Andrew Montour reborn
Seniors from Montoursville Area High School, gathered at the Thomas Taber Museum, Friday morning, to see historian and re-enactor William Hunt portray Montoursville’s namesake Andrew Montour. The event was hosted by the Northcentral Chapter 8, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and the Lycoming County Historical Society.
Hunt started the presentation by entering the room and full costume to portray Montour. He had on a ruffled shirt, with fake blood stains, face paint, earrings and a feather through his nose.
“He (Montour) looked European, but dressed like an Indian,” Hunt said.
Montour was of European and American Indian blood. His father was an American Indian, and his mother was Madame Montour, who was a renowned and influential interpreter.
During the later half of the 18 century, Montour was also an important interpreter and negotiator in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. He became a frontier diplomat, warrior and hero of the French and Indian War, by assisting the British. He was a member of the Iroquois Grand Council and he went on missions sponsored by the colonial governors that were vital to colonial America.
“I believe without Andrew Montour, we would all be speaking French right now,” said Hunt after the re-enactment.
Montour also worked with people such as George Washington and Benjamin Frankin to help them understand the Native American ways, according to Hunt.
Montour was awarded many tracts of land across Pennsylvania for his services, and one of those tracts would eventually become Montoursville.
Hunt, native of Charleston, W. Va., became fascinated with Montour when he learned about the French and Indian War as a child. As he grew up, he continued to do research on Montour and modern technology helped him find his information.
“With the Internet, you have more access to historical documents,” he said.
By using books, the Internet and historical documents in Williamsburg, W. Va., Hunt was able to gather enough information to portray Montour.
Although he has done a lot of research already, Hunt wants to continue learning about Montour and the places he influenced.
“I would like to meet a member of the Montour family, he said. “I have not yet had that honor (but) I know that there are Montour descendants out there,”
Hunt hopes the Montoursville Area High School seniors took away knowledge about the founder of their town after attending his presentation.
“The town they (the students) live in was named for this man (Montour,) he and his mother lived here,” said Hunt, “He was a great man and I think he should be honored and respected by the townsfolks here.”
When Hunt is not portraying Montour, he works as a trainer for the West Virginia Department of Corrections Academy.