— Written and produced by Van Wagner

— written by Aaron Boyd

I am not of any Indian descent, that I am aware, but my family is from the Rising Sun, Maryland, area near Conowingo. My heritage includes the Reynolds family who received some of the Nottingham Lots from William Penn.

I wanted to be sure you and other Susquehannock descendants were aware of a piece of history which is most likely connected to your heritage. The site is located on the Horseshoe Scout Reservation in Chester County, Pennsylvania, just across the state line from Rising Sun, Maryland, which was originally part of the Nottingham Lots owned by the Reynolds family. In addition to living in the area, I was also involved in scouting and worked on the Boy Scout reservation during my summers as a youth. There is a natural rock formation in Camp Horseshoe overlooking Octoraro Creek known as “Buzzards Rock”. In 1988, archeologists performed an excavation and found that “earliest artifacts indicate that the shelter was first occupied nearly eight to ten thousand years ago.” Artifacts included items such as pottery and arrowheads and showed evidence of occupation even after European influence. The site is now designated officially as “Horseshoe Rockshelter (36Ch488)”.

The following abstract was printed in The Pennsylvania Archaeologist, vol 76(2) 2006:

HORSESHOE ROCKSHELTER (36CH488)

MARK A. MCCONAUGHY

ABSTRACT
Excavations in 1988 at Horseshoe Rockshelter (36CH488) demonstrated that Native Americans utilized the shelter from Early Archaic times through the Contact period.  Evidence suggests that the site was primarily used as a short term hunting camp during prehistoric times.  There also is evidence that the site functioned as a quartz procurement/processing camp, most likely during the Late Woodland period.  The shelter continued to experience periodic use by Euroamericans during the 19th and 20th centuries.  Boy Scout camping activities at the rockshelter in recent times disturbed much of the prehistoric cultural deposits.  Nevertheless, the excavation produced significant data regarding prehistoric activities at the site.

A narrative of the site and the archaeological dig can be found on the Horseshoe Scout Reservation Alumni Association website. I might be off by a couple hundred feet, but the site is located at GPS 39.722234,-76.120968 (+39° 43′ 20.08″, -76° 7′ 15.37″).

Our family has long known of a Susquehannock Indian connection. According to family tradition: A relative named Richie Condon (my gggreat-grandfather) traded with the Susquehannock, in what would now be the Williamsport, PA, and Western Susquehanna River branch, on a regular basis. They dealt with him for what sounds like it may have been a number of years and he got along well with them. On one such trip he met a Susquehannock squaw who was either the daughter of the tribe/community’s chief or medicine man (not exactly sure which). After several trips Richie and the squaw fell in love, however it was kept secret because her father would not approve. Well as you might expect he found out anyways. There was a big scandal in the Indian community and Richie was told to leave and never return. He said he wouldn’t without her. The father told him if you don’t we’ll kill you. I’m not sure of the exact words Richie used but he basically told the father you’ll have to kill me then because I won’t leave without her. The presumption is that whatever was said impressed the father; he let Richie live and they married.

The family only knows the squaw, his wife, as “Susqua”. They had a daughter named Hannah Condon (born June 6, 1832, died 1906) not sure if they did it on purpose or out of a sense of humor but when placed together… Susqua-Hannah (like the river – get it!). I have Photos of Hannah and David Coney which were taken in the 1890s.

Hannah married David Coney (My Great Great Grandfather – Born 1828 Juniata, PA, Died: 1900)
His son: Robert Coney (My Great Grandfather)
His son: Rev. Daniel Richie Coney Sr. (My Grand Father)
His son: Elmer C. Coney Sr. (My Father)
His son: Jeffrey M. Coney (Me)

So, if my math is correct that would make me 1/32nd Susquehannock Indian. While tracing my family lines I found that the newest family line’s arrival was in the 1830s – most branches of my family have been here since the early 1600s to mid 1700s. The earliest Coney held office in the Virginia house of Burgesses in 1628 so it won’t surprise me if I find more Indian connections.
Thanks, Jeff

Hello again Friends,
Finally, I can report that our gifts to the County Commissioners yesterday were well received. I understand there was a little coverage on WGAL, the York Daily Record had a story on their website, and there was a nice photo of Mary Ann and Commissioner Doug Hoke on the front page of the local section of the York Dispatch. Barb Bair said Commissioner Hoke stopped by her office afterward and talked to her about permanently displaying his blanket in the Court House.

Paul Nevin

Reprint from the York Daily Record, 18 November 2009.

County Thanked for Park with “Honoring Blankets”

York County commissioners were given a special honor this morning at their regular meeting. Representatives of the Lancaster-York Native Heritage Advisory Council presented them with honoring blankets — a symbolic “thank you” to the people of York County — for the preservation of a new county park area.

According to a council news release, November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, the group wanted to “thank and honor those who have worked to ensure that the cultural treasure we know as the Byrd Leibhart, or Last Susquehannock Village Site, has been preserved for future generations.”

In October of 2008, the county acquired the property, and on April 29, 2009, the commissioners passed a resolution adopting the Native Lands County Park as the 11th park in the York County Department of Parks and Recreation, the news release states. Native Lands County Park is 93 acres adjacent to Klines Run Park, 1600 Long Level Road, 3 miles south of Wrightsville. The only access to the park, at this time, is by the Native Lands Heritage Trail. The mile-long trail can be accessed either at Klines Run Park or the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area office, 1706 Long Level Road.

The news release states: “The trail crosses rolling meadows with wonderful views of the Susquehanna River and its bordering lands. A trail guide brochure explaining significant features in the park, including the historic Dritt family cemetery and the site of the last village of the Susquehannock Indians, is available at the trailheads.”