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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



DDDElbE7S13 



F 152 
. V94 
Copy 1 



George Croghan and the 
Westward Movement, 

1741-1782 



ALBERT T. VOLWILER 



I. THE INDIAN TRADER 



Reprint from "The Pennsylvania 
Alagazine of History and Biography," 
Vol. xlvi, No. 4, October, 1922 






George Croghan and the Westward 
Movement, 1741-1782. 



I. The Indian Tradee. 

The mainspring which kept the Indian trade in North 
America in operation during the eighteenth century 
was the demand for furs and skins in western Europe. 
The customs and styles of dress among European 
nobles and courtiers, ecclesiastical and university of- 
ficials, and wealthy burghers created the demand for 
furs ; the demand for skins rested chiefly upon the needs 
of the more humble classes of society. A second great 
market for furs and skins was in China. Until towards 
the close of the period under consideration this market 
only indirectly affected the Indian trade by absorbing 
the cheaper grade of Eussian furs and skins and thus 
decreasing the supply available for western Europe. 
By the time of the American Revolution, however, a 
considerable number of American furs and skins were 
sent from London to China, either through Russia or 
in the ships of the East India Company, thus fore- 
shadowing the trading ventures of John Jacob Astor 
and Stephen Girard. 1 

From the earliest days of the Greeks and Romans 
until the sixteenth century the people of central Asia 
and western Europe were supplied with furs and skins 
from the great northern plains of Eurasia. Here the 
Russian traders' frontier was gradually pushed east- 

1 Chambers Papers relating to Canada, 1692-1792. (N. Y. Pub. Lib.) 



2 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

ward until in the latter part of the eighteenth century 
it was moving rapidly down the western coast of North 
America. 2 At the time of the discovery of America, 
Vienna, Danzig, Liibeck and Hamburg were the great 
fur marts of Europe, and the bold voyages of English 
navigators to Muscovy were based in part upon the 
demand for furs. The furs and skins from the second 
great region of supply — northern North America — had 
to compete with those from Russia and Siberia in the 
markets of Europe. So successfully was this done that 
the great fur marts were shifted to London, Amster- 
dam and Paris, and the quest for furs took the place of 
the quest for gold, silver and precious stones in luring 
the white man to penetrate into the vast unknown 
regions north of Mexico. 

If the trade in furs and skins is looked at from the 
point of view of the uncivilized native who could 
furnish peltry and hides, one finds equally strong 
economic forces influencing his conduct. In his esti- 
mation of values, based upon the laws of supply and 
demand, the exchange of a fine beaver pelt for a sharp 
knife was a great bargain and gave him as much satis- 
faction as it did to the more civilized trader. The 
mutual immense profits of the trade in furs and skins 
and other irresistible economic forces involved, led 
both savages and civilized men to desire to establish 
and maintain trading relations in spite of the heavy 
risks to life and property to all concerned in such 
trade. 

The desire to control the lucrative trade in furs and 
skins with the natives in North America was one of the 
numerous causes for the great rivalry of England and 

2 The following quotation is suggestive for the colonizing movement 
in North America: "Der Zobel (sable) hat die Erschliessung und Ero- 
berung Sibiriens veranlasst; er hat auch einen grossen Teil der Kosten, 
mit seiner Haut bezahlt." — Klein, Jos.: Der Sibirische Peltzhandel und 
seine Bedeutung fur die Eroberung Sibiriens, p. i. — Cf . Golder, F. A. : 
Russian Expansion on the Pacific, 1641-1850. 

GIFT 
AUfHOfi 



George Croghan and the Weshvard Movement. 3 

France during the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies. Towards the close of the former century 
they entered upon an important trade war in North 
America for the control of this traffic which, unlike 
their military conflicts, never ceased until after 1763. 
In it the native tribes were mere tools and pawns 
which both sides exploited. 

The trader's frontier in this conflict was long, 
wide, and constantly shifting. During the second 
quarter of the eighteenth century French and English 
traders met in the region between Lake Superior and 
Hudson's Bay, but here there were such vast regions 
to exploit that for a long time their rivalry was only 
serious to those immediately involved. Similar com- 
petition took place in the wilderness between New 
England and Canada, but here also the rivalry was not 
serious, for there were no longer rich fur fields to ex- 
ploit in this region nor were there strategic lines of 
communication to threaten. The Indian country be- 
tween New York and New France controlled great 
arteries of commerce ; here, however, the English forces 
of expansion, which in earlier decades had begun to 
penetrate the region around Lake Michigan, lost 
vitality because of various conditions in colonial New 
York. One of these was the establishment, in spite of 
the opposition of both governments, of trading rela- 
tions whereby Albany traders gave up their dreams of 
trading directly with the far West in return for the 
opportunity of exchanging English manufactured 
goods for French furs near at home. In contrast to 
the Indian traders of Pennsylvania, those of New York 
generally did not penetrate far into the interior to seek 
furs and skins at each Indian village, but utilized the 
Iroquois as middlemen to bring furs and skins to them 
at such posts as Albany and Oswego. In the extreme 
south, Carolina traders had once planned to develop 
the trans-Mississippi country and even the Ohio and 



4 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

Illinois regions. By about 1725 the French had limited 
the activities of the English until their trade with tribes 
which bordered on the Gulf of Mexico or on the Mis- 
sissippi had almost ceased. 3 

During the generation preceding 1754 the most 
dynamic and significant phase of the Anglo-French 
rivalry in the Indian trade was in the central and upper 
Ohio Valley and in the region south of Lake Erie. In 
preceding decades a few Carolina, New York and per- 
haps Virginia, traders had reached this region, but 
their visits were sporadic and not consistently followed 
up. Later, Pennsylvania traders began to develop con- 
sistently its rich trading possibilities. The expansion of 
the field of their activities was based upon a sufficient 
supply of low-priced merchandise and it was the result 
of their own initiative and resourcefulness; not until 
their influence had about reached its height did their 
government aid them. Meanwhile the French had been 
moving eastward into this region. They shifted their 
main line of communication between the Great Lakes 
and the Mississippi from the Fox- Wisconsin route to 
the Chicago-Illinois route and then to the Maumee- 
Wabash route. To control the latter, Ft. Ouiatenon was 
erected by New France, about 1720, at the head of navi- 
gation for large canoes on the Wabash, and Ft. Vin- 
cennes by Louisiana, in 1731, on the lower Wabash. At 
times, a small fort on the Maumee was maintained 
which, with Detroit, completed this line of defense 
against English penetration. The region east of this 
line was left open to the English. The first "Winning 
of the West" by the Anglo-Saxon followed; in almost 
every important Indian village in this region one or 
more Pennsylvania traders were to be found. 

The growth of their influence is well shown by the 

8 Crane, V. W. : "The Tennessee River as the Road to Carolina," Miss. 
Valley Hist. Rev., 3: 3 ff; Crane: "The Southern Frontier in Queen 
Anne's War," Am. Hist. Rev., 24: 379 ff. 



iL J*** *£? f 2^ 1^4/ 








GEORGE CROGHAN TO SECRETARY RICHARD PETERS 
OF PHILADELPHIA 

The original letter, of which the above facsimile is a reproduction on a smaller 
scale, is the earliest document written by Crogiian that has been found. It is 
preserved in the Provincial Papers in the State Library at Harrisburg. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 5 

following incidents. In 1707, Governor Evans of Penn- 
sylvania feared the influence of French traders even 
east of the lower Susquehanna; he personally led a 
party thither to capture Nicole Godin, a trader of 
French birth, who was suspected of aiding the enemy. 
The Governor reported to the provincial council that 
after he had captured Nicole, ''having mounted Nicole 
upon a horse, and tied his legs under the Belly," he 
"brought him a Prisoner to Philadia, in the Common 
Gaol of which he now lies." 4 Less than half a century 
later, in the early fifties, Paul Pierce, a Pennsylvania 
trader, had "4,000 Weight of summer skins taken at 
another town on Wabasha. . . ." 5 

These incidents illustrate the fact that the Pennsyl- 
vania traders had assumed the aggressive and, in 
spite of the Appalachian barrier, had pushed the trad- 
er's frontier 500 miles westward in less than a half 
century; in 1750 this line was near the Wabash and 
Maumee rivers, nearly 500 miles in advance of the 
settler's frontier in Pennsylvania, which was just 
starting to move up the Juniata Valley and to cross the 
Blue Mountains. Nor had the expansive force of this 
movement been exhausted when it reached the Wabash 
and Maumee ; it began to cross this line — a weak barrier 
at best — and move on towards the Mississippi, bringing 
anxiety into the hearts of the best French officials, who 
felt the potential power of English influence even in the 
distant Illinois country. 6 A contemporary map legend 

4 Gov. Evans' Journal and Report, Pa. Col. Rec, 2: 385, 390. 

6 Pierce's affidavit of losses, O. Co. MSS., 1 : 32. 

8 In 1742 Bienville reported home that the Illinois were restless 
and that some of them had gone east to meet English traders. — O 13A, 
27: 81-84. (Archives Nationales, Paris.) Vaudreuil reported in 
1744 and in 1745 recommending the establishment of a fort on the 
lower Ohio to limit the activities of the English traders and to keep 
control of the Kickapoo and Mascoutens. — C 13 A, 28: 245-250 and 
C 13A, 29 : 69. In 1747 three Indian emissaries came to the Illinois 
tribes to win them over to the English and were frustrated with 
difficulty.— "Diary of Events in 1747," Wis. Hist. Coll. 17 : 487. An 



6 George Croghan and tlie West ward Movement. 

described the attitude of the Indians in Illinois as fol- 
lows : ' ' Illinois mostly inclined to the French at the 
Treaty of Utrecht and to the English at that of Aix-la- 
Chapelle." 7 

Thus by 1750 the English were ready to take con- 
trol of the Wabash-Maurnee route, the best line of com- 
munication between New France and Louisiana, and 
they threatened French dominion in the West. When, 
during King George 's War, the highest French officials 
came to realize the peril of this quiet penetration of 
English power, they determined at any cost to secure 
sole and absolute control of the entire Ohio country. 
The Pennsylvania Indian traders were thus chiefly 
responsible for the immediate opening of the French 
and Indian War. 

Their aggressive westward push during the period of 
1730-1775, was aided by the moral and financial sup- 
port of the wealthy merchants and colonial officials in 
Philadelphia. During this period Philadelphia had be- 
come the largest town in all America. Its virile energy 
and the many-sidedness of its interests were typified in 
the life of its greatest citizen, Benjamin Franklin. Its 
large and profitable commerce, firmly buttressed upon 
a prosperous and rich agricultural region resulted 
in the accumulation of surplus capital, part of which 
was available for projects to exploit and develop the 
vast wilderness beyond the settler's frontier. 

The man who played the most prominent part in this 

official of Louisiana reported in 1750 that the influence of an English 
establishment on the Riviere de la Roche (Great Miami) extended 
even to Illinois and that it should be broken up. — C 13A, 34: 321-323. 
In 1751, thirty-three Piankashaw Indians (an important tribe living 
west of the Wabash whose friendship was to play an important part 
in Croghan's activities) appeared among the French settlements in 
Illinois to start an Indian uprising. — Alvord, C. W. : Centennial History 
of Illinois, 1: 234. In 1752 Vaudreuil reported home that deserters 
from the army in Illinois had gone over to the English. — C 13 A, 36: 81. 
7 Gibson, John : Map of the Middle British Colonies in America. 1758. 
(N. Y. Pub. Lib.) 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 7 

highly important and significant phase of the westward 
movement of Anglo-Saxon civilization was George 
Croghan. Of his early life and the more personal side 
of his career we know but little. No portrait of him 
has been discovered 8 and in the course of this investi- 
gation, not a single reference to his wife was found; 
the date and exact place of his birth are also unknown. 
We know that his early life was spent in Dublin, Ire- 
land. 9 The education which he there received was so 
meager that he was pronounced illiterate by Bouquet. 10 
One finds the spelling in Croghan 's letters amusing, 
provided it is not necessary to decipher many of them. 11 
He migrated to America in 1741. 12 

8 In J. S. Walton's Conrad Weiser and the Indian Policy of Penn- 
sylvania, there is a picture of Colonel George Croghan, famous in the 
War of 1812, taken in a U. S. Army uniform, which is erroneously 
ascrihed to the earlier George Croghan. 

•Gov. Morris to Gov. Sharpe, Jan. 7, 1754, Pa. Arch., 2: 114. 

10 Bouquet to Gen. Gage, Dec. 22, 1764, Bouquet Coll. (Canadian 
Archives), A 23-2, p. 464. No evidence has been found to prove 
the statement that Croghan was educated at Dublin University, made 
both by C. R. Williams in an article on George Croghan in the 0. 
Arch, and Hist. Pub., 12: 381 and by L. E. Keeler in an article on 
the Croghan Celebration in the same publication, 16: 8. 

"The legibility of Croghan's letters varies greatly. The following 
postscript to a letter to Peters, dated Sept. 26, 1758, suggests one 
cause of such variation: "You '1 Excuse boath Writing and peper, 
and guess at my Maining, fer I have this Minnitt 20 Drunken Indians 
about me . . . ." — Pa. Arch., 3 : 544. 

"Various dates from 1740 to 1747 are given by writers on Penn- 
sylvania history. The date 1741 is incidentally established by an 
affidavit which Croghan made before the Board of Trade in London 
on July 27, 1764, to aid the Penns in their case against Connecticut's 
land claims. C. A. Hanna in The Wilderness Trail, 2 : 30, following 
the copy in the Penn MSS., Penn Land Grants 1681-1806, pages 
205-209, adds that Croghan was made a Councillor of the Six Nations 
at Onondago in 1746, which would be rather significant. However, 
this copy of the affidavit seems to have been drafted by a third party, 
for it makes many inaccurate statements about Croghan. These are 
corrected in Croghan's own handwriting in a copy in the Penn. MSS., 
Wyoming Controversy, 5 : 71-75. The qualifying phrases which he 
introduces beside the above statement make it appear that it was 
incorrect, but that for the sake of Penn's case, it was so stated to 
carrv weight in London. 



8 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

Because he came from Dublin he was charged during 
the French and Indian War with being a Roman 
Catholic. 13 We know, however, that he was an Episco- 
palian. His signature, along with those of Robert 
Callender and Thomas Smallman, his close associates 
in the Indian trade, was attached to a petition in 1765 
from the handful of Episcopalians in the frontier town 
of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to their provincial assembly. 
It asked for the authorization of a lottery for the benefit 
of ten Episcopal churches; the one at Carlisle was to 
receive £200 to aid its building fund. 14 In 1769, 
Croghan wrote Sir William Johnson to recommend an 
Episcopal rector for an appointment, modestly adding, 
"for tho I Love ye Church very well I know I ought 
Nott to Medle with Church Matters." 15 When 
Croghan died his funeral was held in St. Peter's 
Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. 16 

These facts are significant. Evidently Croghan was 
not a typical Scotch-Irishman, for he had the re- 
ligion of the English Pale. The fact that he was inter- 
ested in a church at once puts him on a higher plane 
than most Indian traders who cared nothing for either 
church or religion. Being a member of the Church of 
England helped him to establish closer relations with 
the Penns and with many British officials. In the 
normal conduct of his business and in his official duties 
Croghan was not often near any minister or church. 
Even at Ft. Pitt, where he usually had his headquarters 
from 1758 to 1777, there was no organized church till 
after his death. 17 Army chaplains were sometimes 

13 Gov. Sharpe to Gov. Morris, Dec. 27, 1754, Md. Arch., 188S : 153. 

"Pa. Stat, at Large, 6: 382; Linn, J. B.: "The Butler Family of 
the Pennsylvania Line." pa. mag. of hist, and biog., 7 : 2. 

"Croghan to Johnson, Nov. 16, 1769, Doc. Hist, of N. Y., 4 : 419. 

10 Wm. Powell's account with the Croghan Estate, 1804, MSS., Reg- 
ister of Wills, County of Philadelphia. 

"Dahlinger, C. W.: Pittsburgh: A Sketch of its Early Social Life, 
9-10. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 9 

stationed there and missionaries came to tarry a few 
days. The latter were usually welcomed by Croghan, 
at whose home they frequently dined. One of these in 
describing his visit to Croghan in 1772, writes that the 
latter presented him with "a bear's skin to sleep on, 
a belt of wampum to present to the Indians, and 60 
pounds of biscuit to supply me on my journey." 18 
Croghan 's religion was reflected in his daily conduct in 
business and in office to about the same extent as is 
religion in the life of the average business man or office- 
holder of today. 19 

Croghan had a number of relatives in America who 
had a common interest in developing the great West of 
their day and to whom he was a guide and leader. 
William Trent was his brother-in-law, Edward Ward 
his half brother, Thomas Smallman his cousin, John 
Connolly his nephew, William Powell and Daniel Clark 
his kinsmen. 20 Clark emigrated from Ireland and be- 
came a clerk to Croghan; after the Revolution he be- 
came the most prominent American in New Orleans. 
A Mohawk Indian daughter of Croghan became the 
wife of the famous Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant. 21 His 
only white child, Susannah, for whom he had a tender 
regard, which was reciprocated by her, 22 was born in 
1750 at Carlisle and died in 1790. At the age of fifteen 
she was married to Lieutenant Augustine Prevost, son 
of the British General of the same name, with whom he 

18 Jones, Rev. D.: Diary, 21; Cf. McClure, Rev. D.: Diary, 46, 101. 

19 This statement is based upon a study of Croghan's entire life. 
E. W. Hassler's statement in Old Westmoreland : a History of Western 
Pennsylvania during the Revolution, p. 10, that "He was an Irishman 
by birth and an Episcopalian by religion, when he permitted religion 
to trouble him," is probably an incorrect deduction from the general 
characterization of Indian traders. 

20 Croghan's will, Register of Wills, County of Philadelphia. 
"Brant MSS. (Wis. Hist. Soc), 1G2, 1F24, 13F103; Thomson C: 

Alienation of the Delaware and Shawnees, 178. 

"Croghan's will; Trent to Mrs. Prevost, Aug. 21, 1775, Hist. Soc. 
of Pa. Coll. 



10 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

is sometimes confused. To them twelve children were 
born at various places from Quebec to Jamaica in- 
clusive, six of whom survived infancy and became the 
chief heirs of Croghan. 23 Aaron Burr was related to 
Prevost by marriage and served as his attorney; Burr's 
interest in the West may therefore have emanated from 
Croghan. 

The immigrant who went west from Philadelphia 
during the decade 1740 to 1750, as did Croghan, would 
find that soon after he had left the Quaker city behind, 
the German element became predominant and that as he 
approached the frontier the hardy Scotch-Irish in turn 
composed the majority of the population. The road 
which he followed would take him through Lancaster, 
the largest inland town in the British colonies; from it 
one important road led through Paxtang Township, 
which bordered the eastern bank of the Susquehanna 
in the vicinity of the present city of Harrisburg. At 
this place the river is not deep, but is a mile wide. John 
Harris had settled here and was operating one of the 
most important ferries which crossed it; Harris' Ferry 
is shown on all contemporary maps of Pennsylvania. 

The newcomer was now close to the settler's frontier 
line. The region across the river towards Maryland 
had been purchased from the Iroquois in 1736, though 
squatters in this region were legally recognized since 
January 14, 1734, when the first "Blunston License" 
was issued to allow settlement before the Indian claims 



23 Brant MSS., 16F 65, 16F 66, 16F 72; Draper MSS. (Wis. Hist. Soc), 
16F 76. Dennis Crohan was an intimate friend but no relation to Cro- 
ghan.— Etting Coll., Misc. MSS., 1 : 110. General Wm. Croghan of the 
Revolution, who married a sister to George Rogers Clark and helped 
develop the state of Kentucky, was a very intimate personal friend 
of George Croghan.— Byars, Wm. V.: B. and M. Gratz, 175, 183, 185, 
194. Col. George Croghan, son of Wm. Croghan and hero of the War 
of 1812, is often confused with the elder George Croghan. Some of 
the descendants of the Kentucky Croghans recognize a relationship 
to the elder Croghan while others deny it. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 11 

had been purchased. 24 The Juniata Valley with the 
region south of it extending to the Maryland border 
was not purchased till 1754. In the preceding decade 
the most distant lands open to settlement in the 
province were in the level and fertile Cumberland 
Valley. This lay beyond Harris' Ferry, on either side 
of the winding Condogwinet River, which empties into 
the Susquehanna, and of the Conococheague River, 
which flows in the opposite direction and empties into 
the Potomac. South Mountain, later made famous by 
Robert E. Lee, forms a wall on the southeast for this 
physiographic unit. From its crest one can see on a 
clear day the opposite rampart, North Mountain, also 
known as the Kittatinny or the Blue Mountains. Be- 
yond them in the primeval forest lay the Indian coun- 
try, but to get to its most attractive regions it was 
necessary to cross range after range of the mountain 
barrier. This was done by the venturesome Indian 
traders of the province. When the fur fields east of 
the mountains had been exhausted, with no enticing 
possibilities to the north or south, the traders were 
presented with the alternative of either settling down 
to a more prosaic life, or of somehow getting across the 
barrier to the far western country. A contemporary 
describes the result of their decision as follows: "Be- 
tween 4 and 10 degrees of Longitude west from Phila- 
delphia there is a spacious country which we call Alle- 
genny from the name of a River which runs thro' it and 
is the main branch of the Mississippi. ... In this 
country all our Indian trade centers . . . the 
most of our return is Deer Skins. The Indian traders 
have had great credit with the merchants." 25 

M Samuel Blunston was granted a special commission on January 11, 
1734, authorizing him to issue special licenses upon which patents could 
be obtained after the Indian claims had been purchased. The original 
list of licenses granted, ending on October 31, 1737, has been found 
recently and will soon be published in the Pennsylvania Archives. 

2B Lewis Evans' Brief Account of Pa., 1753, in, Papers relating to 
Pa., Carolina, etc., Du Simitiere Coll. (Library Co. of Philadelphia.) 



12 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

Various routes across the mountains had been pre- 
pared for the traders by nature and by the buffalo and 
the Indian, and have since become great arteries of com- 
merce followed by trunk line railroads. The least im- 
portant and most difficult of these followed the West 
Branch of the Susquehanna. Another route passed 
through Shippensburg and Bedford, utilizing the Rays- 
town Branch of the Juniata; from 1758, when Forbes 
constructed the road which bore his name, until after 
1830, when the railroad and canal became important, 
this was one of the most important routes to the West ; 
as a turnpike it was the great rival of the Cumberland 
Road. The oldest and most important route to the 
West during the decade, 1740 to 1750, followed the Juni- 
ata and Conemaugh (Kishkimentas) Rivers. 26 It was 
almost always followed by the traders before 1754 in 
going to the West and somewhat less frequently 
on their return. Shortly before 1754, Pennsylvania 
traders in returning from the West were beginning to 
follow the fourth great route across the mountains, 
which utilized the Monongahela, Wills Creek Water 
Gap and the Potomac. 27 When they had once reached 
the latter near the end of Cumberland Valley they 
found available a " great road" recently finished, lead- 
ing through the valley and connecting at Harris' Ferry 
with the great highway to Philadelphia. 28 

To traverse one of the great routes from the Susque- 
hanna to the Ohio required about fourteen days. Until 
after the French and Indian War transportation by 



26 In 1855 the traces left by thousands upon thousands of warriors 
and packhorses which traveled it for years were still plainly visible. 
— Jones, U. J.: History of Juniata Valley, 135. 

27 Washington to Bouquet, Aug. 2, 1758, Writings of George Wash- 
ington, 2 : 62; Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 607. 

28 Pa. Col. Rec, 6 : 302; Evans' Map of the Middle British Colonies, 
Pa. Arch., Third Series, App. to Volumes I-X ; Instructions of Gov. 
Hamilton to N. Scull and T. Cookson, surveyors, Early Hist, of Car- 
lisle (1841), 1 : 6. 



George Croghan cmd the Westward Movement. 13 

wagon stopped at the mountains; from there on only- 
Indian trails were available. To the Pennsylvania 
trader the packhorse took the place which the canoe 
occupied among the " coureurs de bois;" even after he 
was across the mountains and beyond the Ohio he pre- 
ferred it to the canoe. Usually two or more men went 
with a packhorse train, which seldom consisted of more 
than twenty horses, each carrying about one hundred 
and fifty pounds on their pack saddles. They followed 
the trail in single file with one man in front and one in 
the rear. At night the horses were turned loose to 
secure their forage as best they could. Bells were 
fastened to them to aid in finding them again. A pack- 
horse equipped with saddle, surcingles and bells was 
valued at from £7 to £25. From twenty to thirty per 
cent was normally added to Philadelphia prices for the 
cost of transporting goods by wagon and packhorse to 
the Ohio. 29 

The chief Indian tribes with whom the Pennsyl- 
vanians traded were the Six Nations, who claimed 
dominion over the entire Ohio region and several hun- 
dred of whose representatives were scattered along 
the Ohio and known as Mingoes; the Delawares, 
living around the upper Ohio; the Shawnee, dwelling 
along the Ohio and Scioto; the Wyandots or Hurons, 
inhabiting the territory south of Lake Erie; and the 
Miami or Twightwee, living on the Big Miami and be- 
yond. 30 

To them were brought rum; guns, gunpowder, lead, 
flints, tomahawks and vermilion; strouds, especially 
those of a "Deep Blue or Lively Red," blanketing, 
matchcoating, linen and calicoes ' l of the brightest and 

29 O. Co. MSS., 1:7; Md. Arch., 1888, 126; Pa. Col. Rec. 5 : 294, 
295, 490, 498; ibid, 9 : 495; Evans, L. : Analysis of a Map of the Middle 
British Colonies, 25. 

80 Conrad Weiser's Journal, 1748, Pa. Col. Rec. 5 : 348-358; Croghan's 
Journal 1751, Pa. Col. Rec. 5 : 530-539; Hutchins, T.: Topographical 
Description, etc., App. III. 



14 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

flourishing collours"; wampum; lace, thread, gartering, 
ribbons; women's stockings, "red, yellow, and green" 
preferred, and all kinds of ready-made clothing; 
knives of all kinds, brass and tin kettles, traps, axes, 
hoes, brass wire, files, awls, needles, buttons and combs ; 
jewsharps, bells, whistles, looking glasses, rings and 
silver jewelry of all kinds. 31 

These goods, with the exception of rum, came princi- 
pally from England. For them were bartered deer, 
elk, buffalo and bear skins ; beaver, raccoon, fox, cat, 
muskrat, mink, fisher and other furs; food supplies 
and sometimes personal services. 32 The annual value 
of this trade was probably less than £40,000. 33 

This trade involved a connected chain of credits 
based in the end upon English capital. The English 
manufacturer or merchant sold to the Philadelphia 
merchant on credit; he in turn advanced the goods to 
the larger traders and they to their employees ; finally 
it also became more and more customary to trust the 
Indians with goods in order that they could hunt suc- 
cessfully. If, therefore, something should happen to 
the Indian so that he failed to bring in skins and pelts, 
bankruptcy and financial stringency would follow all 
along the line. 34 Certain merchants in London, Bristol, 
Philadelphia and Lancaster specialized in this trade. 
The firm of Shippen and Lawrence and the Jewish firm 
of Levy, Franks and Simon, with whom the Gratzs were 
later connected, are examples of those groups of Penn- 
sylvania merchants that served as factors in the Indian 
trade. They were usually composed of one or more 
residents in Philadelphia and a western representative 

81 Lists prepared under Croghan's supervision are found in 0. Co. 
MSS., 1 : 37 and in C. 0. 5 : 61. Cf. Wis. Hist. Coll., 18 : 245; Byars: 
B. and M. Oratz, 114. 

» 2 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 44. 

33 Pa. Gaz., Sept. 20, 1754; cf. ibid, Apr. 25, 1754. 

M Cf. Gov. Wright to Bd. of Trade, Dec. 29, 1754, Bd. of Tr. Pap., 
Plan. Gen'l., 22 : 163. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 15 

in Lancaster. The former often had his own ships and 
imported suitable goods from England; under his 
management the skins and furs for export were sorted, 
examined for moth and finally packed for shipment; 
the representative in Lancaster usually had charge of 
warehouses where traders' supplies were kept and furs 
and skins temporarily stored. Frequently these groups 
were "concerned" with a prominent Indian trader in 
active charge of a number of ordinary traders. Aside 
from these regular partnerships and joint-stock com- 
panies these men were often "concerned" together 
in an "adventure;" i. e., when a particular business 
opportunity presented itself they would pool a part of 
their capital, goods, or personal services, sometimes 
without even signing articles of agreement, and then 
divide the profits or losses in proportion. Such a busi- 
ness system was especially favorable to the young man 
or the newcomer with little more than his personal 
services to contribute. Such groups, especially when 
united, were an important factor in trade, land specu- 
lation and politics, particularly in relation to the 
West. 35 

It was into such an environment that Croghan en- 
tered soon after coming to America. Shortly after 
1741 we find him on the frontier in the lower Condog- 
winet Valley, then organized as Pennsborough Town- 
ship of Lancaster County. Here he patented in 1746, 
1748 and 1749, three tracts of land totaling 474 acres. 
Nearby were 354 acres which had been patented in 1744 
and then conveyed to Trent and Croghan ; of this tract 
Croghan became sole owner in 1746. In 1747 he added 
210 acres, patented in 1742. In the same year he pur- 
chased 172 acres in Paxtang Township, which had been 
patented in 1738 and of which he became the fourth 
owner. This was the only large tract east of the Sus- 

,! Byars, Wm. V. : The First American Movement West. 



16 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

quehanna which Croghan ever held. Richard Hockley, 
Receiver General of Quit-rents for the Penns, Trent 
and Croghan took out a warrant for 300 acres in this 
region, but to it they never secured title. He also pur- 
chased lots and built several houses in Shippensburg. 
which was then being laid out. Altogether within four 
years Croghan had acquired 1210 acres within a short 
distance of Harris' Ferry. 

The frequent changes in the ownership of these tracts 
are indicative of the spirit of land speculation prevalent 
among these early pioneers. Croghan early caught 
this spirit. At the same time that he was acquiring 
new lands he was mortgaging to Philadelphians who 
had surplus capital to invest those lands which he had 
only recently acquired. In 1747 he mortgaged two 
tracts to Jeremiah Warder for £500, which he paid off 
in 1749. In 1748 he mortgaged two other tracts to 
Mary Plumsted for £300. In 1749 he mortgaged 
four tracts to Richard Peters, Secretary to the 
Provincial Council, for £1000. In 1751, after Cro- 
ghan had held six tracts for only five years or 
less, he conveyed them to Peters, thereby can- 
celling all his mortgages and receiving £1000 besides. 
His business relations with Peters and Hockley, two 
influential colonial officials, are significant. 36 

It was on the 354 acre tract, located but five miles 
from Harris' Ferry, 37 Pennsylvania's gateway to the 
West, that Croghan established his home. This he 
made his headquarters during approximately his first 
ten years in America. This point was strategically 
located with reference to all of the routes across the 
mountains; the newly-discovered and best approach 
to the Juniata route passed by his home and crossed 



"Deed Bk. A, I, p. 19, Register of Deeds, Carlisle, Pa.; Peters MSS., 
2 : 86, 113, 114, 120; ibid, 6 : 87; Pa. Arch., 3d ser., 2 : 180; Magaw 
to Shippen, Jan. 25, 1746, Shippen Corresp., 1 : 73. 

"Pa. Arch., 2 : 135; Pa. Arch., 3d ser., Appendix to Vol. 1-10. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 17 

the Blue Mountains through the best gap in the vicinity. 
This soon appeared on all contemporary maps as 
' ' Croghan 's Gap. ' ' 38 His home, ' ' Croghan 's, ' ' likewise 
appeared on these maps along with Carlisle and Ship- 
pensburg, as being one of the three landmarks on the 
important road through Cumberland Valley. It soon 
became one of the places where traders and emissaries 
often stopped on their way to and from the western 
country. It also served as a convenient meeting-place 
for whites and Indians. 39 

Croghan made this place the eastern terminus for his 
operations as an Indian trader. It served as his home 
for a few weeks in each year and provided food and 
shelter for employees and for his packhorses, which 
could recuperate here after their hard trip over the 
mountains. Log warehouses provided storage for 
skins, furs, and Indian goods. On his adjacent tract 
of 171 acres he had an extensive tanyard where an 
additional value could be given to the deerskins which 
he brought out of the West. 40 

Croghan was probably able to acquire and develop 
these properties through his profits from the Indian 
trade. In all likelihood he came to America with little 
or no capital, but fortunately for him, business methods 
did not require much for the Indian trade. This trade 
appealed to his restless spirit and adventurous nature. 
He entered into it almost immediately upon his arrival 
in 1741. 41 In 1744 and again in 1747, he was licensed as 
an Indian trader. 42 His success is graphically shown 

38 Today it is called Sterret's Gap and is still important, being 
utilized by a state highway. 

39 Prov. Pap. (State Library of Pa.), 10 : 31 and 11 : 57; Pa. Col. 
Rec, 5 : 348, 358; Pa. Arch., J,th ser., 2 : 117. 

40 Peters MSS., 6 : 87; C. Weiser to R. Peters, July 10, 1748, Pa. 
Arch., 2 : 8. 

41 Gov. Morris to Gov. Hardy, July 5, 1756, Pa. Arch., 2 : 689. 

42 Pa. Arch., 2 : 14; Pa. Arch., 2nd ser., 2 : 619. This is the earliest 
contemporary reference to Croghan that was found in the course of 
this study. 



18 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

by the fact that only five years after he had left his 
European environment he was trading on the distant 
borders of Lake Erie aided by servants and em- 
ployees. 43 

In carrying on this trade beyond the mountains, 
Croghan 's packhorse trains usually passed through 
Croghan 's Gap and followed the Juniata-Conemaugh 
route to the Ohio. Near its forks, he soon established 
secondary bases of operations. About three miles from 
the forks on the northwestern side of the Allegheny at 
the mouth of Pine Creek, Croghan and his partner had 
a storehouse, some log houses, numbers of batteaux and 
canoes, ten acres of Indian corn, and extensive fields 
cleared and fenced. The latter were probably used as 
pastures. In 1754 the total estimated value of his 
property was £380. At Oswegle Bottom, which was 
located on the Youghiogheny, twenty-five miles from the 
forks of the Ohio, he had another establishment similar 
to the one at Pine Creek and which was valued at £300." 
Another storehouse valued at £150 he had located at 
the important Indian village of Logstown, about 
eighteen miles below the forks. This storehouse was 
used as living quarters by Croghan when at Logstown, 
by his employees, and by Englishmen who happened 
to be in Logtown for a short time. Farther down the 
Ohio at the mouth of the Beaver Creek, in another im- 
portant Indian village, Croghan also had a "trading 
house." 45 Wherever Croghan had a storehouse he 
probably had at least one person stationed to take 
care of it and to carry on local trading operations. 

From these bases near the forks of the Ohio trading 
routes spread out like the sticks of a fan. These 
routes were followed by Croghan often accompanied by 

43 Min. of the Prov. Council, June 8, 1747, Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 72. 
** Croghan's Affidavit of Losses in 1754, made at Carlisle in 1756, 
0. Co., MSS., 1 : 7. 

4K Weiser's Journal to Ohio, 1748, Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 349. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 19 

some employees, by men sent out by him, and by 
rival traders. One route led up the Allegheny past the 
present site of Venango. At this place Croghan com- 
peted with another Pennsylvania trader, John Frazier, 
who had here established a trading house and gun- 
smith's shop. The favorite route of Croghan himself, 
during his early years, followed the excellent "Great 
Trail, ' ' which led towards Detroit. 46 It passed through 
the Wyandot village of one hundred families near the 
forks of the Muskingum, where Croghan had a promi- 
nent trading house valued at £150. 47 This, however, 
he regarded chiefly as a post on his trade route to Lake 
Erie. To the exasperation of the French, he and his 
men pressed on until Governor Jonquiere of Canada 
complained to Governor Clinton of New York that the 
English traders were even proceeding to within sight 
of Detroit and under the very guns of Ft. Miami. Four 
English traders, two of whom were Croghan 's men, 
were captured here by the French in 1751, taken to 
Detroit, Quebec, and then to France and were not re- 
leased until the British Ambassador at Paris de- 
manded it. 48 

In 1747, Croghan is spoken of as "The Trader to the 
Indians seated on Lake Erie, [ ' where he had a number 
of storehouses. 49 He was especially fond of the region 
around Sandusky Bay during this period, because of 



" There is an excellent description of travel on this trail hy Croghan 
in his Journal for 1761.— Mass. Hist. Coll., 4th ser., 9 : 378-379. 

47 Christopher Gist's Journals, Dec. 14, 1750, 37. 

48 Jonquiere to Clinton, Aug. 10, 1751, N. Y. Col. Docs., 6 : 731-733; 
Pa. Arch., 2nd ser., 6 : 126; Wis. Hist. Coll., 18 : 112; John Patten's 
account, Du Simitiere MSS., Pap. Pel. to Pa., Car. etc.; Raymond to 
Minister, Nov. 2, 1747, Wis. Hist. Coll., 17 : 474; Vaudreuil to Minister, 
Dec. 30, 1745, C 13 A 29: 89-92; Moreau, J. N.; Mtmoire contenant 
le precis des faits, avec leurs pieces justifhcatives, pour servir de reponse 
aux Observations envoyees par les ministres d'Angleterre, dans les 
cours de VEurope, App. V, 89ff. 

"Rich. Peters to C. Weiser, Sept., 1747 (?), Prov. Pap., 10 : 17; 
cf. ibid, 9 : 64. 



20 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

several reasons. ". . . the Northern Indians cross 
the Lake here from Island to Island, . . ." wrote 
Evans in 1755, 50 and Croghan himself wrote: "We sold 
them goods on much better terms than the French, 
which drew many Indians over the Lakes to trade 
with us." 51 Thus Croghan tapped the great eastward 
flowing stream of furs which went to Quebec. He made 
close friends among the Ottawas, allies of the French, 52 
and probably had much to do with the Indian plot of 
1747, whose timely discovery by the French prevented 
an uprising somewhat similar to that of Pontiac. The 
failure of this plot, together with the coming of peace 
in 1748 and the more aggressive hostility of the French, 
seem to have caused Croghan to shift his major atten- 
tion to the Miami tribes. 

The route to the Miami left the Great Trail at the 
forks of the Muskingum and led west towards Picka- 
willani, which was located on the upper Great Miami 
a little below the mouth of Loramie Creek near the 
present site of Piqua. Gist visited Pickawillani in 
1751 and wrote in his Journal : ' ' This Town .... 
consists of about 400 Families, & daily encreasing, it is 
accounted one of the strongest Indian Towns upon this 
Part of the Continent." 53 A contemporary identifies 
it by writing, ' ' This is the Village where George Cro- 
ghan generally Trades, all the Indians of which are 
firmly attached to the English, . . . " 54 Here a 
stockade was erected inside of which were storehouses 
and log houses. One-fourth of the white men, who were 

60 Evans, Lewis: Analysis of a Map of the Middle British Colonies, 
30; cf. Hutchins, Thos.: Topog. Descrip. of Va., Pa., Md. and N. C, 96. 

51 Croghan's Transactions, etc., N. Y. Col. Docs., 7 : 267. 

62 Croghan states in his Journals that while he was traveling along 
Lake Erie to Detroit in 1760 he met several Ottawas "who received 
us very kindly, they being old Acquaintances of mine." — Mass. Hist. 
Coll., J)th ser., 9 : 365. 

68 Gist's Journals, Feb. 17, 1751, 47. 

"B. Stoddert to Sir. Wm. Johnson, July 19, 1751, N. Y. Col. Docs., 
6 : 730. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 21 

captured when the French attacked this village in 1752, 
were Croghan 's associates. 55 At the time of its de- 
struction, Croghan was making it a new center for his 
trading operations towards the Wabash. 

Croghan also followed the Ohio below the forks 
for several hundred miles. In 1750 we find him trading 
at the large Shawnee village, Lower Shawnee Town, 
near the mouth of the Scioto, where he had a storehouse 
valued at £200. 56 His trading ventures probably did 
not go beyond the falls of the Ohio. For this region he 
used water transportation to some extent. 

From Pine Creek and Lower Shawnee Town as bases, 
his traders worked the region south of the Ohio in what 
is today known as West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. 
Here the curtain is lifted but once to show us a highly 
significant and interesting incident and we are left to 
surmise from this what took place during the years 
before 1754. In January, 1753, a party of seven Penn- 
sylvania traders and one Virginia trader were attacked 
by seventy French and Indians at a place about one 
hundred and fifty miles below Lower Shawnee Town 
on the Kentucky River. All their goods were lost. Two 
of the traders escaped and six were taken prisoners to 
Montreal ; two of these were sent to France, and later 
made their return home after many hardships. All 
except one had been associated with Croghan in busi- 
ness; their loss was stated to have been £267, 18s, of 
which about forty-five per cent represented the cost of 
transportation. 57 

It is in the report of this incident that there occurs 
one of the earliest uses of the word "Kentucky;" it 

66 Jour, of Capt. Wm. Trent, July 6, 1752, 86-88; 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 7. 

66 Croghan 's Deposition, 1777, in Gal. of Ta. State Papers, 1 : 276; 
0. Co. MSS., 1 : 7. 

" O'Callaghan, E. B. : Cal. of Hist. MSS. in Office of Sec'y of State, 
603; Letter of the prisoners to R. Saunders, Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 627; 
Trent to Gov. Hamilton, Apr. 10, 1753, Gist's Journals, 192; 0. Co. 
MSS., 1 : 7. 



22 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

being spelled ' ' Kantucqui " and ' ' Cantucky. " 58 Lewis 
Evans utilized information secured from members of 
this party for his maps. These traders were trading 
with the Cherokees in Kentucky and, according to one 
statement, they had been even in Carolina trading with 
the Catawbas. The friendly Indian, who was with the 
party, may have guided them along Warriors' Path 
into Carolina. No reasonable doubt exists, however, 
that Croghan 's traders frequented Kentucky twenty 
years before Daniel Boone made his famous excursions 
into this region. 

In a summary of Indian affairs, probably prepared 
in 1754 for the new Governor of Pennsylvania, there 
occurs the following unique description of Croghan 's 
field of activities : "Croghan & others had Stores on ye 
Lake Erie, all along ye Ohio . . ., all along ye 
Miami River, & up & down all that fine country watered 
by ye Branches of ye Miamis, Sioto & Muskingham 
Rivers, & upon the Ohio from .... near its head, 
to below ye Mouth of thee Miami River, an Extent of 
500 miles, on one of the most beautiful Rivers in ye 
world, . . . ," 59 With great daring and boldness 
Croghan pushed out to the periphery of the English 
sphere of influence where danger was greater, but 
prizes richer, than in less remote regions. He did not 
neglect the latter, however. His active and unceas- 
ing efforts to push and develop his trade probably did 
more than any other one factor to increase English in- 
fluence west of the mountains. The export of furs and 
skins from Philadelphia showed a marked increase dur- 
ing the decades before 1754. The French came to regard 
Croghan and his associates as poachers upon their 
private beaver warrens. 

68 Pa. Gaz., July 30, 1754; Deposition of one of the prisoners, Pa. 
Col. Rec, 5 : 663. 

"Detail of Indian Affairs 1752-4, Pa. Arch., 2:238; the use of 
the phrase "Croghan and others" instead of "the Pennsylvania Traders" 
or "the English traders" is excellent evidence of Croghan's pre-eminence. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 23 

Of the number of men and packhorses employed by 
Croghan we can but make an estimate. In his affidavit 
of losses due to attacks by the French during the period 
1749 to 1754, the names of about twenty-five employees 
occur and more than one hundred packhorses are men- 
tioned as having been captured. In all probability at 
least a like number escaped attack. It is also probable 
that on an average at least two men were stationed at 
each of the half dozen or more posts maintained by 
Croghan. Those of his traders who were paid a wage 
received about £2 per month. 60 

About half of his trading activities Croghan con- 
ducted solely on his own responsibility ; about one-third 
were carried on in association with William Trent, who 
was Croghan 's partner from 1749 to 1754 and perhaps 
even longer; in the remaining portion Croghan was 
"concerned" with William Trent, Robert Callender 
(Callendar) and Michael Teaffe (Taffe). These four 
men were associated in trade from about 1749 to 1754. 61 
Croghan 's chief competitors were the five Lowrey 
brothers, who were closely associated with the Jewish 
merchants, Joseph Simon and Levi Andrew Levy at 
Lancaster; Callender and Teaffe; James Young and 
John Fraser; the three Mitchells; Paul Pierce, John 
Finley and William Bryan ; and the individual traders, 
Thomas McKee, Hugh Crawford, John Galbreath, John 
Owen and Joseph Neilson. 62 The field available was 
large enough, however, so that cooperation rather than 
competition was the rule among Pennsylvania traders. 
The competition which they met from New York and 
Maryland was slight and for a long time Virginia In- 
dian traders had a tendency to drift southwest instead 
of across the mountains. Probably a few entered the 



60 O. Co. MSS., 1 : 7. 
81 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 7. 
« 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 85-S 



24 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

Ohio country before 1754. 63 However, one of the 
motives in the formation of the Ohio Company in 1749 
was to secure a share of the profitable trade which was 
monopolized by the Pennsylvania traders and had it 
not been for the coming of the French, in all likelihood 
a bitter cut-throat competition between the Virginians 
and the Pennsylvanians would have ensued. 64 

Croghan 's eastern factors included Quakers, Episco- 
palians and Jews. Probably his chief factor was the 
firm of Shippen and Lawrence; the following quotation 
from Croghan 's letter to Lawrence, dated "Pensbor- 
row, Sept. 18, 1747," is illustrative: "I will Send you 
down the thousand weight of Sumer Skins Directly, by 
first waggon I Send Down, I have Gott 200 pisterens & 
som beeswax To Send down to you, as you and I was 
talking of, To Send To Medera. " 65 In September, 1748, 
Croghan shipped "1800 weight of fall deer skins" to 
Philadelphia. 66 He also had business relations with 
Jeremiah Warder and Co., S. Burge and Co., Abraham 
Mitchel and Co. and probably with others. 67 

It is significant to note that even the most prominent 
Pennsylvania trader after he had developed a prosper- 
ous business, did not furnish much of the capital he 
needed, but secured it in Philadelphia and Lancaster. 
By far the largest amount was supplied by Richard 
Hockley, Receiver-General of Quit-rents. 68 Richard 

63 No mention of such traders was encountered in this study. The 
various memorials sent to the Crown between 1756 and 1775 by the 
Indian traders, asking restitutions for their losses in the Ohio country 
from 1749 to 1754, include no Virginia or Maryland traders; had there 
been many they probably would have pooled their claims in spite of 
their great rivalry. 

04 Croghan to , July 3, 1749, Prov. Pap. 10 : 62. 

w Prov. Pap., 10:17. Cf. Croghan to B. Gratz, Mar. 15, 1779, 
McAllister Coll. (Library Co. of Philadelphia). 

" Geo. Gibson to Edw. Shippen, Sept. 28, 1748, Shippen Corresp. 1 : 75. 

"Original accounts, O. Co. MSS., 1 : 12, 14, and 68; Peters MSS., 
3 : 46. Etting Coll., Misc. MSS.; Votes of the Assembly, 4 : 524-525. 

68 Shippen Corresp., 1:159; ra. Col. Rec, 5:743; O. Co. MSS.. 
1 : 15. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 25 

Peters, Secretary to the Council, also invested some 
capital with Croghan, 69 as did other easterners. 

Croghan had probably the largest trade of all the 
Pennsylvania Indian traders in an age when they were 
most enterprising. He is spoken of in 1747 in the 
Minutes of the Provincial Council, as a "considerable 
Indian Trader" and in 1750, as "the most considerable 
Indian trader. ' ' 70 Governor Morris in 1756 wrote that 
"For many years he has been very largely concerned in 
the Ohio trade. •. ." n The lawsuits in the Common 
Pleas Court of Cumberland County in which Croghan 
was involved give a side-light on his business status. 
From 1751 to 1753, eleven cases involving more than 
£2500 came up. 72 The long list of Croghan 's eastern 
creditors and the private moratorium for ten years 
which they succeeded in having passed for him and his 
partner, Trent, is one measure of the size and im- 
portance of his activities. The best concrete evidence 
which we have of the relative size of his business is 
contained in the list of losses, due to the coming of the 
French, of thirty-two individuals or partnerships en- 
gaged in the Pennsylvania Indian trade. The total 
losses were approximately £48,000; Croghan 's indi- 
vidual losses were stated to be over £8000, or twice as 
large as the loss of any other individual ; Croghan and 
Trent's losses were placed at more than £6500, or twice 
as large as the loss of any other partnership or indi- 
vidual; Croghan, Trent, Callender and Teaffe's losses 
were placed at almost £2500, and were among the larger 



0J Deed Bk., A, 1, p. 19, Reg. of Deeds, Carlisle, Pa. We have a 
long list of Croghan's creditors in 1754, but whether they had furnished 
him capital or goods, or both is not evident. 

70 Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 72, 461. 

71 Gov. Morris to Gov. Hardy, July 5, 1756, Pa. Arch., 2 : 689. 

72 O. Co. MSS., 2:114. George Ross, who was later to become 
chairman of the United Illinois and Wabash Land Co., and Joseph 
Galloway, later interested in the Indiana Co., served as Croghan's 
attorneys. 



26 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

losses. Thus Croghan 's losses were about one-fourth 
of the total losses. 73 This probably indicates the rela- 
tive size of his trade. 74 

That Croghan had so quickly reached such a position 
of pre-eminence was due to several factors. In 1741 
the Pennsylvania traders had opened up, but not yet 
exploited, the rich resources of the upper Ohio country. 
The French left it unoccupied for another decade and 
for almost half that time war practically eliminated 
them as competitors. During King George's War the 
operations of the British navy made it so difficult for 
the French to secure goods for the Indian trade that 
prices advanced as much as one hundred and fifty per 
cent. The effect of these conditions on Indian relations 
is suggested in the following unusual episode reported 
by Weiser in 1747. A French trader in the Ohio coun- 
try offered but one charge of powder and one bullet to 
an Indian in exchange for a beaver skin. Thereupon 
"The Indian took up his Hatchet, and knock 'd him on 
the head, and killed him upon the Spot." Several 
factors made it also easy in time of peace for Croghan 
and his fellow English traders to meet French competi- 
tion. The English practically had a monopoly of rum 
and strouds, two of the most important articles that en- 
tered into the Indian trade ; other articles for this trade 
could be manufactured more advantageously by the 
English than by the French. Though the English trad- 
ers were not directly supported by their government, 
neither were they handicapped by minute regulations. 

73 O. Co. MSS., 1 : 85-86; cf.. ibid, 1:7. In a letter to Sir Wm. 
Johnson, May 15, 1765, Croghan estimates both his own and Trent's 
losses at between £5000 and £6000, or about half of their government 
claim.— Johnson MSS. (N. Y. State Library), 1 : 168. This would not 
affect the relativity of his losses, however. Cf. Pa. Col. Rec., 5 : 663; 
Gist's Journals, 192. 

71 A modern French historian writes of the "fameux traitant George 
Croghan l'adversaire acharne des Francais." — Villiers du Terrage: 
Les Dernieres Annees de la Louisiane Francaise, 87 ; cf . Moreau : 
Mcmoire contenant le precis des faits, etc., App. V, 89ff. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 27 

The northern winter closed up the St. Lawrence for 
nine months out of the year. Because of the rapids 
in this river it took the French from twenty to forty 
days to go from Montreal to the Niagara Portage, 
whereas Pennsylvania traders could go from the Sus- 
quehanna to the Ohio in less than twenty days. 75 

Moreover, the character of most of the English 
traders was such that it was not difficult for an able 
man to surpass them. Governor Dinwiddie wrote to 
Governor Hamilton of Pennsylvania on May 21, 1753 : 
"The Indian traders, in general, appear to me to be a 
set of abandoned wretches," and the Assembly of Penn- 
sylvania, in a message to the Governor, February 27, 
1754, said: ". . . our Indian trade [is] carried on 
(some few excepted) by the vilest of our own Inhabi- 
tants and Convicts imported from Great Britain and 

Ireland These trade without Controul 

either beyond the Limits or at least beyond the Power 
of our Laws, debauching the Indians and themselves 
with spirituous Liquors. . . . " 76 Croghan, like 
James Adair and Alexander Henry, was one of the few 
men of ability who personally embarked in the Indian 
trade. The malicious envy of his fellow traders, how- 
ever, was seldom aroused by his success. Christopher 
Gist, the agent of the jealous "Ohio Company, described 
him as i ' a meer Idol among his Countrymen, the Irish 
traders." However, when Gist was traveling in the 
interests of the Ohio Company through what is now 
Ohio and encountered the hostility of the Indians, he 
used Croghan 's name to protect himself and was glad 



" Vaudreuil to Minister, Apr. 12, 1746, C 13A, 30 : 57, 245, same 
to same, Apr. 8, 1747, C 13A, 31 : 52-55; instructions to La Galis- 
soniere, etc., Feb. 23, 1748, B 87 : 31; C 13A, 36 : 309; La Galissoniere 
and Hocquart to Minister, Oct. 7, 1747, Wis. Hist. Coll., 17 : 470, 
503; Beauharnais to Minister, Sept. 22, 1746, ibid, 17 : 450; Celeron's 
Journal, ibid, 18 : 43, 57; Weiser's Report, Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 86. 

76 Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 630, 749. 



28 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

to avail himself of Croghan 's company and influence 
during the journey. 77 

Neither did Croghan arouse the enmity of the natives, 
as did so many traders, but instead, he furthered his 
trading operations by making intimate friends among 
the Indians, particularly of their chiefs ; these friends 
were to stand him in good stead at critical times in later 
years. 78 At Logstown, in 1752, when the treaty was 
being made between Virginia and the Ohio Indians, the 
leading Iroquois chief, Half King, spoke of Croghan 
as "our brother, the Buck" who "is approved of 
by our Council at Onondago, for we sent to them to 
let them know how he has helped us in our Councils 
here : and to let you and him know that he is one of our 
People and shall help us still and be one of our 
Council. ' m 

The friendship of the Indians for Croghan was due 
to various factors. He learned the Delaware and 
Iroquois languages and could express himself in the 
the figurative speech so dear to the Indian. 80 He had 
an intimate knowledge of their customs and traits of 
character. Most important of all, however, was the 
fact that he regarded the Indian, not as a dog, but as a 
human being. The Indian was ready to befriend the 
trader who was reliable and fair in his dealings and 
who was willing to render services to the red man in 
need. 81 Not once do the records examined for this 
study tell us that Croghan personally killed an Indian 

"Gist's Journals, Nov. 25, 1750, 35. 

78 Croghan's Journals and Letters in Thwaites, R. G. : Early Western 
Travels, 1 : 82, 107, 142, 150. 

n "Journal of the Va. Commissioners," Va. Mag. of Hist, and Biog. 
13; 165; this report was made by rivals of Croghan. Thomson states 
that Croghan, when in council, sometimes claimed he was an Indian: — 
Alienation of the Delawares and Shawnees, 173. 

80 Croghan's deposition, 1764, Penn. MSS., Wyoming Controversy, 
5 : 71; N. Y. Col. Docs., 7 : 295. 

61 At times Croghan cared for sick Indians in his home. — Pa. Arch., 
2 : 13. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 29 

or that he gloried in their destruction. He labored to 
maintain peace between the Indians and the English, 
knowing well that an Indian war might mean death to 
many traders and would almost certainly mean bank- 
ruptcy to him, since almost the whole of his fortune was 
represented in packs of skins and furs several hundred 
miles from the nearest white settlements across the 
mountains. That Croghan was fearless is self-evident ; 
every Indian trader accepted danger as a matter of his 
daily routine. The average trader's life must have 
been short. If a trader survived crisis after crisis 
when others were ruthlessly struck downj it was usually 
due to his Indian friends and his own superior intelli- 
gence. The material weapons of the white man were 
of but little value as a means of defense in the heart of 
the Indian country. 82 

Other personal qualities which helped to make 
Croghan successful were his habit of early rising and 
of putting in long hours of work, 83 his vigor, and his 
shrewd tactfulness in barter. George Morgan in a letter 
to his wife, July 8, 1766, in describing the members of 
a rather large party going down the Ohio, said of Cro- 
ghan: "But above all Mr. Croghan is the most enter- 
prising man, He can appear highly pleased when most 
chagrined and show the greatest indifference when most 
pleased. Notwithstanding my warm temper, I know 
you would rather have me as I am than to practice such 
deceit." 84 

While a number of factors were responsible for Cro- 
ghan 's success, but one factor, over which he had no 
control, was responsible for his bankruptcy, viz., the 
aggression of the French in the Ohio country from 1749 



82 Byars : The Fur Trade, the beginning of Transcontinental High- 
ways as Trails followed by Fur Traders, Gratz Pap., 1st ser. (Mo. Hist. 
Soc. ) , 6 : 1-35 ; cf . ibid, 6 : 44-50. 

88 Day, R. E.: Cal. of Sir. Wm. Johnson MBS., 193. 

"III. Hist. Coll., 11 : 316. 



30 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

to 1754. The Pennsylvania traders in a memorial ask- 
ing restitution stated that the French forces and their 
Indian allies "most barberously and unexpectedly at- 
tacked" them in time of profound peace in Europe. 85 
Croghan summarized the effect on himself as follows : 
"Capt Trent & myself were deeply engaged in the In- 
dian Trade. We had trusted out great quantities of 
Goods to the Traders ; the chief of them were ruined by 
Robberies committed on them by the French & their 
Indians & those which were not quite ruined when the 
French army came down as well as ours for what the 
French and Indians had not robed us of, we lost by 
the Indians being prevented from hunting, by which 
means we lost all our debts. After this Coll. Washing- 
ton pressed our Horses by which means a parcell of 
Goods & Horses we had left fell into the Enemy's hands, 
our whole losses amounts to between five and Six 
Thousand Pounds." 86 

This estimate included goods and horses taken at 
Venango in 1749 and valued at approximately £1255; 
goods valued at £329 taken with two traders on the 
uj^per Scioto in 1749; seven horse loads of skins and 
two men taken west of Muskingum in 1750 ; and three 
men and their goods taken in the Miami country in 1751. 
At the capture of Pickawillani, assuming that Croghan 
had an equal share in those goods which belonged to 
Croghan and Trent and to Croghan, Trent, Callender 
and Teaffe, Croghan lost approximately £1000, or one- 
third of the total loss. In 1753 goods valued at £267, 
18s. were captured on the Kentucky River. The news 
of other attacks by the French early in 1753 sent Cro- 
ghan and some of his traders hurrying back through 
the woods or up the Ohio and caused Trent to leave 
Virginia with provisions for them. No longer was it 
safe for an English trader to venture far beyond the 

85 0. Co. MSS., 1 : s. 
. *" Croghan to Sir Wm. Johnson, May 15, 1765. Johnson MSS., 1 : 168. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 31 

forks of the Ohio. John Frazier, who had left Venango 
and established himself fourteen miles south of the 
forks, wrote on August 27, 1753: "I have not got any 
Skins this Summer, for there has not been an Indian 
between Weningo and the Pict Country hunting this 
Summer, by reason of the French." 87 In the fall of 
1753, the French occupied Venango. Callender and 
Teaffe, Croghan 's associates, wrote home describing 
conditions and added, "Pray, Sir, keep the News from 
our wives, but let Mr. Peters know of it, . . ," 88 Cro- 
ghan 's men and packhorses were near the Ohio in 
1754 awaiting developments, when Washington com- 
mandeered the horses to help carry his cannon and 
stores on his retreat to Ft. Necessity, leaving to the 
French goods of Croghan and Trent, valued at £369. 

Croghan 's losses included, besides movable goods 
and horses, boats, buildings, and improvements on 
lands ; debts of the Indians, which made up one-half of 
the total losses ; and most serious of all, the entire field 
of his activities, where all of his customers lived, was 
now entirely closed to him. The business which he 
had built up through years of activity was ruined and 
he himself was so deeply involved in debt that if he re- 
turned to his home in the east -he would be imprisoned 
for debt. 

To a man who for years had known the freedom of 
the western wilderness and to whom the sky had served 
as a roof, night after night, death was preferable to 
immurement in a cell of an eighteenth century debtor's 
jail. .Croghan therefore kept out of the immediate 
reach of the law and established a new home near the 
path which he had traveled for many years. This he 
located on Aughwick Creek near its confluence with the 
Juniata, at the site of the present town of Shirleysburg. 

87 O. Co. MSS., 1 : 7-8; Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 222; Trent to Gov. Hamilton, 
Apr. 10, 1753, Gist's Journals, 192; ibid, 37; Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 660. 
"Letter to Win. Buchanan, Sept. 2, 1753, Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 684. 



32 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

Here, surrounded by mountains on all sides, was a 
small fertile valley which still belonged to the Indians 
in 1753. Croghan had erected a house here as early 
as September, 1753, and his whereabouts was well 
known to the authorities of Pennsylvania. 89 ' ' I Live 30 

Miles back of all Inhabitance on ye f ronteers " 

wrote Croghan to Sir William Johnson, on September 
10, 1755, 90 while to Governor Hamilton he wrote on No- 
vember 12, 1755 : ' ' From ye Misfortunes I have had in 
Tread, which oblidges me to keep at a Greatt distance, 
I have itt nott in my power to forward Intelegence as 
soon as I could wish. . . " 91 After Braddock 's defeat, 
the oncoming tide of fire and slaughter threatened to en- 
velop Croghan in his exposed position ; friendly Indians 
came with intelligence of raids by the French and their 
Indian allies and desired that Croghan be given 
"speedy Notice to remove or he would certainly be 
killed, ' ' and several times rumors came to Philadelphia 
that he had been cut off. 92 

Life at Aughwick was not so difficult, nor was Cro- 
ghan so destitute, as might be supposed. He still had 
at least fifty packhorses, and like the typical frontiers- 
man, he had some cattle. He also had some negro 
slaves and some servants ; the latter were probably in- 
dentured servants. His brother staid with him and 
doubtless some of his employees remained with him. 
Conrad Weiser, who visited him, reported to the Gover- 
nor that Croghan had butter and milk, squashes and 
pumpkins, and between "twenty-five and thirty Acres 
of the best Indian Corn I ever saw;" Croghan made his 
home at Aughwick from 1753 to about July, 1756. To 
protect themselves, he and his men erected a stockade 



SB Pa. Col. Rec, 5 : 675. 707 ; Pa. Arch., 2 : 689. 

90 Johnson MSS., 2 : 212. 

91 Pa. Arch. 2 : 484. 

02 Pa. Arch., 2 : 452, 454. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 33 

around their log buildings. It is self-evident that this 
was not an ordinary squatter's improvement. After the 
French and Indian War Croghan secured legal title to 
the lands which he had improved and to other nearby 
tracts. 93 Under the circumstances, imprisonment would 
be unjust. Croghan 's services as Indian Agent to 
Pennsylvania deserved consideration. If imprisoned 
he could not reengage in business and thus pay his nu- 
merous creditors. But most important was the need by 
the government for his great knowledge of Indian af- 
fairs and for his influence with the Indians during the 
critical times which followed Braddock's defeat. 

In other similar cases where only a few small credi- 
tors were concerned, the usual method of a general let- 
ter of license was employed, 94 but Croghan 's creditors 
were so numerous and scattered that this method was 
not feasible in his case. As early as December 2, 1754, 
he had written Peters asking if the Assembly could not 
pass an act of bankruptcy for himself and Trent, and 
if so, how he should proceed. 95 

Some of his friends evidently interested themselves 
in his cause, for on November 26, 1755, a petition was 
introduced into the Assembly, signed by fifteen of his 
creditors, asking leave to bring in a bill granting Cro- 
ghan and Trent freedom for ten years from all legal 
procedure to collect debts contracted before the passage 
of the act. This was granted and the bill was promptly 
passed and sent to the Governor. When he considered 
it in Council, Richard Hockley appeared and stated that 
he had not been notified of the proposed action, though 
he had been in partnership with Croghan and Trent 
and was by far their largest creditor; he suggested 



M James Burd to , Mar. 11, 1755, Shippen Corresp. 1 : 173; 

Croghan to Gov. Morris, May 20, 1755, Pa. Col. Bee, 6 : 399; Weiser 
to Gov. Hamilton, Sept. 13, 1754, ibid, 149. 

"Votes of Assembly, 4 : 524; Byars: B. and M. Gratis, 31. 

95 Pa. Arch., 2 : 211; ibid, 214. 



34 George Croglian and the Westward Movement. 

an amendment which the Governor and assembly ac- 
cepted and the bill became law on December 2, 1755. 96 

The charter of Pennsylvania required that all acts 
be submitted to the crown for approval or disapproval 
within five years of their passage. The act passed on 
December 2, 1755, was not delivered by the agent of the 
Penns to the Clerk of the Privy Council till January 20, 
1758. On February 10, this body referred it to the 
Board of Trade for examination. The Board of Trade 
at once referred it to the Attorney-General, who 
reported back to it on April 10, 1758, that there 
was no legal objection to the act. The Board then 
discussed the merits of the act, granting the Penns an 
opportunity to state their attitude. On May 12, the 
Board in a representation to the Privy Council 
recommended that the act be disallowed. On June 
16, an order in council was issued in almost the 
exact words of the representation, disallowing the act. 
A copy of this order was sent to the Board of Trade 
on May 21, 1760, and read there on July 8. It then 
informed the Governor and Colonial Agent of Penn- 
sylvania of the action taken. 

The order in council expressed surprise at the delay 
in delivering the act, that such an extraordinary in- 
dulgence should be granted on the petition of only a 
portion of the creditors and that the bill should be intro- 
duced one morning, read twice during the same morn- 
ing, never committed, and passed on the afternoon of 
the same day; it annulled the act as being unjust and 
partial, irregularly passed, contrary to the rules of 
justice in all cases affecting private property and a 
dangerous precedent. By the time, however, that this 



"Votes of Assembly, 4 : 524-527; Pa. Stat, at Large, 5 : 212-216; 
Pa. Col. Rec, 6 : 743-745; Gov. Morris to Gov. Hardy, July 5, 1756, 
Pa. Arch., 2 : 689; Hockley's amendment is not given. He had made 

a special agreement with Croghan and Trent. — James Burd to , 

Sept. 25, 1754, Shippen Corresp., 1 : 159; 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 15. 



George Croglian and the Westward Movement. 35 

order reached America and came to the notice of the 
various creditors, Croglian had enjoyed the benefits of 
the act during about five of the ten years provided by it. 
He had made some arrangements to meet his obliga- 
tions and was now an imperial official performing much- 
needed war services, and hence imprisonment from 
debt no longer troubled him. 97 

The traders who suffered losses as a result of the 
French aggression, together with the eastern merchants 
who were their creditors, soon began an active, well- 
planned campaign to secure restitution. Efforts were 
made by Croglian and Trent to collect, first from Vir- 
ginia and then from Braddock, the losses incurred when 
Washington impressed their horses. After these 
efforts failed, Croglian, Trent, a number of their em- 
ployees, and nine other traders gathered at Carlisle, 
Pennsylvania, and made numerous detailed affidavits 
of their losses. Croglian himself made five affidavits. 
Governor Morris signed the complete document, which 
listed about half of all claims made. A number of 
traders also gathered at Lancaster and Philadelphia 
and took similar action. 98 

These thirty-two traders then authorized William 
Trent to draw up a memorial in their behalf to be 
presented to George II in Council. 99 It asked for reim- 
bursement out of the money received from the sale of 
French prizes taken before the declaration of war in 
retaliation for French aggression. These prizes were 
sold for £650,000 ; 10t> the total traders' claims amounted 



07 Acts of the Privy Council, Col. Ser., 1745-1766, 341; Board of 
Trade Pap., Prop., XX, W 14, W 20, W 49; Board of Trade Jorunal, 
68; 189; Pa. Stat, at Large, 4 : 576, 577, 582, 584, 585, 592; Pa. Col. 
Rec. 8 : 320. This is a good illustration of the way in which royal 
disallowance of Pennsylvania laws actually worked. 

88 O. Co. MSS., 1: passim, particularly 7, 85, 86. 

90 O. Co. MSS., 1 : 5-7. 

100 Acts of the Privy Council, Col. Ser., Unbound Pap., 353. 



36 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

to £48,572, 4d. The critical situation during the war 
caused this memorial to be neglected. When peace 
negotiations began, another memorial was sent to the 
crown asking that the French be required to indemnify 
the traders and merchants. Its failure ended the at- 
tempts to secure restitution in money from the French. 
Thereafter all efforts were directed towards securing 
restitution in the form of a large grant of land from the 
Indian allies of the French ; this promised greater 
speculative opportunities. 

Meanwhile many traders had transferred their inter- 
ests in the project to the merchants whom they owed. 
Croghan and Trent had agreed with Richard Hockley 
that his debt should be paid first out of any money they 
received; Hockley and Thomas Penn in England be- 
came their attorneys to push their cause. After 1763, 
the entire project became associated with the more 
promising project of the "Suff'ring Traders" of 
Pontiac's uprising for which it served as a precedent 
and which led to the "Indiana plan," which will be 
described in a later chapter. In December, 1763, Cro- 
ghan, Trent, Samuel Wharton, David Franks and eight 
other traders and merchants interested in both projects 
met at Indian Queen Tavern, Philadelphia, to lay plans 
which would take advantage of Croghan 's proposed 
journey to England. Croghan and a merchant in Lon- 
don, Moses Franks, were made the agents of the group 
and £410 sterling was contributed for their expenses. 
They were spurred on by the guarantee of five per cent 
of all money or land secured. The agents were to 
present a memorial in person. They sought the aid of 
Generals Amherst and Gage, Colonel Bouquet, the Gov- 
ernor, Assembly and the London Agent of Pennsyl- 
vania, the Penns, and all the British merchants who had 
any connections with the persons involved and who 
might bring influence to bear on the Board of Trade or 
the Privy Council. In spite of all these efforts, no re- 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 37 

suits were secured. 101 An indirect approach was now 
attempted as a last resort. Sir William Johnson was 
requested to secure a grant of land from the Six Na- 
tions at Ft. Stanwix for the claimants of 1754 similar 
to the grant secured by the claimants of 1763. He 
maintained that the Six Nations were not responsible 
in the former case and refused the request. 

Nevertheless, when Trent and Wharton went to 
England to represent the claimants of 1763, they also 
planned to secure some recompense for the claimants of 
1754. Trent secured a renewal of his powers of at- 
torney from thirteen of the latter, of whom Croghan 
was one. To secure the necessary funds, Trent turned 
over his powers to Samuel Wharton, David Franks, 
Benjamin Levy, Thomas Lawrence, Edward Shippen, 
Jr., and Joseph Morris. These were to receive one- 
half of all money or lands secured in return for financ- 
ing the project. They sent Moses Franks to London, 
who, on February 22, 1771, presented to the Board of 
Trade a memorial in behalf of George Croghan, 
William Trent, and eleven other Indian traders. In 
1773 he was still in England cooperating with William 
Trent to secure favorable action. 102 

Some of the other claimants of 1754 refused to give 
precedence to the claimants of 1763, or to cooperate 
with them. They presented a separate memorial in 
1769 asking that no lands be granted to the claimants of 
1763 unless all traders who had suffered losses from 
1750 to 1763 be granted a proportionate recompense. 
This division weakened the cause of all the claimants. 
Their claims were still pending when the Eevolution 

101 Minutes of the Meeting in Philadelphia, Instructions to Croghan 
and Franks, and the Memorial are found in the Johnson MSS., 24 : 190- 
191; cf. 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 15-16. 

102 The legal papers drawn up in America are found in the 0. Co. 
MSS., 1 : 57-71; Trent to Moses Franks, Jan. 1, 1773, ibid, 97; Royal 
Hist. MSS. Com., Fourteenth Report, Appendix, Part X, MSS. of the 
Earl of Dartmouth, 2 : 74. 



38 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

ended all hopes of securing restitution from Eng- 
land. 103 

Some of the traders who had lost so heavily in 1754 
maintained that they were not bound to pay their debts 
to the merchants unless they received restitution. "I 
will pay them when I am reimbursed and surely that is 
all they can ask of me or anybody else," wrote one of 
them. 104 Croghan, however, tried to free himself of his 
liabilities. As early as 1754 he had conveyed some 
lands in the Cumberland Valley to Richard Peters. In 
1761, Croghan and Trent paid £1000 to their creditors 
and transferred to them some lands on Aughwick 
Creek, receiving a full discharge from all their 
creditors, even though this did not completely cover 
their debts. They had, however, in addition, assigned 
to their creditors a prior lien on all financial reim- 
bursement which they might receive from the crown. 
When it seemed as though they might be reimbursed in 
land, their creditors tried to include it under the above 
assignment, but to this Croghan would not submit. 
The debts which Croghan did not pay in full remained 
to trouble him to his last days. He felt morally bound 
to pay the principal, but not the interest. On March 
15, 1779, he wrote to Barnard Gratz ". . . . itt was 
of my own free will I promised to pay all those old 
Debts which was Nott Commonly Done by people that 
failed in Trade." Some of his creditors insisted on 
being paid both principal and interest and also asked 
for payment in coin which during the Revolution was 
very difficult to obtain ; consequently, they failed to se- 
cure a settlement. 105 

103 O. Co. MSS., 1 : 53, 57; Acts of the Privy Council, June 9, 1769, 
2 : 114, p. 44. 

101 Hugh Crawford to Trent, Dec. 10, 1768, 0. Co. MSS., 1 : 54. 

105 Peters MSS., 6 : 87 ; Deed of D. Franks and J. Warder to Croghan 
and Trent, July 19, 1761, Deed Bk. M, I : 402, Register of Deeds, 
Huntingdon Co., Pa.; Croghan to J. Warder and D. Franks, Dec. 21, 
1768, Gratz Pap. 1st ser., 8 : 105; Croghan to B. Gratz, March 15, 1779, 
McAllister Coll. 



George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 39 

Never again after 1754 did Croghan devote his major 
attention to the Indian trade. At intervals he made 
a few shipments of furs and skins to London or Phila- 
delphia, and in the early seventies he was associated 
with Thomas Smallman in the Indian trade. He also 
assisted such friends as the Gratzs to make good 
connections with the Indians. His chief attention 
after 1754, however, was devoted to his work as an 
Indian agent and later on to land speculation and 
western colonizing projects. 106 Even before the in- 
roads of the French into the Ohio region became seri- 
ous, his interest was being transferred to furthering 
the official relations between the Ohio Indians and 
Pennsylvania. Private as well as public interests 
caused such men as Croghan to enter into the service of 
the government to aid in saving English rule in the 
West. 

Croghan 's wide experience for over a decade in the 
actual field work as an Indian trader was the founda- 
tion upon which his later career was built. During 
these years he secured an intimate first hand knowledge 
of the Indian, learning how to manage the red man and 
making personal friends with some of the chiefs. He 
also learned to know the frontiersman and the friends 
he made among his more able white associates co- 
operated with him in later years. And finally, he be- 
came well known to the wealthy merchants and highest 
officials in Lancaster and Philadelphia; these were 
the men who gave him his first opportunities to show 
his value as an Indian agent and to whom Croghan was 

106 These statements are based on the lack of any evidence in the 
records examined to show large and consistent trading activities. For 
the exceptions see, Pa. Col. Rec, 9 : 495; Pa. Mag. of Hist, and Biog., 
37; 13, 194; 0. Co. MSS., 2 : 24; Croghan to M. Gratz, July 29, 1773 
and to B. and M. Gratz, Aug. 26, 1772, Simon Gratz Coll. A striking 
exception is a consignment of furs valued at £1200 sterling and shipped 
via Detroit and Quebec to London: — Croghan to Richard Neave and 
Son, June 24, 1767, Dreer Coll. 



40 George Croghan and the Westward Movement. 

to bring a new interest in the great West beyond the 
mountains. 

During the period 1741 to 1754, Croghan left behind 
him the life of Dublin and was transformed into a typi- 
cal American frontiersman. He followed the roads 
that led west from Philadelphia, and traveled practi- 
cally every path and trail which began where the roads 
left off, crossed the mountain barrier, and then spread 
out over the region bounded by Lake Erie, the Maumee 
and Wabash Rivers and the Cumberland Mountains. 
He crossed and recrossed the mountains. His journeys 
enabled him to spy out the finest lands strategically lo- 
cated. As he lived day after day in the fertile valley 
of the Ohio and on the Lake Plain in the primeval 
forests, he unconsciously imbibed a deep-seated ap- 
preciation of the vast possibilities of the region, which 
was later to develop into a vision of the future great- 
ness of the trans-Allegheny region. His deep love for 
the western wilderness and his outlook towards the west 
were to have a dynamic influence during the next two 
decades upon the leaders who lived in the Delaware 
Valley and whose outlook was towards the ocean. His 
influence was also to be felt in Virginia, New York, New 
Jersey and in London itself. 

Albert T. Volwiler, 
Harrison Research Fellow, 
University of Pennsylvania. 

(To be continued.) 



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