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Kyashuta


Kyashuta was a Seneca, born around 1725 on the Genesee River in New York. He died around 1794 in southwestern Pennsylvania. In 1753, Kyashuta accompanied George Washington on his mission to advise the French to withdraw from their newly constructed forts in the Ohio Valley. After Braddock’s defeat in 1755, Kyashuta replaced Half-King as the primary representative of the Six Nations (Iroquois) in the Ohio River country until around 1778.

Kyashuta was a significant figure in affairs affecting Western Virginia. He directed war efforts against the settlers during the French and Indian War (1754– 63) and Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763). His command of combined Indian forces during these wars was responsible for the abandonment of the Greenbrier River and Monongahela River settlements. After a series of violent incidents against both Indian and white border dwellers, culminating in the murder of Logan’s family in April 1774, Kyashuta urged his associates to refrain from war against the Virginians. While he had general agreement from the Delawares, his influence over the Mingoes and Shawnees was waning. Most of their warriors joined with Wyandotte warriors to resist the invading Virginia militia during Dunmore’s War, which culminated in the October 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant.

During the subsequent American Revolution, Kyashuta assisted the Mohawk Joseph Brant in directing the Indian war effort against Virginia and other states. As he had done at the end of Pontiac’s Rebellion, Kyashuta became a strong peace advocate after hostilities ceased.

In 1770, Kyashuta was engaged in his autumn hunt along the Ohio River when he chanced upon George Washington in present Wood County. Washington noted in his diary that he felt obliged to pay compliments to his old acquaintance, ‘‘As this person was one of the Six Nation Chiefs, & the head of them upon this River.’’ Washington’s diary records Kyashuta’s intimate knowledge of the Kanawha Valley, including vegetation, soils, topography, transportation conditions, and distances between significant landmarks.

Written by Douglas McClure Wood

Sources

  1. Darlington, William M. Christopher Gist's Journals. Pittsburgh: J. R. Weldin & Co., 1893.

  2. Jackson, D., ed. The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. II 1766-70. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1939.

  3. Sipe, C. Hale. The Indian Chiefs of Pennsylvania. Butler, PA: Ziegler Printing Co., 1927, Reprint, Wennawoods Pub., 1997.