Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hunters, Trappers, and Traders

Pennsylvania had many kinds of industries over the years. The simplest definition of industry is “the habit of working hard and steadily.”[1]  From beginning times, Pennsylvania people labored to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.
Woods covered most of Pennsylvania before explorers came to the New World. Native Americans Read More
carved paths through the woods and did a little crop growing, but no vast fields existed. No towns could be found except for small Native American villages.
Before the first permanent settlers arrived about 1600, and even afterwards, Europeans roamed the area now called Pennsylvania, hunting and trapping animals for meat and pelts. They ate the meat and made clothing from the skins. To make money, the hunters shipped many hides to Europe for the Europeans to use to make hats and coats.
Some hunters, traders, and settlers became traders who bargained with the Native Americans for animal hides. In 1647, the first trading post opened in Pennsylvania. Trading happened in two ways, either a man stayed in one place where people brought items to him, or he went to where the goods could be bought, mainly Native American villages. Many traders conducted business in Pennsylvania during the 1600s and 1700s.
John Harris
One trader, John Harris from England, represents the stationary kind of trader. When John Harris discovered a Native American village along the east shore of the Susquehanna River, he built a trading post nearby. He developed a good relationship with the natives and traded for animal skins in exchange for items such as guns, knives, and hatchets. John Harris’s son, John Harris, Jr., grew up there and later founded the city of Harrisburg.
Peter Chartier
Peter Chartier characterizes the traveling kind of trader. He learned fur trading from his father and the language of Shawnee from his Native American mother. Mr. Chartier journeyed to Native American villages to obtain furs. He also served as an interpreter for other traders. 

[1] Merriam-Webster


“Early Colonial Times in Bedford County Prior to 1750.” 

Masters, John. “The 1600s (The 17th Century)!” The Freedom Skool Blog, Aug. 31, 2014.

“Pennsylvania Legends: Historic Trails Through the Keystone State.”

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