The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America
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Frontier: the word carries the inevitable scent of the West. But before Custer or Lewis and Clark, before the first Conestoga wagons rumbled across the Plains, it was the East that marked the frontier—the boundary between complex Native cultures and the first colonizing Europeans.
Here is the older, wilder, darker history of a time when the land between the Atlantic and the Appalachians was contested ground—when radically different societies adopted and adapted the ways of the other, while struggling for control of what all considered to be their land.
The First Frontier traces two and a half centuries of history through poignant, mostly unheralded personal stories—like that of a Harvard-educated Indian caught up in seventeenth-century civil warfare, a mixed-blood interpreter trying to straddle his white and Native heritage, and a Puritan woman wielding a scalping knife whose bloody deeds still resonate uneasily today. It is the first book in years to paint a sweeping picture of the Eastern frontier, combining vivid storytelling with the latest research to bring to life modern America’s tumultuous, uncertain beginnings.
it. The lives of many thousands are in the utmost Danger. It is no false alarm.” Indeed, before the sealing wax had fully hardened on Weiser’s letter, a messenger brought him news of still more raids, still more deaths. Massacre of Conococheague An engraving from the 1883 book The Romance and Tragedy of Pioneer Life depicts an Indian attack on the Pennsylvania frontier during the Seven Years’ War. Melodrama aside, the specter of lightning raids by Indian and French war parties had exactly
tombstone, its epitaph in German, stands on a little knoll near the farmhouse, beside the grave of his wife, Ann Eva. Around them are a number of small, plain slabs poking out of the grass. According to family tradition, they mark the resting places of Indian friends and acquaintances. Even in death, it seems, Tarachiawagon keeps a foot in both worlds. Notes Introduction [>] keekachtanemin: Sassoonan (September 7, 1732), in Pennsylvania Archives, 1st ser., 1:345. tülpewihacki: Per
of Massachusetts Press, 1999. Drake, Samuel Adams. The Border Wars of New England. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910. Dufour, Ronald P. “Mason, John.” In American National Biography Online. http://www.anb.org.silk.library.umass.edu:2048/articles/01/01-00578.html. ———. “Oldham, John.” In American National Biography Online. http://www.anb.org.silk.library.umass.edu:2048/articles/01/01-00686.html. ———. “Underhill, John.” In American National Biography Online.
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knew. Because no other nation lived as close to the rising of the sun, all those who lived along this rocky coast called themselves wαpánahki, “the people of the east.” Their beautiful home was wôbanakik, “land of the dawn.” The Wapánahki were not a unified people. The tongues spoken by those living far away were similar but subtly different from those of Ktə̀hαnəto and his relatives. Their nearest neighbors to the northeast, along the great bay, were the pαnáwαhpskek, “the people who live where