- Papunahung, the Indian Chief
- Bulletin of Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia
- Friends Historical Association
- Volume 9, Number 3, Fifth Month (May) 1920
- pp. 114-118
- View Citation
- Additional Information
114 BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL SOCIETY. head-quarters; and as Nancy's husband was in the British pay, it would go hard with her for his sake ; but, behold ; all their wise conjectures proved like the croaking of the raven, an ill-omened bird that brings good tidings to none, for in the midst of it all we appeared before them in our proper persons, before our arrival was announced. Some cried out, where's the horse? where's the chair? where have you been? &c. We gayly told them all was safe, then sat down to a good dish of tea, and rehearsed all we had seen, heard, and suffered; when we were seriously advised never to engage again in such a perilous undertaking ; and we as seriously assured them that if we did, we would look out for a stronger horse and chair, and be our own guide, for that our late expedition so far from being a discouragement, was like a whet to a hungry man, which gave him a better appetite for his dinner. [The manuscript ends here: whether there was any more is not known.—Editor.] PAPUNAHUNG, THE INDIAN CHIEF. There are certain characters among the Indians of the colonial period who are deserving of greater notice than they have yet received at the hands of the historian. Shikellamy and Teedyuscung in Pennsylvania, and Philip and Massasoit in Rhode Island, with others in the south and west are more or less known, but there is one Indian especially associated with Philadelphia Quakers and with John Woolman, who deserves more attention than he has received in one or two very inadequate pamphlets. This Sachem is known as Papoonahal or Papunahung—the name has several curious variations. He was a native Delaware Indian of the Minsi tribe, born about 1705. Bishop de Schweinitz places him prominently among the savage preachers, somewhat like their " medicine men," who attempted to counteract the influence of the two devoted Moravian missionaries, whose efforts in Pennsylvania were only second in point of time and heroism to those of the early Jesuit Fathers on the borders of Canada and PAPUNAHUNG.H5 the Great Lakes. These savages defied all efforts to introduce civilized ways or ideas of peace. They wrought upon the fierce •and warlike nature of the red man, and for a period of thirty¦years or more aided the official " medicine men " or conjurors to¡keep open the war-path. About the year 1745 David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary, whose life has been admirably written by the late Bishop de Schweinitz, was sent by the Moravian church at Bethlehem— Count Zinzendorf's settlement, then but three years old—to the Village on the Susquehanna of which Papunahung was chief. This was M'hwikilusing or Wyalusing, meaning "The Place of the Hoary Veteran." The name was a tribute to its age, since the colonial records state that it was even then a trading point, settled by the Indians before the memory of man. Its old name is still retained. The first white man to visit the spot was probably Conrad Weiser, the famous Indian Commissioner of the •colony, who was there in 1737. He was followed in 1743 by our own John Bartram, who, with the Commissioner and Indian guides, accompanied the explorer, Lewis Evans, over the trail. They were said to be the first to make the journey on horseback.¦Two years later, David Zeisberger with Gottlieb (afterward !Bishop) Spangenberger, and Weiser and Indian guides, passed through Wyalusing on their way to the Genessee country, hoping to obtain from the Iroquois permission for their Indian converts to settle in the Wyoming region. Some of the Indian villages on this journey were partly Christianized by these devoted men, and Papunahung was among the converts. But the powerful Iroquois soon after exterminated the weaker tribes, and Wyalusing for several years lay in ruins. In 1752, Papunahung, who had lived through these troubles at the Indian village of Nain with other converts of the Moravians, brought his own and a few other families and rebuilt Wyalusing. Their industry was soon rewarded by great prosperity, the rich lands of the valley producing food almost without cultivation. He had...