Indian Interpreter to Portray Andrew Montour

Indian Interpreter William Hunt to Portray Andrew Montour, founder of Montoursville, PA
Indian Interpreter William Hunt to Portray Andrew Montour, founder of Montoursville, PA.
The past comes comes alive as Montoursville's namesake, Andrew Montour, returns to the area as portrayed by historian and re-enactor William Hunt.

Hosted by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and Lycoming County Historical Society, Hunt will offer two programs: one for Montoursville Area High School students only, at 10 a.m. March 28  at the Thomas Taber Museum, and one for the public, at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 29 at Montoursville High School. The event is free.

Montour was an important interpreter and negotiator in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia in the latter half of the 18th century. A frontier diplomat, warrior and hero of the French and Indian war, he was a member of the Iroquois Grand Council. His missions were vital to colonial America.

Montour 's role cannot be diminished because of his mixed Native American and European blood. The fact that he had a foot in both worlds made him one of the colonial period's most complex, but effective, characters. 

NCC8 Prez to Talk Prehistory

Tank Baird
Tom "Tank" Baird, right, president of Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology,
and Mary Ann Levine, professor of archaeology at Franklin & Marshall, at the Taber Museum.

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society has announced the first program of its 2014 Lecture Series, which combines its Coffee Hours on Thursday mornings with its Society Programs on Sunday afternoons. The theme of this year’s Lecture Series is an examination of American Indian/Native American culture.

On Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 10am, Tom ‘Tank’ Baird will be speaking on “The Very First Settlers of the West Branch Valley.” He will relate the importance of maize which was first cultivated in the 9th century by the Owasco culture of central New York. The subsequent colonization of the Susquehanna drainage for this farming was the first major occupation of Native Americans.

'Lost' History of Andrew Montour in Perry County

By Tank Baird

“They were driven from the lands on which they had settled and on April 18, 1752, Andrew Montour was commissioned by the governor to settle and reside upon these Indian lands, the Indians on July 2, 1750, having petitioned for such occupation, and arrangements having been made with them for such occupation at a place considered most central, to see that the lands were not settled upon and to warn off any who had presumed to settle there. He was also to report the names of any who did settle there that they might be prosecuted. He chose to settle on a stream which to this day bears his name, Montour's run flowing through Tyrone Township. “
History of Perry County
H.H. Hain 1922

Andrew Montour
(artist's rendering)
If you are a local historian and are surprised by this reference to Andrew Montour in Perry County (near Harrisburg) - you're not alone. The namesake of Montoursville, Pa., turns out to have spent a chapter of his life in Perry County, that even the folks at the Gen. John Burrows Historical Society in Montoursville did not know about. Upon sharing this information with Ray Harmon, vice president of the society, he commented, “ Little or nothing was known locally about Andrew Montour's role in settling Perry County.”

On my part, all of this was a chance discovery while doing research on his mother, Madame Montour.

Born Isabel Couc in New France (Canada) in 1667 to Pierre Couc, a Frenchman, and Marie Miteoamegoukou√©  of the Algonquin Nation, Madame Montour was exposed at an early age to Native American and European languages on what, at that time, was a very wild frontier. She had a gift for languages and became fluent in French, German, English, Iroquois and Algonquian and, as early as 1711, she was in demand as an interpreter and negotiator between Indians and settlers. She became invaluable to both the governors of New York and Pennsylvania.


NCC8 2013 Summer Dig Opens

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, has opened its 2013 Summer Dig at the Glunk Site. See the Google Calendar in the sidebar at right for upcoming dates and times, and use the interactive Google Map (yes, in the sidebar) for directions to the site.

The Glunk Site has been officially registered with the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, the Bureau for Historic Preservation and has been designated as 36LY0345.

So, what does that mean? Why bother registering the site? According to the PHMC, recording an archaeology site helps protect it:

NCC8 President Tank Baird examines
the profile of a wall in an excavation unit
at the Glunk Site in 2012.
"Archaeological sites are the only record of the prehistoric past and they are an essential part of understanding the historic past. They are a non-renewable resource and they are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Recording archaeological sites helps to protect them. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission encourages the recording of archaeological site information on Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) forms. Thousands of avocational and professional archaeologists have already shared site locations with the Commission resulting in tens of thousands of sites being recorded in the PASS files. Information for recording sites can be found at the PHMC Web site. Once the form has been submitted, a site number will be assigned. This number can be written on artifacts from this site so that there will always be a record of where they were found. The PASS number is based on a nationwide system called the Smithsonian or trinomial system. It is divided into three parts. The first part is Pennsylvania’s alphabetical position within all of the states. The second part is the county designation and the third part is the next number available in that county. For the PASS number 36DA0020, 36 is the alphabetical position of Pennsylvania, DA. is the designation for Dauphin County and 0020 is the twentieth site recorded in the county."

So, jon us at the Glunk Site this season and help us protect and preserve this area's cultural prehistory.

'Lost' Indian Village Discovery Topic of Archaeology Talk

Is this Otstonwakin, the long-lost
Woodlands Indian village? 
Diligent research and methodical investigation has solved a long-standing local mystery.
Mary Ann Levine, associate professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College, is convinced she's discovered Otstonwakin, the long-lost Woodlands Indian village once inhabited by "Madame" Catherine Montour along the Loyalsock Creek.
Levine will discuss her research and conclusions at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Lycoming County Historical Society.
Her visit and presentation, sponsored by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, will usher in the local archaeology chapter's spring season. NCC8 President Tank Baird hopes the event not only will stir interest in contact-period history, because Madame Montour was a significant political figure during the French and Indian War, but will bring volunteers out for the upcoming 2013 archaeology project.