The Indians nevertheless showed much contempt for the negro slaves

Posted by | September 23, 2016

An article written about 1926 by Peter L. Livengood of Salisbury, PA, appearing in the ‘Meyersdale Republican’ that year, gives the following account of Grantsville, Maryland’s oldest inn: Little Crossings (still standing and now known as Penn Alps Restaurant & Craft Shop.)

On one occasion while Mr. and Mrs. George Matthews kept tavern at Little Crossings, they received advance notice from one of the stage companies then operating on the [National] pike that on a certain date thirty prominent Indians on their way to Washington to confer with “The Great White Father” would stop with them for dinner.

Little Crossings Inn, Grantsville Maryland

Little Crossings Inn at Grantsville, MD.

The notification was coupled with the request to have lots of beef and potatoes boiled for the Indians, and such other things as they might see fit to prepare. They were also notified to roast several turkeys for a party of prominent white people who were scheduled to dine at their house the same day.

Ample provisions were made for the two big dinner parties. The coaches carrying the Indians arrived on schedule time, but the coaches carrying the white people scheduled to eat dinner at Little Crossings were running late, and in cases of that kind the drivers had orders to keep their horses moving until the lost time was made up.

So on this occasion there was so much roast turkey for the guests who failed to stop that Mr. and Mrs. Matthews hardly knew what to do with it all. They accordingly decided to divide the toothsome birds with the Indians, who were delighted with the fine feast set before them.

At that time slavery was not yet abolished, and Mr. Matthews had two negro women whom he purchased from Jesse Tomlinson, who at that time conducted the tavern known as the Stone House, at the historic Little Meadows, about three miles east of Little Crossings. The slave women were both named Sarah, but after they came into the Matthews family, one of them was renamed, and thereafter went by the name of “Sook”.


While the Indians were delighted with the feast set before them, and could hardly be restrained by the interpreter in charge of them from tearing the roast turkeys to shreds with their fingers in their eagerness to devour them, they nevertheless showed much contempt for the negro slaves and refused to receive any food from their hands.

The attitude of the aboriginal Americans peeved Sook and Sarah exceedingly, and they were excused from further duty in serving the Indians. The latter, however, showed due gratitude and friendliness toward the white people for the services rendered them.

Chief Black Hawk, Sauk tribe

Black Hawk, or Black Sparrow Hawk (Sauk Makataimeshekiakiak (Mahkate:wi-meši-ke:hke:hkwa), “be a large black hawk”, (spring 1767 – October 3, 1838) was a chief and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe.

Mrs. Ellen Glotfelty, of Salisbury, says her recollection of the incident as related her in after years by her mother, is that there was a very prominent chief among the Indians entertained. In all probability the chief was Blackhawk, who with other Indians during the Jackson administration went to Washington to confer with the “Great White Father” about certain wrongs for which they sought satisfaction and redress.

Mrs. Glotfelty does not distinctly remember the name of the chief. She clearly recollects, however, of often hearing her parents relate how the Indians were dressed when en route to Washington, and the contrast between their apparel on the going trip and the return trip. There was only one squaw in the party, and all were dressed in the customary garb of their tribe while en route to Washington, and that consisted of little more than a blanket wrapped about the body in a somewhat ingenious way.

When they returned from Washington, the male Indians were dressed in suits of broadcloth, while the squaw was clad in a beautiful dress gaily decorated with glittering beads.


Mrs. Glotfelty says her mother often told her of the rivalry between the stage coach companies and their dashing drivers, in striving to give the best service and the fastest transportation. Her mother personally knew a stage driver who was knocked from his seat and killed while racing over the picturesque high-peaked stone bridge across the Casselman River at Little Crossings, by the side-swiping of the vehicles. The accident caused great excitement at the time, but did not discourage other daring Jehus from taking desperate chances to beat a rival driver to the end of his run.

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2 Responses

  • Deborah Kay Wilt Harvey says:

    My grandfather Hilary Freeman Wilt was a cofounder of the Improved Order of the Redmen in 1950’s, of the Black Hawk Tribe. I am trying to join my tribe. Could you tell me how or to whom I report to?

  • Nandekook says:

    Many Indians showed disdain for Blacks because it was taught to them by Whites who were highly critical of Native’s friendly behavior towards Blacks. This was dangerous for Whites who were nearly outnumbered by the Blacks alone in the South. They had to create a division. This was the case in many regions of North America because Blacks and Natives intermaried early on

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