Indian History of the Brookville Area
By Marlana Ann Miller
More than 1,800 years ago, the Aquanushioni or "United People" (later referred to as the Iroquois by the French), also know as the Six nations, held a lodge in Punxsutawney. The legend of Noshaken, who was a white captive of the Delaware Indians in 1753, has it that Noshaken was held captive in the lodge in Punxsutawney.
Tribes of the confederacy were the Mohawks (the fire striking people), the Oneidas (the pipe makers), the Onondages (the hill top people), the Cayugas (the people from the lake), the Tuscaroras (unwilling to be with other people), and the Senecas.
However the Senecas were the most prominent tribe in Western Pennsylvania and Jefferson County. The Senecas (the great hilltop people or mountaineers) called themselves "Nun-go-wah-gah." A Seneca legend has it that it sprung up from the ground.
By 1796, when Joseph Barnett ( the first white settler ) settled at the mouth of Pine Creek, most of the Indians had left the area.
It is said that Captain Hunt was a fugitive because he killed a fellow Indian. However Mrs. Graham who was Joe Barnett's daughter has recollections of the Indians who were already here, and the Indians who settled here after her family settled at Port Barnett, it appears that it was Captain Hunt's cousin who was banished.
Mrs. Graham's account of Indians translated as close as possible into her own language: When we come to Port Barnett in the spring of 1797, there were only two Indian families here. One was Twenty Canoes and the other was Caturah which means tomahawk. The two hunts, Captain and his cousin Jim, were here but they were alone. Jim Hunt was the one banishment for killing one of his cousins. Captain Hunt was an under-chief of the Munsey tribe.
Some of the Indians who came here in the fall were Crow, who was feared by everyone because he was an Indian in name and in nature. You could even say that he was a savage. One of the others was John Jamison, who had seven sons, all named John.
Mrs. Graham said that Twenty Canoes and Caturah stayed for several years after we came. The Hunts were here until the commencement of the War of 1812. Jim didn't go back to his tribe until 1808 or 1809, when his friends stole a white boy in Westmoreland County to take the place of a warrior Jim had killed.
It is said that Captain Hunt was the last Indian to live in Jefferson County. He had a camp known as Hunt's Point in the "Red Bank" area in Brookville.
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