His Head a prequel to Soldiers Don’t Cry, I made it the premiere book.

The idea for this book started when I was writing about when Rachel and Elizabeth are entertaining their uninvited guests when the question came up about their parentage and the girls told them that they had the same mother, but not the same father. They also said that their parents had been indentured servants.

That was when I wondered what happened to them. About that same time, I read the story about the murder of John Codman in the middle of the 1700s and thought the details would be fantastic to fashion into a historical murder mystery. Many of the facts were exactly how they happened. I just added Drusilla as his wife and Rachel as his daughter.

I wrote this book at a very difficult time in my life. I had been working as a nurse and hated it. Every day I had been afraid that I would kill someone by some mistake that I made. I won’t go into the details, but the fear of making a mistake and harming a patient caused me to sabotage my nursing career. Then I was afraid to tell my husband that I had lost my job. It didn’t do much for my marriage, I’ll tell you that.

After I lost my job, my husband also lost his because of something that was not his fault, but because he quit that trucking company, they reported him to DAK for an accident that was an equipment error that he had no way of knowing would happen. He had no recourse in the issue. He was shunned from truck-driving for the next three years.

Before losing our jobs, we had been doing everything right. We put sweat equity into the house we were building. In 2007, just before all this went down, we had fifty percent equity in our home. We had two vehicles. One was completely paid for. Regarding our other car, we had easily been making the payments. We had been paying extra on our mortgage and making extra payments on our credit cards. Life was good. However, in a short time, everything fell apart.

At about the same time, we lost our jobs, the housing bubble burst and the recession hit. The equity in our home disappeared overnight. We couldn’t make our payments because we didn’t have a job. A boy stole our truck that we had paid off and he wrecked it. The other car was repossessed while I was selling muffins in the town 9 miles from our house. I had to call my husband to get the neighbor to come pick me up.

Because my husband lost his job, he also couldn’t pay the child support that he owed to his ex-wife, and he ended up in jail for nonpayment.

If it weren’t for our pastor providing us with a car to drive and paying enough to get him out of jail, I don’t know what we would have done. He got a job driving a school bus for a local school which was enough to pay the child support, but not enough to save our house. He was talking about the possibility of having to live under a bridge.  

I was depressed. I was depressed enough to seek professional help, but I refused to take medications to mask what I was feeling. The psychologist who I was seeing suggested that I try journaling, and journaling led me to get back to writing which I had done since I was twelve years old. I wrote When God Turned His Head while all this was going on. Journaling and writing the book took me out of my state of depression.

While writing the book, we did lose our house, but we didn’t have to live under a bridge because my brother let us move into his house with him. During this time, I incorporated my emotional state into Drusilla’s situation. It was highly therapeutic.

Bad things happen to good people and sometimes it seems as though God does turn his head and the winters of life blow their snows of life, but eventually, the flowers of life do return. Like me and like Drusilla, you must push through the hard times, and eventually, you’ll pass through. As it says in Psalm 23:

“Yea, though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

Psalm 23:4 KJV

Let me know in the comments below if you have already read the book, and any thoughts you have regarding it. I love hearing from my readers!

Did you know that you can read a free sample of When God Turned His Head right on Amazon? LOOK INSIDE


Two hundred and forty-seven years ago this week on April 19, 1775, was the shot heard around the world. No one knows who shot the musket that started the American Revolution, but that shot was discharged on Lexington Green, Massachusetts. It was just the first shot of many that lead to the birth of The United States in a war that would continue until its formal end in 1783.

Several years ago, I started researching for my books in The Locket Saga series and several of the books in this series including Soldiers Don’t’ Cry, A Coward’s Solace, and Sailing Under the Black Flag are all based during the American Revolution.

Here’s a blog post about The Locket Saga

Although the events in this book occurred prior to the American Revolution, I would be remiss if I failed to mention When God Turned His Head. I posted about the first book of this book series which started from an idea that I got the idea of Soldiers Don’t Cry even though When God Turned His Head was the first book in the series.

Over the past several years, I have done a lot of research and written several articles and blog posts about this time in American history. Here are a few.

The Boston Massacre-Powder Keg of the American Revolution

https://hubpages.com/education/The-Boston-Massacre-Powder-Keg-of-the-American-Revolution

The Unsung Hero: Lucy Flucker Knox

This is the story of the wife of Henry Knox. She is a patriot in her own right.

https://discover.hubpages.com/education/An-Unsung-Heroine-Lucy-Flucker-Knox

The Hidden Cause for the American Revolution: The Thirst for More Land

This article explains how the French and Indian War brought about limitations on land attainment and forced the British to limit forts on the American frontier.

https://hubpages.com/education/The-Thirst-for-Land-The-Unseen-Reason-for-the-American-Revolution

How Changes in English Farm Practices Influenced the Colonization of the Americas

See how the change in weather patterns brought changes in the British agricultural system and caused migration to the Americas.

https://hubpages.com/education/Changes-in-English-Agriculture-Brough-About-American-Colonialization

Songs of the American Revolution

Music has always been an important thread in the American fabric. So exactly what tunes did Americans sing during the American Revolution?

https://hubpages.com/education/Songs-of-the-American-Revolution

The French Intervention

How the French intervened to win the American Revolution-We Americans talk about our independent spirits, but we couldn’t have pulled off the revolution without our friends the French.

https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/the-french-intervention-cf6a5c8f0da

Even though I went to dusty old books for information, I loved it when I discovered actual members of the Eighth Pennsylvania when I was in Waterford, Pennsylvania. Here’s an article I wrote about the event where I meant the Eighth Pennsylvania regiment of the American Revolution.

When Historical Writer’s Research and Re-Enactors meet

I hope you enjoy these articles, and they help you appreciate the value of the freedoms that we have in this country that started with that shot on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775. If you have any questions about my articles and blog posts or if you have any comments, please do so in the comment section below.

Also, be sure to check out The Locket Saga series all books are available in paperback and on Kindle!


MandanSince I did Black History Month during February, I thought that it was only right that I should also commemorate Native Americans this month. This week, I am sharing what I learned about the Mandan while I was researching for The Locket Saga.

In my upcoming book Two Rivers (Book VII of the Locket Saga), my fictional character, Isaac Thorton, joined the Lewis and Clark expedition as far as the Mandan tribe where they spent the entire winter of 1804-1805 before going west into uncharted territory.

Mandan Origins

The English name Mandan is derived from the French-Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier, Sieur de la Verendrye, who in 1738 heard it as Mantannes from his Assiniboine guides, which call the Mandan Mayádąna. He had previously heard the earth lodge peoples referred to by the Cree as Ouachipouennes, “the Sioux who go underground”.
The Mandan referred to themselves as Numakaki (Nųmą́khų́·ki) (or Rųwą́ʔka·ki) (“many men, people”) was inclusive and not limited to a specific village. This name was used before the smallpox epidemic of 1837-1838. Nueta (Nų́ʔetaa), the name used after this epidemic (“ourselves, our people”) was originally the name of Mandan villagers living on the west bank of the Missouri River. The name Mi-ah´ta-nē recorded by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden in 1862 reportedly means “people on the river bank”, but this may be a folk etymology.

The Mandan language belongs to the Siouan language family. It was first thought to be closely related to the languages of the Hidatsa and the Crow. However, since the Mandan language has been in contact with Hidatsa and Crow for many years, the exact relationship between Mandan and other Siouan languages (including Hidatsa and Crow) has been obscured. For this reason, linguists classify Mandan as a separate branch of the Sioux. Mandan has two main dialects: Nuptare and Nuetare. Only the Nuptare variety survived into the 20th century, and all speakers were bilingual in Hidatsa.

The exact origins and early history of the Mandan is unknown. Early linguists believed the Mandan language may have been closely related to the language of the Ho-Chunk or Winnebago people of present-day Wisconsin. This idea might be confirmed in their oral history, which refers to having come from an eastern location near a lake.

Ethnologists and scholars studying the Mandan subscribe to the theory that, like other Sioux people (possibly including the Hidatsa), they originated in the mid-Mississippi River and the Ohio River valleys in present-day Ohio. If this was the case, the Mandan would have migrated north into the Missouri River Valley and its tributary the Heart River in present-day North Dakota where Europeans first encountered the historical tribe. This migration might have occurred possibly as early as the 7th century but probably between 1000 CE and the 13th century, after they started cultivating maize during a period of a major climate change where warmer, wetter conditions favored their agricultural production.

After they arrived on the banks of the Heart River, the Mandan constructed several villages, the largest of which were at the mouth of the river. Archeological evidence and ground imaging radar reveals changes in the defensive boundaries of these villages over time. The people built new ditches and palisades circumscribing smaller areas as their populations declined.

The Double Ditch Village was located on the east bank of the Missouri River, north of present-day Bismarck. Rupture Mandan occupied it for nearly 300 years. Today the site has depressions showing evidence of their lodges and smaller ones where they created cache pits to store dehydrated corn. The name comes from two defensive trenches built outside the area of the lodges. Construction of the fortifications here and at other locations along the Missouri has been found to have correlated to periods of drought, when they raided other villages for food.

At some point, the Hidatsa people also moved into the area. They too spoke a Siouan language. Mandan tradition states that the Hidatsa were a nomadic tribe until the Mandan taught them to build stationary villages and cultivate agriculture. The Hidatsa maintained a friendship with the Mandan and constructed villages north of them on the Knife River.

Later the Pawnee and Arikara moved from the Republican River north along the Missouri River. They were Caddoan language speakers, and the Arikara were often early competitors with the Mandan, although both grew crops. They built a settlement known as Crow Creek village on a bluff above the Missouri.

The Mandan all practiced extensive farming, which was carried out by the women and included drying and processing corn. The Mandan traded crops and other goods were traded from the Pacific Northwest to the Tennessee River, Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the Atlantic Seaboard.

The bands did not often move along the river until the late 18th century, after their populations plummeted due to smallpox and other epidemics.

European Encounter

The Koatiouak, mentioned in a 1736 letter by Jesuit Jean-Pierre Aulneau, are identified as Mandans. The first European known to visit the Mandan was the French Canadian trader Sieur de la Verendrye in 1738. The Mandan carried him into their well-fortified village. He learned that about 15,000 Mandan lived in nine well-fortified villages along the Heart River. According to Vérendrye, the Mandan were a large, powerful, prosperous nation who could dictate trade on their own terms.They traded with other Native Americans both from the north and the south, and from downriver.

Mandan acquired their horses from the Apache to the south. They used them both for transportation, to carry packs and pull travois, and for hunting. The horses helped the Mandan expand their hunting territory on to the Plains. Their encounter with the French in the 18th century created a trading link between the French and Native Americans. The Mandan served as middlemen in the trade in furs, horses, guns, crops and buffalo products. Spanish merchants and officials in St. Louis (after France had ceded its territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain in 1763) explored the Missouri and strengthened relations with the Mandan.

The French wanted to discourage trade with the English and the Americans, but the Mandan carried on open trade with all competitors. They would not be limited by the Europeans. French traders in St. Louis sought to establish direct overland communication between Santa Fé and their city; the fur trading Chouteau brothers gained a Spanish monopoly on trade with Santa Fe.

A smallpox epidemic broke out in Mexico City in 1779/1780. It slowly spread northward through the Spanish empire, by trade and warfare, and reached the northern plains in 1781. The Comanche and Shoshone had become infected and carried the disease throughout their territory. Other warring and trading peoples also became infected. The Mandan lost so many people that the number of clans was reduced from thirteen to seven; three clan names from villages west of the Missouri were lost altogether. They eventually moved northward about 25 miles, and consolidated into two villages, one on each side of the river, as they rebuilt following the epidemic. Also affected by smallpox, the Hidatsa people joined them for defense. Through and after the epidemic, Lakota Sioux and Crow warriors raided them.

In 1796, Welsh explorer John Evans visited the Mandan. He hoped to find proof that their language contained Welsh words. Evans had arrived in St. Louis two years prior, and after being imprisoned for a year, Spanish authorities hired him to lead an expedition to chart the upper Missouri. Evans spent the winter of 1796–97 with the Mandan but found no evidence of any Welsh influence. British and French Canadians from the north carried out more than twenty fur-trading expeditions down to the Hidatsa and Mandan villages in the years 1794 to 1800.

The Mandan and their language received much attention from European Americans, in part because their lighter skin color caused speculation they were of European origin. In the 1830s, Prince Maximilian of Wied spent more time recording Mandan over all other Siouan languages and prepared a comparison list of Mandan and Welsh words. (He thought that the Mandan may have been displaced Welsh.) The theory of the Mandan/Welsh connection, was also supported by George Catlin, but researchers have found no evidence of such ancestry.

Visited by Lewis and Clark Expedition

By 1804 when Lewis and Clark visited the tribe, the number of Mandan had been greatly reduced by smallpox epidemics and warring bands of Assiniboine, Lakota and Arikara. The nine villages had consolidated into two villages in the 1780s, one on each side of the Missouri, but they continued their famous hospitality, and the Lewis and Clark expedition stopped near their villages for the winter because of it. In honor of their hosts, the expedition dubbed the settlement they constructed Fort Mandan. Here, Lewis and Clark first met Sacagawea, a captive Shoshone woman. Sacagawea accompanied the expedition as it traveled west, assisting them with information and translating skills as they journeyed toward the Pacific Ocean.

Upon their return to the Mandan villages, Lewis and Clark took the Mandan Chief Sheheke (Coyote or Big White) with them to Washington to meet with President Thomas Jefferson. He returned to the upper Missouri. He had survived the smallpox epidemic of 1781, but in 1812 he was killed in a battle with Hidatsa.

In 1825 the Mandan signed a peace treaty with the leaders of the Atkinson-O’Fallon Expedition. The treaty required that the Mandan recognize the supremacy of the United States, admit that they reside on United States territory, and relinquish all control and regulation of trade to the United States. The Mandan and the United States Army never met in open warfare.

Why did some Mandan have Bluish Eyes and Lighter Skin?

18th-century reports about characteristics of Mandan lodges, religion and occasional physical features among tribal members, such as blue and grey eyes along with lighter hair coloring, stirred speculation about the possibility of pre-Columbian European contact. Catlin believed the Mandan were the “Welsh Indians” of folklore, descendants of Prince Madoc and his followers who emigrated to America from Wales in about 1170. This view was popular at the time but has been dismissed as not true.

Hjalmar Holand had proposed that interbreeding with Norse survivors might explain the “blond” Indians among the Mandan on the Upper Missouri River. In a multidisciplinary study of the Kensington Runestone, anthropologist Alice Beck Kehoe dismissed, as “tangential” to the Runestone issue, this and other historical references suggesting pre-Columbian contacts with ‘outsiders’, such as the Hochunk (Winnebago) story about an ancestral hero “Red Horn” and his encounter with “red-haired giants”. Archaeologist Ken Feder has stated that none of the material evidence that would be expected from a Viking presence in and travel through the American Midwest exists.

The Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Read the books of The Locket Saga
In print at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown
On Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076ZSK5PB/ref=series_rw_dp_sw


Chief CornplanterA few years ago, I met a young man was a descendant of Cornplanter. His family had moved from the tribal lands to the nearby Seneca reservation probably for economic reasons. He gave me a CD of his people’s music. It was beautiful. It is sad that our culture had almost wiped their culture from this country.

Another memory that I have related to this chief is that I remember back when I was a teenager at the nursing home next door where I sometimes worked, one of the residents had been one of the people who helped move a graveyard off land that would be at the bottom of the lake above what was to be Kinzua Dam in Warren County, Pennsylvania. Later I learned that this had been land that was promised to the descendants of Chief Cornplanter. If they lived on the land, it would always be reserved for them. The last member of the Cornplanter Tribe left the land sometime before the US government whisked in and took possession of the area and flooded the area and built the dam for electricity production.

Cornplanter’s Early Years

Cornplanter was born sometime between 1732 and 1746, in the village of Conewaugus on the Genesee River in New York, the son of a Seneca woman and a Dutch trader named John Abeel (O’Bail). Lewis Henry Morgan erroneously states that it was Cornplanter’s mother who was white rather than his father. This is important because the Seneca, like other Iroquois people, are matrilineal. This means that tribal membership comes to individuals through their mothers. Cornplanter had two half siblings who were born to his mother and a Seneca father: a brother, Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet; and a sister who became the mother of Governor Blacksnake, the Seneca political leader. Little is known about Cornplanter during his early years, although many scholars contend that he was a warrior during the French and Indian War at the defeat of Edward Braddock in 1755 while he was in his early teens. One letter to the governor of Pennsylvania noted that Cornplanter, while playing with the other Indian boys, noticed that his skin color was lighter than that of the other boys, whereupon his mother told him of his white father who lived in Albany. As a prospective bridegroom, he visited his father who treated him kindly, but gave him nothing in the way of either material goods or expected information, particularly regarding the coming rebellion of the colonists against the British. This rebellion played a major role in Cornplanter’s life.

This Role during the Revolutionary War

Cornplanter played a major role in Iroquois Confederacy politics before and during the American Revolution and the subsequent political adaptation of the Seneca to the new government of the United States. The Iroquois Confederacy began as an alliance of five northern Iroquoian-speaking tribes: the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. This alliance was formed to harness the strength of these five groups in fighting common enemies as well as to foster economic cooperation among them. The confederacy was governed by the Grand Council of Fifty Chiefs.

This governing body had cardinal rules which stated that any decision made required a unanimous vote of the chiefs especially decisions regarding war. In the Revolution, the Mohawk were firmly behind the British, but the Seneca hoped for neutrality. Cornplanter and his half-brother Handsome Lake were among the leaders of the Seneca. However, Cornplanter was obliged to support his fellow clansman Joseph Brant, a Mohawk captain who supported the British and he was obligated to fight with the British against the Americans. Other members of the federation, like the Oneida and the Tuscarora remained neutral and refused to get in the middle of the fight.

Despite his original misgivings about entering the war on the side of the British, Cornplanter served as a commander for the Seneca throughout the war.

During the Battle of Canajoharie, located in the Mohawk Valley, during August of 1780. Cornplanter recognized his father, John Abeel, among the captive survivors after his men attacked and burned a village. Though Cornplanter felt slighted by his father for not having send a wedding gift, Cornplanter still respected him as a kinsman and apologize for burning his house. He also offered his father the option of returning to Seneca country with him or being released immediately. Abeel chose to be released, and, at Cornplanter’s request, the council of leaders allowed his freedom.

After the Revolution

Even before the end of the war, Americans started planning to remove the Indians from their lands and punish them for their aid to the British by destroying the political importance of the confederacy and looked at the monetary gain they would get for confiscating and selling Indian land. When General George Washington ordered an invasion of the Iroquois homeland to punish them for their role in the revolution, Cornplanter sent an urgent message in July of 1779, saying: “Father. You have said that we are in your hand and that by closing it you could crush us to nothing. Are you determined to crush us? If you are, tell us so that those of our nation who have become your children and have determined to die so, may know what to do. But before you determine on a measure so unjust, look up to God who made us as well as you. We hope He will not permit you to destroy the whole of our nation.”

Cornplanter tried to reconcile the Seneca with the Americans, but failed. He attended the treaty council held at Fort Stanwix (1784) between the Iroquois and the United States. This treaty ceded large tracts of Indian land to the new government. Because he tried to make peace between the Seneca and the Americas and because the tribe lost great tracts of land, Cornplanter became unpopular with the Seneca. Although he was not a signer of the treaty, Cornplanter agreed to the Fort Harmar Treaty (1789), ceded another great tract of land to the United States, and this only worsened his position with the tribe.
During this period of treaty-making, arguments arose over which of the newly formed states would encompass Indian territories. Robert Morris, an early colonial and American financier, purchased a right, called a right of pre-emption” from the state of Massachusetts. He eventually decided to sell this right of pre-emption to the Holland Land Company, agreeing in the bargain to extinguish Indian claim to the land by buying the land from the Indians. Finances ultimately kept him from accomplishing this, but he still attempted to extinguish Indian claim to the land through political channels. He met with Cornplanter in Philadelphia in August of 1797 to begin preliminary discussions of this issue, which led to full-scale negotiations between Morris and the Seneca at Genesee, New York. The Seneca rejected all of Morris’s offers and Red Jacket eventually proclaimed negotiations to be at an end. The Seneca finally agreed to cede the land and signed a treaty in September of 1797.

The Land Grant

In 1795 the Pennsylvania Commonwealth awarded him in fee simple 1,500 acres of land in western Pennsylvania. Cornplanter directed the survey of this land into three strategic and valuable tracts and a patent was issued in 1796. He eventually lost two of the tracts, those at Oil City and Richland. The third tract he kept, encompassing about 750 acres along the Allegany River including the site of the old Seneca town Jenuchshadago and two islands in that river. He was awarded a yearly pension by the U.S. government because of the 1797 treaty, which he collected for some time. An additional tract of land given to Cornplanter is in what is now Marietta, Ohio, and Cornplanter’s heirs continue to claim that the US government defrauded from them.

Cornplanter  raised horses and cattle and maintained his own political community. According to O. Turner in Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, Cornplanter later quarreled with Handsome Lake over some of the religious teachings which Handsome Lake had introduced to the Seneca.

Cornplanter eventually became a Christian, and invited Quakers to build a school on his land grant. However, he became disillusioned with the white man’s effects on Seneca culture and he publicly destroyed the formal regalia and various awards that he had received from the president of the United States. He died on February 18, 1836, in Jenuchshadago at about one hundred years old.

Kinzua Dam

Kinzua Dam

Cornplanter’s last direct heir and great-great-great-grandson, Jesse Cornplanter, an artist, died in 1957. By the 1960s, Cornplanter’s indirect descendants had already moved to Salamanca, New York.

Construction of Kinzua Dam condemned 10,000 acres of the Allegheny Reservation including  the land granted to Cornplanter in the Treaty of Canandaigua. The Seneca lost a considerable number of acres of fertile farmland and forced 600 Seneca from their community within the reservation. Because he claimed the immediate need for flood control,  President John F. Kennedy denied the Seneca’s request to halt construction.

In Pennsylvania, the government condemned most of the historic Cornplanter Tract,  made by the state legislature to Cornplanter after the Revolutionary War to him and his heirs “forever”. This area included a historic cemetery that contained Cornplanter’s remains as well as three hundred descendants and followers and a state memorial monument erected in 1866.

The state exhumed and reinterred these remains in a new cemetery, located west of the north central Pennsylvania town of Bradford, about 100 yards from the New York state line. “The cemetery contains remains of white residents of Corydon, a town submerged by the reservoir. By 2009 Seneca observers and whites pleaded with the State Corps of Engineers to protect the area when they saw erosion on the bluff where the cemetery  was located. Other remains were relocated to a cemetery in Steamburg.

The Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

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In print at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown
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When I was in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I had the privilege of meeting members of the Eighth Pennsylvania Re-enactors. The original Eighth Pennsylvania’s leadership where the ones who signed the treaty with the Lenape.

When I was researching my book A Coward’s Solace, I discovered that the first American treaty with the Indians were between the Lenape or Delaware I decided to share this story this week as my focus for Native American History Month. I wrote about it at the end of my book A Coward’s Solace.

The Treaty with the Delaware, signed on September 17, 1778, at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), was the first formal written treaty between the new United States of America and any Native Americans. This treaty gave the United States permission to travel through Delaware territory and required the Delaware to allow American troops whatever aid they required in their war against Britain, including warrior support. What the Delaware and our story’s naïve protagonists did not know was that the United States planned an attack on the British fort at Detroit, and Lenape friendship was essential for that campaign’s success.

In exchange for the Delaware support, the United States promised to provide clothing, utensils, and weapons. They offered to build a fort in Delaware country with the promise that fort would provide safety for their women, elderly, and children while the warriors fought any common enemy. Although it was not specifically stated in the written treaty, the American Government assumed that along with their French allies, the Delaware would become active participants with the Americans against the British.

The Delaware, on the other hand, assumed, like their treaties with other Native American tribes, that the agreement simply allowed the Continental troops free passage through Delaware country and the building of a protective fort for defending white settlers. However, the American government wanted the Delaware to do much more. The United States intended to use the fort for offensive campaigns and wrote into the treaty that the Delaware would attack their native neighbors. This way, the Delaware would be responsible for controlling the other native tribes so that the Continental and militia troops could focus on subduing British forces.

The treaty recognized the Delaware as a sovereign nation, guaranteeing territorial rights, even encouraging the other Ohio Country Native American tribes who were friendly to the United States to form a state. A member of Delaware leadership would represent the Delaware state in Congress. This measure had little chance of success, and some experts believe that the authors of the treaty were dishonest and deceitful. Others believe that the Delaware chief White Eyes proposed the measure. The Delaware state was to become the fourteenth state of the United States. In any case, neither the United States nor the Delaware acted upon this measure.

Delaware Grievances

Before a year passed, the Delaware Indians expressed grievances with the treaty. A Delaware delegation visited Philadelphia in 1779 to voice their dissatisfaction to the Continental Congress, but nothing changed and peace between the United States and the Delaware Indians dissolved.

Of the members who signed the treaty on September 17, 1778, White Eyes, the tribe’s most outspoken ally of the United States, died in mysteriously. Initially the official army report stated that White Eyes died of smallpox on an expedition to attack Detroit, but upon farther investigation, an officer killed him in “friendly fire”. The stated reason for the cover-up was an attempt to keep the Delaware from seeking revenge for his death.
The Pipe had tried to stay neutral throughout the American Revolution even after General Edward Hand killed his mother, brother, and several of his children during a military campaign in 1778. Because Hand did not know the difference between the Native American tribes, he mistook the neutral Lenape for the Shawnee who allied with the British, so he attacked hoping to reduce Indian threats against settlers in the Ohio Country. When Pipe and other Lenape leaders protested the US interpretation of the treaty, General Lachlan McIntosh demanded that Lenape warriors assist the Americans in capturing Fort Detroit. If they refused, he would exterminate them. Pipe and other leaders left the Fort Pitt area and relocated to the Walhonding River near what is now Coshocton, Ohio.

Many Lenape joined the war against the Americans. In response, Colonel Daniel Brodhead led an expedition out of Fort Pitt on April 19, 1781, which destroyed Coshocton. Surviving residents fled to the north. The soldiers left the Lenape at the Moravian mission villages unmolested because they were Christianized and considered non-combatants.

Due to indiscriminate American attacks against the Lenape during the war, chiefs of several clans switched to ally with the British. After being pushed out as principal chief, the Pipe led an American attack on a major Lenape town, and then retreated to Fort Pitt. After the war, he converted to Christianity at a Moravian mission in Salem, Ohio, where he took the Christian name of “William Henry.”

The Lenape after the American Revolution

Pipe’s neutrality ended in 1781 when Colonel Daniel Brodhead attacked and destroyed Pipe’s village. He moved his people to the Tymochtee Creek near the Sandusky River. This village became known as Pipe’s Town. Captain Pipe spent the rest of the American Revolution resisting American expansion into the Ohio Country. He helped defeat the Crawford Expedition in 1782 headed by William Crawford, and Crawford was ritually tortured and then killed. After the Revolution, Pipe continued resistance efforts against white settlements in what the US called the Northwest Territory.
Over time, Pipe realized the futility of his attempts to defeat the Americans. so he negotiated treaties with the government. These treaties did nothing to limit the number of settlers who moved onto lands the American government reserved for the Lenape. Time after time, the Lenape moved only to be moved again when settlers wanted to settle on Lenape lands.
In 1812, the Lenape moved west again and the government moved them yet again in 1821. No one knows exactly where Chief Pipe died. Some say that he died in 1818 near Orestes; others say somewhere in Canada. His son also called Captain Pipe signed many treaties and moved with the tribe to Kansas.
Today, the tribe is organized west of the Mississippi. They have an official newspaper based out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Delaware Indian News is the official publication of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. It is published by the Delaware Tribe and mailed free to tribal members. Check it out here http://delawaretribe.org/delaware-indian-news/

The Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books
Read the books of The Locket Saga
In print at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cygnetbrown
On Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076ZSK5PB/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

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