Montoursville, Pennsylvania

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Montoursville is a borough in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the borough population was 4,777. It is part of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was named for Madame Montour, a Native American leader and skilled interpreter for the colonial governments. The Williamsport Regional Airport is located in Montoursville.

Contents

History

Indian village

Madame Montour's village, became a vitally important location during the settlement of what is now Montoursville. Her village at the mouth of Loyalsock Creek on the West Branch Susquehanna River was an important stopping point for the Moravian missionaries who were spreading the gospel throughout the wilderness of Pennsylvania during the 1740s. Count Zinzendorf, a missionary being guided by Conrad Weiser with the permission of Shikellamy came to Otstonwakin in 1742. Madame Montour was known to be a friend of the British.[3] She welcomed the white men who were beginning to migrate into the West Branch Susquehanna River Valley. She also had a great amount of influence with the various Indian tribes they were feeling the pressure of colonial expansion. Madame Montour remained loyal to the British despite several attempts by the French to bring her over to their side. Historians note that this was remarkable due to the fact the that British colonial government sometimes went as long as a year without paying her for her services.[4]

Madame Montour was the mother of three children. A son, Louis, served as an interpreter during the French and Indian War. He was killed during the war.[5] Her daughter, Margaret, later to be known as "French Margaret" went on to become the leader of "French Margaret's Town" an Indian settlement at the mouth of Lycoming Creek just a few miles up the West Branch Susquehanna River from Montoursville. Her son, Andrew took over leadership of Otstonwakin upon her death in the late 1740s. Andrew inherited his mother’s gift for languages. He spoke French, English, Lenape, Shawnee and the Iroquoian languages. Comfortable with both Native Americans and Europeans, he made a good living as a translator for both settlers and local tribes. In 1742 when Count Zinzendorf met Montour he wrote that Montour looked "decidedly European, and had his face not been encircled with a broad band of paint we would have thought he was one." He also served as an interpreter with Conrad Weiser and Chief Shikellamy. He was granted 880 acres (3.6 km2) of land by the Province of Pennsylvania in the Montoursville area. He later was appointed as a captain in George Washington's Army at Fort Necessity during the French and Indian War. Andrew Montour left Montoursville at some point and moved to Juniata County before finally settling on Mountour's Island in the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh.

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