Unintentional germ warfare dooms many Native Americans

SUNBURY, Pa.Sunbury Press has released John L. Moore’s Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps, the seventh of eight volumes in the Frontier Pennsylvania series.

ssas_fcAbout the Book:
Barbara Leininger and Marie LeRoy were teenage girls living along Penns Creek in central Pennsylvania in 1755 when an Indian war party captured them and carried them off to western Pennsylvania. This occurred early in the French & Indian War. For several years, the teenagers lived as Delaware Indians. Sometimes they had little to eat, and “ … we were forced to live on acorns, roots, grass and bark,” they said later.

After three years, they escaped from their captors and fled on foot across the forests of Ohio and Pennsylvania, eventually reaching the safety of the British fort at Pittsburgh.

The first-person narrative they dictated to a Philadelphia newspaper after their 1759 escape was one of many first-person documents that author John L. Scalping of Jane McCreaMoore uses to tell the true stories of real people in this non-fiction collection of articles that is part of the Frontier Pennsylvania Series.

Other accounts in the book tell how and why Native Americans took the scalps of their foes, kept written records of their wartime exploits, and employed fire as a weapon when hunting for deer.

The stories are set mainly in the valleys of the Delaware, Juniata, Lehigh, Ohio and Susquehanna rivers.

What Others Say:
“The people of 18th century frontier Pennsylvania – settlers, soldiers, and Indians alike – march across these pages in a human drama that we can understand, but more importantly feel almost 300 years later. Moore lets the actors describe themselves in their own words: the misunderstandings, conflicts, family tragedies, deaths, diseases, hunger, wars, and the simply mundane business of their everyday lives. Our storyteller takes just as much care in describing the Indians’ daily slog, quarrels, family life, customs and mores as he does their sometimes friends – and sometimes rivals – the European settlers. Both groups formed intertwined threads in a single frontier web.

“When he describes a famous campaign in the French & Indian War, Moore deftly uses his sources to make General Braddock’s doomed expedition come to life. Incidents of friendly fire, frightened European soldiers used to fighting in open spaces but never in woods, slow progress as an army builds a road (!) into the mountains – mile by mile – are all described as if patiently carved into oak to make woodcut prints.” ~ Thomas J. Brucia, Houston, Texas, bibliophile, outdoorsman and book reviewer

Excerpt:
On the Susquehanna River, Dutch colonial officials reported in 1661 “a great mortality from smallpox among the Minquas,” Indians who were also known as the Susquehannocks.

smallpoxIn 1663 Swedish colonists recorded that “smallpox raged terribly among the Indians” along the lower Delaware and “ill-disposed people advised them to leap into the river and bathe themselves, whereby many perished.”

A combination of sickness and warfare destroyed Indian communities along the lower Hudson River. Indeed, an English colonist named Daniel Denton reported that when the English had conquered New Amsterdam in 1664 and renamed the town New York, Indians in the vicinity were living in six towns. But by 1670, the year of Denton’s report, “they are reduced to two small villages.” Their reduction pleased Denton. “Where the English come to settle,” he remarked, “a divine hand makes way for them by … cutting off the Indians either by wars … or by some raging mortal disease.”

smallpox-killed-the-native-americansWherever the Europeans settled in the Middle Atlantic colonies, diseases they unwittingly brought with them devastated native people who lived in the region. Consider the events that occurred along the New Jersey side of the Delaware River in the late 1670s. English colonists purchased land from the Indians, traded with them, and established the village of Burlington. Soon after, smallpox swept through native settlements and killed many. The settlers, who were Quakers, became fearful when they realized some Native Americans believed that the newcomers had deliberately exposed them to the disease. These Indians wanted to start a war against their new neighbors.

About the Author:
johnJohn 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.

Settlers, Soldiers, and Scalps
Authored by John L. Moore
List Price: $9.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
86 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065167
ISBN-10: 1620065169
BISAC: History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Settlers-Soldiers-and-Sc…

Cover artwork by Andrew Knez, Jr.  For more information about Andrew’s work, please see:http://www.andrewknezjr.com/