1711 Von Graffenreid – Tuscarora Treaty

Is a treaty valid when one party is holding the other party captive under pain of death?  That is how the 1711 treaty between Baron von Graffrenreid and the Tuscarora was negotiated.  However, it served it’s purpose, and von Graffenreid was freed instead of killed as his associate, John Lawson, was.

This unfortunate series of events were the precipitating actions in the Tuscarora War of 1711-1713.  Sadly this “war” was over the incursions of the Europeans on the Indians land, or the lands they felt were theirs.  Von Graffenreid elected to negotiate his way out of the sticky situation, but Lawson chose instead to argue.  Von Graffenreid survived, Lawson did not. 

If you’d like to take a look at the treaty, translated from German, it’s at this link.  I particularly like the conciliatory language, right up until you get down to the Alexander Spotswood’s endorsement where he tells the Indians that if they hurt von Graffenreid, he will avenge his death, sparing none.  Nothing like a little threat to help grease the skids….


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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