'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 Miteoamegoukoué 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 have 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.

What's Just Below Your Feet?

Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for PA Archaeology is a partner with "Just Below Your Feet," a documentary project whose main goal is to investigate the current status of Cultural Resource Management, which includes archaeology, preservation and preservation and conservation, in Pennsylvania.

Steph Bowen and Sara Griggs

It’s been two decades since the Pennsylvania legislature passed  Act 70, a 1995 amendment to the State History Code. Historic preservationists and archaeologists argue the law weakens the state’s ability to protect its cultural heritage. Numerous prehistoric and historic sites have been threatened and lost to development in the law’s wake.

What is happening to these resources, and why? Are they being lost at all? Or is Act 70 a sound and valid law?

Two Lycoming College students want to know and have planned a documentary to explore the question. Their project, “Just Below Your Feet," will investigate the status of cultural resource management in Pennsylvania, including archaeology, preservation, and conservation. Their list of interviews and research subjects is impressive.