Skip navigation

1760 Croghan

George Croghan ( -1782) was an Indian agent, trader and land speculator. In 1756 Sir William Johnson made him deputy superintendent of Indian Affairs. Croghan conducted the most delicate and important negotiations with the strong tribes of the northwest. He was present with Rogers and Bouquet when Detroit was taken over by the English in 1760. Next to Sir William Johnson Croghan was the most prominent Indian agent of his time. His journals and correspondence form one of the most important sources for the history of the West from 1745-1775.

28th. Captain Campbell was sent of with a Flag of Truce to give M. Balletre his orders to give up Th Place soon after we set of up the River and encamped at an Indian Village, at Night Capt. Campbell joined us and informed us that Monsieur Belletre behaved very politely on seeing M. Vaudreuils Orders & desired we would proceed the next day and take possession of the Fort & Country.

29th. We set of and arrived about twelve o'Clock at the place where we landed and sent and relieved the Garrison.


30th. Part of the Militia lay down their Arms and took the Oath of Fidelity.

December 1st. The rest of the Militia layed down their Arms and took the Oath of Fidelity.

2d. Lieut Holms was sent of with M. Balletre and the French Garrison with whom I sent 15 English Prisoners which I got from the Indians.

3d. In the Morning the principal Indians of 3 different Nations came to my Lodgings & made the following Speech on a Belt of Wampum.

BRETHREN: - You have now taken possession of this Country, While the French lived here they kept a smith to mend our Guns and Hatchets and a Doctor to attend our People when sick, we expect you will do the same and as no doubt you have something to say to us from the English General and Sir William Johnson we would be glad [to know] how soon you would go on business as this is our hunting season.

Fort D'Troit December 4th 1760. We met the Wayondotts, Putawatimes and Ottawas in the Council House, with several of the principal Men of the Ohio Indians who accompanied his Majestys Forces there when the following speeches were made to them.

BRETHREN CHIEFS & WARRIORS OF THE SEVERAL NATIONS NOW PRESENT: You have been made acquainted with the success of his Majestys Arms under the Command of his Excellency General Amherst and the Reduction of all Canada & now you are Eye Witnesses to the surrender of this place agreeable to the Capitulation as I send you word before the arrival of his Majestys Troops; you see now your Fathers are become British Subjects, you are therefore desired to look on them as such & not to think them a separate People; and as long as you adhere to his Majestys Interest and behave yoursel[ves] well to all his subjects as faithfull allies, you may depend on having a free open Trade with your Brethren the English & be protected by his Majesty King George now your Father & my Master. - A Belt.

BRETHREN: At a Conference held with several Chiefs & Deputys of your several Nations at Pittsburg this Summer, you told me that all our Prisoners which have been taken since the War, yet remaining in your possession were then set at Liberty to return home if they pleased, now I have received by Major Rogers the Commanding Officer here, General Amherst and Sir William Johnson's Orders to demand due performance of your promise & desire that you may forthwith deliver them up as that is the only way you can convince us of your sincerity and future intentions of living in Friendship with all his Majestys Subjects in the several British Colonies in America. - A belt.

BRETHREN: On Condition of your performance of what has been said to you I by this Belt renew and brighten the Ancient Chain of Friendship between his Majestys Subjects, the Six United Nations and our Brethren of the several Western Nations to the Sun setting and wish it may continue as long as the Sun and Moon give light. - A belt.

BRETHREN: As my orders are to return to Pittsburg I now recommend Capt. Campbel to you as he is appointed by his Majestys Commander in Chief to be Governour of this place, with him you must transact the the publick business and you may depend he will do you all the service in his power and see that justice is done you in Trade. - A belt.

BRETHREN CHIEFS AND WARRIORS: As the Ancient Friendship that long subsisted between our Ancestors is now renewed I was[h] the Blood of the Earth, that has been shed since the present War, that you may smell the sweet scent of the Springing Herbs & bury the War Hatchet in the Bottomless Pitt. - A belt.

BRETHREN: I know your Warriors have all a martial spirit & must be employed at War & if they want diversion after the fatigue of hunting there is your natural Enemies the Cherookees with whom you have been long at War, there your warriors will find diversion & there they may go, they have no other place to go, as all Nations else are become the subjects of Great Britain. - A belt.

BRETHREN: As I command this Garrison for his Majesty King George I must acquaint you that all the Settlers living in this Country are my Master's subjects therefore I take this opportunity to desire you our Brethren of the several Nations not to take any of their Effects from them by force, nor kill or steal any of their Cattle, as I shall look on any insult of that kind as if done to me, as they are under my protection. I desire you will encourage your young Men to hunt and bring their Meat to me for which they shall be paid in Powder and Lead. - A belt.

Major Rogers acquainted the Indians that he was going to Misselemaknach to relieve that Garrison and desired some of their young Men to go with him, whom he would pay for their Services and that he was sending an Officer to St. Josephs and the Waweoughtannes to relieve their Post & bring of the French Garrisons & desired they would send some of their young Men with him who should likewise be paid for their services. - A belt.

Then we acquainted them by a string that as they had requested a Smith to mend their Guns as usual & the Doctor to attend their sick that it was granted till the Generals pleasure was known. - A string.

December the 4th. A Principal Man of the Wayondotts spoke and said Brethren we have heard and considered what you said to us yesterday and are met this day to return you an answer agreeable to our promise.

The Wayondott Speaker addressed this speech to Major Rogers, Capt Campbel and myself.

BRETHREN: We have heard what you said to us yesterday, we are like a lost People, as we have lost many of our principal Men, & we hope you will excuse us if we should make any Mistakes, but we assure you our Hearts are good towards our Brethren the English when your General and Sir William Johnson took all Canada they ordered you to send us Word, we received your Messages & we see, by your removing the French in the manner you have from here, that what you said to us by your Messengers is true. Brethren be it so, and continue as you have begun for the good of us all. All the Indians in this Country are Allies to each other and as one People, what you have said to us is very agreeable & we hope you will continue to strengthen the Ancient Chain of Friendship. - A belt.

You desired us yesterday to perform our promise & deliver up your Prisoners, it is very true we did promise to deliver them up, and have since delivered up many, what would you have us do there is very few here at present they are all yours & you shall have them as soon as possible tho' we do not choose to force them that have a mind to live with us. - A belt.

BRETHREN: Yesterday you renewed and brightened the Ancient Chain of Friendship between our Ancestors the Six Nations & you. Brethren I am glad to hear that you our Brethren the English and the Six Nations have renewed and strengthened the Ancient Chain of Friendship subsisting between us, & we assure you that if ever it be broke it will be on your side, and it is in your power as you are an able People to preserve it, for while this Friendship is preserved we shall be a strong Body of People, and do not let a small matter make a difference between us. - A belt.

BRETHREN: Yesterday you desired us to be strong and preserve the Chain of Friendship free from rust, Brethren look on this Friendship Belt where we have the Six Nations and you by the hand; this Belt was delivered us by our Brethren the English & Six Nations when first you came over the Great Water, that we might go & pass to Trade where we pleased & you likewise with us, this Belt we preserve that our Children unborn may know.

BRETHREN: We heard what you said yesterday it was all good but we expected two things more, first that you would have put it out of the power of the Evil Spirit to hurt the Chain of Friendship, and secondly that you would have settled the prices of goods that we might have them cheaper from you than we had from the French as you have often told us. Brethren you have renewed the Old Friendship yesterday, the Ancient Chain is now become bright, it is new to our Young Men, and Brethren we now take a faster hold of it than ever we had & hope it may be preserved free from rust to our posterity. - A belt 9 rows.

BRETHREN: This Belt is from our Warriors in behalf of our Women & Children and they desire of us to request of you to be strong & see that they have goods cheap from your Traders & not be oppressed as they have been by the French. - A belt 7 rows.

BRETHREN: Shewing two Medals those we had from you as a token that we might remember our Friendship whenever we should meet in the Woods and smoke under the Tree of Peace, we preserved your token and hope you remember your promise, it was then said that this Country was given by God to the Indians & that you would preserve it for our joint use where we first me under a shade as there were no Houses in those times.

The same speaker addressing himself to the six Nations.

BRETHREN: I am very glad to hear what our Brethren the English have said to us, and I now send this string by you, and take the Chiefs of the six Nations by the hand to come here to Council next spring.

Brother addressing himself to me

You have been employed by the King and Sir William Johnson amongst many Nations of Indians in settling this Peace, now you are sent here where our Council fire is, the Smoke of which ascends to the Skies you are going away and all Nations to the Sun sitting are to meet here to see their Brethren the English in possession of this place and we desire that you may stay here till that Council, that you may take your Master Word of what is to be transacted here. - A belt.

BRETHREN: By this string we request you will consider it will be difficult for us to understand each other. It would be agreeable to us if you would continue our old Interpreter as he understands our Language well. - A string.

December the 5th the Principal Man of the Putawatimes spoke

BRETHREN: Yesterday our Uncles of the Six Nations spoke to your for all of us; do not be surprised at it, they have more understanding in Council affairs than us, we have employed them to speak for all us all, and Confirm what they have said by this Belt. - A belt.

BRETHREN: Be strong and bring large quantitys of goods to supply us & we will bring all our Furs to this place. We are glad you acquainted us that the Inhabitants of French here are become English subjects, we shall look on them as such for the future and treat them as our Brethren. - A belt.

BRETHREN: Our Uncles gave us the String of Wampum and desired us to be strong and hunt for you, we should be glad [if] you would fix the price to be given for a Deer of Meat, then insisted strongly that the six Nation Deputys should press their Chiefs to attend the General meeting to be held here in the spring by a Belt.

The principal Man of the Ottawas got up and made two speeches to the same purport as above.

Then I made them the following speech.

BRETHREN: I return you thanks for the several affectionate speeches you made us yesterday. To day it is agreed that he [the intrepreter] be continued till General Amherst and Sir William Johnson's pleasure be known; you likewise desired I might stay here till your General Meeting in the Spring, I am not my own Master so you must excuse me till I receive further Orders. - A belt.

Then the Present of Goods was delivered to each Nation in his Majestys Name, for which they returned hearty thanks.

Then Major Rogers spoke to them.

BRETHREN: I return you thanks for your readiness in joining his Majestys Troops under my Command, on my way here, as I soon set out to execute my orders and relieve the Garrison of Misselemakinach I take this opportunity of taking my leave of you, and you may be assured I will acquaint General Amherst and Sir William Johnson of the kind reception I have met with amongst your Nations and recommend your services. - A belt.

Then the Council fire was covered up & the Conference ended.

7th. Mr Butler of the Rangers set of with an officer & party to relieve the Garrison at the Milineys with whom I sent an Interpreter and gave him Wampum and such other things as was necessary for his Journey and Instructions in what manner to speak to the Indians in those parts.

The 8th. - Major Rogers set of for Misselemachinack with whom I sent Capt Montour and four Indians who were well acquainted with the Country and the Indian Nations that Inhabit it.

The 9th & 10th. -Capt Campble assembled all the Inhabitants and read the Act of Parliament to them & setled matters with them to his satisfaction they agreeing to ye billiting of Troops and furnishing fire Wood & Provisions for the Garrison, and indeed every thing in their power for his Majestys service.

The 11th. In the Evening Capt. Campbell finished his Letters when I set off leaving him what Wampum, Silver Truck, & Goods I had for the Indian service.

From: CROGHAN'S JOURNALS 1760 -1761. In Early Western Travels, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites . Volume 1, Pp 114-123.

See Also:

Introduction to Volume 1 of Early Western Travels.

Swetnam, George. Where did George Croghan die? Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 1972 55 (1): 55-63.

Wainwright, Nicholas B. George Croghan Wilderness Diplomat. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959.