French Creek

The Riviere aux Boeufs of the French, renamed by George Washington in 1753. It had an important part in the French and Indian War and the settlement of northwestern Pennsylvania. 

Native American residence on the French Creek Watershed spans thousands of years. The watershed, which runs from western New York to Franklin Pennsylvania where it meets with the Allegheny River, has been home to numerous groups of people. Alliance College professor Charles Jenkins Excavated sites such as Tobins Farm and Crowes Property in the 1970s. These archeological sites showed evidence of Native Americans living on the watershed for at least 4,000 years. As arrowheads and pottery pieces were missing from many of the sites, it is likely that these date to the Archaic Period (8,000-1,000 BCE). Starting in 1820, and throughout the 1800s. scholars such as Timothy Alden reported findings of a handful of other archeological sites along the French Creek, though many of them have been lost.

In the modern era, It is known that both the Seneca and the Lenape (Delaware) both lived along the French Creek. It is also speculated that the Erie tribe may have lived in the far northern part of the watershed. But, whatever holdings of land The Erie held were extinguished when the tribe was defeated by the Seneca, along with the rest of the Iroquois Nation, in 1651. The Lenape lived only in the southern portions of the river. The Seneca settled throughout the rest of the watershed. While there are many records of these peoples living here, there is not much stating what happened to them. As the United States pushed westward, historians of the time barely cared to record Native history, which is reflected in modern archives.

The Wallum Olum (1836), by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, purported to be a translation of the legends and creation story of the Lenape, but seems to have been created as a hoax. Unfortunately, it has been used as a primary source by researchers until the 1990s, and makes accurate sources incredibly hard to find. Based on the false belief that Native Americans lacked the intelligence to construct complex societies at an early date, the Wallum Olum tries to prove that Native Americans only crossed the Bering Straits from Asia 3,600 years ago, not tens of thousands of years earlier.  But the book does describe the Lenape a few hundred years ago, migrating over the Mississippi from the west until reaching the Allegheny Mountains, where they fought and defeated a tribe known as the Allegewi.