Peter Silver, author of Our Savage Neighbors, is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University. The first chapter, An Unsettled Country, pretty well tells his purpose in writing the book. He shows “how fear and horror…can remake whole societies and their political landscapes”. (xviii) His focus is on the middle colonies, particularly Pennsylvania, from the beginning of the Seven Years War through the end of the Revolutionary War.
In his acknowledgment, Silver thanks a number of sources for their help in writing this book. Among them are Yale Graduate School, Norwegian Nobel Institute, Princeton University, Sterling Memorial Library, Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, Historical Society of Pennsylvania and a number of Quaker resources. His seventy pages of notes, citing many journals, books, and papers, show the extensive research he did.
William Penn brought a group of Quakers from England to Pennsylvania for freedom of religion for themselves and others. Silver describes the immigration of Irish and German settlers who came for religious freedom or financial reasons. They came for free land and became squatters on land owned by Penn and spread out to land claimed by the Indians. Silver describes the chaos between the different nationalities, the religious groups and the Indians. Although a few men tried to bring unity to provide support and protection, Silver states that it seemed it was a “collection of people, all laboring to deepen the trenches between them”. (20)
Silver gives many, many examples of the Indian attacks. It sounds as if they might have been the first terrorists. They carefully planned their attacks, leaving behind a trail of mutilated and scalped humans, burned homes and crops, and dead livestock. There was little the settlers could do to protect themselves since they were scattered and had to