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December 23 , 2008

The Hatchet and the Plow

The Life and Times of Chief Cornplanter


The Seneca war-chief Cornplanter was one of the most prominent and influential of all Native Americans during colonial times and throughout the American Revolution. The son of a Dutch trader and an Indian woman, he lived a long and intensely active life. Drama attended him everywhere.

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Chief Cornplanter’s exciting life unfolds in The Hatchet and the Plow, which follows the chief on his wilderness rivers, as a warrior for the British, as tireless diplomat, and as the devoted leader of his people. Author William W. Betts studies Cornplanter, also known as Gaiantwaka, closely, including his turbulent relationships with the leading figures of two worlds: George Washington, Henry Knox, Anthony Wayne, Timothy Pickering, Thomas Mifflin, John Graves Simcoe, David Mead, Timothy Alden, his uncle Kayahsotha, Handsome Lake, Red Jacket, Joseph Brant, Blacksnake, Little Beard, Blue Jacket, and Little Turtle.

Some years after his death on his beloved Allegheny, a grateful Pennsylvania installed a marble monument at his gravesite—the first such monument ever erected to the memory of a Native American. Though it was moved up the river a short distance, it still stands today.

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