Indian Interpreter to Portray Andrew Montour
The past comes comes alive as Montoursville's namesake, Andrew Montour, returns to the area as portrayed by historian and re-enactor William Hunt.
Hosted by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and Lycoming County Historical Society, Hunt will offer two programs: one for Montoursville Area High School students, at 10 a.m. March 28 at the Thomas Taber Museum, and one for the public, at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 29 at Montoursville High School.
Montour was an important interpreter and negotiator in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia in the latter half of the 18th century. A frontier diplomat, warrior and hero of the French and Indian war, he was a member of the Iroquois Grand Council and his many missions sponsored by the govenors of the states mentioned were vital to colonial America.
Montour 's role cannot be diminished because of his mixed Native American and European blood. The fact that he had a foot in both worlds made him one of the colonial period's most complex, but effective, characters.
If it were not for his courage at a very crucial and dangerous time, the history of an entire continent might be very different. The fact that he was given multiple tracts of land across Pennsylvania for his services is proof of his worth to his contemporaries and one of those tracts would eventually become Montoursville.
A métis (of European and Native American ancestry), he is the son of Madame Montour, a renowned and influential interpreter. The family resided along the Loyalsock Creek at the Indian town of Otstonwakin.
William Hunt, of Charlston, W VA, began his portrayal of Andrew Montour for the West Virginia Humanities Council. For the past six years, Hunt has been a regular reenactor at colonial sites and historic celebrations in Mid-Atlantic region.
Of Native American ancestry, Hunt’s choice to portray Andrew Montour was an easy one. "He has always been my hero,” Hunt said. "My fascination with the Montours and the French and Indian War era has fascinated me since I was a kid.”
Hunt is a criminal justice major and works as a trainer with the West Virginia Corrections Academy.
The event, organized by Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, is sponsored by Lycoming County Historical Society, General John Burroughs Historical Society, Montoursville Rotary Club, Montoursville School District, Montoursville PTO and the Montoursville Chamber of Commerce.
Northcentral Chapter 8 invites the public to join the organization and learn more about Native Americans and Pennsylvania history. NCC8 is active with nearly three dozen members. Its mission is to discover and preserve the region’s American Indian and Pioneer heritage.
Information about the group, a calendar of events and a map to the project site is available on its Internet site, http://www.PennArchaeology.com.
Meetings during the winter are held at 6 p.m. the first Monday of the month at Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.
NCC8 meets in the field during the spring, summer and fall, excavating the Glunk Site in Montoursville. Dig dates are typically on Thursdays, from 6-8 p.m., and on the occasional Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday digs are scheduled according to supervisors' availability. The public is reminded to check the site's calendar before going to the Glunk Site. If nobody is present, the dig will not be held. Digs are held during fair weather, so dates may be canceled because of rain. The members do not dig on U.S. Holidays.
Northcentral Chapter 8 is the Lycoming County chapter of The Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., which was organized in 1929 to:
• Promote the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states;
• Encourage scientific research and discourage exploration which is unscientific or irresponsible in intent or practice;
• Promote the conservation of archaeological sites, artifacts, and information;
• Encourage the establishment and maintenance of sources of archaeological information such as museums, societies, and educational programs;
• Promote the dissemination of archaeological knowledge by means of publications and forums;
• Foster the exchange of information between the professional and the avocational archaeologists.
The chapter’s first meeting was held Aug. 12, 1955, at the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport.
NCC8 relies upon donations. Without the public's generosity, it could not pay for the insurance needed to host digs. The group also relies upon donations to purchase supplies, such as trowels, shovels, tarps, and artifact preservation bags. Please donate today and help preserve and protect Lycoming County's cultural heritage.