Hokolosqua "Cornstalk" and the Shawnee Heritage Fraud

Hokolesqua, spelled variable as Hokolesquaw, Colesqua and Keigh-tugh-qua, was an important Shawnee chief in the years prior to the American Revolution. His name is said to translate into something similar to 'Cornstalk.'He first came to the attention of history during the 1760s as the leader of a band of Shawnee warriors who ravaged the Virginia frontier, killing and kidnapping white settlers.
His place of birth was likely in Pennsylvania in about 1720. The exact location is not known. Cornstalk indicated in a speech that his father's name was White Fish. The records of the Moravian Missionaries point to Paxinosa as his father or grandfather. Paxinosa was also a Shawnee Chief. It wasn't until the advent of the Internet that this Shawnee Chief became connected through a series of dubious unsourced connections to the Powhatan Indians. 
According to many internet sites the father of Hokolesqua was a man named Okowellos. I cannot find a single reference to this name in any reputable book or journal. He was not mentioned in any contemporary writings during the 1700s and no scholarly historians or biographers mention this name. A reader has posted two sources for Okowellos, see the comments below. All of the information about Okowellos seems to come from the Shawnee Heritage Books by Don Greene. See this post about him. 
Unfortunately, this mythical ancestry has been picked up by several fiction writers and is included in multiple fiction books.  According to these books Hokolesqua has a dozen or more children. And he very well may have but, the only named child I can find is a son Ellinipsico who was murdered along with his father at Point Pleasant in November of 1777. There seems to be a lot of people who believe they are related to Hokolesqua but I have not seen and documented proof of relationships. 
If you know of any definitive research that might provide proof of these relationships please pass them along.

I have read that a Shawnee man who was a hostage of Lord Dunmore was a son of Cornstalk, his name was Wissecapoway (Captain Morgan). See Calloway.

An unnamed daughter of Cornstalk is mentioned in the Revolutionary War Pension of Henry Aleshite of Virginia. See Revolutionary War Pensions.


William Henry Foote, "Cornstalk, The Shawnee Chief," Southern Literary Messenger, Vol 16, Issue 9, pp. 533-540; digital transcription, New River Notes (http://www.newrivernotes.com/topical_books_1850_virginia_cornstalk_shawneechief.htm : accessed 31 January 2018; transcribed by Valerie F. Crook, 1998.

David Bushnell, Research in Virginia from Tidewater to the Alleghanies, The American Anthropologist, (N.S. 10) 1908, pp. 535-36.

Vine Deloria, Raymond J. DeMallie, Documents of the American Indian Diplomacy, Treaties, Agreements and Conventions 1775-1907. Vol 1, (University of Oklahoma Press: 1999) 58.

John Sugden, "Cornstalk," American National Biography (http://www.anb.org/view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-2000217?rskey=Km4JCE&result=1 : accessed 31 January 2018).

"Revolutionary War Pensions," Virginia, Henry Alshite, digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 3 Feb 2018).

Colin G. Calloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).


  1. Hi, Jeanie.

    Okowellos did,in fact exist. I have found several spellings of his name: Ahquiloma or Aqueloma, Ahkuwila, Okowela or Ocowela and Ocowelos or Ocowellos.

    I have found two books by VERY credible sources:

    First, you can find reference to Ocowellos in the book entitled "Old Chillicothe, Shawnee and Pioneer History, Conflicts and Romances in the Northwest Territory" by William Albert Galloway, A.M., M.D., L.L.D. The book was published by the Buckeye Press out of Zenia, Ohio in 1934. Almost an entire page is dedicated to Ocowellos -- page 32. The forward was written by C.B. Galbreath, Secretary and Librarian of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society in which Mr. Galbreath relates Dr. Galloway's unique perspective in writing this book; that he was a lineal descendant of James Galloway, Sr. (his great-grandfather), who was a member of General George Roger Clark's expedition against the Indian town of Old Chillicothe in 1782. Tecumtha (Tecumseh) had at many times been a visitor to the home of James Galloway, Sr. Dr. Galloway's credentials go on and on.

    Second, you can find reference to Ocowellos in "The Indian Chiefs of Pennsylvania or A Story of the Part Played by the American Indian in the History of Pennsylvania, Based Primarily on the Pennsylvania Archives and Colonial Recordand Built Around the Outstanding Chiefs" by C. Hale Sipe, A.B. The book was originally published by The Ziegler Printing Company, Inc., out of Butler, Pennsylvania, reprinted from a copy in the Pennsylvania State Library by the Arno Press and the New York Times in 1971. Again, almost an entire page is dedicated to Ocowellos -- page79. C. Hale Sipe, A.B., was a member of the Pittsburgh and Butler bars, member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and author of "Mount Vernon and the Washington Family" and "A History of Butler County." The book has an introduction by Dr. George P. Donehoo, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission and State Librarian, collaborator of the "Handbook of American Indians" and author of "Pennsylvania--A History."

    I hope this helps set the record straight.


    1. Cyberwtr, thank you for posting this, sorry it took so long to get back to it. I am happy to stand corrected and will change the wording of the post. Thanks for the great reference citations! I will be looking them up shortly.


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