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