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The "Queen Aliquippa" Legend

From "The Indian Chiefs of
Pennsylvania", by C. Hale Sipe

Milestones Vol 2 No 2--Spring 1976

Queen Allaquippa (Aliquippa), for whom the town of Aliquippa, in Beaver County, is named, and near which she is said to have at one time lived, is generally spoken of as a Seneca, though some authorities say that it is probable that she was a Mohawk. The weight of authority, however, is in favor of the contention that she was a Seneca. Conrad Weiser says that she belonged to this tribe. If she were a Mohawk, Weiser certainly would have known it, as he himself was an adopted son of the Mohawk nation.

By many authorities Queen Allaquippa is said to have been the mother of Canachquasy, the account of whom is given later in this chapter, and that she and her husband visited William Penn at New Castle, Delaware, shortly before he sailed for England the last time, in the autumn of 1701. There is no doubt that the parents of Canachquasy, whoever they were, went with their child to New Castle to bid farewell to the founder of the Colony; and if Queen Allaquippa were the mother of Canachquasy, the bidding of farewell to William Penn is her first appearance in history.

When Conrad Weiser made his journey to the Ohio in the summer of 1748, in order to enter into a treaty on behalf of Pennsylvania with the western tribes, at Logstown, as mentioned in Chapter VIII, Queen Allaquippa was living at a village on the north bank of the Allegheny, a short distance above the mouth of the Monongahela. Weiser makes mention of his visit in a note in his journal, under date of August 27th, as follows: "Set off again in the morning early. Rainy weather. We dined at a Seneca town where an old Seneca woman (Queen Allaquippa) reigns with great authority. We dined at her house and they all used us very well."

Weiser reached Logstown on the evening of that same day (August 27th), at which place he made George Croghan's trading house his headquarters until he left for the settlements, on September 19th, in the meantime having visited Sauconk, at the mouth of the Beaver, and gotten in touch with the Indians of Kuskuskies, who were to receive part of the Pennsylvania present. Before leaving Logstown, he made another notation in his journal concerning Queen Allaquippa, as follows:

"The old Sinicker Queen from above, already mentioned, came to inform me some time ago that she had sent a string of wampum of three fathoms to Philadelphia by James Dunnings, to desire her brethren would send her up a cask of powder and some small shot to enable her to send out the Indian boys to kill turkeys and other fowls for her, whilst the men were gone to war against the French, that they may not be starved. I told her I had heard nothing of her message, but if she had told me of it before I had parted with all the powder and lead, I could have let her have some, and promised I would make inquiry; perhaps her messenger had lost it on the way to Philadelphia. I gave her a shirt, a Dutch wooden pipe and some tobacco. She seemed to have taken a little affront because I took not sufficient notice of her in coming down. I told her she acted very imprudently not to let me know by some of her friends who she was, as she knew very well I could not know by myself. She was satisfied, and went away with a deal of kind expressions."

When Celeron led his expedition down the Allegheny and Ohio in the summer of 1749, he found her living as nearly as can be determined at Shannopin's Town, on the east bank of the Allegheny, a few miles above the mouth of the Monongahela and within the present limits of Pittsburgh, though some assert that her residence was at McKees Rocks. He noted in his Journal under date of August 7th as follows: "I reembarked and visited the village which is called the Written Rock. The Iroquois inhabit this place, and it is an old woman of this nation who governs it. She regards herself as sovereign. She is entirely devoted to the English."

When Messrs. Patten, Fry and Lomax, the Commissioners of Virginia, were on their way to Logstown, they called on this old Indian Queen at Aliaquippa's Town, located on the south bank of the Ohio below the mouth of Chartier's Creek, where she was living at that time. The journal of the Commissioners under date of May 30,. 1752, describes their visit as follows:

"The goods being put on board four large canoes lashed together (at Shannopin's Town), the Commissioners and others went on board also, to go down the river with colors flying. When they came opposite the Delaware town, they were saluted by the discharge of firearms, both from the town and opposite shore where Queen Allaquippa lives; and the compliment was returned from the canoes. The company then went on shore to wait on the Queen, who welcomed them, and presented them with a string of wampum, to clear their way to Logstown. She presented them also with a fine dish of fish to carry with them, and had some victuals set which they all ate of. The Commissioners then presented the Queen with a brass kettel, tobacco and some other trifles and took their leave."

When Washington made his journey to the French forts in the latter part of 1753, Queen Allaquippa was living at the present site of McKeesport, Allegheny County. When he and Christopher Gist reached Frazer's cabin at the mouth of Turtle Creek late in December, he learned from Frazer that Queen Allaquippa was offended by his failure to call on her on his way from Virginia to LeBouef. He then determined to visit her on his way back. He makes the following notation in his journal without giving a specific date, but from the context it is clear that it was some time between December 28th and the last day of the year: "As we intended to take horse here (at Frazer's), and it required some time to find them, I went up about three miles to the mouth of the Youghiogheny to visit Queen Alliquippa, who had expressed great concern that we passed her in going to the fort. I made her a present of a match-coat and a bottle of rum, which latter was thought much the better present of the two."

As has been seen in Chapter XIV, Queen Allaquippa was at the Great Meadows during Washington's campaign in the summer of 1754, and no doubt witnessed the conferring of the name of Colonel Fairfax upon Canachquasy by Washington at that place on the 10th day of June.

After Washington's surrender at Fort Necessity, July 4th, 1754, Queen Allaquippa went to Aughwick with the other Indians of the Ohio still friendly to Pennsylvania. Here she died some time prior to December 23rd, 1754. On that date, George Croghan, then in charge of Indian affairs at Aughwick, wrote the Colonial Authorities; "Alequeapy, ye old quine, is dead."