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.

  2. First, thank you, Jeanie, for posting my comment. I must point out that you are incorrect in your assumption that my cited material came from a Don Greene book...I did NOT take any material from any Don Greene "Shawenee Heritage" books. I personally own the above-referenced books and they have been in my collection for many years. Don Greene does not post ANY reference materials in his books...that's what people complain about...

    Page 32 from "Old Chillicothe":
    "Fifty families of these and 100 men were of Thawegila, or 'Asswikalas,' or 'Sewickley' clan settled on the Youghiogheny River at the mouth of Big Kewickley Creek, in what is now Westmoreland County 'lately from South Carolina to Potomac,' whose chief was Ahquiloma, or 'Aqueloma,' true to the English; of the others Ahkuwila, or 'Okowela,' or 'Ocowela,' or 'Ocowellos,' was the Chief who was 'suspected to be in favor of the French.' He was the chief of he Upper Shawnees on the Susquehanna, who had settled at the mouth of the Jaylasquahgi, or 'Chillisquaque' Creek and who had mentioned his past visits to the governor of Canada in 1723....

    "Although Ahkuwila was represented as chief in this report of the Upper Shawnees on the Susquehanna, now settled on the Conemaugh with 200 men and 45 families, Nawchikana, or 'Neuchconeh,' was the real acting chief at Allegheny during the minority of Lawpkaway or 'Loyparcowah,' Wawpaythi's , or Opessa's son."

    I will get back to you with the information for the "Indian Chiefs of Pennsylvania." We were evacuated for the Getty fire and I have not finished unpacking all of my reference material.

    However, I have found another reference to Ocowellos in the book "The Worlds the Shawnees Made, Migration and Violence in Early America" by Stephen Warren, p 190:

    "Pekowitha Shawnees associated with Opessa's Town had migrated to the Conemaugh River as well. At Conemaugh, there were an estimated 45 families and 200 Thawekila men, along with 50 families and 100 Pekowitha men. At 'Coniata,' or Logstown, there were 20 families and 60 men. An English census taker believed that the Thawekilas were 'true to the English' while the Shawnee chief named Okowelah was a 'favourer of ye French interest."

    I hope that you take the time to look up and read these sources. They are from highly respected authorities on the subject.




  3. I have come across this line and others that seem to be in the heritage books by Green, while doing family research and I am so very confused about it all, I have read its all fake I have read it's got real basis I am trying to figure out whats really going on! any help for research other than the two books mentioned above would be greatly welcomed! I am just a girl trying to find her roots.


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