William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Indian Commissioners' Receipts, 1776
Philip Heslip, December 2009
Indian Commissioners' receipts
United States. Army
This collection contains 98 receipts from 1776 for supplies given to Indians and settlers in Western Pennsylvania.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
Indian Commissioners' Receipts, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is organized chronologically with undated items in the back.
This collection contains receipts generated by the American Indian Commission in Western Pennsylvania in 1776. Three commissions were set up by the continental congress in 1775 in order to secure Indian neutrality during the American Revolution. These commissions were responsible for distributing arms, ammunition, clothing, jewelry, and supplies in exchange for peace with the Six Nations. In July of 1776, George Morgan (1743-1810) was appointed the head agent for the Middle Department and was expected to negotiate a treaty with the Indians of Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. He purchased presents and supplies that were necessary for such negotiations. Morgan, along with John Harvie (1742-1807), Jasper Yeates (1745-1817), and trader William Wilson, among others, were the commissioners who helped establish the treaty at Fort Pitt in November 1776, which ensured Indian neutrality. Congress, however, did not back up the treaty and by 1777, the Indians had shifted their loyalty to the British; the Shawnees and other Nations believed that England would prevent the colonists from encroaching further upon their lands.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Indian Commissioners' receipts collection consists of receipts for supplies delivered to Native Americans in Western Pennsylvania in the second half of 1776. The receipts were most often written by John Montgomery, Jasper Yeates, Thomas Walker, and John Harvie and sent to "Boreman," "Morgan" (likely George Morgan) and, on one occasion, to "Wilson." The supplies include rum, clothing items, blankets, bridles, powder and lead, salt, utensils, dyes, and other items. Some receipts contain additional notes. For instance, the September 30, 1776, receipt for a keg of rum states, "There is no living without it." The October 1 receipt notes "add 6 lb Powder & 12 Lb Lead for the Shawnese to induce them to stay till the Treaty." An undated receipt lists "4 of the largest cutter of Scalping Knives that you have in your store." The Shawnee are the only tribe mentioned by name in the receipts, but supplies may have also gone to other Native American groups.
- Hand, Edward, 1744-1802.
- Harvie, John, 1742-1807.
- Indians of North America--Government relations--to 1789.
- Indians of North America--Pennsylvania.
- Morgan, George, 1743-1810.
- Shawnee Indians.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Indians.
- Walker, Thomas, 1715-1794.
- Yeates, Jasper, 1745-1817.
Additional Descriptive Data
- Cadwalader to Yeates; Jan 25, 1779
- Thomas Smith to Yeates; July 10, 1801
- Burd to Yeates; May 21, 1786
- George Morgan to Commissioners for Indian Affairs; June 3, 1776
- Wilkinson to Yeates; June 6, 1808
- Yeates to E. Hand; December 13, 1787
- Yeates to Maclay; 1789