Click Here to return to Index

Click Here to Return To Milestones Vol 8 No 4


GUYASUTA - The Hunter
by Dolores M. Bolam
Milestones Vol 8 No 4--Fall 1983

The progress of the Virginia Long Knives had been monitored since sunrise. The glint of the sun rays on the compass had not gone unnoticed by the tall Indian who had been hunting high in the rocks above his lodge on Beaver Creek.

Suddenly his heart lightened. The long awaited visit of the Virginians was finally to become a reality.

Wrapping the pile of deer skins tightly, Guyasuta lit the dry branches and soon the signal fire lit the evening sky, the smoke ascending high above the maple forest.

Surely help would come from one of the other fires (the Indian name given to the thirteen colonies).

Long he had been disenchanted with the fathers of Philadelphia. To his sorrow, the large house at the forks of the Ohio was not begun. And still the deburacherous English traders smuggled the hated rum into the woods, turning the stalward braves into drunken imbecils, unable to hunt or protect themselves from the French encroachment to the North.

It had been the fathers to the east who encouraged the taking of French trader's scalps. It was they who promised protection from the strong French and Indian Alliance that now threatened the entire region of Beaver Creek and the upper Ohio.

Entreates had been made, representatives had been sent to Philadelphia pleading for help in the weeding out of unscrupulous traders and of acquiring militia to stave off the danger to the north. But always came the reply, "You must learn to take care of yourself."

No, there could be no help from the East, but now a new hope grew in the heart of the tall Indian. croaching over the signal fire, his Buffalo robe tightened against the bitter December wind, his eyes watching the flames eagerly devouring the dry wood.

The screaming wind now hit with full fury as the huddled figure drew closer to the wild flames, the snow pelting the leathered face as he watched the horsemen emerge from the darkened woods.

Through the swirling mist. Guyasuta recognized his brother Half King, the Mohawk chief who lived at Logstown, and he lifted a gnarled hand in greeting into the icy air.

Conversing in low tunes, the two men drew ever near the raging flames Half King gesturing toward the Virginians, now tying their horses to the low branches.

Yes he would conduct the tall young Washington, the emussary of Dinwiddie, Governor of Virginia. and his party, north to French Creek.

Here was a chance to do something for his people, who were mere pawns in the great struggle that was to surely come.

Deep in Guyasuta's heart he had no love for any of the English. He had seen his people cheated and humiliated. His young men turned into drunkened brutes, their women led into debauchery. But his astute reasoning counciled that any struggle between the two great powers could have only one outcome, the English would surely be the victors, in spite of their military disorganization and the French's superior militia. In the final outcome the British would be the victors by their sheer numbers, that would eventually overcome the French and Indian force to the north.

Surely now these Virginians would see the importance of the building of the great house at the forks of the Ohio.

Suddenly an uneasiness overcame his mind, as he remembered the Frenchmen who had been his friends. They seemed more like brothers than a threatening enemy. He remembered the closeness they enjoyed, how they slept, lived and hunted together. So different they were from this tall proud Washington whose only encounters with his people were made perhaps on his surveying journies into the wild Virginia woods. Guyasuta felt no kinship toward this man who stood a foot taller than any white man that he had ever seen. But still there was something about the bareing of this fair red haired man that nudged the consciousness of Guyasuta. Perhaps it was the way he sat on the great white horse, but no, something more that he accredited to this Virginian, who now took a place near the roaring fire.

Suddenly the dark eyes of Guysuta locked the gaze of the young Washington, and in the highly charged air between them, he knew that here, in spite of his tender years, was a man, a leader which was destined to greatness.

No longer did the uneasiness gnaw at the mind of the dark Indian. Here was a man different from Trent, the man first sent by Dinwiddie to warn the French out of the region, and who would venture no further than Logstown, to Guyasuta's eternal disgust.

No, this man would not fear the trip through the wilderness, and as Guyasuta lay back under the huge robe, a smile played upon his leathered face as he drifted off into an untroubled sleep.

The morning dawned bright and cold, the wind and snow had abated as the party made its way up through the ravine (present day, Crow's Run, off Route 65) headed east until they came to the Venango trail and then turned north to Fort Le Boeuf.

After a half days march, the small party came in contact with some French regulars. The French soldiers invited the weary travelers to camp with them, much to the surprise of the English. During this time, the English, because of the Frenchmen's overindulgence to wine, learned of the plans of the French government.

"LaSalle's explorations, boasted and drunkened French leader, gives France the right to all lands drained by the Mississippi". This meant that they intended to take the entire continent of North America, except for the narrow strip of land on the eastern -seaboard which was occupied by the English. And boasted the leader, "by God we'll have it".

Across the flickering flames Guyasuta eyed the tall Washington carefully programming his mind and memory to all that conspired. Slowly the campfire burned into embers as silence fell over the Northern woods lit only by the cold December stars.

Arriving at the fort on French Creek the Virginia party was treated to the same hospitality that had been shown to them in the woods.

The young Washington relayed the messages to the French commander St. Pierre stating, according to the Treaty of Utrecht, "that all lands where the Iroquois. because they are English subjects, trapped a beaver or skinned a deer, became English territory." This gave to England all lands of North America except for the present province of Quebec. He also stated that the French were to immediately withdraw from the entire region.

Three days later the Virginians. with a polite refusal for all the demands, headed south. Back through the dangerous woods, where again Guyasuta foretold the future greatness of this brash Virginian, when the beneveloent hand of the Great Spirit protected him from a bullet f ired by a French Indian at point blank range, just seven paces away, leaving him completely unscathed.

History records the events of the years that followed. It tells of the great contests that raged in the battle for the continent. First between France and Britain, and finally to the great contest that decided and secured a free and independent thirteen states. No longer children of the crown, but a free and equal people that took their place among the nations of the world.

Although this writer does not endow to Beaver County any of the greatness to the heroic strifes that are accredited to the other parts of Pennsylvania during the two great wars, Beaver County does play a part in the winning of the continent. For it was here in the liason with Guyasuta, the future co-conspirator of Pontiac, that Washington's sinews of strength and will were first fired. Here at the tender age of twenty-one was forged the character of the man who would lead the forays into Jumonville, Trenton and Yorktown. And who would father the greatest republic that has since evolved and whose ideals and achievements are unparalled in the history of governments.