In 1763, a vigilante group of Scotch-Irish frontiersmen from central Pennsylvania known as the “Paxton Boys”murdered 21 Susquehannock men, women, and children. On December 13, 2016, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania opened “‘One Manly Soul’: White Masculinities in Late Colonial America,” an exhibit that explores the Conestoga Massacre of 1763 and the ensuing pamphlet war condemning or supporting the attacks. The exhibit takes its name from page 27 of Benjamin Franklin’s 1764 pamphlet Narrative of the Late Massacres, in which he wrote, ““[The Susquehannock] would even have been safer among the Negroes of Africa, where at least one manly Soul would have been found, with Sense, Spirit and Humanity enough, to stand in their Defence.” Based on the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s recent collaboration with the Digital Paxton Project, the document display provides a window into how people thought about race, gender, and power in late colonial America.
The exhibit runs through January 27, 2017 and is free and open to the public during HSP’s regular business hours. Additional images and side-by-side comparisons of documents can also be found here.