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Remembering Chief Fireway: The Last Susquehannock

From Teedyuscung and Tamanend to Cornplanter and Shikellamy, the names of illustrious Native American chiefs are familiar to many Pennsylvanians. These and the names of other iconic tribal leaders grace our mountains, streams, townships and schools. Sadly, there is one name that has been all but forgotten, and it is a name you will not find on any monument or high school sports stadium. And though he's only been dead for half a century, Chief Fireway's name ought to be remembered, not just for the numerous contributions he made to Dauphin County, but because he was "The Last Susquehannock".

Born in Perry County in 1899, Chief Fireway spend his early life on the Onandaga Reservation near Syracuse before receiving his education at the Carlisle Indian School. His grandfather, a veteran of the Civil War, fought at Gettysburg and later relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma. Chief Fireway, who could trace his family history back to 1700, spent his entire adult life in the…
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The earliest accounts of posthumous Cassie Foster sightings are from 1902, just a few years after her emaciated body was found inside the primitive hovel she called home, at the foot of the mountain that divides Elimsport from Collomsville.

Cassie first arrived in Pennsylvania after the untimely death of her husband, who was a wealthy farmer in the Midwest. She settled in White Deer Valley and purchased twenty acres of timber land, upon which she built herself a two-story log cabin. A lover of nature and wildlife, Cassie shared her home with a flock of pigeons, which she had trained to roost upon the foot of her bed. She also kept several snakes as pets; one, a four-foot-long blacksnake and another a deadly copperhead which she had…

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