LS signed “John Heckewelder,” two pages, 6.5 x 7.75, December 9, 1797. Letter addressed to "Mr. William Holmes, (an Indian), Philadelphia." In part: "Inclosed is my Certificate of the Death of the late Indian Chieff called (the Big Cat). The Papers you left…together with your Note of Doll's 20 which was to be paid before the Papers should be delivered up, are sent to a Gentleman of out Society…in Philadelphia." The death certificate is penned on the second page, in part: "This is to Certify, that…I was informed by sundry Indians, among whoom was Captain White…that the Delaware Chieff known by the name of Machingwe Pushees, or Big Cat, was Dead. That he had Dyed on the Wabash River." In very good to fine condition. The English-born John Heckewelder was a missionary for the Moravian Church who emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1754. In 1771, he became a full-time evangelist to the Native American Indians, and was sometimes called upon by the government to assist in treaty negotiations with the tribes. He was especially closely associated with the Delawares, studying their languages, manners, and customs. Big Cat, a Lenape chief, had allied with the American patriots during the Revolution and was a signer of the 1785 Treaty of Fort McIntosh.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.