French and Indian War in Berks County, PA

Events leading up to and including the French and Indian War,
particularly related to Berks County, Pennsylvania:

  • 1681 - Admiral Penn, father of William Penn, receives a tract of land in America from the King of England as payment for a debt owed him.   William inspected the land the next year, and purchased it from the Indians.   This would have been a portion the southeastern portion of present day Pennsylvania.
  • 1728 - Initial group of colonists from Schoharie (NY) first occupied the Tulpehocken region (northwestern Berks Co) and began to clear farms, without acquiring the land from the Indians
  • 1732 - Boundary was extended northward and westward to the Blue Mountains (including the Tulpehocken region).
  • 1737 - "Walking Purchase" adds another strip of land.  This purchase upset the Indians very much.  It seems the Indians good-naturedly agreed turn over as much land as a man could travel over in two days.  But a trail had been blazed along the route and professional runners were employed, covering twice the distance one would have expected.
  • 1744 - Conrad Weiser arranges Treaty of Lancaster, binding Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia with a "chain of friendship" with the Six Nations (Iroquois; previously recognized by Pennsylvania as representing all Indians).  Such arrangements continued to upset the Delaware tribe (Algonquin family), who had lost nearly all of their land.  The Iroquois referred to them as "women", meaning they would not go to war.
  • 1748 - Tready of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the was between England and France.  However, controversies continued between them regarding territory on the American continent.  French began building forts along Ohio river to protect fur-trapping and trading activities.  They established strong relations with the Indians.
  • 1754 - Battle of Fort Necessity (defeat of George Washington)
  • 1754 - Sale of land by the Six Nations, which covered much of western Pennsylvania, pushed the Delaware Indians anger to the breaking point.
  • July, 1755 - British General Braddock is defeated (and killed) under Indian ambush while marching toward Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh).   The remaining portions of the British army move south into Maryland and Virginia, leaving Pennsylvania without any protection by Royal forces.
  • October 1755 - First Indian attacks east of the Susquehanna River.  The Delaware Indians, encouraged by the French, saw Braddock's defeat as the opportunity to try to reclaim their territory.
  • November 1755 - First Indian attacks in Berks County  (see history of Fort Henry)
  • 1756 - Pennsylvania builds a string of forts along the Blue Mountains to stop Indian intrusions into southeastern areas, and provide gathering points for the settlers.
  • 1758 - War ends in Pennsylvania
  • 1760 - Canada was surrendered by the French
  • 1763 - Treaty of Paris signed ending the war; last of the Indian massacres.
  • 1768 - The remaining two thirds of the present state of Pennsylvania was finally acquired from the Indians



Rev. J.W. Early, "Indian Massacres in Berks County", Transactions of the Historical Society of Berks County, Vol II, 1905-1909, electronic edition (CD), (Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 2004; originally published Reading, Pennsylvania:  Press of B.F. Owen & Co., 1910), 107-129.

H. M. Muhlenberg Richards, "Berks County in the French and Indian War", Transactions of the Historical Society of Berks County, Vol II, no. 4, 1905-1909, electronic edition (CD), (Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 2004; originally published Reading, Pennsylvania:  Press of B.F. Owen & Co., 1910), 275-293.

H. M. M. Richards, The Indian Forts of the Blue Mountains, contained in the Report of the Commission to Locate the Site of the Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, Vols 1 and 2, 2nd Edition, edited by Thomas Lynch Montgomery, Litt. D., (Harrisburg, PA: Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer, 1916)

Richard A. Baucher, "Indian Forts in Berks County", Historical Review of Berks County, Vol XVIII, January-March, 1953, (Reading, PA: published quarterly by the Historical Society of Berks County), 49-63.

Louis M. Waddell and Bruce D. Bomberger, The French and Indian War in Pennsylvania, 1753-1763, (Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1996).

William A. Hunter, Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1753-1758, (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Wennawoods Publishing, 1999; originally published Harrisburg, PA, 1960)

Excerpts from the historical accounts of the French and Indian War:

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