Who was Chief Cornplanter? Despite the revolutionary contributions of this prominent Seneca war chief, few Americans are familiar with his colonial influence.
William Betts, Jr. hopes this will change with his new book, In The Hatchet and the Plow. Cornplanter’s life is revealed in a candid biography focusing on the chief’s influence during the American Revolution. Following Cornplanter’s journey as a chief on wilderness rivers and as a warrior for the British, Betts studies his turbulent relationships with iconic leaders of two worlds, delving into Indian-white relations.
“After discovering that a biography had never been composed of the most influential Native American in our history, I was determined to correct this,” says Betts.
A detailed account of Cornplanter’s role as a diplomat and his influence in various treaty sessions and councils is complemented by 35 images providing intimate context to the important figures and events in his life. Highlighting the Indians’ loss of land and their overall way of life, the book centers on the colonial period of American history.
“It’s important that Cornplanter’s influence be revealed,” says Betts. “It is my hope that this book will provide a better understanding of this significant time in our country’s history.”
About the author
Now retired, William Betts, Jr. was a professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years. A World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy, Betts holds a bachelor’s degree in English and German from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, and completed his graduate work at the University of Minnesota and The Pennsylvania State University, earning both a master’s degree and doctorate in English and comparative literature.
Lecturing on subjects ranging from Abraham Lincoln, light verse, Robert Frost and the Faust tradition, Betts has written numerous magazine articles and 10 other books, including Lincoln and the Poets and The Evergreen Farm.
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