SUNBURY, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released John L. Moore’s Rivers, Raiders, and Renegades, the fifth of eight volumes in the Frontier Pennsylvania series.
About the Book:
As the Delaware Indians moved west through Pennsylvania during the 1700s, they carried with them tribal memories of the day they first met people from Europe. Their ancestors had lived along the Atlantic Ocean, and, according to tradition, which a missionary eventually wrote down, a group of Indian men in canoes had ventured out into New York Harbor to fish. Suddenly they saw a strange object floating in the ocean far to the east. When it got very close, they saw that it was a large floating house with people on it.
There are remarkable similarities between this legend and journal entries written in September 1609 by an officer of Henry Hudson’s ship, the “Half Moon,” as it sailed into the harbor and up the Hudson River. Author John L. Moore explores the differences and similarities of the European and Native American versions of this fateful meeting.
A work of non-fiction, “Rivers, Raiders, and Renegades” provides colorful details of the 1600s, an obscure era in colonial history. Among the many people it depicts is Etienne Brule, a young Frenchman who lived with the Indians after arriving in Canada in 1608 and who in 1615 became the first European to travel the entire length of the Susquehanna River;
Moore draws upon written observations of early colonists who described the Native Americans they encountered. Peter Lindestrom, a Delaware River colonist, reported that Indians occasionally cut themselves all over their bodies, then rubbed special ointments into the wounds so that “blue streaks” remained when the wounds healed. This made “the savages appear entirely striped and streaky,” Lindestrom said. Another Delaware colonist, Johann Printz, said, “They walk naked with only a piece of cloth … tied around their hips.” In the Hudson Valley, Dutch colonist Isaack De Rasiere reported: “In the wintertime they usually wear a dressed deerskin; some have a bear’s skin about the body; some a coat of scales; some a covering made of turkey feathers.”
The descendants of these natives eventually passed through Pennsylvania as they migrated farther west to the Ohio River Valley or north to central and western New York. These stories are set mainly in the valleys of the Delaware, Hudson, and Susquehanna rivers.
Sir Johan Printz achieved two distinctions during his eleven years as royal governor of the New Sweden Colony.
The first was significant. Arriving in the colony in February 1643, Printz strengthened the colony’s existing defenses along the Delaware River, built several new ones, and then closed the river to ships of merchants from rival colonies. This let Swedish merchants monopolize the fur trade with the Indians, but angered the authorities of other colonies on the Eastern Seaboard.
The second distinction was colorful, but trifling. The governor, who was obese, acquired a derogatory nickname that the Lenni Lenape Indians bestowed on him—“meschatz.” The Indian word “meschatz”meant “large belly,” according to Peter Lindestrom, a Swedish military engineer who arrived in New Sweden in 1654. “Thus they called him,” Lindestrom reported in a book titled Geographia Americae that he wrote about the colony. He never met Printz, who had sailed for Europe several months before Lindestrom’s arrival in New Sweden.
A decade earlier, David de Vries, a Dutch adventurer, had recorded his impression of Printz after meeting him at Tinnicum Island in the Delaware River in 1643. “He was …,” de Vries said, “a man of large size who weighed over 400 pounds.” The Dutchman described the Swedish governor as hospitable. When Printz learned that de Vries had explored and traded on the river years before the Swedes colonized it, he “had a silver mug brought, with which he treated the skipper with hop beer, and a large glass of Rhenish wine, with which he drank my health.”
About the Author:
John L. Moore, a veteran newspaperman, said he employed a journalist’s eye for detail and ear for quotes in order to write about long-dead people in a lively way. He said his books are based on 18th and 19th century letters, journals, memoirs and transcripts of official proceedings such as interrogations, depositions and treaties.
The author is also a professional storyteller who specializes in dramatic episodes from Pennsylvania’s colonial history. Dressed in 18th century clothing, he does storytelling in the persona of “Susquehanna Jack,” a frontier ruffian. Moore is available weekdays, weekends and evenings for audiences and organizations of all types and sizes.
Moore’s 45-year career in journalism included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; as a Harrisburg-based legislative correspondent for Ottaway News Service; as managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown; as editorial page editor and managing editor at The Daily Item in Sunbury; and as editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem.
Rivers, Raiders, and Renegades
Authored by John L. Moore
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
Sunbury Press, Inc.
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic
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Cover artwork by Andrew Knez, Jr. For more information about Andrew’s work, please see:http://www.andrewknezjr.com/