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Visions of Teaoga

Jim's multicultural saga for Middle Grade readers (ages 10-14) has been released by Sunbury Press in paperback and e-book form. To place an order, click on the Visions of Teaoga link to the right.

Titled Visions of Teaoga, the historical novel has its readers sitting in on an Indian storytelling circle centuries ago, and joining a girl today who visits the same spot - and hears the whispers of its powerful history. A plot summary appears in the left column, followed by the author's note and acknowledgments.

Resource Materials

To help bring Visions of Teaoga to life, and to enhance its value for classrooms and book groups, the website is featuring a variety of supplemental materials. Scroll down to find historic documents, maps, journals, a list of recommended reading for further research, and more. Click on the images for expanded views.

(Also, you're invited to subscribe to the website blog, which has fresh material about native culture and frontier history. Open the Blog tab above to learn more.)

The tense U.S.-Iroquois council at Teaoga in 1790, the focal event of the book, warranted this actual letter of thanks from President Washington to his negotiator.

Here is a page from negotiator Timothy Pickering's journal that records his heartfelt eulogy to the two Seneca families whose sons had been murdered by trappers. That 1790 incident that prompted the emergency council at Teaoga. The full eulogy appears in Visions of Teaoga.

The Pennsylvania Provincial Council recorded the plea that Queen Esther's husband, the war chief Eghohowin, made to the New Jersey governor in 1758 for shared use of the land. Eghohowin implored him that "your people may not look on the wild beasts of the forests or the fish of the waters as their sole property, but that we may be admitted to an equal use of them." It's referred to in Chapter 19 of Visions of Teaoga.


For centuries, Pennsylvania was crisscrossed with trails that strategically connected villages, rivers and hunting lands used by the many native groups that had a claim on the region. Note the Sheshequin Path, the Forbidden Path and other key trails that traversed Queen Esther's world. The map below also identifies her town, her husband's Chemung war town, and the site of the Tutelo settlement that plays a role in Visions of Teaoga And to the west you see Pine Creek, where the two Senecas were murdered by drunken whites.

This is a detail of a map from Indian Paths of Pennsylvania, a fine resource by Paul A.W. Wallace, published by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1998.

Below is a detail of a map chronicling the settlement of Pennsylvania based on land relinquishment by Indian groups over the decades. This shows Northeastern Pennsylvania, with the final, 1784 acquisition -- known as the Final Purchase -- shown in yellow. This purchase is central to the dramatic actions in Visions of Teaoga.

From "Geneological Map of the Counties," issued by the state Historical and Museum Commission. Teaoga was on the far eastern border of the Final Purchase of 1784.


1. What are two or three new things the book taught you about Indians? About settlers?

2. In Chapter 3, Sisketung feels caught between world views “clashing like flintstones.” Do you think the natives and the Europeans were fated to clash? Why or why not?

3. What were some ways Pickering reflected his people’s viewpoint? Were there ways he did not?

4. In Chapter 4, Mrs. T tells Maddy how many Indians regarded the woods with anxiety, as a place of wood sprites and troubling spirits. Did that surprise you? Can you relate to it?

5. In Chapter 7, Maddy feels she’s observing things from afar as though she’s on a helicopter. Have you ever had that feeling?

6. The Indians cherished oral history and storytelling skills. Try that skill by having one person carefully read aloud several paragraphs from the book. Assign one listener to memorize the first half on the spot, another, the second half. Then, have them recite their parts back to the group as exactly they can. Discuss the experience.

7. In Chapter 14, Mrs. T’s study group imagines students debating whether Indians “were wasting the land by not developing it.” Hold that very debate yourselves, dividing your group into pro, con and judges.

8. In Chapter 20, Maddy offers a gift “to the rivers, which bore such changes.” What is the significance of waterways to this period of history?

9. What are some of the values and emotions that wampum carry? Do our modern cultures have anything similar?

10. Discuss the actions of Eghohowin. What does he embody? Is he a sympathetic character or not?

11. The author presents Queen Esther as a tragic figure trapped by circumstance. Do you agree?

12. Who was your favorite character, and why?

13. As Maddy discovered, seemingly ordinary Athens has a remarkable past. Does your area have a hidden history? Consider visiting your local history society, or go online, to research place names, heroes, scoundrels and other colorful chapters of the past. Focus on the historiography, on who told the stories and how complete and balanced they were.


The following are high-quality historical novels about settler-Indian relations:

The Indians of New Jersey: Dickon Among the Lenapes, by M.R. Harrington. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Unversity, 1963.)

The Light in the Forest, by Conrad Richter. New York: Bantam, 1953.)

Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare. (New York: Dell, 1983.)

Calico Captive, by Elizabeth George Speare. (Houghton Mifflin, 2001.)

Rolling Thunder in the Mountains, Scott O’Dell. (New York: Yearling, 1993.)

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison, by Lois Lenski. (New York: HarperCollins, 1941, renewed 1969.)

Moon of Two Dark Horses, by Sally M. Keehn. (New York: Puffin, 2002.)


The books, pamphlets and papers below were utilized in the writing of Visions of Teaoga:

Allem, Frederick, editor. The Timothy Pickering Papers. (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1966.)

Banner, Stuart. How the Indians Lost Their Land: Law and Power on the Frontier. (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2005.)

Boyd, Julian P., editor. The Susquehanna Company Papers, Volume III. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: Wyoming County Historical and Geological Society, 1931.)

Bradsby, Henry C., editor. History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. (Chicago: S. B. Nelson, 1893.)

Calloway, Colin G. The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.)

Cowles, Dick. “What Happened Before Sullivan Marched?” article in SRAC Journal. (Waverly, N.Y.: Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies, June 2007.)

Cowles, Dick. Why Sullivan Marched. (Waverly, N.Y.: Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies, undated.)

Cowles, Ellsworth. The Sullivan Campaign. (Corning Leader articles, 1978-79, reprinted by Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies, Waverly, N.Y.)

Cowles, Ellsworth. “Horses on the Moon: The Forbidden Path, Achsinessink and Chimney Rocks.” (1985 presentation to Corning-Painted Post Historical Society, reprinted by Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies, Waverly, N.Y.)

Craft, Rev. David. History of Bradford County 1770 – 1878. (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1878.)

Cruikshank, Ernest. The Story of Butler’s Rangers and the Settlement of Niagara. (Welland, Ontario: Tribune Printing, 1893.)

Day, Sherman. Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania. (Philadelphia: George W. Gorton, 1843.)

Donehoo, George P. A History of the Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania. (Lewisburg, Pa.: Wennawoods Publishing, 1999.)

Eckert, Allan W. The Wilderness War. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1978, reprinted by the Jesse Stuart Foundation, Ashland, Ky., 2003.)

Egle, William Henry. An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Civil, Political and Military, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. (Harrisburg, Pa.: De Witt C. Goodrich & Co., 1876.)

Faull, Katherine M., editor. Moravian Women's Memoirs: Their Related Lives, 1750-1820. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1997.)

Folts, James D. “The Montours: A Metis Family of Colonial and Revolutionary New York.” (Unpublished paper, 2007.)

Griffin, Patrick. American Leviathan: Empire, Nation and Revolutionary Frontier. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2007.)

Grumet, Robert S., editor. Journey on the Forbidden Path: Chronicles of a Diplomatic Mission to the Allegheny Country, March-September, 1760. (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1999.)

Hagan, William T. Longhouse Diplomacy and Frontier Warfare. (New York: New York State Bicentennial Commission, 1976.)

Hamilton, Kenneth G. “Cultural Contributions of Moravian Missions Among the Indians,” article in Pennsylvania History, vol. 18. (Mansfield, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical Association, January, 1951.)

Hanna, Charles A. The Wilderness Trail, or the Ventures and Adventures of the Pennsylvania Traders on the Allegheny Path. (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1911.)

Harrington, M.R. The Indians of New Jersey: Dickon Among the Lenapes. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University, 1963.)

Harvey, Oscar Jewell. A History Of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: From Its First Beginnings To The Present Time, Including Chapters Of Newly-Discovered Early Wyoming Valley History, Together With Many Biographical Sketches And Much Genealogical Material. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: Raeder Press, 1909.)

Hayden, Horace E., compiler. The Massacre of Wyoming: The Acts of Congress for the Defense of the Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, 1776-1778, With the Petitions of the Sufferers by the Massacre of July 3, 1778, for Congressional Aid. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, 1895.)

Heckewelder, John. History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighboring States, 1819. (Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Publishing, 2005.)

Heverly, Clement F. History and Geography of Bradford County, Pa., 1615-1924. (Towanda, Pa.: Bradford County Historical Society, 1926.)

Heverly, Clement. History of Sheshequin, 1777-1902. (Towanda, Pa. : The Bradford Star, 1902.)

Hilbert, Alfred G. “The Forbidden Trail,” article in The Crooked Lake Review, July 1991.)

Hirsch, Alison. “The Celebrated Madame Montour: Interpretess across Early American Frontiers,” article in Explorations in Early American Culture. (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2000.)

Irvin, George. The Art of Robert Griffing. His Journey into the Eastern Frontier. (Panama, N.Y.: Paramount Press, 2003.)

Kraft, Herbert C. The Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage, 10,000 BC to AD 2000. (Stanhope, N.J.: Lenape Lifeways, 2001.)

Larson, Paul. Early Bethlehem and the Native-Americans. (Bethlehem, Pa.: Oaks Printing, 1987.)

Lottick, Sally Teller. Wyoming Valley’s Earliest Settlers. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: Wyoming Valley Historical and Geological Society, 1997.)

Mancall, Peter C. Valley of Opportunity: Economic Culture Along the Upper Susquehanna, 1700-1800. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991.)

McHugh, Thomas F. “Moravian Mission to the American Indians: Early American Peace Corps,” article in Pennsylvania History, Vol. 33 (Mansfield, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical Association, October 1966.)

Merrell, James H. Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.)

Merritt, Jane T. At the Crossroads: Indians and Empire of a Mid-Atlantic Frontier. (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.)

Moore, John L. Traders, Travelers & Tomahawks.True Tales about Indians, Outlaws,
Settlers & Soldiers on the Eastern Frontier.
(Northumberland, Pa.: John L. Moore, 1999.)

Moore, John L. Cannons, Cattle & Campfires: More True Tales about Indians, Outlaws, Settlers & Soldiers on the Eastern Frontier. (Northumberland, Pa.: John L. Moore, 2002.)

Moore, John L. Rivers, Raiders & Renegades. True Tales about Indians, Outlaws, Settlers &
Soldiers on the Eastern Frontier
. (Northumberland, Pa.: John L. Moore, 2003.)

Moore, John L. Pioneers, Prisoners & Peace Pipes. True Tales about Indians, Outlaws,
Settlers & Soldiers on the Eastern Frontier
. (Northumberland, Pa.: John L. Moore, 2006.)

Murray, Louise Welles. A History of Old Tioga Point and Early Athens, Pennsylvania. (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: Raeder Press, 1907.)

Murray, Elsie. Te-a-o-ga: Annals of a Valley. (Athens, Pa.: Tioga Point Museum, 1939.)

Parker, Arthur C. Red Jacket, Seneca Chief. (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.)

Pencak, William A. and Richter, Daniel K., editors. Friends & Enemies in Penn’s Woods: Indians, Colonists and the Racial Construction of Pennsylvania. (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004.)

Pickering, Octavius, and Upham, Charles W. The Life of Timothy Pickering, Volume 2. (New York: Little, Brown, 1873.)

Pierce, H.B., and Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Tioga, Chemung, Tompkins, and Schuyler Counties, New York. (Philadelphia: Everts & Ensign, 1879.)

Post, Christian Frederick. The Second Journal of Christian Frederick Post. (London: J. Wilkie, 1759.)

Reichel, W. C. “Wyalusing and the Moravian Mission at Friedenshuetten,” article in Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, Bethlehem, Pa., 1871.)

Richter, Daniel K. Facing East From Indian Country: A Native History of Early America. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001.)

Richter, Daniel K. Native Americans’ Pennsylvania. (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2005.)

Ricky, Donald B., editor. Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Indians. (St. Clair Shores, Mich.: Somerset Publishers, 1998.)

Schutt, Amy C. Peoples of the River Valleys: The Odyssey of the Delaware Indians. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.)

Sipe, C. Hale. The Indian Chiefs of Pennsylvania. (Butler, Pa.: Ziegler Printing, 1927.)

Sipe, C. Hale. The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania. (Lewisburg, Pa.: Wennawoods Publishing, 1995.)

Sivertson, Barbara J. Turtles, Wolves, and Bears: A Mohawk Family History. (Berwyn Heights, Md.: Heritage Books, 1996.)

Stuart, William H. Stories of the Kanestio Valley. Dansville, N.Y.: F.A. Owen Publishing, 1935.)

Swatzler, David. A Friend Among the Senecas: The Quaker Mission to Cornplanter’s People. (Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2000.)

Taylor, Alan. The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution. (New York: Vintage Books, 2006.)

Wallace, Anthony F.C. Teedyuscung: King of the Delawares, 1700-1763. (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1990.)

Wallace, Paul A.H. Indians in Pennsylvania. (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1961, revised 2005 by William A. Hunter.)

Wallace, Paul A. “Queen Esther & Joseph Brant,” article in The Settler. (Towanda, Pa.: Bradford County Historical Society, September, 1977.)

Weslager, C.A. The Delaware Indians: A History. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1972.)

Witthoft, John. The American Indian as Hunter. (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1999.)

Woodard, Colin. American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. (New York: Penguin Books, 2012)


Pennsylvania Colonial Records, Vol. 7, Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. 3, and Minutes of the Provincial Council, Vol. 3, all at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

“Narrative of the Capture of Mrs. Whitaker,” letter at the David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, Pa.

Native American Exhibitions at the National Museum of the American Indian, New York, and at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia.