Andrew Montour

Andrew Montour (c. 1720–1772), also known as Henry Montour, Sattelihu, and Eghnisara,[1] was an important métis interpreter and negotiator in the Virginia and Pennsylvania backcountry in the 1750s and 1760s.

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Montour's date of birth is unknown; historian James Merrell estimated it to be 1720.[2] Montour was of European and Native American ancestry. His mother was Madame Montour, a well-known, influential interpreter whose exact identity is uncertain; she was probably of French and Native ancestry.[3] She spoke several languages and often served as an interpreter between Europeans and Native Americans. Andrew Montour's father was Carondawanna, an Oneida war chief.

He was interpreter at the Treaty of Logstown in 1752.

Montour shared his mother's gift for languages. He spoke French, English, Delaware, Shawnee, and at least one of the Iroquois languages.[4] Comfortable with both Native Americans and Europeans, he made a good living as a translator for several colonial governments. 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."

Throughout the French and Indian War Montour sided with the British and worked, at various times, for Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Sir William Johnson's Indian Department. He was with George Washington before the battle at Fort Necessity, and was also one of the few Native Americans to travel with Edward Braddock. So strong was his influence with tribes in the Ohio River Valley that the French put a bounty on his head. Montour was murdered by a Seneca Indian in 1772.

Montour County, Pennsylvania, is named for Andrew Montour.[5] The Montour School District, a comprehensive public school system located 16 miles west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also bears his name.

Andrew had a number of children, whom he hoped would also live in both white and Native American worlds. His son John Montour followed in his footsteps and became a well-known negotiator, translator and go-between.


Andrew looked European although his face was painted like an Indian's. He was dressed according to the following description:
"He wore a brown broadcloth coat, a scarlet damaskin lapel waistcoat, breeches over which his shirt hung, a black cordovan neckerchief decked
with silver bugles, shoes and stockings and a hat. His ears hung with pendants of brass and other wires plaited together like the handle of a basket."

Indians in Pennsylvania, by Paul A. W. Wallace, p 175. "ANDREW MONTOUR (SATTELIHU). Andrew, as son of Madame MONTOUR, was one of the most picturesque figures in colonial Pennsylvania. Count ZINZENDORF wrote in 1742: "Andrew's cast of counternace is decidedly European, and had not his face been encircled with a broad band of paint, applied with bear's fat, I would certainly have taken him for one."


Extensive biography

Andrew Montour: Frontier Diplomat

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