Pennsylvania’s Post 1740 Western Expansion to the 1755 French and Indian War: Effect on Pennsylvania’s Policy System and Drift to Independence and War
Pennsylvania Paper Currency deserved its own tale as the best, most salient example of Pennsylvania’s unique path. That path was set in motion by the provincial colonial form of government (sole proprietorship), distinctive from other colonies, and because it was controlled by the William Penn and then the Penn family, unique. Combined with the he Quaker political culture that followed from the values, preferences, priorities, and behavioral patterns of its original settlers, Pennsylvania’s road to statehood departed in very significant ways from the other colonies. The use and institutionalization of paper money-currency ripped a chasm a mile wide in Pennsylvania’s political-economic development, and left lasting effects on its subsequent policy systems. Pennsylvania’s settlement of its interior and western counties was just as polarizing, and it too left its scars on subsequent Pennsylvania policy systems so this module is devoted to that theme.
Our paper money/currency institutionalization tale was saturated by war, by western settlement, and by personal/organizational animosities-goal conflicts (and other issues too like simple strategy for economic growth. This history repeatedly encounters important dynamics, competing political-economic strategies, and all sorts of issues that at one or another become associated with the theme under discussion. This is a nightmare for the reader, with too many moving parts, and more characters than a Russian novel. The narrative and the meaning/understanding it conveys defies comprehensive–demanding simplicity to lend clarity. That is a description of life as lived–real life. Popular histories focuses on one person usually, a central character, whose life and viewpoint provide benchmarks and reference points, timelines–but at a great price to an understanding of what is really going on.
To ignore the disorder caused by multiple dynamic moving parts in order to deliver the simplicity required for easy understanding of one main point, however, is not our purpose in this history; in fact it is the reverse, to assembly the moving parts in a chronological timeline so the reader, and future analysts can discern how and under what pressures the decisions were made and polities-strategies approved and implemented. These modules are platforms for overall understanding from which multiple themes and factors can be singled out for discussion, one at a time. For the economic developer one can see how strategies and programs come into being, why they are approved, and understand how the structures, the small print of program eligibility, terms and conditions are arrived at–and how all this affect the implementation of the program/strategy in that particular time and place. We can using history understand what was obvious to those who lived this history–that each province or American state operated under different circumstances, geographies, time periods, cultures and differently structured policy system that made the decisions on strategies and programs which we study and discuss. We know now why states-cities are different today; they were never the same, ever. Like fingerprints each state has its own DNA and lived life.
Simplicity is overrated and if one is to draw lessons and understanding from history the closer one gets to “the real world” of what happened–moving parts and all–we can best appreciate why people and decision-makers did what they did. In this module we have yet another issue-dynamic nexus that draws in many simultaneous moving parts and dynamics: the migration and settlement of Pennsylvania’s western interior. Chapter 1 introduced these dynamics as they applied to Virginia. In this chapter we will build upon the Virginia introduction and add a few more moving parts (YEA!!).
Why is Pennsylvania different in its western settlement experience?
Virginia’s beyond the Tidewater western settlement (centered in the Shenandoah Valley) came mostly out of Pennsylvania–both Germans and Scots-Irish, not to ignore Quakers like Daniel Boone or Huguenots. Why did these Pennsylvania immigrants Virginia migrants–and to add why did they move onto the Carolinas and Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Part of the answer is simple numbers: Pennsylvania could not absorb and settle the number of people that arrived over the fifty years after 1720. For those of us that think of immigration as a New York City–San Francisco phenomenon the idea that the huge immigration influx that would population a great number of future American states arrived at two Pennsylvania ports (Philadelphia and New Castle), not NYC or even Boston. Pennsylvania had first crack at immigrant migration and some success at retaining a fair share. Philadelphia was to be the number one city in the British colonies by the Revolution, and Pennsylvania was the second largest state–outnumbered by Virginia a good deal of whose population came from Pennsylvania. Migration and settlement was in its purist form colonial America’s most successful economic development and economic growth strategy. It also was a great disrupter of the original colonial policy system.
The Puritan-Yankee New England did not attract non-Puritan English until the Irish came after the 1820’s–and mostly later. Virginia got its Germans, Scots-Irish, Quakers and Huguenots mostly after 1720–over a hundred years after its initial settlement–and with some exceptions that migrant population clustered in Virginia’s western counties–in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the intervening Shenandoah Valley. On the western side of the Shenandoah Valley were the considerably more rugged Alleghenies–so migrants never headed west, but continued to move south. Pennsylvania had its own migration highways, and the Alleghenies were nestled in today’s “central” Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania (founded in 1682) only had about forty years to form its initial policy system before the immigrant wave began, and–as we have seen- that initial system was poorly designed and grossly mismanaged by the Penn sole Proprietorship. Virginia’s Tidewater policy system had institutionalized itself, developed its own peculiar economic base, ruling elites, and had more or less worked out a stable relationship with its Crown-appointed royal governors. When the immigrant waves appeared in the Shenandoah, the Tidewater policy system was able to minimize their political impact, avoid system change, and find a way to preserve the essentials of the Tidewater system well into the 1900’s. Not so Pennsylvania.
A similar threat impacted the initial Pennsylvania Quaker political culture. When the immigrants came in wholesale, certainly by the 1740’s, the Quakers were decidedly on the “way out” in terms of population. But they were able to reach an accommodation with the immigrants, initial Scots Irish, and then when that collapsed, the Germans so Quaker elites and some of the Quaker culture was incorporated into an amalgam political culture, later to be more discussed, called the Midlands. The Midlands culture is very important to our politics as I write in 2020. What we will see in this module is that western settlement played an important role in the formation of that Midlands culture. Bluntly, and simply the immigrants got caught up in the fractured and bipolar warfare of the Penn Proprietary vs the Legislature and over more than two decades the Scots Irish identified with the losing Penn Proprietary, while the Germans allied with older-pure Quakers and the Anglican English, the winners, and their values and votes provided the strength that resulted in victory–at least until the Revolution. Much of this conflict between immigrant ethnic groupings revolved about settlement of the Pennsylvania interior–including vastly different approaches in dealing with Native Americans (yet another economic development-related strategy in colonial America). The cultural impact of ethnic immigrants in colonial Virginia’s Tidewater political culture was minimal to non-existent.
The Past: Context for a Better Understanding of Western Settlement
Virginia’s dominant structure in western settlement was the Virginia-elite’s land companies, but their clientele were principally migrants (German and Scots-Irish) from Pennsylvania. The newly arrived European migrants flowed into Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and then even South Carolina and Georgia mostly because of their sheer numbers, and Scots-Irish wanderlust, but also because (1) Pennsylvania was ground zero for the French and Indian border turbulence, and partially because Penn proprietary land was not cheap, and access/defense was never a first priority for Pennsylvania. The path of least resistance was the Great Wagon Road, rough, narrow and rocky, crisscrossed with streams and valleys, it nevertheless head toward warmer climates, and fertile Shenandoah Valley soils.
Still, the brothers John and Thomas Penn were far more interested in selling western lands than protecting them. The Ohio Valley and Pennsylvania’s western counties seethed with violence as the French, viewing that territory as long-standing French claimed area. From the Native American perspective, the territory had been in considerable flux over the previous century–with important tribes moving into the area, itself claimed by the fierce Iroquois Confederation. While many today are quite willing to decry the imperialistic invasion of Europeans on Native American territories, Native American tribes were equally involved in their own imperialistic designs–foremost being the Iroquois. The Ohio Delaware and Susquehanna Valley’s were not traditional Iroquois homelands, but had been conquered, if that is the word, in the power days of the early Confederacy. A century of English and French migrations and wars, and let’s not forget diseases, had taken their toll on Native Americans. The Iroquois encountered the English (in their various forms-provinces) and had negotiated in the 1670’s their famous Covenant Chain. More than seventy years later, that Alliance structure (as well as the Confederacy itself) was in need of update if not reinstructing.
William Penn in the early 1680’s had been able to take advantage of a mature and young Covenant Chain alliance in his founding of Pennsylvania. The Delaware (Lenape) tribes were more securely nested under Iroquois hegemony, and were themselves in process of moving away from lands desired by Penn (disease played a large role in that). As the 18th century progressed toward its half-way mark, as far as the Pennsylvania resident tribes ere concerned the European migrations had gotten out of hand. On top of that, the Iroquois Confederation, Mohawk Valley/New York-based, while allied with the British, were caught in the key battlegrounds of the French and English; they were not blind to the trap of being too closely tied to only one. They were equally wary of the evils of fighting someone else’s war. In his module, do not look for the Iroquois to step up and play any serious role in resolving differences between these internally conflicted parties. Rather they would play off of them.
So, during the 1740’s and especially after, resident tribes played a Janus-like two-headed strategy as they negotiated with the English and the separate provinces. They were able to do this because Iroquois hegemony was not defined by western standards of subservience. As Colin Calloway correctly observes, resident tribe subservience to the Iroquois was defined by the the Native American notion of “man-woman” relationship–not military conquest.
The Iroquois claimed dominance over the Delaware, ritually making them metaphorical ‘women’, by denying them authority to make war without Iroquois approval. The Delaware acknowledged themselves under Iroquois protection and agreed not to wage war without Iroquois approval, focusing instead on making and maintaining peace, a role they had traditionally exercised among eastern tribes and for which women had great responsibility in Iroquois society. Calling the Delaware ‘women’ defined the symbolic relationship … [but] the English misread it as demeaning. In time as Iroquois sold Delaware land without consulting them, Delaware found it demeaning as well. The Iroquois browbeat the Delaware into acquiescing in colonial land thefts, such as the notorious W[Pennsylvania] Walking Purchase, in 1737, when [the Penn Proprietary] defrauded the tribe of lands in the Lehigh and Delaware Valleys  Colin Calloway, the Indian World of George Washington (Oxford University Press, 2018), p. 60
In other words, the political processes called for by the hegemonic relationship, were not followed by the Iroquois, and that provided the “wiggle room” for the two-sided resident tribe negotiations with Pennsylvanians. They were, in effect, breaking away from a stressed, if not broken, Iroquois hegemony, attempting in so doing to not bring on a formal rupture and a threat of war. One might wonder if this is one moving part too many for any productive negotiation to occur; to make matters more negative, the bitter imperialistic ambitions of England and France probably made that irrelevant. No where was this collage of conflicting and fragmented policy systems more evident, than in the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster, the 1752 Treaty of Logstown, or the 1758 Treaty of Easton. Each seemingly settled some matters and opened up others. Indeed, by 1754 the Iroquois Confederacy itself broke apart, as negotiators in these and other treaties were perceived as violating standard, customary decision-making process long used by tribal members in reaching a common decision [land sales]. War, population migrations, and fragile policy systems are a fertile ground for mutual political collapse.
While historians have long acknowledged the cultural definition of land and ownership of land, was differently defined by both European and Native American cultures, what we are seeing in this Iroquois and Delaware authority relationship, a policy decision-making dimension, that the English policy systems (s) misinterpreted both willingly and unwittingly. If the Penn Proprietary, the branch of Pennsylvania provincial government responsible for this policy strategy, used this misinterpreted hegemony consciously, most Quakers, the Quaker Party and the Legislature were only partially sensitive to its dysfunctional consequences. Not directly involved in western settlement until the 1740’s these players in the Pennsylvania policy system bit by bit became sensitive to the gap between resident tribe and Iroquois–and when they did become aware, the history of land sales and development (the landlord function referred to by Franklin) as conducted by the Penn Proprietary become yet another element in the existential battle for the latter’s sovereignty over the Province. Ay it another way, clashes with one nation’s policy system, generated clashes with another.
The British Colonial Office North American Indian “bureaucracy” centered around this New York-based nexus. Equally bad, several provinces (Pennsylvania and especially Virginia) desired the same territory and asserted competing claims as justifying their efforts. The existential threat of the French set some parameters in their willingness to compete, but both provinces (and others as well) possessed sufficient autonomy in the British colonial system to press their claims and aspirations with independent action.
While eastern Pennsylvania areas were “settled” by the 1740’s, all sorts of folk were venturing into the foothills of the Appalachians and had eyes for the strategic and valuable Ohio Valley. These areas were housed many of the transplanted tribes that had sold land to the Pennsylvanians. Still under the Covenant Chain, these tribes felt the burden and pain of relocations in essence agreed to by the Iroquois, who received the lion’s share of whatever was paid for the land. Whatever dissatisfaction came from that played into the the escalating French-English ambitions for these areas. To put it bluntly, resident tribes could kill two birds with a single stone (Iroquois hegemony and English migration) by joining with the French–who were interested, not in settlement with its inevitable displaced populations, but with lucrative trade. The King George War, 1744-8, settled little, and to then-current observers the peace that followed was an interlude to a follow-up war. For the most part this module concentrates on that post 1748 “peaceful interlude”. That interlude overlapped with the first meaningful English incursions into the trans-Appalachian Ohio Valley. Put it another way, Pennsylvania (and Virginia) western settlement and land development economic development strategies had entered into very troubled waters (horrible pun).
The salience of this extended discussion was that Pennsylvania was only one part, a major if not fundamental part, of a much larger western settlement-Indian relationships that encompass the entire of English America’s hinterland western frontier. What we are seeing is western settlement evolve into a primary, perhaps primary issue in Pennsylvania’s policy agenda. Without noticing it we have seen the battle of paper money as currency and strategy of economic development had fast morphed into a strategy for provincial and western hinterland defense. So too Indian relationships and western land development had also risen to a cause for war, and after the peace treaty, a cause for independence from Great Britain. Contemporary history tends to stress the development of civil and political liberties and the building of state and local economic bases. This is valid. But what we are calling attention to in these modules concerning western land development and Indian-negotiated land sales is that economic base, the desire for legislative autonomy and prerogative, and resident demands for political rights they collapsed into the word liberty, what is also going on is a newly settled western hinterland that was developing its own sub regional policy system, with supportive political cultures, and radically different external environment that contrasted with those of the mature and settled east and coast line.
But economic development has to follow the movement of people, and yet another story that compels our attention is western settlement. In this module we stress how newly settled western lands exposed chasms and instability in Pennsylvania resident tribes and Iroquois. conflicts and rivalries among Pennsylvania, Virginia, and even North Carolina and Maryland, the threat to the French North American empire. Pennsylvania’s inability to deal with its unresolved tensions with Indian tribes, and the French provided the tribes with a plausible alternative to British rule. British imperial policy as administered by its frontier-agents “bureaucrats” like William Johnson was a mixed bag of land speculation and competent manipulation of the tribes. In the chaos of these mid-Atlantic western borderlands Virginians, as early as the 1750’s seized the initiative and the Ohio Land Company venture (described in the Virginia chapter) can be best understood less as a land grab by Virginia than that province taking the lead and fortifying the English territory to protect it from French settlement.
Thomas Penn and the Legislature recognized these realities, and the former attempted to negotiate protection from the Ohio Land Company for his proprietary interests, but the proprietary-legislative war proved as deadly to Pennsylvania western settlement than the wars and Indian conflicts. The French and English wars commenced formally in the late 1730’s and ended only in 1763. It was not until 1758- 1760, with the Forbes expedition, did even the British army secure site control over these lands. The chaos that intervened, in the early to mid-1750’s made these lands totally unsuitable for settlement, and what immigration there was naturally flowed to the south. The first commonly recognized Indian raid in Pennsylvania was made at the Penn Creek settlement in 1754–up to that time, the spectacular “good” relations between Europeans and Native Americans, based on European negotiation and purchase of Indian lands–supplemented considerably by fur trading and Indian wealth creation–had worked. The incremental decline of Indian relations during the forties (from 1737 Walking Treaty especially) only exploded into war when the French established themselves as an alternative–Fort Duquesne in 1754. As we shall see, the resumption of land negotiations was a primary ED strategy that was not entirely sinister as Quakers were heavily involved in that strategy–and Native Americans were seriously divided on that issue themselves (Iroquois for example).
Settlement of Pennsylvania’s western counties, quite different than Virginia’s Shenandoah settlement, “bent Pennsylvania’s policy-making twig” in ways that were transformational, disruptive, and yet quite impactful. The complexity of Pennsylvania’s western settlement in the period after 1750, straight into the Revolution requires us to examine that policy nexus through three distinct lens: the clash of competitive external hierarchies, the attempt of Pennsylvania’ s policy system to cope, and the clash of cultures between Native Americans and Pennsylvania settlers–and ironically, the clash of cultures between Germans and Scots-Irish and its effect on the province’s overall political culture and political alignments.
The Big Picture–The Clash of Competitive Hierarchies: Global and Provincial
First a little geography and the direction of Pennsylvania western migration offers the reader a bit of useful context. Today Pennsylvania is a large state, and our discussion of Pennsylvania’s western counties in 1750’s easily lends to some confusion. The map of Pennsylvania at the time was greatly reduced, and western migration in this period went in three principal directions: straight west from Philadelphia-Trenton–which BTW winds up around Pittsburgh, and southwest to the Maryland border. Earlier northern migration into the Wilkes-Barre, Scranton Pocono Mountains regions. As we shall see for various reasons, Germans went more to the north, Scots-Irish dominated the south, and Quakers-English dispersed to more stable and peaceful areas, occupying and infilling Philadelphia’s and the coastal hinterland. As far as ethnic migration goes, geography does matter, and some areas did develop serious pockets of ethnic concentration.
We can also understand as the central and northern areas exploded into war and Indian raids, not to mention the foothills of the Alleghenies, migrants headed south down into Maryland and onto Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and points south and west. While still threatened by Native Americans, they were relatively safer, especially when one got out of Pennsylvania. That in fact is the 800 lb gorilla we do not mention–Pennsylvania was from this point on exporting is European immigration to points south, and thereby populating its competing provincial neighbors. As Pennsylvania land speculators might easily conclude “there is money to be made in them-there hills”. Once across the Alleghenies, less so with the Poconos, lowlands and the Ohio Valley beckoned. Ohio seems far away from these areas today; it was not in 1750 as a good deal of today’s western counties are resident to the Ohio Valley basin. On such geographical distinctions we can see even in 1750, the basis for Pennsylvania sub-regions. These areas would not enjoy their golden age of in-migration until the Native American question was resolved–i.e. in the early 1800’s. Settlement of the trans-Allegheny areas is its own story, and one that did not replicate the coastal settlement of the thirteen original colonies-provinces-states.
The other side of the coin is that the Native Americans are still in control of most of Pennsylvania in this period, and their boundary and trading areas were much closer to Philadelphia than we might assume today. Also keep in mind, that mountainous regions are not prime farmland, horribly difficult to transverse, and settlement on the western lowlands of such mountains would have been considered isolated, i.e. Pittsburgh, and vulnerable were contested areas largely controlled by resident Native American tribes. Given the description of the Allegheny-Pocono and Blue Mountains provided below, we can understand the sites for the critically important treaties and negotiations are Carlisle and Easton, which today do not conjure up images of western Indian treaty sites.
The Allegheny Mountains consume what today is central Pennsylvania (running north and south), and Carlisle is the largest settlement at the time which rested close to the Allegheny foothills and outside of Harrisburg are the Blue Mountain Ridges which cut across the state in a northeasterly direction. Allentown and Easton in the north are the last of the lowland communities before one hits the Blue or Poconos Mountains (Easton) is on their edge. Counties such as Cumberland or Lancaster were extremely large and today are smaller as many counties were subsequently peeled off, and created in later years. Within this restricted geography one can see the attraction of the Great Wagon Road, which in this period was inhospitable to use by wagons. Migration was confined principally in what we today would think of southern-south central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley through the 1750’s. The irony was that Pennsylvania residents, personified by Daniel Boone, would blaze their trail into the American trans-Allegheny interior not through Pennsylvania but Virginia. Why that was so reflects geography but also the impact of war, and the inability of Pennsylvania’s policy system to lead the way into the nation’s interior.
The complicated western settlement story ultimately meant Pennsylvania was exporting its immigration flow, and losing a good deal of economic-political potential as a consequence. Finding a way to acquire more secure land, and settling immigrants into it, was not a small inconsequential matter to Pennsylvania decision-makers, and taxpayers. Any resolution of that nexus meant dealing with Native Americans. That relationship, however, was exceedingly complex in that Pennsylvania was after all a colony of Great Britain, and British policy-makers and economic/political agencies were the ultimate political sovereign. Their involvement was not always to the better, although it did have some positives. Still one can consider the involvement of British colonial administration as one more moving part.
But the largest single factor or dynamic in this module is War.
The French and Indian War was waged in Pennsylvania’s northwest, then a part of the interior labeled the “Ohio Valley”. That war (and others before it) made a southern migration path that started a few miles outside of Philadelphia, and wound up in South Carolina and Georgia (Great Wagon Road), the most important migration route in colonial North America. Those wars also greatly impacted the settlement of Pennsylvania’s west (and also delayed settlement of Ohio), but they induced serious effects on the structures and operation of Pennsylvania’s policy system and political culture as well. The aftermath of he French and Indian War (putting aside the Stamp Act) arguably directly affected both Pennsylvania and Virginia the most, and in Pennsylvania it created a geographic-based bipolar drift to independence and the Revolutionary War. The development and formation of the first Pennsylvania state was the “beneficiary”.
The French were lodged in Pennsylvania’s borderlands, based on the Mississippi River, extending from the Great Lakes, into Indiana and northern Ohio/southern Michigan–and in the mid-1740’s into the Ohio Valley. The attraction of the Ohio Valley, as a place of settlement for the English and a vast and potentially lucrative fur-trading area for the French made that geography the tinder box for the fires of British and French imperial war. That tinder was lite, arguably, by the collapse of Pennsylvania distinctive and almost moral character of its Native American relationships which weakened during the 1740’s, and became counter-productive in the 1750’s and 1760’s. The chief policy and political actor in both design and implementation of that policy area was the sole proprietorship in the none too careful and thoughtful hands of Penn’s sons. Incredibly, Pennsylvania’s first official Indian raid (occurred in 1755 on the German/Swiss Penns Creek isolated settlement in today’s Snyder County around Middleburg).
The lateness of that hostility is testimony to the effectiveness of the Quaker ED strategy to negotiate and purchase in good faith Indian land. So effective was that Indian land purchase strategy that when the raid occurred Pennsylvania lacked a state militia to defend itself (the only colony not to have one). The attempt to restructure that strategy in the 1750’s, after its incremental decline from 1737 Walking Treaty, was a vital and significant element of Pennsylvania’s overall economic development. From the onset the reader might note how easily major policy areas such as “global war (the French and Indian War was referred by Churchill in his history as the First World War), western European settlement, Native American relationships, and the political structure of Pennsylvania’s policy system intersect and wrap around into a policy-making Gordian knot–at the core of which, of course, is wealth creation and its flip side, economic development.
In any case, the war in Pennsylvania resulted from a conflict around the construction of a French fort in today’s downtown Pittsburgh–a war triggered by our Virginian George Washington on mission sponsored by Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie. How, the reader may ask, did Virginia start a war so far north in a neighboring colony? That Virginia and Pennsylvania were already competing should awaken us that not only was the global competitive hierarchy a troublemaker, but so was the provincial competitive hierarchy. One might be surprised that at the time of the Constitutional Convention, among Pittsburgh’s largest landowners was George Washington. Shades of Charles Beard (don’t worry I just made a historian joke, a bad one). It can be argued the French were pushing back against English-Virginia settlement of the Ohio Valley. The initial English settlement of the Pittsburgh eastern Ohio Valley, however was not from Pennsylvania–which was still settling today’s central Pennsylvania–but a Virginian settlement. Virginia asserted that land grants to it by the Crown during the seventeenth century extended Virginia’s land claims deep into Pennsylvania and Ohio (BTW as did Maryland). As we related in Chapter 1, a faction of the Virginia planter oligopoly, the Fairfax Northern Neck crowd, had organized in the middle-late 1740’s and incorporated a land development corporation, under Virginia law to settle that contested claim.
The relentless in-movement of European immigrant settlers were over the course of the decade pushed settlement further into the interior, Pennsylvania’s western counties, into what was then thought of as the Ohio Valley–a land mass drained by the Ohio River that included much of northwest Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) and eastern Ohio, and touches of Maryland. The French did not settle the Ohio Valley; rather, after 1752 they built forts to set up trade with the Indians–in effect breaking with their agreement with the Iroquois. Accordingly, the French were the resident tribes preferred ally. With every frustration unresolved these tribes drifted into the French orbit, out of the Iroquois covenant chain, and into resistance to England rule and immigrant settlement.
The warring provinces would come together in an effort to deny French access to the Ohio-joined by the London Board of Trade, and the Iroquois. But from Pennsylvania’s perspective the fuel for this troublesome geographic eruption was an unrelenting settlement of the area, by some Germans, and mostly, by aggressive, land-hungry Scots Irish. The unrelenting and by 1750 largely uncontrolled settlement of Pennsylvania’s western counties by European immigrants was as much the spark that triggered Native American hostility as did the French. That conflict over western Pennsylvania land , starting with the earlier King George War, caused not only a war, but the two ethnic groups-cultures to part ways, and compete with each other. As we shall see in Pennsylvania the Scots Irish were on the losing side, and that prompted them to move into Virginia, the Carolinas and points west. The Germans, on the other hand, made a deal with the Quakers (and Anglicans) to join with the Quakers to form a united political front against the Penn Proprietary, but also to blend and blur their political cultures into what is today’s not well known, but pivotal, Midlands political culture. This topic gets more complicated by the paragraph! But wait!.
The same phenomenon fragmented the Native Americans. The split between the Iroquois and the resident Indian tribes of Pennsylvania was a major factor causing the war, and greatly affected the settlement of the geography by the migrant groups. The split was caused in the 1740’s by the conquest of the Iroquois of the resident tribes. The Iroquois lived in New York especially and became an absentee Native American hegemony, Pennsylvania officials dealt principally with the Six Nations in these troubled decades (as did the British Board of Trade). Guess who got screwed? The Iroquois Alliance/”Covenant Chain” negotiated the Pennsylvania Quaker land purchases and boundary issues. That conflicted relationship was not satisfying to the resident tribes, and so, Penn family sole proprietorship successfully negotiated land sales agreements, they did so without satisfactorily dealing with the resident tribes–and in particular never resolving a past land sale, the Walking Treaty” –rested uneasily on the resident tribes. Resident tribes, unwillingly under the hegemony of the Six Nations, had to cope with the Six Nation’s policy of selling their land to the English, and naturally they gravitated to the French. The covenant chain in reality dissolved thru the 1740’s,. What is important to note is that the Alleghenies were the boundary beyond which almost all Native American tribes wanted to stop European western settlement. They were the line beyond which white settlers could not cross.
OMG! One more moving part enters the western settlement tale.
What escapes us thus far, is that there is another powerful player involved in this clash: the British Crown’s Superintendent of Indian Affairs, William Johnson. If we are talking raw power, Johnson is 800 lb gorilla in this jungle. Johnson, oh sad to relate, was also deeply involved in land-grabbing, and indirectly, is partially responsible for Virginia’s invasion of Pennsylvania. He dragged in the London Board of Trade and Privy Councils, the governance of the British colonial empire. The actors in this corner of our story are larger than life characters that were in essence political and capitalist frontiersmen. Let’s start with George Croghan, a Scots-Irish immigrant who in the early 1740’s ranged across western Pennsylvania/Ohio Valley as a fur trader.
Croghan learned Native American languages, and developed a reputation as a honest trader. Accordingly, he made inroads on French traders who heretofore had a near-exclusive trading monopoly in this neck of the woods. Croghan wasted little time in making the acquaintance of William Johnson, the so-called King of the Iroquois, and the Indian Agent for the London Board of Trade. Johnson (would eventually) appoint Croghan as his Deputy British Indian Agent, formally in 1755, but Croghan served in that role informally for years previous. Apparently, land speculation was included in the job description of British Indian Agent. Both Johnson and Croghan were deeply involved with land acquisition, usually negotiated with friendly Indian tribes (i.e. the Iroquois), on favorable terms. Johnson more or less handled the Iroquois homeland along the Mohawk River in up-state New York, and along the Great Lakes. Croghan trod his familiar trails and in the 1740’s began to accumulate land in western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley.
James Logan, our competing Proprietary fur trader, had penetrated into Pennsylvania’s eastern Allegheny interior–barely reaching the foothills of the Blue Mountains. His successor Peters, however, prodded by intense immigration sought more land, not only in the foothills and southern counties, but also the Ohio Valley lowlands. As Peters attempted to advance Proprietary interests, he (and his Indian “consultant”, Conrad Weiser) inevitably crossed paths with Croghan, Inadvertently by the late 1740’s both recognized they were competing in a zero-sum land acquisition game. Croghan with his superior relationships with resident tribes, and Johnson’s close ties to the Iroquois–plus their privileged position with the Board of Trade gave them a decided advantage over the Penn Pennsylvania Proprietary. Croghan and Johnson worked principally with the Six Nations, and had the inside track. As the reader might imagine, the increasingly strained Proprietary relations with resident tribes, and its ultimate dependence on the Iroquois, meant that Pennsylvania, the odd man out in Indian relationships, was at risk for losing its ability to secure its own lands. That matter got considerably more complicated with in the early 1750’s Virginia entered the fray with an actual settlement in the Ohio Valley. As might be expected behind their involvement was the hand of George Croghan.
Virginia viewed the Lancaster Treaty (1744) as conveying Native American property rights to much of the Ohio Valley to their province. These rights they already held, they believed, as they were in the original Crown grants made upon its early settlement, or in the case of the Northern Neck grant during the English Civil War. Virginia’s plantation oligopoly was financial stressed, and it needed to diversity its economic base beyond tobacco. Land development was the obvious answer. Geography prior to 1744 had pointed Virginia’s land ambitions into todays West Virginia (part of Virginia in colonial years), and points south into western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and even Georgia. Accordingly, Virginians dealt with a different set of Indian tribes (the Cherokee or Shawnee). The Treaty of Lancaster changed all that, and the rich lands of the Ohio Valley captured the interest of the plantation oligarchs. After 1745 they were infected with a mild land fever, and the Ohio Valley opportunity split the plantation oligarchy into those who by geography or past ambition looked south, and the Northern Neck (Maryland border) oligarchy who had best access to the Ohio Valley. The latter was chosen by the Virginia Governor as his mechanism to acquire personal wealth; to the dismay of its southern bound rival oligarchs.
The Governor made land grants to both factions. In the nine years following the Treaty of Lancaster, Virginia governors made thirty-six land grants into West Virginia and Ohio Valley  Colin G Calloway, the Indian World of George Washington (Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 45-7. The structure used was a land development company, whose board of directors were private investors, and to which the public land was granted to manage, develop and to sell (make a profit). In essence Virginia subcontracted city/town and land development–with accompanying infrastructure and self-defense–to what was with infusion of a public land grant a quasi public development company. The reader should notice the different approach found in Pennsylvania, whose approach was land and land development were the right of its political sovereign the Penn Proprietary. The Proprietary owned the land, had no formal obligations to develop it, and rather sold it to whoever wanted it at the best price possible, and to whom the land purchaser paid annual taxes (quit rents). In 1747, the Virginia governor granted a Northern Neck land development company, the Ohio Company, the first land grant to the Ohio Valley. This started the ball rolling, and Pennsylvania now had an active competitor operating in its trans-Appalachian hinterland. That another, George Croghan, had already set in motion his land claim through his and William Johnson’s closed circle with the Iroquois, was pretty much not known–until it was known.
Let’s wrap up our Big Picture.
To try to lend some organization to these multiple moving parts narrative, I have attempted to follow a chronological timeline and discuss events, political actors, competing hierarchies, and the impacts of all on the policy system and its politics and personalities. I will integrate these into the previous chapter (paper money/institutionalization of currency) as that played a major role in western settlement. Oh yes, when we need to we will see how the Pennsylvania cultural evolution was impacted. There are three periods of time blocked out in the module: 1748 to 1754, 1754 to 1763, and post 1763 until the Stamp Act (1765). The first period will include a brief restatement of past dynamics to ensure the reader is up to snuff on the previous history. Suffice it to say, what will emerge is not likely to be found in a textbook, nor in as comprehensive form in popular histories. Not perfect, it will be closer to “lived history”, as perceived by decision-makers and population at the time. Try as we might to ignore them, or simplify them, moving parts interact, and they are either simultaneous or lay the foundation for a later decision.
The First Period: 1730-1754:
Migration and Land Sales, Indian Relations, and Complexities of Land Speculation
Settlement (town-building) begins with land, and ends with improvements and population. Today land development is left to the despicable real estate industry and immoral, greedy, heartless real estate developers. For many land development is thought to be a secondary strategy, limited to suburban-ex suburban or “urban renewal”-like central city phenomenon. Both are frequently deemed inherently anti-environment or anti-people. In this history, however, a history of colonial North America, I see land development, in this case “settlement/town/city-building” as a primary economic development strategy. It is hard for me not to think of land development as the birth of a “place”, and a history that focuses on places (states and local communities) quickly realizes that land development is the midwife of other forms of economic and community development. Land in that perspective is not simply a commodity, but a currency, an aspirational goal, and the ultimate source of wealth and wealth creation–hence power and elite status. Such is the stuff economic development is made of.
Land development occupies a place in both Mainstream ED and Community ED; each approach has its distinctive land development strategies (for example today’s “privatopia” gated community versus “new urbanist” town-city building). In the context of 18th century colonial America, the proverbial wilderness, every place from a coastal seaport to an interior trading community has to start with the land’s initial development. As Pennsylvania grew — and grew — and grew– land development not only built cities and towns but economic bases. Like the fine cuisine of a highly noted chef, the first step is, well, slaughter of the plant or animal. If so, bon appetite to economic developers.
In Pennsylvania’s case land development was controlled/conducted by its colonial sovereign government, the Penn sole proprietorship and its Land Office. The complexity, however, is the sole proprietorship was not just the sovereign government of the colony–a power delegated t it by the Crown–but from the start was always intended to be private profit-making enterprise (as well as the founding of a religious community). By the 1730’s, the Penn’s had lost much of the so-called sovereignty, contested by a fiery and independent legislature, but a stubborn and uncooperative, downright iconoclastic culture. The sovereign family had just emerged from a three decade long “time of trouble”, and perhaps the best that could be said of it was that it was absentee. London had more or less finally determined that the colony’s governance was so volatile, it was best left to the Penns, and not to the Crown and its royal governor. This is rather faint praise.
Still the Penn sole proprietorship was remained public and sovereign entity–although it controlled legally, it was in practice little more than the executive branch of Pennsylvania’s government. Land development was one of its chief policy delegations and the Penns did possess a bureaucracy to manage and sell off all unsold land within its boundaries. Land development companies, a pretty common organization throughout the American colonies could not take root easily in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, if you want land you talk to the Penns–or find some obscure parcel and squat. Given the reality that management skills in the Penn DNA were in short supply, and land was not, finding a obscure parcel was very easy. Still if you were cautious like most German immigrants, you talked to a Penn. I wouldn’t automatically assume that for a Scots Irish. As time went on, unused land parcels meant traveling some distance from Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania was not an aggressive road-builder in these days.Fortunately there was a grass highway not far from Philly, and land-seeking immigrant traffic followed that beaten path into southern and central Pennsylvania–until, that is, they bumped into the Alleghenies.
A valid concern about colonial land development is that it was coupled with Native Americans and the “taking” of their land. This history, rightly or wrongly, makes little attempt to justify the taking of Indian land–nor does it go out of its way condemning it. We sidestep the morals and the issue by calling it site conquest. The Bible leaves me conflicted as to was “right” in the Canaanite versus Israelite land grab, although as an Irishman (one-third) I do celebrate the Easter Rebellion. In Pennsylvania, however, colonial land development treads on slightly higher moral grounds as Penn land development rested on the “legitimate” purchase-sale of land from the Indians–a cornerstone of Dad Penn, and firmly rooted in Quaker values. Land Purchase from the Indians was the only way for a Pennsylvanian to get a clear title. With a monopoly like this, the Penns must have been rolling in the dough. The best tribute to Penn management skills is Penn/Quaker land purchase policy brought Penn (his family included) to the edge of personal bankruptcy. Penn himself served in debtors prison for a year or so.
At minimum, combined with Quaker settlers unwillingness to pay land taxes (quitrents), meant that the colony could not pay its own way, i.e. generate sufficient wealth to pay off capital improvements-infrastructure. Penn didn’t have the cash, and the Legislature wouldn’t tax Quakers very much, so much of the improvements-infrastructure was left to the private sector. That was the first step to the Pennsylvania policy systems dominant characteristic: Privatism. Modern Progressives would not be happy in this colony, no matter how high its morals.
Accordingly Penn, manged by his chief operative, the Provincial Secretary (Scots-Irish James Logan) engaged mostly in fur trading as his primary wealth generator; land acquisition in the surrounding territories slipped in priority. Land sales and settlement were essentially zero-sum oppositional to fur-trading –to the point it degenerated into an inefficient, corruption-inclined, poorly-managed strategy. During the Penn family “time of troubles” 1701-1728 the Pennsylvania policy system developed an oppositional relationship to the proprietorship, and the Penn sovereignty over Pennsylvania, as described in past modules, became a very tenuous affair.
In that time period, the Penn Proprietary fell into the London-inspired Iroquois syndrome (described below), and during that period secondary players, Indian agents, did the face-to-face negotiation and relationship building with the Native Americans. Like the Board of Trade’s Johnson and Croghan Indian agents, the Penn proprietorship hired a Palatine German (Conrad Weiser) to negotiate both ends of the deal. By the mid-1730’s both London and Pennsylvania began working with the Six Nations (Iroquois) for land sales. the Iroquois, the reader should note, lived up north, they beat their drums along the Mohawk. Rather than live in Pennsylvania they simply conquered the resident tribes, and became the Mid-Atlantic Native American hegemon (maybe we should boycott their casinos?).
For all sorts of reasons (including using the British as a counter to the French) the Iroquois were predisposed to selling land they did not live on. So Penn acquired the land from them by treaty, paying the going rate, and Penn’s land agent would evicting the resident tribe, usually the Lenape, who, no doubt cheerfully, moved into the settlement’s environs. The first example of this arrangement happened to be the infamous Walking Treaty of 1737. Logan, John and Thomas Penn personally, along with Conrad Weisner, conducted the negotiations and handled the land transfer. To the Lenape this was a screwing, not a royal screwing, but a screwing by the Penn sole proprietorship–which the Lenape fully understood.
As a good Palatine German, Weiser was troubled by his duplicity, and he left Penn’s service and entered into a Moravian German religious community (Ephrata) for several years of pious contemplation and fathering lots of children. He was back on the job with Logan, however, by 1741 and was the chief negotiator for Proprietary dealings with the Six Nations thereafter–included in which were an 1744 agreement with Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania on ceding Iroquois Ohio Valley land to the colonies. During this period, the Penn sons (returned to London) developed a strong distrust of Logan; Logan, among Pennsylvania’s wealthiest land owner and conflict-of-interest offender, likely willingly confined himself to his intellectual endeavors, community activism (he was deeply involved in Franklin’s budding “university” project), and Logan’s personal library was reputed to be among the best in the New World. In the context of the times, he became a philanthropist. Whatever coherence Logan brought to Indian relationships and Penn land sales strategy became minimal, with Weiser assuming more responsibility. His death in 1751 simply removed him from the equation, leaving the relatively new Provincial Secretary Richard Peters in charge.
That legitimacy, as we describe land development in the era of the Penn sons, is more than slightly strained. The sons are no longer Quaker themselves (Thomas Penn will become an Anglican), and while they “purchased” land from the Indians, the tribe that held possession of that land (the Iroquois) had conquered the land just as surely as the other English colonies had. William Penn’s stark departure from the land-settlement strategies of Puritan New England, Mid-Atlantic New York, and Tidewater-proto Deep South set a tone to Indian relationships, that despite the mixed-motives and even corruption by his Provincial Secretary,James Logan, resident Native American tribes viewed the sole proprietorship in more–or less–favorable terms. That ended in 1737 with the John and Thomas Penn “Walking Purchase. When the non-religious Penn sons took over the proprietorship, they were determined to reverse a chronic family “poverty” that made it impossible to live up to their aristocratic status expectations. When both sons came to America in the mid-1730’s it was because they intended to rectify that situation–and the Walking Treaty is testimony to their value priorities.
When John died (1746) Thomas succeeded him and he controlled the proprietorship until his death on the eve of the American Revolution. So strong, even in the very troubled and contentious 1740’s, was Thomas Penn’s determination that western settlement and land sales become profitable that he made it relatively unattractive and unaffordable to his clients–immigrant settlers. The terms and procedures were viewed as so onerous that in the media of the time, settlers viewed Penn as an opposing, if not diabolical and arbitrary force. As one might expect Pennsylvania’s western settlement did not live up to its potential capacity as immigrants traveled to safer and cheaper land.Either that or they simply squatted. Penn sold expensive land, threatening quitrents (taxes), and chasing squatters unable to pay off their lands. Virginia’s land companies, frankly were more friendly and accepting of its immigrant clients. Part of the Penn’s problem, living off in London and all, was they took their eyes off the land sales operations and began a decade full of furious fighting with the Legislature, Quakers, and the Anglican business community. They were as good at politics, and the delegation of politics to the Lieutenant Governor, as they were at business management.
In the 1740’s Penn allies attempted unsuccessfully to oust the oppositional Quaker Party from its legislative dominance. That was followed by a wildly unpopular half-decade opposition to paper money and currency institutionalization as described in the previous module. They also unskillfully maneuvered themselves into opposing Benjamin Franklin’s self-defense militia, further isolating the proprietorship. Penn, distant and disliked, gravitated once again to land sales in Pennsylvania’s western hinterland, which as he soon discovered where not at all happy hunting grounds. They were in fact on the eve of a great crisis. Volatile, far out and isolated on the footholds of the Alleghenies and beginning to cross over, Pennsylvania immigrant settlers were encountering hostile resident native tribes, and lurking behind them French traders–lurking behind them French soldiers.
That hostility and insecurity did not stop the settlement of these regions, and it was very clear that by 1748 or so, really nothing could. Immigrants got off the boat, and the same day left for the frontier. With the end of King George’s War in 1748, the lid was off, and Pennsylvania immigration entered into its golden, most prolific, decades. As one might suspect, that was not bad news for the proprietorship, and with the glint of land sales in their eye, they doubled down on the land acquisition and land development focus after 1748. No longer could Indian agents navigate through this territory, and it was ever so clear that if any security was to be afforded to these regions required more gifts to all Indian tribes, more roads to end the isolation, and above all constructing forts and, imagine this, stocking them with militia soldiers–literally a mortal sin in Pennsylvania. This, of course. meant more money, which, of course, meant the issuance of paper money and debt. That reopened the paper money debate of the forties, a debate that plagued the entire 1750’s. Not bad enough, Thomas Penn was a cheapskate; he had to be pushed kicking and screaming to help pay for all the stuff that was needed to provide security–and to make him profits.That he would step to the plate, pay his own fair share, further endeared him to almost everybody.
Finally, not all the blame for the soon-to-be-evident failures of Pennsylvania’s western hinterland, lay with Penn or his proprietorship. The Legislature and its dominant Quaker Party was firmly anchored in the east–in southeast coastal (Delaware-bound counties), and along the tributaries-rivers of the Chesapeake Bay. Philadelphia was in hyper growth mode, and a full-blown wealthy merchant community ruled its roost, and was fast becoming the largest city in British North America. The Quakers, split as they were between “pure” old school evangelist Quakers, and more secular merchant and political Quakers were combined a distinct minority in their own colony. Germans and Scots Irish, and piled on top of them prosperous professional and artisan artisans (Franklin was one) made them a voting minority.
Eastern agriculture fed the piers and ship storage holds with grain to the West Indies, and even to Southern Europe. To these eastern cosmopolitans a library, a university, fine houses designed by architects and flush with Pennsylvania carpets and furniture were where the action was. Already fearful of their tenuous hold on Pennsylvania politics and legislative majorities, the Quaker Party was not about to award votes to the hordes out in the back counties. As each new county was formed and provided representation, the number of representatives elected were hugely fewer than eastern counties. By 1749 Pennsylvania, like Virginia, was badly malapportioned, and Pennsylvania democracy did not extend to its immigrant hinterland counties. The legislature in short was if anything, fearful, apprehensive of the political change that potentially await them. Managing an urban city and economy, and a substantial eastern agricultural hinterland consumed their attention. But the French and Indians would soon put an end to those obsessions.
Native American and Colonial Treaties: Sovereignty and Land Claims
From the northern tribe’s Native American perspective, the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster attempted to stabilize Indian-Iroquois relations and update/resolve the significant change and disruption of decades of English settlement, the migration and conquest of tribes, and the realization that England and France were engaged in a chronic set of wars which deeply affected the settlement areas and hunting groups of upper North American tribes. The 1744 treaty was an element of the longstanding, since 1675, series of treaties collectively known today as the “Covenant Chain”. The Iroquois were the centerpiece of British-Indian relations since that time, and their scope extended not only from Massachusetts, to New York and Pennsylvania, but also Virginia and Maryland. The English and Iroquois held different perceptions and defined treaties differently (the British for example believed the Chain granted them sovereignty over not only the Iroquois land sales, but the Iroquois themselves–which, the reader might assume was not accepted by the Iroquois). As such these treaties might be viewed as an understanding, a process, to work out issues and concerns, more than an alliance or a recognition of sovereignty.
The Treaty of Lancaster (Lancaster Pennsylvania) involved the chiefs of the Six Nations (and hundreds of their warriors) and colonial representatives from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The principal issue was serious land disputes, the most pressing being the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Canassatego, chief of the Onondaga nation, was the Indian dominant personality; he was concerned by the disjointed and overlapping claims and settlement arising from the three provinces, but was greatly alarmed by their disjointed actions against the French. He urged to provinces to form a confederacy modeled on the Iroquois Six Nations–which predictably got nowhere. Negotiations lasted two weeks, with considerable trading and exchange of gifts, campfire dances (sort of a business cocktail party for Indian negotiations. Conrad Weiser (Penn’s Indian agent) was a primary interpreter and is regarded as having a significant role in the treaty itself. In attendance was Benjamin Franklin, a Pennsylvania delegate; Canassatego’s confederacy idea is credited as an important influence in Franklin’s 1754 Albany Plan of Union.
The treaty sold all Iroquois claims to the Shenandoah Valley to Virginia–and the Virginians considered these boundaries to this claim to include the Ohio Valley basin, and onto the Pacific. The Iroquois, likely, only thought the land sales included lands east of the Virginia Allegheny mountains. That difference was renegotiated in the 1752 Treaty of Logstown (south of Pittsburgh), which set the boundary to include land southeast of the Ohio River. That treaty was negotiated in reaction to the French repudiation of an earlier commitment they would not settle in the Ohio Valley, and its watershed. Infuriated, and feeling betrayed, a number of tribes affected, made their peace with the English by granting to Virginia claims to the Ohio Valley (Pennsylvania was not a party to this agreement). On the basis of this treaty Governor Dinwiddie granted a land claim to Virginia’s Ohio Company for a settlement in the Ohio Valley. In any event, the treaties were the basis for Virginia’s involvement in land, which Pennsylvania considered as within their 1681 Penn land grant.
Resident tribes, such as the Shawnee and Cherokee (broadly defined), were not included in Covenant Chain treaty negotiation, and did not consider themselves bound by their terms. As we shall see, and the reader should be sensitive to, in this time period, Pennsylvania, especially the Legislature but also to a lesser degree the Penn proprietary, would finally recognize the contested legitimacy of the Covenant Chain treaties, and begin a series of negotiations (some mentioned below, and the first being 1753 Carlisle) that over the next decade and half, resulted in the Treaty of Easton (1758)–a treaty not within the Covenant Chain but with the Shawnee (broadly defined), that reconciled resident tribe land claims in light of Braddock’s defeat–but previous to Forbes’ successful campaign. That treaty was critical to the success of Forbes Campaign, and significantly impacted the design of the 1763 British Proclamation Act.
In 1753, on the threshold of the French and Indian War, the Mohawks pulled out of the Covenant, believing that they had been cheated out of New York lands by several of the Six Nations. The rupture of the Covenant was, of course, fundamental to English-Indian relations, and it was the reason why the 1754 Albany Conference (see below) was called. The Conference was not successful in restoring the Covenant, and accordingly the Privy Council assumed responsibility for any future negotiations with the Indians–removing provincial legal authority to do so. In 1755 the British Indian Department was set up, and at that time William Johnson, based in New York, was appointed Superintendent of its Northern Department.
The Crisis Emerges: Pennsylvania’s Western Periphery, 1748-1755
Through the 1740’s western hinterland events and dynamics “drifted” on their merrie path. The European War of the Austrian Succession (1744-48), called the King George’s War in North America, was the third in what would eventually be four French/Indian wars in North America. That war was mostly fought in the northern colonies and Canada, Massachusetts and New York especially impacted. Pennsylvania, as we discovered in our paper money module was impacted to the extent it was asked/required to issue debt (paper money) to finance the Massachusetts war effort. While the war did activate Quaker pacifism, generate more legislative and popular polarization against the proprietorship, and stir up some London anxieties about Pennsylvania’s reliability, its main effect on the western hinterland was indirect: making British reliance on the Iroquois absolute, to the effect of viewing them as allies in the war with French and their Indian allies. In some ways, that closeness raised the awareness within London decision-makers to “Indian” complaints regarding unrestricted English settlement of America’s interior.
From Pennsylvania’s perspective, increased concern with its western hinterland meant recognition that the center of political gravity for its policy system had shifted to the west (nearly half of Pennsylvania’s 1750 population resided in western counties. Not only did that mean triggering the eastern county economic and political fears (who had to pay for all this), but also justifying western Pennsylvanians to articulate their own interests vis-à-vis the eastern core policy system. From our present-day perspective, we can also see the beginnings of Pennsylvania sub-regional developments. Demographics and culture were indeed different from the core counties, and western county, the ground zero for any actual or potential eruption, caused these scattered and isolated settlements to work together for common defense and self-interest. They became “players”, actors in the Pennsylvania policy system from this point. Logically westerners raised the issue of malapportionment, and they required constant intervention by easterners to secure their cooperation in their defense and support of the British armies that would follow. New western counties were formed (malapportioned, of course) in this period and after, but the even malapportioned as they were, the legislature heard new voices in their debate. as did the Quaker Party. All this was further complicated by the reality that through this period, immigration dramatically increased, fueling uncontrolled increased settlement of areas already inflamed.
On top of all this, Pennsylvania, in and after 1748, went through a notable and disruptive political transition. A new governor (James Hamilton) chosen by a now Thomas Penn proprietor, along with the retirement, in a scandal that involved the Legislature’s Loan Office, of the powerful and long-serving Assembly Speaker (John Kinsey) weakened the Quaker Party . That, and the victory of a influential secular Quaker, Isaac Norris (who was seriously challenged by a more pious Quaker faction led by the Pemberton family) made the Party more dependent upon eastern German vote, and a coalition with Philadelphia-based Anglican merchant community. Into this fragmented leadership waltzed our friend Franklin. Franklin had always operated at the political margins, but after 1748, having retired, at least formally from his printing business, was still very much engaged in a great number of interests and detachments. From 1748 on he was fully engaged in his scientific experiments, leadership in a number of civic endeavors and projects,, and post 1748 service in the Philadelphia municipal council, and in 1751 election as a Quaker Party member to the state Assembly.
As might be expected Franklin was well aware of the evolving situation on the western frontier. His sympathies lie with western settlers, although he had no special attachment to either principal ethnic group, and felt particularly wary of the those German-speaking Germans, who he had accused of arriving at port with germs. Still he printed their German language bibles and pamphlets. Franklin had few sympathies for Native Americans, and in no serious way did he question the right of immigrant settlers to move west into the interior; he considered it an advance of civilization, and his writings and personal materials support his impression of the Native Americans as needing a bit of civilization, and not at all happy with the fiscal burdens required of western settlement. Again, a lack of sensitivity and sympathy was balanced by his belief in fair treatment and honest negotiation on land sales and treaties. He expected the same from the proprietor, and was perhaps more aware than others, of his deficiencies–notable of which was a failure to pay his fair share of the burden of western migration and land development. In any case Franklin brought to western settlement policy his personal energy, policy creativity, and his scrupulous commitment to policy implementation, as well as policy-making. As we shall discover, over the next few years the complexity of the western policy nexus, and the lack of consistency from the proprietorship contributed to Franklin’s position that regime change was necessary.
Pennsylvania’s trans-Allegheny west was very isolated, hard to get to, and the French were not-so-distant neighbors. The King George’s War created global tensions in the Pennsylvania trans-Allegheny that inhibited the Penn Proprietary from over-coming its limited competence and inconsistent focus in order to aggressively compete with Virginia’s Pennsylvania claims. As late as 1746, Pennsylvania was unable to defend Philadelphia from external attack, and the prospect of defending isolated western boundaries, a galaxy far away, was challenging and Pennsylvania’s western settlers knew they could not rely on easy support of their western movement.
It was natural that in the forties a sort of land vacuum had developed, and vacuums invite opportunity seekers. Penn made two major land purchases with the Iroquois (1749 and 1754) which opened up the Poconos and the allowed the Penn’s to cross over the Alleghenies into the Ohio Valley lowlands, but the first was only in 1748 and the latter in 1754. By the late-forties Penn realized the chronic non-activism of the Legislature and Quakers in western defense rendered western settlements defenseless, and compromised his ability to sell land. Gingerly stepping up to the plate, Penn requested Governor Hamilton (February, 1749) to arrange for Pennsylvania funds to fortify the area with forts, and indicated he was prepared to contribute 400 pounds, and 100 annually to match provincial levies. The initial cost of the fort was estimated about 800 pounds.
There is some evidence that immigration export to other colonies was a factor in motivating these land sales–even in such troubled times on the eve of war. Penn’s land sales principal, the Loan Office and Provincial Secretary reported to the proprietors that:
“Now there is peace (1749) great numbers [of immigrants] are going over the hills to settle in the lands [of the 1749 land purchase], and all along the road to Allegheny [Pittsburgh] & tho the sheriff & four of the most prudent & intrepid magistrates will be sent to remove them [from squatting], yet I cannot promise that it will be in the power of the government to prevent these mutinous spirits from settling those lands“. Three years later, with hundreds of settlers moving to Virginia and the Carolinas for want of available aid in Pennsylvania, Peters declared that “a new Purchase is absolutely necessary“.  Theodore Thayer, Pennsylvania Politics and the Growth of Democracy, 1740 – 1776 (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1953), p. 49.
The offer was turned down by the intensely pacifist, pro-Indian Pemberton Quaker-faction (Pemberton was known at the time as the “King of the Quakers”). The Quaker Party, secular as it made largely have been, usually deferred to the pure Quakers in matters of war and pacifism–and Indian relations. At this pivotal time, Penn negotiated indirectly with the (Virginia) Ohio Company to reach some accommodation with them regarding their overlapping Pennsylvania trans-Allegheny ambitions. Their negotiations were betrayed, and exposed, by Penn’s London negotiator, a pacifist Quaker. This debacle offered Virginia an opportunity (secured once again in the 1752 Treaty of Logstown) to advance its claims to settlement to western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Company wasted no time in founding a fragile, exceedingly vulnerable settlement in the area. That settlement mobilize a new tribe and brought it into the fray resisting further settlement. In 1753, the Ohio Valley tribes requested a meeting with Pennsylvania officials to negotiate some agreement that would check not only English settlement, but Virginia’s entry into the Ohio Valley. This request gave the legislature its opportunity for a meaningful involvement in western matters.
Willingly or not the Assembly acknowledged the fragility of its western counties. Between 1748 and 1751 the Legislature appropriated 5,000 pounds for the Indian negotiation payments in an effort to deal with the resident Indian population. What was missing, of course, was a financial contribution from the Proprietary who, yet again, could not come to terms with the Legislature after its earlier debacle.  Theodore Thayer, Pennsylvania Politics and the Growth of Democracy, 1740-1776 (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1953), pp. 31-3. Out of this dysfunctional dialogue, a new issue, the Legislature’s insistence on a land tax to repay the debt issuance, and Penn unwilling to have is unsold land taxed, caused his taking the earlier proposal off the table. Penn countered that he purchased land initial from Native Americans, and that was his contribution. The Assembly saw this as little more than Penn’s quest for land sale profits. Penn countered with an exemption for Proprietary-owned land. The reader no doubt is beginning to see where this story is going–yet another legislative stalemate in yet another critical situation is in the making. In the midst of that delightful stalemated debate, the Indian request for a meeting and negotiation presented an opportunity to bring the conflicting parties into some sort of agreement. For the first time in a long time, the Legislature was getting involved with its Native Indian affairs, and with the Legislature came the Quakers.
Pennsylvania sent a delegation that included Franklin, Richard Peters (Penn’s Provincial Secretary), Norris, and Thomas Penn’s nephew, John Penn (the heavy hitters of Pennsylvania politics) at Carlisle. But the meeting was too little, and definitely too late. By this point Pennsylvania had no ability to control Virginia’s activities, lacked the will to do what was required to do so, and had simply lost any control over the pace and behavior of immigrant settlement of these regions. Doomed to failure, the Carlisle negotiation only made matters worse. The Indians went away frustrated, Penn bought some land, and the legislature achieved little in satisfying resident Indian frustrations, other than mobilizing its Pemberton Quaker faction to participate on its own in future Indian negotiations. On the other hand, Carlisle alerted the new and increasingly impactful legislative force, the independent Benjamin Franklin, with the fragility, complexity, and the emerging crisis atmosphere of the western periphery.
Combined with his new job as the Deputy North American Post Office Director, Franklin quickly perceived many of the issues and dynamics discussed in our Big Picture. He also became sensitized to some of the proprietorship land sales deficiencies–and the stubbornness and narrowness of Thomas Penn. From this point on, Benjamin Franklin has his eye on western settlement matters and issues. To be sure, however, Franklin was no ally of either the resident Indian tribes or the Iroquois. Of some note, is that Franklin advocated no curtailment of English settlement, and in no serious way did he attempt to advocate for the Native American tribes. The reality is Franklin then, and later, was an advocate of western settlement and “civilization” of the Native Americans: “… if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages in order to make room for the cultivation of the earth, it seems not improbable that rum [and drunken Indians] may be the appointed means”  Joseph E. Illick, Colonial Pennsylvania: a History (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), p. 209.
Blame Virginia for the War
So the Legislature and Franklin took notice of the rapid deterioration in its western counties, and its claimed Ohio Valley regions. What no one anticipated was how rapid the deterioration during these f0ur years would be. What no one expected was that Virginia (Land Company) would establish a settlement in the Ohio Valley, and that settlement triggered a series of reactions by other parties that would lead to war. One of these factors was a semi-secret land deal engineered by the British Indian agent, George Croghan, a land deal that encompassed the key, compellingly strategic land between the two river forks, where present-day downtown Pittsburgh. In essence, that strategic location was simultaneously claimed by Virginia, Croghan, Pennsylvania, the British colonial office, and, the French. The unresolved question at the time was who would move in first to assert the claim. How did Croghlan’s land claim propel this drift to war?
In August 1749 Croghan purchased from the Iroquois 200,000 acres in northwest Pennsylvania. EXCLUDED from this purchase was a two square mile parcel at the forks of the Ohio which was intended to be used as a British fort. It was Pennsylvania’s intention in the early fifties to settle this area, purchase it for the Proprietary, and it expected to build the fort. Of course, the Penn-Legislature western county and paper money stalemates prevented any such action. The fort did not get built. Croghan realized if Pennsylvania asserted its ownership over this disputed provincial territory, then his last purchase, and two other purchases/grants would be discredited–he could lose hundreds of thousands of acres if this were to happen. So Croghan scrambled and made a deal with the new (1751) royal Governor of Virginia Robert Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie took the job with the expectation he could and would participate in land development as his preferred tract to acquire personal wealth. Private gain entered into an already complicated picture.
Dinwiddie wasted little time in injecting Virginia into the turmoil, and he also quickly invested personally in the aforementioned Ohio Land Company. His intention was that company should found a settlement in that area and build a fort which he would man with Virginia militia. Dinwiddie was hugely controversial in Virginia for two reasons: first his obvious conflict of interest in the Ohio Land Company, but even more so because of his plan to augment his personal fortune by unilaterally impose a western land tax, from which he would exempt the Ohio Land Company. While not relevant to the Pennsylvania matter, the Virginia planter oligopoly was not behind Dinwiddie’s Pennsylvania land grab. In any event, Croghan. in 1753, negotiated a deal with Dinwiddie to empower the Ohio Company to formally own the land, and settle the area. Oops, did I mention the French by this time had determined they had better move in fast to construct its fort on this disputed territory–which it did. In 1753 the French constructed a fort in the midst of Coghlan’s acreage. Since possession was nine-tenths of the law, even in colonial America, Dinwiddie resolved to get them out of there. Virginia, not Pennsylvania or the British Colonial Office, were quarreling and due to isolation and poor communication, no one else knew what was afoot.
In October 1753 in “defense of Virginia’s land claim and settlement, Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie appointed a young Virginian surveyor, a half-brother of a founder of the Ohio Company, to be his commander of the military district that included northwest Pennsylvania. The young major set out to negotiate with the French (and Indians if necessary) and convince the latter to remove themselves from the Pittsburgh area. The trip was successful, confirming the French had indeed built a fort on the dispute fork, and having successfully negotiated an agreement with the Six Nations chief resident in the area he secured the French surrender of the fort-only to witness his Indian allies kill the French commander. That was the action which brought on the war. While temporarily in command of the site, Virginia did not have presence militarily, and did not have resident tribes on board. The French sent new forces into the region to recapture the fort.
So on a second trip in 1754, the young major, now colonel, led a force to the area to make the French a deal they couldn’t refuse.
They did. Of course, we are talking about Fort Necessity, aka battle of Great Meadows, and the officer in question is George Washington. By this point the outside world had enough communication to recognize a French-British crisis had appeared, and at least for the moment, the French had the upper hand.
Dragged into the precipice of war by events (and competing provinces) London, the Board of Trade, tried to organize a coherent and unified response from the seven provinces in regards to their western borders. The Board of Trade also desired to use organize one last attempt to negotiate a peace treaty with the resident/Iroquois tribes. The Board of Trade called a meeting in Albany for June 1754. The Pennsylvania delegation included Franklin, now the Deputy North American Postmaster General (a British post), key member of the Legislature, Isaac Norris, and John Penn (a grandson of William) and his principal official Richard Peters, along with various Indian agents represented Pennsylvania in what is now called the Albany Conference. The Conference lasted several weeks in late June to mid-July 1754–and that overlapped with the second of Washington’s two expeditions.
The Conference produced a hodge-podge of results. Several tribes seemingly were reconciled with a wagon train of gifts; Penn was able to negotiate a land sale. Franklin who played a major role in the conference, developed a “Plan”, the Albany Plan of Union (in defense of which the famous newspaper caption of a snake cut into seven pieces, under a title “Join or Die” was published).Its purpose was to coordinate the competing colonies, under the direction of the British Colonial Office. The object was to inhibit any further unilateral actions that could lead to war–and in the event that was impossible, to coordinate the war effort that would follow. The British Colonial Office would negotiate with the French, not the Virginia 22 year old Colonel Washington.
The Plan of Union was an idea Franklin had been working on since 1751. The intention was that at the end of the Albany Conference each of the provinces was to bring it to their legislatures for consideration and hopefully adoption. The specifics of the Plan proposed an inter provincial council (legislature) for Indian affairs, foreign defense, and western trade. The Council would be presided over by a governor with veto appointed by the Crown, but financed by the individual colonies. The Union was in embryo of a national government limited to Indian and military affairs, and western trade. Predictably, no province, nor the Board of Trade approved Franklin’s Union–and no one was ever interested in paying for it.
While the Albany Congress deliberated, and concluded on July 19, 1754, Washington at Fort Necessity had a devil of a time, formally surrendering to the French on July 3. The news reached the Pennsylvania Legislature in August, delivered by the lame duck governor Hamilton. In the midst of this disruption the Penn land purchase reached at the Albany Conference was clearly going to make matters worse as the resident tribes were again about to lose land and would certainly ally with the French. Just as bad, the sale blew apart the Iroquois Confederation as only a rump representation of the Iroquois were in attendance, and normal Iroquois approval practices were not followed. So even the Iroquois were not united behind this huge land sale–and the Confederation was likely not to be an effective ally against the French. This set in motion a process that a year latter, July 1755, the Iroquois formally requested the Board of Trade reverse that land sale, which it did-and compelled Penn to return the land. But by that time resident Pennsylvania tribes were already on the warpath and raiding Pennsylvania settlements.
In the meantime the war started.
Braddock’s Attack on Fort Duquesne
The coming of war and the incremental assemblage of a British army under General William Braddock, the new commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, certainly marked a new level of crisis in Pennsylvania affairs. By the end of the year he had arrived with the first elements of two regiments and over the next six months formed an army that included provincial militia (Washington was Virginia’s commander and Braddock’s aide-de-camp) that totaled about 2,100 soldiers. Braddock’s slowly forming army could not assume a position on the frontier for the simple reason it could not get there. A road needed to be built and a supply chain established so they could be feed once there–and then extended when the Army was to move west to attack Fort Duquesne. Braddock was furious with Pennsylvania, its failure to supply his army and help him build his road; the semi-publicly attacked its leadership. By March he questioned if his expedition could move at all in 1755 unless Pennsylvania took action.
But in the meantime the deterioration of native Indian relationships had not abated. The Conference in Albany had ruptured the British alliance with a broken Iroquois Confederacy and in Pennsylvania the land sale negotiated by Penn at the Conference would produce Pennsylvania’s first official Indian (Delaware) raid (Oct, 1755) since its founding in 1682. Franklin’s proposed Plan of Union was going no where, either in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, and coordinated action among the colonies, particularly with Massachusetts’s planned attack on Crown Point was not welcomed by the legislature or Proprietary. The Board of Trade, now receiving petitions from the Legislature requesting the ouster of Penn and his Proprietary, only served to alienate that body which by this point was formulating its strategy of resistance, and payment of that resistance effort. Colonial corporation seemed impossible to achieve at this point. Indeed, ships from New York City had supplied French Louisburg with provisions some of which were duly sent to feed the French garrison in Fort Duquesne. Braddock wasn’t being supplied, but Fort Duquesne was.
ll it did was further inflame the paper money debacle by adding yet another volatile dynamic into its debate. As described in our earlier module on that topic, by early 1755 the paper money policy process had broken down entirely. The issuance of paper money-funded debt manufactured a bitter stalemate in the Legislature-Governor legislation, and here-to-fore fruitless negotiations which by March had ceased entirely, and generated much bitterness in popular opinion. The Governor’s vetoes of war-related debt issuances, and the linkage of these to taxing land without Proprietor exemption, blocked all other forms of military resistance and any serious support for the western frontier. . To outsiders and most Pennsylvanian alike, it looked as if Pennsylvania was once again back at its old Quaker-induced non-defense impasse that inevitably weakened the secular Quaker Party, and its German allies. The Scotch Irish on the other hand, never eager to take a back seat while Indians threatened their new homesteads drew a small modicum of comfort from Proprietary support of a militia, even though it resisted any funding for its activities. In the first three months of 1755, Pennsylvania seemed as if it were coming apart at the seems. And then Franklin returned from his six month trip.
While away, mostly on Postmaster business, Franklin had been working with Governor Shirley and others on his Plan of Union. Shirley was more disposed to a federation of colonies, not a limited Grand Council restricted to Indian trade and western borderland issues. Franklin was sympathetic and that a federation superior, but such a federation must also include repeal of the legislation restraining American trad/manufacturing and compelling its shipment to England. He later moved onto yet another compromise: the formation of two Crown colonies “in the critical zone of the Anglo-French conflict between Lake Erie and the Ohio River–preferably under the egis of the united colonies” Grand Council. The new colonies should be issued a charter from the Crown to both British and American investors, and such charters should encourage settlement of the land through land development companies.
His reasons for this were based on not only Virginia’s intrusion into the Ohio Valley, but also, as he discovered on his trip, Connecticut’s presumptive intention to settle the upper Susquehanna Valley. “In the old colonies on the seaboard, he believed, there were many thousands of families who were ready to swarm westward ‘were there but a tolerable prospect of a safe settlement’  Verner W. Crane, Benjamin Franklin and a Rising People, edited by Oscar Handlin (Little, Brown, and Company, 1954), pp. 76-7. These were likely his first public initiatives that reflected his private vision of western settlement. Over the next twenty years, Franklin would develop more specific legislation and land development initiatives. Like Washington, a generation younger than him, Franklin was now seeing both the opportunity and the “race” among colonies for the trans-Allegheny interior.
Upon his arrival in Philadelphia he went to work to resolve the stalled negotiations on war-related debt and Shirley’s Crown Point funds. Unable to restart talks, however, it was his suggestion that proved an effective bypass of the Governor veto. He arranged for the Assembly to redirect funds from its Loan Office. The first allocation of 10,000 pounds went to fund the Shirley expedition, and a later allocation (September after Braddock’s defeat) of 1,000 pounds to purchase rifles, ammunition to be sent to militias on the western border. Without involvement by the Governor, the Proprietorship or the Board of Trade, the legislature, using its own funds, had fabricated a way to conduct the war and defend, to some degree, its western frontiers. Franklin, not satisfied with these efforts, in April, under the authority of a January legislative appointment to a committee intended to oversee western war preparation, headed off to Braddock’s camp at Frederick Maryland to see what he could do to unravel the frustration, and the inability to build a road and supply his troops. During this trip it is likely he met with Washington, Braddock’s aide de camp, and he did meet with Braddock himself. The key to Braddock’s heart lay through his stomach, and Franklin immediately proceeded to work with German settlers to sell the General horses and wagons at an acceptable price so the General could supply his army, and build his road. In June the road and supplies were sufficient to begin his march on Fort Duquesne.
That didn’t turn out well. Braddock was defeated and killed in the Battle of Monongahela on July 9, 1755, a battle in which Washington distinguished himself. The battle destroyed the colonial-British force, but given its numerical deficiency, the French victors were in no position to attack the heavily populated Pennsylvania eastern cities. They held Fort Duquesne, and supplied the resident tribes with weapons and ammunition to conduct raids. The Penn’s Creek raid in October was the first, and a succession of others followed. Funds from the second Loan Office allocation were used to address the immediate defense of vulnerable communities. This was all that was available as the Governor, Legislature and Proprietary resumed their paper money bickering, this time over a new 50,000 pound debt issue to be paid by the contested land tax. This was the last straw for Franklin. Penn’s refusal to pay some share of the tax, he wrote at the time, compelled Franklin’s break with the Penn Proprietary. From that point on, Franklin joined the Legislature in its effort to dethrone Penn and his Proprietary and replace it with a royal governor. The actual veto that caused the rupture was based on a misunderstanding by the Governor or Penn’s unwillingness to compromise the matter–and over the next few months when that became apparent a compromise was finally reached. But Franklin’s Rubicon had been crossed.
During that winter, as war became real, Philadelphia officials, the Quakers and the Quaker Party became more sensitive to the western dysfunction, the necessity for self-defense and an examination of the western situation permeated into the already intensely polarizing paper money/currency institutionalization stalemate that had consumed the Pennsylvania level policy system since 1751. In October, a new election secured victory by the Proprietary opposition, and in so doing transformed the Quaker Party. Pious Quakers resigned and secular Quakers and Anglicans replaced them. With only a handful of votes, the Proprietary was defenseless in the Legislature, and the Governor totally isolated.
Franklin did not cease his efforts at western defense. In March 1756, he introduced legislation to form a provincial militia, which was not successful. In the same vein, a Proprietary Quaker, William Allen broke away from the Proprietary and personally contributed to a 10,000 pound lottery that would fund the militia along the lines of Franklin’s 1746 Association. Franklin by that time was in London, the legislator-lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Assembly entrusted to formally negotiate the replacement of the Proprietary with whomever Franklin could.
What did follow were Indian raids on isolated settlements in western counties, massacres, and over the next years, a propensity of Pennsylvania European settlers to also engage in slaughtering both warring and peaceable Native Americans. The savage disruption of its western periphery had serious consequences for policy-making in Pennsylvania’s legislature. The Legislature changed radically in the October 1755 election, and it stepped up to the plate and expended considerable effort to provide a measure of security to its western counties, and equally important to commence an initiative to resolve resident Indian tribes concerns. From this point on, the Legislature seemingly acts that it, not the Proprietary, is the legal government of Pennsylvania .
It will reverse course and recruit provincial militia companies, both for a second British expedition, and for its own frontier and city defense. It is in this period, that Quaker pacifism ceased to be the third rail of Pennsylvania’s politics, freeing up votes to resolve the paper money issue. The October election resulted in Franklin being elected as Speaker of the new Assembly, and a more diverse Quaker Party (with generational changes in its elite) took the lead. These changes brought to a head the struggle of the Legislature against the sole proprietary–and set in motion a near unified Pennsylvania to replace it with a royal governor.
A bit out of step with several other colonies, Pennsylvania commenced its drift to Independence and War, several years before the 1765 Stamp Act. While its political goal from here on in was not independence, rather it wanted autonomy, but the autonomy it sought was in many ways what other colonies called independence. More importantly from 1756 on, the forces (and political leaderships0 that would conduct the 1776 revolution in Pennsylvania were set in motion, first to fight the war against the French and Indians, and then to deal with the victory attained. Pennsylvania was THE colonial battleground for the French and Indian War, and the British conquest of Canada created in Pennsylvania a rival, a British Canada that in alliance with Native American tribes stood in the way for Pennsylvania’s entry into the Ohio Valley.