Excerpts from The Point of Pittsburgh

Queen Aliquippa

Aliquippa, clan-mother of the Seneca, was an important representative of Iroquois power at the Forks of the Ohio. A young woman in 1701, she probably visited William Penn in New Castle, Delaware before his final parting from Pennsylvania. Conrad Weiser, envoy of the Pennsylvania colony, twice met with Aliquippa in 1748 while visiting the Forks to secure a treaty with the western tribes. “We dined in a Seneka Town, where an old Seneka Woman Reigns with great Authority.” She later came to Logstown and asked Weiser for “a cask of powder and some small shot to enable her to send out the Indian boys to kill turkeys & other fowls for her, whilst the men are gone to war against the French, that they might not be starved.”

Celeron, commander of the French expedition in 1749 wrote: “I re-embarked 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.” In 1752, the Virginia Commissioners visited Aliquippa’s Town “with colors flying” “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 gave them 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 kettle, tobacco and some other trifles and took their leave.”

In 1753, Christopher Gist and GeorgeWashington, cold, exhausted and wet after their plunge into the frigid Allegheny, made their way to the mouth of Turtle Creek. There Washington learned that Queen Aliquippa was offended because he had gone to see the French without first coming to see her. Washington “went up three Miles to the Mouth of the Youghiogheny River to visit Queen Aliquippa, (Highland Grove Park, McKeesport) 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.” Aliquippa died shortly after the British defeat at Fort Necessity.

Next