Today, we are celebrating the Susquehannock People, Native Americans who lived in areas adjacent to the Susquehanna River and its tributaries ranging from the southern part of what is now New York through eastern and central Pennsylvania West of the Poconos.
The number of Susquehannocks is uncertain, but the best guess is that they numbered somewhere between 5,000 and 7,500 at their peak in the 1600’s and their rapid decline into the 1700’s culminated with the massacre of the last 20 members by the Paxtang Boys at the jail in Lancaster, PA. Although almost completely forgotten today, the Susquehannock were once one of the most formidable tribes in the mid-Atlantic region. At the time of first European contact, they dominated the Susquehanna and Potomac River valley areas but little was known about them as they lived inland far from the coast.
By the late 1600’s, these once noble and heroic Indians had their number so decimated by disease from the white man and wars with their bitter enemies the Iroquois, that their numbers were probably no more than 300-400. Their constant warfare with the Iroquoian speaking tribes in the region made these people superior warriors. Using the rivers of the mid-Atlantic region as their highway, they routinely attacked the Delaware, Nanticoke, Conoy and Powhatans living on their borders. Their large stockaded forts (villages) afforded them great protection as they dominated the Pennsylvania area in the 1500 and 1600’s and evidence of their presence in the Susquehanna River Valley will remain on the rocks and in caves until the end of time.
Learn more about the history of our Native American tribes, by visiting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susquehannock or read “Annals of the Susquehannocks: and Other Indian Tribes of Pennsylvania 1500-1763” written by Frank Eshleman where the above excerpt was taken.