PHMC Highlights presents stories and information about PHMC programs, events, exhibits and activities.

Delegation of Tuscarora Indians

In June 1710, a delegation of Tuscarora Indians was dispatched from present-day North Carolina to meet with the government of Pennsylvania. Hoping to avoid a war with North Carolina colonists, they sought permission to relocate their people to Pennsylvania. A meeting was convened on June 8, 1710, at Conestoga, Lancaster County, with the Indians and representatives sent by Lieutenant Governor Colonel Charles Gookin and the Provincial Council.

Tuscarora Indians speak the language of the Iroquois. Originally from present-day New York, they migrated to the Carolinas between 700 and 900 A.D. At the Conestoga meeting, the Iroquois Confederacy invited the Tuscarora to return to New York and they began emigrating north through the Susquehanna Valley in 1713.

A ceremony was held in The State Museum of Pennsylvania on June 8, honoring the Conestoga meeting. Chiefs Leo Henry and Stuart Patterson and Clan Mother Francene Patterson were present. Tuscarora spokesman Neil Patterson Sr. presented the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) with several gifts. The audience was privileged to watch a number of the Tuscarora’s traditional and social dances.

Most of what is known regarding the Conestoga meeting of 1710 is recorded in the Provincial Council minutes, which are preserved at the Pennsylvania State Archives. A framed copy of this record was presented to the Tuscarora Nation by PHMC Executive Director Barbara Franco.

Following the ceremony, the Tuscarora Indians and others traveled to Conestoga where a PHMC plaque, erected in 1924, marks the site the Tuscarora consider to be their first step in returning to their ancestral homeland with the Iroquois. Presentations

Presentations hosted by the Pennsylvania State Bookstore continued from May through August with excellent audience attendance and media coverage provided by Pennsylvania Cable Network. May’s kickoff presentation, “Fire Underground,” presented by author David DeKok, covered the history and tragedy of the devastating mine fire at Centralia. On May 12, Pennsylvania Heritage’s very own Michael J. O’Malley III, editor, and Kimberly L. Stone, art director, provided an insightful presentation about the magazine entitled “‘Between the Covers’: The Making of Pennsylvania Heritage.” The month concluded with “A Gettysburg Battlefield Burial” by archaeologist Benjamin Resnick. This presentation was particularly timely with the observance of Memorial Day and the upcoming Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration.

In observance of Flag Day, the Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee’s June 9 presentation, “Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania’s Civil War Battle Flags” by Jason L. Wilson, capsulated the committee’s book of the same name. On June 16, Emma Jones Lapsansky-Werner provided a presentation on the landmark 1780 Gradual Act for the Abolition of Slavery, and on June 23, State Museum curator Walter E. Meshaka Jr. gave a talk entitled “Amphibians and Reptiles in Pennsylvania.” July 14 featured “A Newspaper Comes to Town” by Albright College archivist Sidney Dreese.

The August presentation was “Rap’s Rap,” presented on August 4 by Ted Knorr about Negro League baseball star Herbert “Rap” Dixon.