'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.