Pennsylvania Indian Traders:Martin Chartier



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Pennsylvania Indian Traders
Indian Trading Posts of Pennsylvania
Based on The Early Traders of Conestoga, Donegal, and Paxtang, in Hanna, 1911, The Wilderness Trail
Pennsylvania Indian Traders:The Setting
Pennsylvania Indian Traders:Earliest Pennsylvania Traders
Pennsylvania Indian Traders:List of Sketches
Pennsylvania Indian Traders:1718 Tax Assessment
Pennsylvania Indian Traders:License Lists
Pennsylvania Indian Traders:Trading Paths

Martin Chartier, another French Canadian, who was given such a bad character by La Salle in 1680, as we have seen, led the Shawnees from the West and South to the head of Chesapeake Bay in 1692, and when they removed to the banks of Pequea Creek, he continued to make his home among them. Here he lived until after August, 1707. He was examined by the Governor at Philadelphia, May 15, 1704, in regard to his relations with the Indians, he being "a Frenchman, who has lived long among the Shawanah Indians and upon Conestoga." In June, 1707, Governor Evans came to his trading house at Pequehan, and got Chartier to accompany him to Peixtan, where he went to arrest Nicole Godin. In February, 1708, he, with James Le Tort and Peter Bezaillion, was reported to have built houses upon the upper branches of Potomac (Conococheague ?). These houses were probably trading posts where they carried on a trade with the Shawnee Indians at Opessa's Town and the other Shawnee Town on the Potomac. He acted as interpreter for the Shawnees at conferences held at Conestoga in 1711 and 1717. In 1717, he was granted a tract of land on the east side of the Susquehanna, about eight miles above the mouth of Conestoga Creek, including the site of the present borough of Washington, "where he had seated himself . . . including within the survey the improvement then made by him, for which he agreed, on behalf of his son, Peter Chartier ... to pay for the same." Here he established his trading post and his home; and here he died in 1718.

He left an only son, Peter Chartier, who is said to have followed his father's example by marrying a Shawnee squaw. In the early part of 1718, on the application of his father, the Board of Property issued a warrant for 300 acres of land to be surveyed to Peter Chartier, "where his father is settled, on Susquehanna river." Peter Chartier traded for some years with the Shawnees, who had moved up the river from Pequea Creek, and established villages near the site of the present Washington Borough, in Lancaster County, and at Paxtang. Later, he settled at their town on the west side of the river, at the mouth of Shawnee (now Yellow Breeches) Creek, the site of the present town of New Cumberland. From thence he is said to have removed to the Conococheague. He was licensed as an Indian Trader by the Lancaster County Court, November 3. 173o! and about the same time began trading with the Shawnees on the Conemaugh. He removed to the Allegheny some time after 1734, at which place his later history will be considered in another chapter.