LANCASTER, Pennsylvania (WGAL) — Dec. 27 marks the anniversary of the Paxton Boys Uprising that resulted in the death of more than 20 members of the Susquehannock tribe. Sunday night, members of the community held a remembrance ceremony.
It was Dec. 1763, the country had not yet gained its independence and the native people were at war with the British. A vigilante group seeking deadly revenge set their eyes on the tribes in the Susquehanna Valley. Sunday night, the lives of those lost were remembered.
The vigilantes were known as the Paxton Boys, a group of 50 men from Paxton Township. On Dec. 14, they rode in to Conestoga, where a Susquehannock reservation was located, and murdered six people.
“They murdered them and burn down their cabins,” said Robin Maguire.
On Dec. 27, the Paxton Boys arrived in Lancaster.
“While everybody was at church they rode in, parked their horses back there at the tavern,” said Maguire.
The Paxton Boys made their way into a prison workhouse, which is now the Fulton Theatre, where a group of 15 Susquehannock people were being harbored for their own protection.
“They took them all outside. Killed them. Mutilated them. Scalped them and left,” Maguire told us.
While standing in the very place that they were killed, the community came together this Dec. 27 to remember them. Candles were lit, sage burned and drums played to honor them, and one-by-one the names of victims were read.
“There should have been some accountability, but it went out the door,” said Maguire.
Elisi Noquisi, a member of the Cherokee nation says the Susquehannock philosophy towards life was one of peace and today we should embrace that same philosophy.
Noquisi told us, “This fighting, this conflict, Black Lives Matter, white lives matter, red lives matter, green lives matter, blue lives matter. We are human beings, we’re two legged. We take care of each other, so let’s find a way.”
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